Janice Flint is Programmer/Mom and the force behind Crystal Springs Software. She just released her first iPhone app iZilch.
When did you start developing apps for the iPhone? Did you have previous experience as a developer?
I was a math major in college, so my first programming jobs were math-related. In 1982, I did some signal processing in Fortran, programming on passive sonar arrays for Rockwell International. I then worked on speech compression for the Mattel Intellivision, also in Fortran. When Mattel shut down the Electronics division, I taught math and computer science in high school before having kids and becoming a full time mom for the last 19 years. While I was raising kids, I took classes in C, C++ and Java programming.
What / how many apps have you made so far?
iZilch was my first app on the iPhone, but I'm looking forward to starting the next one.
What type of apps/games/software inspires you? Where do you get your ideas?
I think the best ideas come from playing around with the technology and seeing what it wants you to do. I was learning how to animate images and playing with the accelerometer while thinking about playing the game Zilch with my family when I was a kid. How could that not result in iZilch? Now that 3.0 has peer to peer over bluetooth, I will start exploring that technology and see if something multi-player wants to happen.
How do you settle on the price point for your apps?
A casual game like iZilch should only cost a dollar. It is the sort of game that you can purchase and play while you are waiting to pick up your kids from school, waiting for your flight that just got delayed, or if you are a kid, while you should be doing your homework. The iPhone needs games that are cheap and easy to learn, that let you have fun right away, and that you can buy on an impulse without having to worry about whether or not you will get your money's worth from the game.
What has been the best thing about designing for the iPhone?
I love the form factor of the iPhone, and the way you interact with it by touching, dragging, tilting and shaking. It changes how you relate to the device and how you design your interface.
What has been the biggest challenge about designing for the iPhone?
Well, since I had been out of software development for 25 years, I had some learning to do. I had to learn Objective C and Cocoa Touch. I had to get used to event-driven application programming and learn the Apple development tools. The biggest challenge for me was trying to learn the platform while Apple had the developer NDA in place and nobody could help each other with technical issues in public forums.
Is your company venture backed or privately held?
We are self-funded and privately held.
Do you have any other apps in the works?
I'm about to start an update to iZilch and exploring the new capabilities of the iPhone 3.0 SDK.
What apps do you have on your iPhone?
I have lots of games and I like Frenzic. I mostly use Yelp, Facebook, Twitterific, NY Times, Now Playing, PRI and Evernote. I like that there is always something new coming out for the iPhone!
What do you like to do when you're not coding for the iPhone?
I have four teenage girls, so we have a very busy household. I like to spend time with my family and friends and I exercise regularly, mostly dance and step classes. We like to travel, but it is getting harder to take big trips now that everybody has such busy schedules and our oldest daughter is away at college. I love the beach. We go to Southern California a lot since that is where most of our extended family lives.
One Last Thing:
I wish there were more women programmers!
And now watch the iZilch demo: