The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

November 8, 2010

13-year-old develops iPhone application

By AMBER POMPA
Herald-Banner Staff

GREENVILLE — Chandler Douglas of Greenville recently developed his first iPhone application, Snap Pronto, which has been approved by Apple to be sold in over 80 countries, all before he turns 13 years old.

Snap Photo is a photographic utility that enables users of the iPhone to send pictures via e-mail to a preset number of recipients and is currently available on the Apple App Store for those who have iPhones and the new generation iPod Touch.

Douglas has a second application, a game he created and titled Get Me, that is currently being reviewed by Apple and should be available in the next few weeks, not to mention all the side projects he’s working on for future applications.

The game app, once it goes through the review process, will be free, however the Snap Pronto application costs 99 cents. Douglas is donating his profits from the Snap Pronto app equally among three charitable organizations; Compassion International, Imagine a Cure Foundation and To Every Nation.

Douglas, along with his brothers Jordan and Preston, are being home schooled using the becca home schooling curriculum.

“I’m the teacher and he’s the principal,” said Douglas’ mom, Yolanda, gesturing to her husband, Charles. “That’s our little joke. It truly is the best and most rewarding job I’ve ever had and has become something of a life occupation for me.”

Douglas first began to show promise at the age of 2, sitting in his high chair, staring at a plastic place mat of the United States which included the state capitals.

“By 2 1/2 years he knew half the state capitals and by 3 he knew them all,” said Yolanda.

At 4 years old, they started Douglas on the curriculum and they haven’t looked back since.

“He did fantastic,” said Yolanda. “We knew we were onto something. It’s great because we can do it as a family. We said we’d take it one year at a time and before we knew it nine years have passed.”

The family is traditional in their home schooling, starting in September and ending in May, allowing the boys to have a summer vacation.

 In fact, school is usually out by noon, as the boys go hard throughout the early hours and Yolanda is able to give more hands-on instruction when necessary. Quite often, the boys attend “class” in their pajamas and often do work on their beds, unless writing is involved, which is when they move their work to the dining room table.

At the age of 11, Douglas was testing at post high school level on the Standford Test in every portion with the exception of language expression.

The family doesn’t play video games. Instead, the boys create things on their own, like cartoons and games they’ve made on the computer using the Flash program, or movies they’ve made using stop action techniques.

“Chandler has always shown interest in computers,” said Charles.

“I actually started developing with Microsoft Visual Basic and then when Dad got the iPhone I became interested in developing applications for the iPhone, so I downloaded the SDK program and began tinkering with it,” said Chandler

Mom and Dad do their best to keep up with Chandler, though they freely admit it’s often a losing battle.

“I try to learn as much as I can to help him progress along, but I don’t know anything about programming,” said Charles. “I know enough to ask him what he needs to be successful and try to help him with that.”

Charles, noticing his son’s interest in developing apps for the iPhone, learned of a Pragmatic Studio iPhone/iPad developers course in Santa Carla, Calif., put on by Mike and Nicole Clark. It worked out great because Charles had some vacation time built up from from serving as a pilot for Delta Airlines and it happened to fall in the summer months.

“He was the only child attending in a class of 30,” said Yolanda. “At first, people assumed that Charles was attending the class and just brought his son, but that impression soon passed.”

It wasn’t too far into the class that Douglas began to help his fellow course-takers and began answering questions asked during the course.

It was a mere one week later, some 60 to 80 work hours, when Douglas had created the Snap Pronto app, with his brother, Jordan, creating the design for the app.

“They said that was the fastest turnover they’ve ever seen out of a student,” said Charles. “It’s now posted up under the Alumni Apps on the Apple Web site.”

So far, only two of Douglas’ apps have been or are currently in review by Apple, but he’s created several just for the fun of it, such as his tracker and speedometer apps.

Douglas may sound more advanced than most 13-year olds, but he’s still just a normal kid who enjoys riding his bike in the sun, taking piano lessons, singing and performing at his church and playing soccer, when his allergies aren’t bothering him.

 He also enjoys spending time with his brothers, who are more like best friends, creating games, movies and of course, cartoons.

If you ask him about where he sees himself in five years or where he plans on attending college, he’ll say, “I don’t know. I’m still kinda 13.”