Computer professionals two or three times the age of Nikhil Mahadevan spend years trying to find that “killer app,” the computer program that will bring them fame and fortune.
The East Greenwich High School senior didn't wring a fortune out of his newly designed class scheduling app, but it's certainly won him some thanks and recognition in the school corridors.
“I've been hearing from classmates and teachers and parents,” said Mahadevan, estimating that 40 free downloads of his app had been registered at the Apple App Store, which posted his program two weeks ago. “People with an iPhone or iPod Touch can use it.
For the senior project required of all EGHS seniors, Mahadevan decided to tap into his computer expertise, even if it meant having to begin work during the summer.
“I wanted to do something different, and I've always had an eye for technology,” he said, showing off the school's logo at the opening of the application.
The inspiration for the scheduling tool came from a revamp of the school's class schedule, which featured the elimination of study halls.
“The new schedule is much more complicated. I found each day has a different order of classes, and it had no sense of continuity, “ Mahadevan said.
“If I have a math test on Friday, I want to know what period it is, and I thought it would be a cool idea to create an application for it.”
Even though his mother, Rajani, who works in information technology at Beacon Mutual, has been a software programmer mainly in Windows, Mahadevan found himself starting at square one when it came to design and using Objective C, the programming language.
“I had to go through many different layouts to make it easy for users to figure out what to do. Being a novice programmer, things that would take an expert 10 to 15 minutes to figure took me three to four hours,” he said, adding his mother and another family friend helped with the process.
Then came the test...submitting his completed work to the App Store.
“I completed it and submitted it the day after Thanksgiving. It takes two weeks for them to review it and test it. There's a whole list of guidelines you have to meet, and if you don't meet them, they send it back for you to revise it,” Mahadevan said.
He got the good news on Dec. 7, later delivered to the School Committee meeting he was videotaping for public access cablecast by his sister, Divya, a sophomore at EGHS who was asking committee members to upgrade the computer technology at their school.
While he is not making any money on the EGHS scheduler, Mahadevan is hoping to monetize future projects, be they adaptations of the scheduler for other schools or new programs.
“I'm thinking about creating a Rhode Island laws app that would allow anybody to search state laws,” he said.
Mahadevan is hoping to study bioengineering or computer science in college. He said he's considering George Washington University, Boston University, Tufts University, University of Vermont and Vanderbilt University.