10-year-old from Wexford publishes game on Apple App Store

16 May 2014

Niall Kehoe (10) from Wexford, now one of Europe's youngest coders to produce a game for the App Store

Ten-year-old Niall Kehoe from Enniscorthy, Wexford, has joined the ranks of Irish coders who are among the youngest in the world to publish their apps onto the Apple App Store.

Niall’s free game, a Space Invaders-style production titled Kehoe’s Crazy War of the Worlds, has been created using Game Salad software.

The youngster began learning how to code four years ago at his local CoderDojo and is now proficient in a number of programming languages, including C, CSS, JavaScript and Objective C.

“At the moment I’m focused on making a more complicated game using Apple software while most people are using Xcode.”

Kehoe said he was inspired to join CoderDojo when he heard Jordan Casey from Waterford on the radio talking about making apps.

“I thought it would be really cool if I could learn how to make an app. I found Game Salad after reading about Jordan on Siliconrepublic.com, downloaded it and started creating games at home on an old Windows computer.”

Getting published

niall kehoe coding

Niall hard at work

However, publishing his game onto the App Store wasn’t as straightforward as Kehoe had hoped, and he ran into problems in terms of getting certificates and bundling the app correctly.

He reached out by email to various people in the industry. “I sent out 12 emails and got about three back. Dermot Daly from Tapadoo said he could help and he helped me to get the app uploaded.”

Now working on a Mac to produce his games, Niall says the next game Bouncify will be more complicated and he will charge 89 cents in the App Store. “It will feature a ball bouncing from cloud to cloud and if it falls your phone will make a screaming sound!”

Niall says his heroes include Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, former Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs.

“I hope that when I get to secondary school they are actually teaching technology skills and still not just talking about it,” Niall says.

Kehoe's Crazy War of the Worlds

Kehoe’s Crazy War of the Worlds

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years