14-year-old develops acclaimed news app

14-year-old Irish schoolboy, Alex Goodison has developed a news-focused app called Swiipe that has attracted critical acclaim.

With less than a year of iOS app development under his belt, 14-year-old Alex Goodison decided to build a news app. Why? Because he wanted to read more news and the summer holidays were proving to be too long. 

“I wanted to read the news more often myself, but no news app was able to provide an experience worth going back for,” he explains.

Self-taught, Alex used YouTube videos and the learning platform Udemy to get his app development skills up to scratch.

However, one of the main reasons he started building Swiipe was because he was slightly bored during his school summer holidays. 

“I have been learning to develop iOS apps for close to a year now and, as summer holidays in Ireland are 13 weeks long, I had plenty of time on my hands.”  

Alex estimates that he worked on the first version of the app for five hours a day over two or three weeks.  

When Alex launched the app on ProductHunt, he received immediate and positive feedback. To date, nearly 1,000 people (mainly product developers) have given it the thumbs up. 

“I was amazed by the reaction on ProductHunt. I would have been happy with 70 or so votes but to get close to a thousand left me speechless. The encouragement has meant a lot to me. It has given me a lot more self-belief.” 

How does the app work? 

Swiipe works much like Tinder in that users can swipe left (to dismiss an article) and right to save an article. Users simply tap the screen to read an article in full.

“Yes, it is quite like Tinder’s UX,” says Alex. “Swiipe lets you view the articles that you want to see one by one. Simply swipe left to dismiss the article, right to save the article for later and tap to view the article in full. I have always wanted to create a news app, but I wanted to make one with a twist.” 

Over 50 news sources (250+ more coming soon) are displayed in an interactive swipe interface on the app. 

What’s next? 

“The reaction to Swiipe has been fantastic. Mashable (one of the world’s top tech sites) has been in touch with me, which is awesome. However, I’m back at school now, and in Junior Cert year, so my focus is on the exams.”

And how does he feel about Ireland’s education system when it comes to all things digital and tech.

“It’s not great, to be honest. We had computer studies on the curriculum, but it was dropped due to a timetable change. I don’t think the computer classes were very good, to begin with. I know about Coder DoJo, and maybe I’ll get involved one day. Apart from that, I think most young developers teach themselves. There are massive amounts of great tutorials online. If you’re interested, you can search and find.”

Regarding a career, will he remain in the area of digital development? 

“I don’t know is the honest answer. I think the job I’ll probably start off doing hasn’t been invented yet. This whole area changes so quickly. What I’m doing now may have very little relevance in a few years time, so who knows. I’ll just keep doing what interests me.”

And is there anyone in the tech world that he admires?

“I read Elon Musk’s book and think he is a visionary. But I wouldn’t like to work for him.”


Pictured is Mary Mullaghy presenting a Young Scientist award to Alex Goodison for his previous app development project PocketKnow.