Meet Pocket Programming, mobile app by Japanese duo for budding programming learners



See the original story in Japanese.

Japanese app developer duo Ffab0 (pronounced “fab zero”) recently launched the English edition of a mobile learning app focused on Ruby and Ruby on Rails, called Pocket Programming. Prior to this, the team released the Japanese version of the app in late August.

I had a chance to speak with Keisuke Hoshino and Yuto Kitakuni, the duo behind the app, who are currently working based out of Berlin for three months from early October.

Pocket Programing is an Android app designed for budding learners of Ruby and Ruby on Rails. For users, the app will give you ten questions in the four-choice-quiz format every day while the app has a reservoir of questions for four weeks. It will tell you a percentage of correct answers every day and allow you to review what was wrong with supplemental explanation.

According to Kitakuni, the app is designed for people who start feeling programming is enjoyable after learning through use of tutorial video clips. So it seems like a supplemental method for learning besides other main learning materials.

Carefully designed for budding learners

This app is focused on budding learners of Ruby and Ruby on Rails. Hoshino and Kitakuni told The Bridge why they are focused on targeting learners.

Hoshino explained:

Both of us have learned programming from scratch so we understand how beginners feel. Two or three technical terms in English are usually popped up to explain a single thing, such as instances and objects. These occasionally makes us confused and prevent us from grabbing the essence of the meaning. In addition, after the tutorial, we may not understand how to solve the problem when our own programming code exhibits an error.

Kitakuni added:

Kitakuni: From my experience giving a lecture at a cram school, teachers have to teach anything while thinking about what is being looked for. But in the IT engineering industry, many teachers want to use difficult terms, which makes a high obstacle for beginners. Having a beginner’s perspective in our mind, we have developed this app so that it can motivate them to learn more.

Considering how to allow users to learn leveraging pockets of time and help them to review their learning results while even standing, the duo has developed the mobile app in the four-choice-quiz format.


Partnerships with other learning platforms

With the launch of the English edition, the team is aiming to expand the service globally. In response to our question about their geographical focus in marketing, Kitakuni told us that they have no specific geographical focus and plan the future strategy after seeing how users respond.

I think that online programming learning tools are fiercely competitive on the global market rather than the Japanese market. However, in view of focus on post-tutorial review and a quiz-format app for Ruby and Ruby on Rails, the Pocket Programming app may earn a unique

They actually received partnership inquiries from teams developing learning tools for other programming languages. So they want to explore partnerships with other learning tools in other styles or for other programming languages.

From the left: Ffab0’s Yuto Kitakuni (in charge of design) and Keisuke Hoshino (in charge of programming)

The app is still available on Android because of global targeting. However, they are planning to develop an iOS version for the Japanese and US markets. Furthermore, in view of many learners starting with mobile app programming, the team is expanding its language scope to Swift and Java as well.

Translated by Masaru Ikeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy