Color Scripter, an Individual Project Created by a Middle Schooler
The vision of Lee Young-soo as a Computer Science major
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With industries' increasing interest in programming, the number of individuals and professionals who pursue further study in the field has significantly increased. However, in the time before programming and coding became so popular, it was difficult to read and recognize codes due to their complexity. Lee Young-soo (Department of Computer Science, 4th year) was a young man interested in programming who felt the same inconvenience and tried to look for various programs that increased the readability of codes. He found that none that were satisfying, and as a result, decided to make his own. This is how he first created Color Scripter, a beloved coding program, at the age of 16 as a middle schooler.
What is Color Scripter?
Color Scripter is a program that enhances the readability of codes on the Web by changing codes’ colors. Approximately 500 to 600 users utilize this program daily, and more than 100 languages and themes created by users are registered on the website. This program is specialized in Korea as a platform that simplifies the process of code posting, specifically in Naver blogs. There are diverse languages in programming, and it was extremely burdensome to accommodate all the languages that users require, so Lee decided to open the ‘Extended Store (확장스토어)’ service that allows users to spontaneously upload their own languages and themes to share.
When and why did you start an individual project?
“I started programming when I was in 5th grade in elementary school. It started as a hobby, but as I spent more time on it, I was determined to pursue programming as a career path,” said Lee. The earliest version of Color Scripter was invented when Lee was in the 3rd grade of middle school. He made the program for his own convenience at first. However, as Lee shared his codes coated with Color Scripter in his blog, other users began to recognize the usefulness of the program and started using it. The number of users increased considerably, and Lee felt responsibility to run a website for the convenience of others. “It left a certain mark when users used Color Scripter and added a viral effect as well. I first started this project for my own good, but as many people were using my program, I felt a sense of pride and the necessity to run the website and constantly update the program,” recalled Lee.
As Color Scripter was simply an individual project, Lee felt no burden or discomfort when running the website. This is because if the purpose of the program was to earn a profit, Lee would feel great responsibility and deal with users’ complaints; however, Lee actively notifies users that Color Scripter is just a hobby for him, and that is why the program is serviced for free, and all of its users are aware. However, when it comes to the website's operating expenses, Lee has to spend his own money. As an ordinary university student, Lee faced a financial burden. “At first, I tried to cover all the operating expenses by myself, but as time went on, it became more and more burdensome. I confessed to the users that I was facing such an issue, and that I had to open a sponsorship section. I did not expect so much monetary assistance in the beginning, but I actually received money three days after I opened the section. I felt a great sense of humanity that day,” smiled Lee. After Lee opened the sponsorship section, he no longer had to spend his own money to cover the operating expenses.
What is your future plan?
According to Lee, “Some people tell me to start charging for use of the program, but I have no plans at all of doing so. I believe it is a better and worthwhile experience to run a website with sponsorship from my users. I want the self-consistent ecosystem within Color Scripter where users’ needs are satisfied by themselves. Color Scripter has its special meaning that has grown with me and served me with good memories.” Lee has not yet decided on a specific career path since he is still finding out what he truly wants to do. Many acquaintances recommended he launch a start-up business, but he wants more preparation and is waiting for a definite item that will be profitable.
Since Color Scripter was first made when he was young, it lacked organization. As he entered Hanyang University, he was able to notice numerous successful examples of well-organized programs and acquire knowledge that he usefully applied to his program. “I started this project all by myself. I just want to say that if you look around at your friends, they all are experts in certain areas and may have a common interest. I hope other students experience success in team projects. If I had the chance, I would have definitely tried with my friends,” concluded Lee.
Kim Min-jae firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by Kim Joo-eun
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