Students create new student news app

File Photo
File Photo

Last semester, five computer science students created a new Android application to allow Calvin students to read Student News more easily.

Paul Martin, Jakob Gibson, Jonathan Cook, Jonathan Dehoog and Wasiq Sohail were five students in the fall 2013 CS 262 class, a three-credit software engineering course, who developed the student news application as their class project.

“It was a very obvious problem,” said Paul Martin. “It’s very difficult to read Student News the way it is right now. I personally rarely read Student News in the email because of how difficult it is to get what I actually care about,” he said.

“So, the idea that I could get to those things that I think are important with an app like that sounded really appealing to me. It could very easily make the user interface much better. We originally started it just for this class, but JD [Jonathan Dehoog] and I are gonna keep working on it and putting effort into it.”

Martin credits a couple of his peers from the class for the idea of writing an Android app to make Student News easier on the eye of the reader.

“John Muyskens and Peter VandeHaar had mentioned this idea, and they had several ideas, but their teams ended up doing different things,” he said.

He also wanted to tell students where they could find the app. “Our application is available on the Google Play Store. It is completely free of charge. It cost us money to put it up there, but we wanted people to know about it and the only way to do that is to make it free.”

He stated that there are efforts being made to make the Student News application available on other devices besides Android.

“A lot of people have iOS, so in order to develop this app for an iPhone, you need to actually have a Mac. That’s not something we can do right now. One of the things that I’m working on in combination with Daniel Harold is making a mobile version of the online thing that he has made [Enhanced Student News, an automated email version of Student News that is well formatted and has links to individual news items].”

“Once we do that, we have an option for not only Android, but also iPhones, and even just desktop computers.”

Martin encourages students to try out the Android app. “If you read Student News from time to time or you think you might like to read Student News, just download, give it a try, it’s not too big, it doesn’t take up a lot of room and if you don’t like it, just un-install it. It won’t hurt our feelings.”

Daniel Harold, who is another Calvin computer science student, occasionally uses the group’s app. “It presents a list of the news items for a specific day and you can scroll down to get to previous days. You can tap on any news item title and read that news item. You could also use the search function and it supports both Student News and Calvin News which is for faculty.”

“What it does is present Student News in the format that is easier to read and navigate.”

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