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SocketHop: There’s an App for That Us!

Welcome back to SocketHop, where Bwog locks the few engineers on staff into a room and makes them explain things. We’ve covered tools to help you be more productive and new operating systems for your computer before, and today we take a look at a new Columbia app for your Android smartphone.

That’s right, our very own mobile app. Ariq Azad, CC ’14, working alongside Andrew Freiman, Cornell ’14, has released an unofficial Columbia University Android app, because hey, why not. (Come at us, Princeton.) So far the app’s user interface and features are a little humble, and Azad himself notes that this is just a “proof of concept.” Nevertheless, with the app, users can search for and read reviews on CULPA, read the latest campus news (stories from Bwog, the official CU news stream, and Spec), look at what amounts to be the campus on Google Maps, and search the Bulletin for classes. While no one would prefer doing any of these things on a mobile device, we can perhaps see some use in the Bulletin feature—the search results list times and locations for courses, and in case you’re darting between classes and you forget where the next one is, figuring this out via the app is much simpler than logging into CourseWorks or SSOL.

The app itself was created with PhoneGap, a development platform that allows developers to use web technologies to write an app once and deliver the product to multiple platforms. This means the interface won’t necessarily have the look and feel of an app that’s designed for a particular phone, since it’s targeting multiple devices. However, it also means there’s a greater potential to see this unofficial app come to iOS or BlackBerry devices since it’s such a simple porting process. Indeed, Azad tells Bwog that the process of iOS development will start soon after classes begin.

There’s a healthy list of upcoming features for the app too (although if you’re savvy with the technology industry, you know that promises are often not kept), and Azad told us to look for these on the Android app before the iOS release. Potentially coming soon are SSOL info, MTA data integration, and CourseWorks push notifications. Push notifications are the kind of alerts a phone gives the instant it receives a new text or email. Now imagine a world where every time a grade gets posted on CouresWorks or a new assignment is posted, your phone buzzes. That gets our circuits flowing.

We know there’s a large body of programming talent out there. If you know of any other CU apps, tell us about them at tips@bwog.com.

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20 Comments

  • Yanyi L. likes this. says:

    @Yanyi L. likes this. Proof of concept is still fantastic.
    There’s a great developer community at Columbia if you’re looking for one.

    1. alum says:

      @alum no one would have admitted this two or three years ago. i am thrilled current students think otherwise.

  • lololol says:

    @lololol Columbia Engineering accepts too many Cornell Engineering transfers.
    although the cornell transfers here are smart as hell. i’ll give them that.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous …you do realize Cornell’s engineering program is generally considered better than Columbia’s.

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous …you do realize Columbia is generally considered better than Cornell.

  • Apple says:

    @Apple Can you make one for my iPhone

  • CC'14 says:

    @CC'14 This app is super-cool, I highly recommend checking it out!

    Although the icons are ugly.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Ariq, you’re the man!

  • CC14 says:

    @CC14 I wish I were a science person so I could help with this, but I can’t, unfortunately. And I’ve been toying with the idea of creating a ColumbiApp (C) for a while now. However, here’s what I would love to see in the app:

    SSOL Schedule
    SSOL Financial Aid viewer
    Columbia Phone Number Directory (Public Safety, etc.)
    Health Service Appointment page
    Bored at Butler
    Butler Stacks Guide
    Laundry View
    John Jay Weekly menu
    Library hours

    And tons of other things.

    Hey, developers, let’s somehow make this app happen. I can help with whatever. Comment and let me know

    1. Goosey says:

      @Goosey You want an app that has racist banter from B@B?

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous it would be funny if they tried to do push notifications for ssol and courseworks by caching your UNI password on some server. i’m sure that that will go over REALLY well with cuit’s identity management group.

    1. ... says:

      @... i want a notification on my smartphone that tells me when somebody has pushed courseworks over by polling/scraping from it.

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous something that does this constantly would basically be a DDoS attack, given how crappy columbia’s infrastructure is. maybe if CUIT let you set up push notifications

  • michael l. c. kushner jr. III says:

    @michael l. c. kushner jr. III good app. recommend. could use improvements though.

    sincerely,
    DR. Michael L.C. Kushner Jr. III, MBA, JD, M.D., D.O., PHD, MPH
    Chief Investment Officer, President, Chairman,
    Kushner, Kushner, Bershowitz, Katz, Rosen, Lisovicz, & Weissman Capital Partners

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Dear Mr. Michael L.C. Kushner Jr. III,

      Were you in school your entire life?

      Best,
      SEAS’12

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Thats such an amazing idea!

    Also, Ariq is so dreamy.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous This is awesome. Great concept, love android, so glad this happened.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Not bad for Columbia , if you want to see a real app see the MIT’s app

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Fuck you Ariq, stop writing good stuff about Ariq. Cool app, though; good job. NOW STOP WASTING TIME AND BECOME DOCTAH

  • Ben says:

    @Ben I will releasing an app just like this for the iPhone and iPad in October 2011.

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