Friday, November 30, 2012

Developing Apps for Google Play? Definitely Rewarding!

By Amira Komari, Year 2, Diploma in Mass Media Management

Ever wondered what opportunities you can come across when you pursue NYP’s Diploma in Information Technology (DIT)? Chang Jun Wei and Alvin Low will be happy to tell you that one of the really ‘cool’ projects you may get involved in is developing mobile phone applications.

Earlier this year, they were both involved in developing an Android version of MobileRead, an application by National Library Board (NLB). This application helps Android phone users to browse and search NLB content as well as download and read eBooks on the move.
MobileRead was initially an iPhone and iPad application launched in 2011. It has been well-received, with over 63,000 e-book downloads so far. For Jun Wei and Alvin, their task was to further develop this app for the Android interface, and add more features to it.

The duo had several considerations to keep in mind while developing the app. These include understanding the requirements from their client, and catering to the different screen resolutions needed for Android devices. They also had to enhance the user experience with a well-designed interface.

Jun Wei
They had their share of challenges.  Jun Wei was in Beijing for six weeks during the development phase for an overseas programme. As a result, he could only rely on the Internet to communicate with his teammate and supervisor while he was abroad.

Rendering the Tamil words for the app was another challenge.

“The older version of Android couldn’t recognise Tamil alphabets. After a week of research, the Tamil alphabets could be rendered but they weren’t grammatically correct. So I had to research and study the Tamil language for one and a half weeks more before everything came into place,” recalled Jun Wei.

The duo frequently asked for feedback from family members and friends to improve their app. “Many expressed that they find the design of the app nicely done,” said Jun Wei. “Some of our friends said they wished the app could have included more books.”

Alvin and Jun Wei both benefited and gained useful experiences while developing the app.  They learnt extremely important lessons such as teamwork, time management as well as how to communicate with team members.

“This will definitely help me prepare for the working world. I want to pursue a career as an IT professional, and develop interesting and useful applications for mobile or other platforms,” said Jun Wei.
(From left) Alvin and Jun Wei at NLB with their app on display
As for Alvin, he feels that he has gained a greater understanding of how an industrial project is carried out.
For them, the work was both rewarding and worth the effort.  “I still remember vividly how elated we both felt when the app was first launched on Google Play!” Jun Wei exclaimed.

In my opinion, what is there not to like about the app? It’s perfect for our technology-dependent lives. You can read on the go, and fret no more about bringing a bigger bag than intended to fit your books!

Most importantly, I feel that the app will encourage younger users to read. This is because every e-book in the “READSingapore” category has a coloured cover and pictures in its content. 

So what is Alvin and Jun Wei’s advice for aspiring programmers?

“Remember to have passion in whatever you do.  Always try to learn more and think about improving things because the world is ever-changing,” they said.

NYP would definitely be proud of these two young men. I certainly am.
Jun Wei (right) has graduated and Alvin is completing his final year at SIT.

Amira Komari is a Year 2 student from Mass Media Management. An avid reader, she enjoys her own space and can spend hours in a coffee house with a good book. She thrives upon solitude and nature. She is also obsessed about ice cream and anything colorful, you can almost always find her at a nearby bookstore with her dip dyed Chuck Taylor shoes.

1 comment:

  1. Wow it is nice one for learn Tamil Education through these mobile applications.