Staffs Pathway: Mobile Application

Writing a mobile application has always taken my interest and I have wanted to do for many years, after coming to university I have been taught the basics of programming and this has left me in good stead with programming my first mobile application.

The idea of this project came from a scheme that the Students Union were running back in February 2017, I responded to an advert for the scheme with an idea of a interactive campus map that could be used for new students, staff and visitors to the university. I discussed the ideas with a few friends and decided that we would form a team and each take part of the application to design and program.

We were given the opportunity for a dragons den style interview, were we had to pitch to a panel of judges for funding for the project. After two days we were notified that we had go through and have secured funding for the app, that very week we met up and discussed the requirements and what we were going to do and what the prototype would achieve.

After a few weeks of research and trying out different software packages, we decided to go with using Unity this is mainly a 3D games software it seemed the most flexible as projects are able to be exported out as either iOS and Android Mobile this seem great at the time but we soon started to learn the costs of using such a processor intensive application.

We created our first prototype using this software, although the app didn’t look great it had the basic functionality of what we wanted. The idea of the app was so popular I decided to take it to the next level and produce a professional app in the summer for both Android and iOS. As the September deadline was looming I decided I would spend several weeks reproducing the app in the native environments for both Android and iOS. I started with Android as this has the biggest market share across the world. I got the grips with using Android studio and programming in JAVA, the skills I was taught in my first year at university really helped my foundations of the app. To get the augmented reality to work and GPS location services I did more research and after compiling resources such as manuals, tutorials and code I was soon able to learn to create my own code that could produce the desired results.

After I had a working and successful app for Android I got to work on the iOS version of the app, this proved to be a more difficult as I have not used X Code, Swift or Objective C before. I read through many books and tutorials and taught my self how to program in Swift 3.0 (at the time, now version 4.0 is out) also how to use X Code as the IDE was completely different to what I have used in the past. As a fast learner I soon got the grips with that I needed to do, to get the coding work flowing, after many hours of programming and testing I had a final and optimised version of the app for iOS.

Overall doing this project has taught me so much and I am proud to have learnt what I have in such a small space of time without any help, only books and tutorials online. I now feel I have the knowledge to program any application for both Android and iOS, the thought of doing either would not phase me.