NEWS: Princeton Mobile to replace iPrinceton as mobile resource for U. information

Marcelo Rochabrun for The Daily Princetonian

By PAUL PHILLIPS
Contributor

Princeton Mobile, a new mobile website containing interactive information about the University for students, faculty, staff and visitors, will replace the current iPrinceton mobile app, the Office of Information Technology announced.

Princeton Mobile contains 16 interactive menus, including a library catalogue and information on residential and retail dining. The app can be used on a variety of different devices, including laptops, iPhones, iPads, smartphones and tablets, OIT Associate Chief Information Officer and Director of Academic Services Serge Goldstein said.

Unlike the previous app, Princeton Mobile has a search function that allows users to run a search through the entire website rather than through individual menus.

Goldstein cited improved accessibility as a reason for transferring from iPrinceton to Princeton Mobile. The iPrinceton app, Goldstein explained, was originally written for the iPhone and had limited functionality for anything other than the iPhone.

OIT also wanted to make the development of its Princeton Mobile app “in-house,” explained Mary Albert, the manager of the project office for OIT Academic Services. Goldstein said OIT collaborated with outside company Blackboard on iPrinceton, which was “closed-source,” meaning Blackboard did the coding itself and OIT could not see the code.

With an “open-source” collaboration, Albert explained, “we can more quickly respond to requests from our partners or any of our constituents.”

OIT’s open-source collaboration for Princeton Mobile was with Modo Labs, a startup company that works on mobile software for universities, companies and hospitals. Modo Labs CEO Andrew Yu said the company created Kurogo, an open-source web development framework currently used by many peer institutions including Harvard, Brown and Dartmouth. With Kurogo, OIT could control the code itself while still being able to consult with Modo Labs, Yu explained.

Many departments had input in the compilation of Princeton Mobile, Goldstein said, including the Facilities Department, Event Services and the Office of the Registrar. Albert explained that OIT collaborated with these departments via data feeds.

“We simply pulled their information from the framework and displayed it in the mobile application,” Albert said.

Albert added that OIT will continue to develop Princeton Mobile. Although the immediate goal of Princeton Mobile was to recreate iPrinceton as much as possible, OIT has been receiving inquiries from students about potential changes. OIT also chose to use Kurogo because of the flexibility for changes, she said.

“We do see potential for growth,” Albert said, “and we are looking for input.”

Goldstein also broached the possibility of further development and said that although the new Princeton Mobile app is easier to use and more functional, it is slower than an app designed specifically for one device.

Long-term plans for the app include the implementation of information that requires a log-in, such as the University’s college facebook, Albert said. Princeton Mobile currently only includes information that is publicly available, and log-in information is what Albert called “the next step.”

Albert added that OIT, which already has a liaison with the USG, hopes to receive input from students on its new mobile application. “It would be helpful if students do have ideas and requests that we work through the USG and pull that information together,” Albert explained.

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