Students develop TigerApp to improve room draw
The apps were developed as part of a collaborative class project that spanned the second half of the semester.
Josh Giles ’13 led the group responsible for the updated Student Room Guide app, which directs students to a new site that they can use to plan their housing for the coming academic year.
The team also included Willa Chen ’13, Lily Healey ’13, Kevin Mantel ’13 and John O’Neill ’13.
Chen is a cartoonist for The Daily Princetonian.
The updated site integrates the floor plan of each residential college with room data and reviews, Giles said.
Under the previous system, students had to download floor plans individually as PDF files from the official University housing website. Room reviews and basic information such as square footage were listed separately on the original Student Room Guide.
The new Student Room Guide app allows students to search for information on rooms by selecting any of the colleges or upperclassman housing options and sorting the rooms based on number, building, square footage or occupancy type. Students can also use the updated interface to search for their preferred room specifications.
Alternatively, students can search visually by clicking on any room on a floor plan to receive information about it.
“It would be really nice if we had an app that people were really using,” Giles said. “I think [room draw is] a part of the process of being a student here that doesn’t work that well right now.”
The updated Student Room Guide also allows students to maintain a queue of their favorite rooms and invite others, presumably those within the student’s draw group, via netID to edit the list, Giles said.
The room data is not completely up-to-date, Giles noted. The team is working with the Office of Undergraduate Housing to receive the newest room listings.
Manager of Undergraduate Housing Angela Hodgeman declined to comment on the project.
Giles’s team has also written code to allow real-time text message or email updates to alert users of the status of their preferred rooms on the day of room draw, but this feature of the app is not yet operational because the team has not yet reached an agreement with Undergraduate Housing on how to obtain real-time information about the status of rooms.
The team finalized the program over Intersession, and it is now available for use on the TigerApps website.
Pursuit of Mappyness will integrate the Student Events Calendar, a current TigerApp, with an interactive map of the campus.
Though only a prototype of POM is currently available, Josh Chen ’14, who helped to develop the app, said that the final version will be available on the TigerApps website later this semester.
The final version of the app will allow students to search for specific events using key words, or filter events based on time. The interface will also incorporate a full schedule of events in a column next to the map.
The app includes tabs to show users the availability of washers and dryers in every laundry room on campus, dining hall menus and current functionality of each printer in all computer clusters.
POM was developed by John McSpedon ’14, Josh Chen ’14, Lawrence Diao ’14, Nader Al-Naji ’14 and Ben Grange ’14.
The app could supplement iPrinceton, an all-purpose app available for download from Google Play or Apple App Store, Chen said. One key difference between the two is iPrinceton’s functionality as a mobile app, but he said that POM would have more useful applications during periods with particularly high volumes of events, such as Preview weekend.
The collaborative nature of the projects is good preparation for programmers looking to apply their skills in the real world, Brian Kernighan GS ’69 who teaches COS 333 said.
“I’m consciously trying in the class to — when I can — make things a simulation of reality so that folks who’ve been in the class will find some aspect of that experience replicated in internships or jobs,” Kernighan explained.
Kernighan is a faculty columnist for The Daily Princetonian.
Several other projects from COS 333 have also become TigerApps, most notably the Integrated Course Engine. However, Princeton Pounce, the most recent TigerApp, arose independently of the class.
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