My idea for a Windows 8 application is a piece of "companion software" for students, particularly on university campuses. I was inspired with this idea from my own experience in college, where I was constantly looking for apps that would do various things, always to find that none did exactly what I needed. Please let me know if you have any suggestions or ideas, and I will put them into consideration!
My idea for an app would make use of several features of Windows 8 tablets. The feature that would be used is of course the touch screen. With the interaction of the touch screen, users can navigate through the app and hopefully even customize the interface to the app to make it more their own. The app would also support multitouch gestures to quickly switch between different features so they are all convenient.
The other piece of hardware integration would utilize GPS. This would be primarily to access a map. This map would feature a way to search for buildings on campus or even directly for a class, if it has been associated with a building. A secondary function of the GPS could be to locate stolen devices, as is entirely possible on university campuses.
There are several features that are planned for the app; they are listed below with brief explanations:
- Class List - Allows student to keep up with his/her classes by class name, professor, abbreviation (CSC 116), time, and location. This time and location would be integrated with the maps feature and the calendar feature.
- Maps - Shows locations of classes and is searchable for buildings on campus; also shows local places for students to go, such as restaurants, parks, and other entertainment.
- Calendar - The calendar would be able to keep track of the student's class schedule, as well as assignments and things such as test dates. It can associate these to classes, and students can also add custom events. There would also be integration with some type of to-do list and possible integration with other calendar apps.
- Discounts - Integrates with maps, helps the student find discounts at restaurants and other locations
- Books - Lets students associate books with classes; the student can then buy this book as an e-book from online retailers or upload their own ebook in pdf or other formats. This could also have integration with university library systems
- Notes - The notes module would allow students to keep track of notes by class; the app would allow them to write notes on the touchscreen or type them with either an on-screen or physical keyboard.
- Diagrams - Integrates with notes; this would allow students to create diagrams to go with notes or for planning purposes.
- Outside Resources - A way for students to find outside resources for help with their courses. This would include integration with sites such as YouTube through its API, and hopefully sites such as Khan Academy and the Stack Exchange family of sites as well. Maybe even Code Project!
- Integration with University/Professors - A way for universities and/or professors to push content to students.
- Integration with services such as Dropbox and Google Apps to sync the files for notes and diagrams, as well as calendar synchronization.
- Social element - A way for students to communicate with other students, specifically that are in the same types of courses for peer help.
As you can tell, this app really consists of many smaller apps. Because of this, each of these smaller apps would be a module. This would give students the ability to be able to customize their interface with modules that suit their need in an organization pattern that is good for them. Because of this, the application would also be written to be very extensible, so third parties could develop extensions to make the application better.
This application would be programmed in C#; currently, it is planned that the front end will use WPF/XAML. It would interface with the Windows 8 and Windows 8 RT APIs to provide support to tablets both that run the full version of Windows 8 and Windows 8 RT. It would be made compatible with different screen sizes and resolutions, and it is planned to make the app compatible with Windows 8 phones and PCs as well. The extensions previously mentioned would certainly be able to be developed in C#, but the plans are to provide compatibility with HTML/CSS, various other programming languages, and scripting languages as well.
The app is currently in the design phase. The development would start with a couple of the modules, likely the ones for classes and the calendar. From here, I will develop the UI and work on the customization aspect of the interface.
- Version 1.0 - Initial Version - Daniel Underwood