Students develop textbook search app

  Thursday, December 17, 2015 2:00 AM

Pittsburg, KS

Students develop textbook search app

Before each semester at Pittsburg State, senior Bryant Sandoval conducts extensive research to find the best prices on textbooks.

“I’ll actually sit down and create an Excel spreadsheet that lists the prices of a certain book at different stores,” he said. “College students don’t always have a lot of money, so finding the cheapest prices on books is a big deal.”

While he’ll always search for the lowest textbook prices, Sandoval’s spreadsheet days may be over thanks to an app he and his classmates developed in a new course within the Kelce College of Business.

As part of a project in Mobile App Development, the first app development course in the KCOB, Sandoval, Jack Felter and Jarod Hottel developed an app that searches the web for the best prices on textbooks.

Dubbed “Bhooklet,” the app uses the Direct Textbook API (application program interface), which promises to yield the most search results of any app on the market. The app is available only on the Windows mobile device platform.

“We wanted to make this type of app because it’s unique and mainstream, but also because we believe it really could help a lot of students save money,” Felter said.

John Kuefler, lead architecture developer in Pitt State’s Office of Information Services and instructor for the application development course, said he is impressed with the group’s work.

“It takes a lot of time and effort to develop an app that will be accepted into the marketplace,” he said. “I am very impressed that the students were able to accomplish what they did in just one semester.”

Another group in the course developed an app called “Ping,” which is a social media app designed to connect travelers based on their location.

“The idea behind that app,” Kuefler said, “is that when you visit a place, you put out what is called a ping, and then you can add friends who are in that same area and meet up. So if you happen to be in the same city at the same time as someone you know, family or friends, this app could show you that.”

The students said they were glad that the KCOB added the app development course to the catalog.

“I really wanted to learn how to make an app, which is something I’ll carry with me and that will look good on a resume,” Hottel said. “I liked that we got to choose what type of app to develop. It was a tremendous learning experience.”



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