OGDEN -- Weber State University students may soon be able to register for classes, buy books and check to see if a computer is open on campus in a lab, all with a few swipes on their smart phones.
Computer science students at WSU are working to make that a reality in a new class designed to help them learn programming code to create applications for both the iPhone and Android markets.
"The pressure is that people who have mobile devices with a data plan get used to doing things that way," said computer science professor Rob Hilton. "It's just easier to do it on a mobile. I see that happening with a lot of people, where they don't think they need (a smart phone) until they get it and it becomes indispensable."
But learning how to make an app is not exactly easy. While the students may have a background in Java script or C language, it doesn't make for a seamless transition to development in the cell phone app arena.
"Switching them over to mobile is not an overnight thing," Hilton said. "I have these students who have variable levels of programming, and it's taking them about three to five weeks to retool."
Cory Tanner, a computer science senior, said the class has been pretty hard so far, but it's something he has enjoyed learning.
"I am really interested in mobile development," he said. "I am really into phones. I just wanted to see how the software works."
The class is currently working on creating an app to help the WSU football coaching staff recruit players. The app will allow the staff to update information about potential players, pull up a map of where a high school is when they are scouting, and give contact information for potential players and coaches. The app also will stream all of the information to the computers in the coaching office, so they can see the information on their phones and in front of them on their desktops.
Two apps developed by senior Klint Holmes are already available on the Droid and iPhone. One allows students to access the student bookstore, view events and even buy books. The other tells students how many computers are available on campus in the various labs.
Holmes, who works on campus, said he began working on the apps in his spare time after his boss saw that he was creating apps for himself to help him remember what books he needed to buy for his classes. He said they have been in development for about six months while he has been gathering data from sources and creating codes.
Now that both apps can be downloaded by anyone on the Droid and iPhone network, Holmes said he couldn't be more satisfied.
"Seeing people download it and use it is cool," he said.
From here, Hilton said, they will continue to offer the class next semester and will continue to develop applications that will help WSU students navigate all things Weber from their phones.
"We're just talking about all the things that students might want to do on their mobile devices," he said. "Then we come up with a sort of 'iWeber' and allow students that portability."