By Cody Kimball
The digital face of the Western Herald is changing, and the plastic surgery is far from over. I’m the Web Manager of the paper and am tasked with the continuing updates and maintenance of the digital face of this near-century old news outlet.
No easy task I assure you. In the last 3 months, we’ve added plenty of features to the 3-year-old website.
A PDF viewer has been added, allowing you, the readers, to download and view the physical newspaper in a digital format (and you can keep copies that will last forever).
The site has a brand new look and feel that makes stories easier to find, by bringing the lastest content straight to the home page.
SeeClickFix is a tool now available to students who notice problems on campus and allows for reporting of them on an interactive map, in an effort to get structural issues noticed and taken care of.
Polls have been added to help student’s voice their opinions, and see how their peers view issues.
For even further feedback and interaction with the Herald, be sure to check out the Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube pages. Email newsletters and business directories are also now available.
Functionality has been added to allow for the use of the website on a variety of devices; including Nintendo Wii, DS-lite, PSP, Blackberry, Iphone, and others.
In addition, a Western Herald mobile app is now available for Android at westernherald.com/Western.apk The download is free!
An iPhone/iPad friendly app is coming soon, hopefully.
I say hopefully, because I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m no fan of Apple. And not even the products, the products are fine, the problem is GREED.
Here’s an example; when developing the mobile app, Android offered all of the necessary development tools for any platform for free.
Perfect! Went off for the most part without a hitch.
Then came Apple.
To create the same application I had just made free of charge (and free for you students) for Android, Apple wanted money. Lots of it in fact. Of course there are ways to get it for “free”, but they’re so convoluted they aren’t even worth attempting (and sometimes illegal).
Even if I were willing to shell out the minimum $99 for their tools, it wouldn’t matter because you can only get them for select Mac Operating systems.
If you want people to create software for you, why would you deter them from making it in the first place? And why would you charge your users for something that everyone else gives out free of charge, for virtually the same product?
This isn’t the first time I’ve run into this problem.
And I’m sure there will be a number of you who upon reading this will prepare to send me mac-fan-boy hate mail. Don’t waste your energy. I’ll just right-click and delete all your hard work from my self-repaired 3-year-old Compaq faster than you can say “doesn’t support flash”.
So, until the planets fall into the proper alignment and I discover the right combination of components, the Mobile App is available for Android only.
To you Android users, thank you for making a developer-friendly choice.
Do you have an idea or something you’d like to see on the web?
My browser is always open, drop me a message.