Almost 60 percent of the student body has downloaded the iHW smartphone application developed by Jonathan Burns ’14 since it was published on Sept. 13.
Head of Upper School Audrius Barzdukas announced Sept. 16 that Burns had created the app for use by the school.
Burns began the project at the end of the 2013 school year as a final programming assignment required in the Design and Data Structures course. Knowing the popularity of the previous version by Gabe Benjamin ’11, his goal was to create an efficient and updated app for students and teachers to use throughout the school day. He also added developments from Benjamin’s prior electronic version of the school’s academic planner.
“I wanted to avoid having students enter their classes manually, so I added the ‘Download from hw.com’ feature,” Burns said. “I wanted the app to always have the correct times, regardless of special schedules, holidays, and tests, so I made a website that tells the app when those days are.”
Although Burns had worked on app development at an internship at UCLA, creating the iHW mobile app for both the iPhone and Android was a long and complicated process, according to Burns. The project entailed developing the program first for Personal Computers and adapting it for a mobile version. The iPhone and Android also required different programming languages and with about 6500 lines of code, Burns dedicated about 200 hours of his summer creating the two versions.
“I had to write the entire iPhone version from scratch,” Burns said. “I couldn’t use any of Gabe Benjamin’s existing code or any of the code from the Android or PC versions.”
Burns focused on designing the app to allow students and teachers to continue using it after his graduation and will transfer the app to the computer science department at the end of the year.
Burns contacted several people on faculty, including Barzdukas, Head of School Jeanne Huybrechts, and Director of Instructional Technology Jeffrey Snapp for approval.
“Jonathan did an amazing job with the app,” Snapp said. “He considered that the Middle School and Upper School have different numbers of periods each day and also different numbers of days in a cycle. The previous iHW app was only designed for the US schedule.”
This was the first time Burns has published an application. He also programmed a website, ihwapp.com, for additional information and setup instruction.