Back then, the typical DLSU freshmen in their first few days could be described as utterly lost. Every year, there are fresh faces on campus wondering what ‘A708’ is, and spending hours trying to figure out how to survive in Taft. Thanks to the La Salle Computer Society (LSCS), however, this year’s freshmen are the first to have the basics of the DLSU life right in their phones.
A new way to introduce DLSU
The DLSU LPEP Green Guide was made to help freshmen get to know the school during LPEP, and also to serve as a general Lasallian guide about the common things students need to know about the school.
Aside from showing freshmen their LPEP schedules, the app gives information about the school’s core values, administrative offices, and lists of CSO organizations and USG projects. It even comes with tips about notable areas around Taft, like parking spaces, places to eat, and where to find school supplies, among many other things that will help freshmen in their adjustment to Taft life.
The idea to make the app began when the Vice Dean of the College of Computer Science came to an agreement with SLIFE to make one for the freshmen. Instead of passing around flyers with information or referring people to the school’s website, the La Salle Computer Society was approached to create software to make information more accessible for students, and to save money. The LSCS, in turn, chose Jeno Panganiban to form a team and lead the project.
As project manager, Jeno’s main inspiration for the app was to create a new, innovative way to present DLSU and its culture to the freshmen. With this in mind, he put together his development team with Chino Tapales and Gela Acorda as the iOS developers, Je Estioko and Jason Sioco as the Android developers, Miguel Sietereales and Marcus Ramos as the web developers, and Megan Avancena as the graphic designer—all of whom are Computer Science students and members of LSCS.
Making the Green Guide
According to Jeno, the development of the app on three platforms (web, Android, and iOS) had to be done within one and a half months. After he had put his team together, it was time for six weeks of hard work to meet the deadline.
There were some hurdles the team had to face during the app’s development cycle, with the main challenge, Jason notes, being the time constraint. Having such a short time to get their software running on all three platforms while juggling academic requirements was the source of much pressure for them. Jeno also points out that some time was consumed early on due to changing demands for the software.
The developers for the iOS version were especially challenged due to the project being their first experience developing on the platform. On how he wound up creating an iOS app while learning the platform, Chino says, “To be honest, before we started, I was going to school with an iOS book because I bought it recently and I was eager to apply what I was learning from it. Then Jeno asked me if I wanted to develop an iOS app. I was pretty confident and said I could learn it.” He continues, “I also recruited Gela to the team. We had a lot of struggles and the learning curve was huge, but we managed to push through.”
Despite the difficulties they faced, the team managed to accomplish its goals within the time allotted. This was the result of intense studying on their part about the platforms they developed on, team communication, and a few overnight coding sessions. While this may seem grueling, Marcus points out, “Getting to work together with the team was actually quite fun, especially the overnight ‘hackathon’.”
The DLSU LPEP Green Guide is currently up and running on Android, iOS, and on the web.
A team of friends
From the start, Jeno was confident in each team member’s abilities. Each member of his team was someone Jeno had already worked with before on other projects by LSCS, on academics, and in Marcus’ case, on their startup.
He adds that the main advantage of being friends and having worked with his fellow developers before is that everyone knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses. This, he explains, is the reason his criteria for choosing the members of his team weren’t about how knowledgeable they were in specific parts of development. Rather, he looked for those he knew were committed and passionate about helping DLSU.
Something the whole team seems to agree on is being able to work together as friends actually made the project fun. It also helped that they had their minds set on a purpose.
“We want to help and give back to the Lasallian community in our own way,” Jeno explains on behalf of his team. They looked at the project as an opportunity to showcase the skills they developed during their stay in DLSU while doing something good for the school and its students.
Due to their fond experiences from making the software and common interest in making more contributions to DLSU, the team says they are open to working together again for another similar project in the future. While there are no other major updates planned at the moment, the team hopes to eventually add other features, or make it open for improvements by other aspiring app developers in DLSU.
For now, they simply want to thank the Lasallian community, the CCS Office of the Vice Dean, SLIFE, SMO, STRATCOM, and all the offices that contributed to their application.