New BHS app aims to help students


Contributed by Yuen Ler Chow

The new BHS app, created by the App Development Club, has many new features designed to help students.

Schedule tracker. Communicator. Student connector. These are just some of the features on the new Brookline High School app built by the App Development Club.

Senior Yuen Ler Chow, who originated the idea for the app, has developed a more advanced version of the BHS Schedule Tracker with the App Development Club. The original app released last year was focused on students’ schedules, while the latest app has additional details. Chow said the app was built over the course of about two months and aims to help students with its new and improved features.

“Besides the fact that I decided to include a schedule tracker, the features are completely different. There is a schedule tracker, but we also have an automatic class group chat, a way for clubs to post announcements, and a friend finder. I would say it is completely different. In fact, it’s not even called a BHS schedule tracker, it’s called the Brookline High School App,” Chow said.

The app has four main screens: “Schedule,” “Messages,” “Announcements” and “Friends.” Students are able to customize their schedule by putting in their specific classes, which is then used in the “Messages” portion of the app by allowing users to message with other people in the class.

On the “Announcements” screen, everyone has the ability to publish information, including clubs who want to relay announcements to the rest of the school. Lastly, the “Friends” feature allows students to connect with others outside of school by randomly assigning them a fellow student who they are able to talk to.

The entire App Development Club, roughly seven people in total, worked on the app. Four members worked on the code while others focused on brainstorming features. Sophomore Michael Ye explained the positive difference between working on the app with the club versus regular group projects in school.

“I know we do a lot of teamwork in classes, but this one was different because it was less clear what we had to do; we had to talk and brainstorm instead of having a teacher tell us exactly what to do. We actually had to communicate and find out what we needed to do,” Ye said.

Freshman Allen Yu said he had difficulties with the code itself while developing the different screens.

“The hardest thing was not knowing what the wrong answer was and figuring out where the problem was. The code would always not work, and sometimes it could just be an accidental spelling error, or sometimes it could be organization,” Yu said.

Ye said that he gained valuable skills while working on the app.

“This was actually my first experience with digital design app making. It was something that I was kind of scared of doing because I had no experience,” Ye said. “So I was getting out of my comfort zone, I would say, by joining this club, but it’s definitely worth it. Because, first of all, I conquered my fear of doing something new like this. I’ve only gotten positive stuff from this.”

Chow said he is already planning to improve and make adjustments to the existing app screens. He would like to work on making the “Friends” screen even more seamless by integrating a text and video calling feature into the app. This would make communication between users possible without sharing their mobile phone number.

As of right now, the app automatically saves every user’s phone number in addition to the exchanged messages. Chow addressed this possible privacy concern, and said that he will not release that information.

“For all your text messages [within the app], my database does have all of it. But then again, all students have access to it, because you can join any class you want. Students should be aware that it’s as a whole class group chat. They should only be posting normal stuff,” Chow said.

Chow said he hopes that the app and its numerous features will help other students.

“I hope that it will make life easier and just more fun. Schedule Tracker is intended to make life easier for students. The class group chat will allow more collaboration among students after school where they aren’t able to talk to each other. Friend Finder is just for fun and making friends,” Chow said.