JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. --
Need a personal trainer to keep up with Fit-to-Fight rigors? There's an app for that! Need to know the weather and travel conditions? There's an app for that! In the age of information having insight to the world around you is a mere touch screen away. Joint Base Andrews is officially part of this modern-day marvel. There is now an app for JBA.
"This is really an evolution in the way we deliver information," said JBA app developer Senior Airman Daniel Burkhardt, 11th Wing Public Affairs broadcaster. "Young Airmen, especially Airmen living on base, want to be connected to information about the installation we work and live on. So this is really the best way to take the information we already get from many different sources and make it a single package."
Since spring of 2012, Burkhardt has been working on providing Team Andrews instant access to a vast amount of JBA information.
"Col. Rizer, former 11th Wing/JBA commander, requested that 11WG Public Affairs look into the possibility of either developing an app, or commissioning the development of an app to organize our print, video and photo content to have a place for users to get information about the installation," he said.
In developing the JBA app, Burkhardt underwent a lengthy trial-and-error process of establishing this new medium of communication for Team Andrews.
After 11 WG/PA conducted a review of options to determine the viability of developing an in-house app, it was determined this could be done. A first release, version 1.0, was created in July, submitted for approval in Aug., and available on the app store Sept. 5, 2012.
"The process of creating an app was a long, tough one," he said. "There are so many things to account for beyond technical issues and development. Creating an interface is a long graphic design process; making it useable and having a consistent theme is a challenge, but in the end we got it done."
Over the next 12 weeks, Burkhardt went back to the drawing board. He spent more than 150 hours learning how to code apps in a computer language called XML to develop version 2.0 from the ground up. The upgraded version was released Dec. 11, 2012, and is now available worldwide as a free iOS download.
Based on gathering pricing information for developing a comparable version of the app from two different private companies, the developer said creating the app in-house saved the wing more than $12,000.
A key feature of the app aims to demystify the process of tracking down base phone numbers by giving users access to a base directory. Users can make a call to a listed organization right from within the app.
"When people want to know about the installation, whether it's general interest, if they are relocating here or just visiting, our goal is to make the app the one-stop tool for finding information related to Andrews' units, commands and organizations," he said. "In addition, the goal is to provide the user with the highest quality experience achievable so the app is as enjoyable to use as it is feature rich."
User support is also provided within the app via automated-web forms for general app questions and suggestions, feature requests and feedback. For example, there is a form on the contact page to submit a request to the developer to update contact information that has changed or is invalid.
"We strongly encourage users to use those forms when necessary and to send us feedback about the app," said Burkhardt.
Since its inception, the vision for the app is for it to reach far and wide.
The app features include:
- Push notifications to alert users in the event of real world emergency situations, base closures and other command directed announcements
-Access to common documents and resources
-A JBA phone directory
-Location feature that allows you to see where you are in relation to other
parts of the installation
-Classic website access
-Each content section allows you to easily share products on Facebook, Twitter and
email right from within the app
Future features will include: swiping photo albums and additional interface improvements. The next major focus for development is to get an android version, as close to the iOS version as possible, released; meeting the basic functionality and user experience. There is no due out date at this time.
"I hope that users truly have a great experience while using the app," said Burkhardt. "The app provides an innovative graphical interface that makes it easy to navigate and understand where content is located. It integrates both major social networking platforms, Facebook and Twitter right on the home screen, giving users easy access to the latest news and information in the event of base closures, emergency notification information, as well as other content we post on our social media sites."
Anyone with an iOS device, iPad, iPhone, iPod, can use the app to get the JBA information they need by downloading the app now
! Check out the promotional video here