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Alumni launches competitor to Rutgers app

<p>Photo Illustration | RU Mobile is an alumni-developed application that seeks to replace the official Rutgers app. It provides similar features, but is meant to be more user-friendly.</p>

Photo Illustration | RU Mobile is an alumni-developed application that seeks to replace the official Rutgers app. It provides similar features, but is meant to be more user-friendly.

University alumni hope to improve students' lives by releasing a new application to rival the official Rutgers app.

RU Mobile, an application for Rutgers students, provides information on bus schedules, dining hall menus, the Rutgers schedule of classes and links to services like Sakai, said Juan Carlos Munoz, a Rutgers class of 2011 alumnus. He is one of the developers of the app.

Alumni and students alike know that navigating a campus as large as Rutgers can be difficult, and RU Mobile helps to solve those issues all in one convenient application, Munoz said.

"We make all of this available as easy and convenient as possible because we know what being students at Rutgers is like,” said Rodrigo Pacheco Curro, a class of 2016 graduate.

Having all of these features in one place is convenient because I would not have to switch back and forth between multiple applications, said Andrew Vex, a School of Engineering sophomore.

“We wanted to learn how to make apps and thought, 'what better way to learn than by actually making one?' We decided to take the opportunity to make it something we would actually want to use and make our lives better,” Pacheco Curro said.

The application is different from the traditional Rutgers University application because it is more student-oriented and has more information, he said.

The team received positive feedback from the app's users, Munoz said, which allowed them to include different features in the app.

“There’s always more features that they request," he said. "At the moment, we’re trying to grow our community. So we get more developers and more designers on board and that way we can fulfill on those."

The app's developers wanted the app to be actively useful to students, rather than just act as a passive reference page for users, Pacheco Curro said. 

Students are able to decide which information is most important to them, he said.

The process was a learning experience, Munoz said.

"We never did app development before," Munoz said. "We just wanted to create a project where as soon as we’re done with it we would have a specific audience and that audience, of course, would be Rutgers students." 

Munoz said anyone can create their own application as long as they have both the passion and dedication needed to move forward and accomplish their goals.

“Most people are afraid to tackle an app because they think that you need to have a lot of years of experience," he said. "What gets you started is a lot of tutorials online. Educate yourself and then pick (a) very specific task and stick with it until the end. You will be able to launch your app successfully." 

RU Mobile is more than just an app — it is also a community that strives to educate its members and give them real-life experience in their desired field, Munoz said.

The app's users can also help contribute to its development.

"We want other students to get involved and contribute to the app while we provide some mentorship for them,” Pacheco Curro said.

People who study computer science have an advantage simply because they are already familiar with coding, Munoz said. 

But for RU Mobile, students are taught how to code, he said.

"They have absolutely no idea how to code. And because of this experience, now they’re successful coders,” Munoz said.

Although the app is not currently available for Android, the RU Mobile team is working on creating that version in order to expand its audience, Pacheco Curro said.

RU Mobile is free for users, which can prove to be problematic for the app’s developers in terms of monetary value, Pacheco Curro said.

“We don’t make a profit from it," he said. "There have been thoughts on how we could make the app pay for itself, but we haven’t decided on a plan for that just yet. One thing is for certain though, we will never charge students." 

The development team has several plans for future work on the app. One aspect involves making the app open-source, so anyone can access the source code, he said.

The company is looking for students who wish to put their talents to good use and help out the next generation of students, he said.

“Anyone interested in working with something like this should contact us. Not just developers either — interdisciplinary projects is something I didn’t see much while at Rutgers. It’s good to get involved,” Pacheco Curro said.

Nicole Osztrogonacz is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in English. She is a staff writer for The Daily Targum. Find her on Twitter @nikki_osz for more.

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