Friday, November 19, 2010

More app features!

Hello everyone, I've been wanted to do another update on the app all week but I had some studying for a test to take care of. I had a test in my analog electronics course on wednesday. Pretty sure I got 100% so I'm pleased with that :).

Late last week I asked the iphone subreddit community for some feedback on what I had so far. I took the comments very seriously, and here is some of the work I've done.

So in this screenshot you can see two new features. First, there are little icons beside each category. I feel that they add a little to the experience of using the app, making it feel less like you're just looking at shoveled out tables and made by someone that cares.

The other new feature is the search button at the top. This way, search is readily accessible throughout the app instead of just at the home screen. I'm considering doing the "pull down to search" thing like you see in the Contacts app, but depending on time constraints that might be something for a future version.

Here what we have is the new modified equation view. This tab bar will allow the user to flip between showing the equation and other related material. The "more" button is currently a placeholder and will be replaced with the correct buttons, graphics, and text that I need.

Some things to note about this tab bar. I didn't take a SS of it, but when you rotate the device to landscape mode, the tab bar is hidden so as to not take up vertical screen space.

Now the reason I implemented this is because I've decided to add a worked out example for each equation. I just decided on this a few days ago, and have recruited the help of Carolyn. This tab bar will also allow me in the future to add support for things like derivations, interesting historical facts, etc.

My work for the next bit will be adding more icons and regenerating a lot of the equations for better alignment due to the change in screen size.

As usual, I'm always looking for feedback so feel free to leave some :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Searching and Landscape

Yes that's right, I bring to you today some more updates on my upcoming app! Last night, as I was frustrated with my E&M assignment, I decided to spend some time on the app. Since I wasn't in the mood for starting some more equations, nor in the mood for graphics related work, I decided to implement a big feature that I had been meaning to do for a while...the search function!

As you might have seen from my last post, on the main screen there is a large search button. Until last night, it was just a placeholder. Every time I would show someone the work I had done on the app, one of the first things they would say is "the search button doesn't work". Well no more! Here's some screenshots of the search function in action.


It was a very exciting moment last night when I got it to work. So every time the user hits a key the search results update. Its pretty awesome.

Ah, but at this point last night I still had some time before bed, and since I was feeling awesome for getting the search to work, I decided to also add landscape mode support!

So now the menus, the equations, and search all have landscape mode support! When viewing an equation and the user rotates the device, it automatically zooms to fill the width.

So there you go, progress is coming along nicely.

Let me know what you think!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Early App Screenshots

Hello everyone, I bring to you today an app update!

Since the last post I've added a few sections: Taylor series, probability distributions, linear algebra, and the 4-band colour code for resistors. Still a few sections to add to math, but I took a different direction tonight and was working on the main menu's graphics. I decided to take some screenshots of a few different parts of the app to share them with all of you.

Let me know what you think!

[edit] For those wondering, the name isn't finalized yet. I've been playing around with a few ideas, and I wanted to see how this one looked.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Introducing, the APP!

Sorry for the failing, its been quite the past few weeks. The term has been pretty intense, with homework filling up most of my time. Speaking of term work, I didn't manage to get into Econ 101, the instructor refused to let me in.

Before I get to the main topic of this post, I'd like to mention something. shortly after my last post, my girlfriend and I celebrated out 1 year dating mark! I'm not going to take up a bunch of this blog post with with rambling on about how awesome she is, so go check out her blog here.

So yes, now for the main topic. In the spare time that I've had, I've been working app! Specifically, I've been working on an equation reference app for the iOS platform. I thought to myself, "how can I use my years of physics experience to make an app?" and this is the idea I came up with! I know that I can provide a more comprehensive solution than the few other similar apps on the store, so why not?

After investigating a few of current apps available, I found the following: the majority of them cover the basics well, have a limited physics section, and include some completely useless material (did you know that x+0=x ?? ). Now granted, I understand that not everyone knows everything, but I feel that some concepts don't require an entry in an app like this. That's why I'm not going to include stuff like that in my app just to "pad the equation count".

For launch, I'm aiming to include material that would be useful for a senior high school / early university student. Currently, the following has already been implemented:
  • Physics
    • Newtonian Mechanics
    • Electricity and Magnetism
    • Optics
    • Fluid Mechanics
    • Thermal Physics
    • Quantum (basics such as photo-electric effect)
  • Math
    • Tables of derivatives
    • Trigonometric identities
  • Electronics
    • Capacitors
    • Resistors
    • Inductors
  • Error Calculations
It should be noted that none of the sections in physics have been done at a deep-level. Its all been aimed at the experience level I stated above.

Heck, I'd someday like to have equations from much more advanced material included (equations for time-dependent perturbation theory anyone?). For now, some more fleshing out of the math section is important.

So although a lot of the current apps have a number of the equations that I already have, their organization of the material is very poor. I'm approaching the problem from the perspective of someone who would actually find this information useful, so I'm able to organize the equations in a more optimal way.

I should also note that I haven't seen others with the error calculation equations. That alone could probably be packaged into an app. I know that every time I have to write a lab report, I constantly forget these ones.

There's a bunch I want to add into the math section before launch (integrals, geometry, taylor series, etc) and some tables (eg coefficients of friction for common materials). If there is anything that you would like to see included in the launch version, or in a future version, please let me know in the comments below, via twitter, or by email.

Making equation reference app for iOS, send me stuff you want included.