Version 2.0 of my CATA Tracker app was released today on the Windows Phone Store. This update involves changes to both the front end and back end, and brings the app closer to my original vision. Here’s an overview of the major changes:
Bus Direction Display
A beta version of the online CATABUS Locator now provides the information necessary to display the direction buses are moving on the map–one of the features most requested by students. Users will now find a small triangle on the marker for each bus indicating the direction the bus is moving.
Route Groups are one of my favorite features of the CATA+ app for Android, and I’ve wanted to implement them in CATA Tracker for quite a while now. Well, they’re finally here! Users can add the routes they travel most to a group to see all of them displayed on a single map. This is an extremely useful feature for students moving around campus since often either a loop or link would get the job done.
Windows Azure Back End
Rather than communicating with CATA’s server directly, the app now pulls its data from a middleman Windows Azure server. While this may add another step to the process of data retrieval, it makes the app more robust by providing a consistent data format that I control. Previously, the app had the possibility of breaking if CATA made any major changes to their data format. Updating the app for the new format used to require resubmission to the Windows Phone Store and recertification, a process that can take a few days. Now, however, I can simply update my Windows Azure server to comply with the new data format and the app will be functional again almost instantly.