I just got back from speaking/attending the Norwegian Developers Conference in Oslo, Norway. It was a great time and a well run conference. Like many other conferences I found myself looking for two things I wanted on my mobile: the schedule and a map/guide for the city (I’ve never been to Oslo). You see every time I take a trip, here’s what I do:
- Search for an app that contains the schedule (or offline version). Ideally allows me to build my schedule and gets updates for changes
- Find the metro/map/guide for the city because I know I’ll be lost.
Rinse, repeat. I do this every conference, trip. And then I end up with a multitude of apps installed that are single purpose throw-away. Seesmic Desktop platform has spoiled me in thinking of this eutopia of a single-purpose shell which can have pluggable content. For Seesmic, this is my ‘social media’ shell. But I want more now.
You see, at MIX10 there was a great mobile app that was created by Chris Hardy. It was written in MonoTouch, nonetheless! It pretty much did everything I would want in a conference app. But after MIX it is kind of dead. Uninstall. (Yes I know it looks like someone repurposed the app for a REMIX event, but same purpose…delete.). Same thing after my trip to Berlin last year. After that trip I didn’t need the metro rail map anymore. Delete.
But then I head to Norway. I want the Oslo guide/metro schedule. I want a conference app. There is both, but again they are separate apps. Is my vision that far off?
I have been bugging Chris to modify his app to be more of a shell. I like everything about the structure and think he should make it a basic “Mobile Conference Guide” app – enabling conference providers to publish a feed of their data and personalization (i.e., for background, icons, etc). As an end user I would have one app installed. I could then launch the app and (perhaps) browse a catalog of known events (organizers can publish to a specific feed location) or enter a URL to a conference feed that conforms to the data specification. I don’t care if that data specification is OData, RSS, whatever – just have the app define a standard. What conference provider wouldn’t love to just worry about providing data and not worry about providing the app?! Am I way off here?
Same goes for travel guides (I’m guessing this one is out there and I’m just not finding it). I have an app called “Metro” that allows me to subscribe to metro/public transportation for various cities in a singular app. That’s great, but what about city guide information? Restaurants? Museums, etc. I want more. You know I want the Rick Steves travel app (does it exist and I’m just an idiot) with in-app purchases for more guides for other cities…all offline.
Anyhow, just a rant as I uninstall, yet again, two very useful apps after a trip. Please bombard Chris with requests :-).