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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:

  1. Search for an app that contains the schedule (or offline version).  Ideally allows me to build my schedule and gets updates for changes
  2. 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 :-).

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