The Northwest mobile app is back on the IOS market after being down for nearly two years.
When Apple released IOS 10, the programming language used to code IOS was switched from Objective C to Groovy or Swift. Manager of Enterprise Solutions Girija Chavala said this caused the Northwest app to break.
The Northwest app allows students to have quick access to basic functions on CatPaws, as well as campus information such as a map and links to various other Northwest sites.
“It was offline for a while because it wasn’t functioning with the new operating system, so we had to go ahead and take it down and upgrade the system to what the current operating system is on IOS,” Chavala said.
Chavala said the main problem was with the functionality of the CatPaws component. Northwest uses a third party vendor for CatPaws. Chavala said the third party was aware of the changes at least six months before IOS 10 was released.
“We had been asking them ‘Are you guys ready, can we use your (application programming interfaces) to do this?’” Chavala said.
Northwest was not ready for the switch, but neither was the third party.
“Unfortunately, it’s not just us; the third party was not prepared either. It was kind of a domino effect because they were not prepared and our hands are tied,” Chavala said.
Once IOS 10 was released, Chavala made attempts to tell the third party the issues the app was having.
“The thing is, we have been in touch with them and telling them what the problem was but they kept saying ‘This is the least priority on our end,’” Chavala said.
Over the next two years Chavala worked on the Northwest app, while the third party worked on updating CatPaws. Eventually, the app was updated with additional functionality.
The update to app included a quick access screen and an extensive update to the CatPaws section.
The quick access page has admissions information, a campus map, campus directory and important phone numbers.
The CatPaws section allows students to view any holds and their account balance. There is also a new section for notifications. Chavala said this new section will allow Northwest to message specific people, groups of people or the entire student body.
Chavala also said that there is a new feature for class registration that will be released very soon.
“If you want to register for a class, add a class, drop a class, we have done developing for but the registrar's office is testing it now,” Chavala said.
Chavala said that there is an entire revamp of CatPaws coming in the near future. The revamp will give CatPaws a completely new look, which Chavala said she hopes students will find to be much cleaner.
Senior Ellie Spunaugle said that the new design is welcoming, given her dissatisfactory experience with the current layout.
“I don’t like that you have to click five different buttons to get to degree audit, to get to your class, (or) to even register,” Spunaugle said.
A big part of the ravamp is completely changing how students register for class. Chavala said that days of putting CRNs into a box will be no more.
“You will have a shopping cart concept (where) you can drag and drop courses into shopping cart,” Chavala said. “You can also go to degree audit and see what your requirement is and pull from it, and then you can pull from it and drop it into the registration.”
These new changes are welcoming to Spunaugle, who said that the shopping cart concept would be very helpful.
“It’s nice; I would use it if I had more than a semester left here. I think it’s definitely going to be a huge help for incoming freshman and even like sophomores and juniors who are still here,” Spunaugle said.
Chavala said that she hopes to have the new version of CatPaws to students by the fall of 2019.