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App makers release software, gain experience

Students have made a foray into the iPhone app world with ‘Punch’ and ‘CopyBoard’

As smartphones continue to become more widespread, students are finding both social and academic reasons to join the app craze.

Noah Fradin ’15 developed an app called “Punch-Hang With Friends,” which was  released in the Apple Store Sept. 3. Punch is “the way to find and share spontaneous activities with friends,” Fradin said.

Users type messages to note where they are so their friends can join without directly communicating, he added.

“Punch is a great way to keep friends posted and spend more time with the people you love,” Fradin said, adding that he came up with the idea for the app based on his own difficulties planning with friends. While the app does not yet have many users, consumers have given it a five-star rating in the Apple App Store.

Fradin said he decided to launch the app because “it’s about time that we utilized (our phones) to augment our real-world, everyday life as opposed to pulling us away from it.”

Unlike other social media platforms, Fradin did not design Punch with the intent of sucking in users for a long time, he said. The goal of Punch is to get users in and out of the app as quickly as possible.

Alfonso Subiotto Marques ’16 designed “CopyBoard,” an app for Mac computers that allows users to copy and paste five things simultaneously, he said. Instead of having to paste a copied item before copying and pasting another, CopyBoard users can copy up to five items at once to paste without toggling back to the original page.

Subiotto Marques decided to create the app for personal use to help him code more productively based on his experience in his computer science classes. He also said he wanted to learn about iOS, a computer operating system he was previously unfamiliar with.

Subiotto Marques was in part inspired to create CopyBoard after CSCI 0150: “Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming” gave him the “skills to be able to pick up a book (about) iOS programing and go ahead and build an app,” teaching himself about the system along the way, he said. Though he had never coded before Brown, the course provided him with the tools he needed to become an avid programmer, he said.

Both Fradin and Subiotto Marques said creating an app is a very time-consuming process. But Fradin said he was happy to spend the time because he loves developing apps.

While Subiotto Marques said he developed the app on his own, Fradin said he worked with a team of other Brown and RISD students. Fradin and his team split the coding and design work, he said, adding that most of their work was completed last semester.

Fradin said the app filled a void to become something his friends and other students use and enjoy, he said. So far, Brown students have had very positive responses to the app and comprise most of the app’s daily users, he added.

Fradin said the future is looking bright for Punch, with an update for the iPhone and a version compatible with the Android both coming out soon.

Subiotto Marques’ app is still in development. “I worked on the app more for the experience, which is why I haven’t really finished working on it,” he said.


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