The JHU Politik launched an iPad app on Monday, becoming the first undergraduate organization at Hopkins to release a standalone app for the iPad.
The app gives users the ability to download and read current and prior issues of the Politik Press, the JHU Politik’s “opinion-based” political magazine. Users can also email and print issues directly from the app.
“Over time we’ve been able to boost our readership and I was thinking, fundamentally, that it’s not really fun to write for people if they’re not going to read it and it’s really necessary for a publication, to be legitimate, is for it to have hard, cold facts on readership,” Editor-in-Chief of the JHU Politik Jeremy Orloff said. “It occurred to me that an iPad app would allow us to boost our readership, and hopefully people will be downloading this anywhere, even if they are not affiliated with Hopkins.”
Orloff did a little bit of research and found out that the University has an Apple developer account called Johns Hopkins Digital, which was used almost exclusively for publishing medical reference books and University-wide services apps.
“[I] spoke to the IT people who control the developer account and they were completely, one hundred percent supportive of us developing an app and [said] they would publish it for us,” Orloff said.
But IT added, “You need to find someone to write the code, We won’t help you with that, we don’t have the resources for that, but if you can do it, we’ll put it up,”
The app was developed in a little over two months by freshman Sihao Lu, who began work on the project in early October after responding to a listing from the JHU Politik in search of a developer.
“I responded in about thirty minutes,” Lu said.
“I once made a metronome, a Piano app on the iPad, but I had never tried to present a Newsstand app, and to retrieve some files from the server from the Internet, never,” Lu said. “But I thought I could, so I just accepted the request and I see it as my first challenge at Johns Hopkins.”
“An iPhone app is coming surprisingly shortly also,” Orloff said.
The JHU Politik publishes the Politik Press online every Sunday night throughout the fall and spring semesters.
The iPad app, which was released concurrently with a special issue of the Politik Press focused on the intersection of research and politics, is available for free on the App Store.