BrooklynAppFactory Finely crafted apps from a place like no other. Sat, 05 Jan 2013 13:47:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 #?v=3.5.1 NextStop Realtime Sneak Peek Tue, 01 Jan 2013 21:05:33 +0000 doug Last Friday the MTA released their realtime subway app SubwayTime along with new APIs that third party developers can use to access realtime data for the 1,2,3,4,5,6 and Grand Central Shuttle.

Several months ago, the MTA shared their plans with the developer community, and provided some sample feeds to start working with. I’ve been eagerly anticipating this development since the first release of NextStop over 2 years ago, so naturally I jumped right on it.

The new realtime APIs are based on Google’s GTFS-realtime which uses protocol buffers to transmit data instead of the more traditional (but less efficient) XML or JSON. Learning to use the new format took a little time, but the real challenge was figuring out how to incorporate realtime data without complicating the NextStop user experience. In addition, one of NextStop’s key benefits has always been the ability to access schedules while “off the grid”, and that’s something I wanted to maintain for a realtime version.

After a little experimentation, I decided to stick with the standard NextStop countdown interface for displaying both the realtime countdowns and the static schedule countdowns. The app uses realtime information whenever it’s available, and now includes a colored dot next to the countdown to indicate what the arrival estimate is based on. The dot is green when the estimate is based on recent realtime information, yellow when it’s based on older realtime information (between 5 and 10 minutes old) and gray when it’s based on schedules.

Green, yellow and gray dots indicate the type of arrival time

Green, yellow and gray dots indicate the type of arrival time

Naturally, an Internet connection is needed in order to download realtime data, so the “off the grid” problem was even more challenging. The eventual solution was to leverage the iPhone’s geofencing services to automatically download updated data without any user interaction when they are approaching a station. This information is then stored locally so that it’s available for display when they open the app on the platform.

Thanks to the MTA’s early heads up, I was able to complete the majority of coding before the API went public. After the announcement on Friday, I made some final tweaks, and submitted the new version for app store review over the weekend.

If the review process goes well, the new version should be available for download from the App Store in the next week or so. You can follow us on Twitter or Facebook to stay up to date with the latest news.

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Brooklyn Daily Eagle article features NextStop Wed, 11 Jan 2012 12:44:36 +0000 doug The Brooklyn Daily Eagle about NYC transportation apps. It was great to be able to discuss how the MTA is sharing their data and how developers can take advantage of that information and can make great apps with it. You can read the full article here.]]> 0 NextStop 2.0.2 Available Thu, 29 Dec 2011 10:51:49 +0000 doug
  • The most recent map
  • Updated schedules
  • Improved location handling
  • iOS 5 and general bug fixes
  • You can grab the update here or via the App Store on your phone.]]> 0
    NextStop Featured on NY1 Thu, 17 Nov 2011 20:07:26 +0000 doug MTA Service A Snap With Smartphone Apps –]]> 0 NextStop Receives Honorable Mention in NYC BigApps 2.0 Competition Sat, 02 Apr 2011 23:02:11 +0000 doug

    NextStop creator Doug Burns receiving award from Mayor Bloomberg

    We’re happy to announce the NextStop received an honorable mention in the 2011 NYC Big Apps 2.0 Competition! This is the second year for BigApps, a competition that encourages software developers to create innovative applications that benefit NYC residents, visitors, and businesses using New York City Open Data. The NextStop submission can be viewed here.  ]]> 0
    NextStop 2.0 Now Available Sat, 22 Jan 2011 10:20:17 +0000 doug
  • Schedule display updates – when a countdown reaches 0, it gets grayed out and the next train appears
  • The official MTA map, with the ability to tap any station to view the current schedule
  • A new Alerts tab, which shows current MTA Alerts and Advisories
  • Push Notifications when there are alerts on your favorite line
  • Retina display graphics throughout
  • A new icon
  • Miscellaneous bug fixes
  • If you’re an existing user, the update should appear in the App Store app. If you’re a new user, just search for NextStop in the App Store or follow this link.]]> 0
    NextStop – Doomsday Edition Fri, 02 Jul 2010 03:18:43 +0000 doug Doomsday service cuts, and is also once again compatibile with iOS 3.1+ (NextStop 1.1 was inadvertantly iOS 4+ only). If you ride the subway regularly, you’re probably already familiar with the changes, but if not:
    • The V has been discontinued
    • The W has been discontinued
    • The M is now orange and has been reconfigured to pick up some of the old V stops
    • The N is now local in Manhattan (this one affects me and it sucks!)
    • Some Q trains run north of 59th Street into Queens to pick up old W stops
    • G trains no longer run north of Long Island City / Court Square
    If the past 2 releases are any indication, 1.1.01 should be available for download in 6-7 days. There were quite  a few changes required behind the scenes, so if you see anything strange please let me know in the support forum. Thanks!]]> 0
    NextStop 1.1 Sun, 20 Jun 2010 19:28:18 +0000 doug
    • Basic iOS 4 compatibility (Doesn’t crash & supports basic backgrounding… More to come.)
    • 3 line station list now uses correct color
    • Now displays help text when no favorites are present
    Hopefully it will be approved by the end of this week as the first iPhone 4s roll out!]]> 0
    Introducing NextStop Sat, 12 Jun 2010 10:10:10 +0000 doug download it (for free!) as well. Please give it a try and let me know what you think, either by posting feedback in the NextStop forum or leaving a review in the App Store. I hope that you find it as useful as I have.]]> 4