Looks like Airservices are (finally) upgrading the web version. They'll have to do that because there are some format and code changes coming down from ICAO, and they (say) it will be a better website.
Might still be worth having a special app, but might also be worth waiting to see what Airservices release.
Hey All, Yeah I had heard that they are changing it up a bit. I'm going to keep building the app though and hope that the interface to their system doesn't change too much. Hopefully it will only be different calls the app needs to make to get the data. Even if it does change, I've built the app in such a way that I only need to change the way it gets the info... everything else should be able to stay the same (famous last words... haha). I can still see some value in have a dedicated app (being able to get saved briefings and such and be able to save the to the device, perhaps a dashboard with stuff you do regularly ect..). I have decided however not to buy the data license until the new website comes online as it's fairly expensive and if ASA does do a good job in making the site smart-phone friendly, It would probably make my app redundant. They may not even let me have a license once they put the new website online...
I still can't understand why Airservices should insist on the apps developer being issued a licence. We can all access the same data as NAIPS via our computer internet explorer or such, and that software does not have any Airservices licence . Also the Airservices NAIPS software is free so they are not losing out - unless they intend to start charging fees to access NAIPS .
They charge others for licensed use of aero/av data, but for the data and services they're providing through NAIPS - for free* through their website (so far, says the cynic) - they really shouldn't be charging licensing fees unless they're also prepared to vet, test and authorise the application as "appropriately safe and providing the right data in the format they expect to be uploaded (eg, FLTPLN etc). Probably their existing usage conditions say somewhere in 4pt print that the free usage is limited to end users, not 3rd party service providers?
* Free charging for such would be more than adequately covered in their other service charges picked up throughout their service chain!
Phone friendly! The Airservices web version of NIS is terrible! As usual designed by somebody that knows nothing of aviation needs.
The old stand alone version of NAIPS was not too bad compared to the new version. Glad to see the "If it is not broke don't fix it" principles have not been followed as usual.
"As you are aware there are problems with the NIS SOAP interface which is preventing access to the 3rd party systems. Our network technicians are currently working on the problem." Come on Justin you and your mates just about stopped aviation today or is that the plan
Now that ASA have updated their website I'm back in development mode! My plans have changed somewhat though.. I've decided to make a Super App! My plan for it is to eventually house all sorts of different tools from weather services, weight and balance calculators, flight planners, charts and once those are polished move onto cooler things like GPS stuff.
This does present a few problems though:
1. Sales methodology
I will need to buy data licenses annualy from ASA for the different types of content separately (i.e weather services, ersa, ect..). So my initial thoughts were to have each type of content as an annual in app purchase/subscription. For example If you only wanted weather information, You only buy the subscription for the weather info and that will be all that's available to you. If you wanted weather and the ERSA, You could buy each of those subscriptions and the content for both of those would be unlocked. This way you pay for only what you need, not the app as a whole, which to cover costs would be fairly expensive. What are your thoughts on this? Please keep in mind this isn't the place to discuss actual prices, more so just a methodology of what you think will work well.
2. Android Version
Making a weather app by itself isn't terribly complicated from a UI point of view. However, thinking ahead to some of the things I would like to include in the future, older versions of android don't support a lot of the features I want to add. At this stage, I am creating the application for Phones & Tablets with android version 4.01 (Ice cream Sandwich) and Higher. I'm focusing on the tablet UI, but it will still work well on Phones. There is quite a bit of work involved in making the app backwards compatible, so the question comes down to: would you like more support for older devices at the cost of development time? Or would you like quicker releases that only support icecream sandwich and above?
As this is a huge project, I was thinking of releasing functionality as I develop it (thoroughly tested of course). I'm almost finished with the weather side of things So I thought I would release the app, but initially you'll only have the option to purchase the weather info... As I add new functionality in future releases, (flight planning, Charts, Weight and balance Calculator, ect...) You will then have the option to purchase those as well.
So yeah, there is a bit of an information dump for you. I would be really gratefull for your feedback and suggestions. This is all pretty tentative at this stage, hence why I'm asking for your input!
Re version support: I support your current plan. OS upgrades and HW upgrades/substitutions are pretty common and easy to do - so wouldn't bother with anything less than (your suggestion) 4.01. Me, I happily sitting on 4.03 for the time being.
Sales & Release Strategies: I think you should release as you go, with beta releases available for testers (with your disclaimers, of course). Accept that for some apps to work properly you would have to use AsA-licensed data. Your proposal for modular locking/unlocking in relation to subscription data is probably on the money.
With regard to general look & feel, HMI, etc - you may be better releasing some stuff earlier than others to get feedback before you waste too much time on the bigger money stuff (and potentially have to redo)?
Thanks for the Feedback Roulette, I like your thoughts on beta testing. I'm not exactly sure how I'll get that to work though, maybe just feed some false data to the app because I don't think I'll be able to use ASA's Data. I'll figure something out!
Good on you, Gyroscope. As I mentioned before, the new website is just as hard to use on a phone as the old so an app would be terrific.
Re compatibility, I suspect the big screen phones (4"+) are on 2.3 (as is mine; I don't like 4.x), so compatibility with 2.3 would be desirable. Further back than that wouldn't be necessary IMO.
I would recommend an incremental increase in capability; too much too soon will increase the likelihood of bugs which will turn people off. The first priority for me would be updates eg SPFIB updates, Location Briefings. Make sure you have a "save to PDF" function or some other method of saving any briefing offline.
Re payment, separate payments for each component would work. I like the idea of an ERSA; I hate the Jepp airport directory.
does weather and notams really need to be a subscription service? i can understand the other stuff however and i as someone who really really wants this would probably pay it as long as it doesnt cos too much but there are lots of other free places to grab weather and notams from, on a phone more people might pay but loading the asa website on a tablet is less of a big deal.
to compare it to the ios apps stand alone naips is only $10 one off. i really prefer one off for naips access.