Drover Rideshare officially became a corporation on May 13, 2016. Near that date, CEO Jeff Garland assembled a team of some of the best app developers in Tennessee to start working on Drover's Android and iOS apps. In the past four months, our app dev team have been working tirelessly on bringing Drover to the app market. Today, I am ecstatic to announce that the Android App is 'core complete'.
For our purposes, 'core complete' refers to the underlying code, database, and digital infrastructure that works behind the scenes of an app. The Android team, led by Dylan Hall, has developed a strong framework for the app, allowing Drover's android platform to be scalable and competitive in the larger rideshare industry.
Now of course, as time progresses, our core technology will evolve, a parallel to aesthetic changes to our user interface. It is nearly impossible to produce a perfect APK (app installation file), especially on the first launch on the Play Store; there will always be bugs that passed through our beta tests unnoticed. To address these expected hiccups, we will remain agile and rapidly publish updates and software patches as necessary. Though the app is 'core complete', it is not perfect. Moreover, in Dylan's words, "we should never think it will be [perfect]... technology needs to evolve". Here at Drover, we embrace this philosophy; we believe in getting a product to market, engaging with customers, and adapting along the way. Keep in mind, however, that even our v1.0 that we publish to the Google Play Store will be a darn good app -- we don't believe in publishing garbage and fixing it later. Instead, we are going to get the app as functional, user-friendly, and attractive as we can, release it, and then keep an open mind to making improvements.
Beyond improvements, the Drover app will also receive new features as time goes on. Already, we are working on a project, that I hope isn't top secret (LOL), to integrate riders' music streaming to drivers' phones.
The important thing is that our current framework has been intentionally laid out in such a way that it should be easily extensible and scalable to new markets, features, and healthily growing driver/rider populations; this is an essential part of responsible software development.
So, now that the Android app is 'core complete', what is left before launching on the Google Play Store?
Our top priority right now is refining the graphic user interface -- a fancy term that basically means the aesthetics/visuals that you, the user, actually interacts with. It doesn't matter how brilliant the underlying code is if graphics are uninviting and confusing. Over the next week, we will tweak the graphic interface to make it more user-friendly and visually attractive.
Additionally, we are working on perfecting our in-app payment processing system, by which riders' payment methods are securely charged in real time, and then that money is transferred to our accounts, where it can be accessed by the drivers that earned it (obviously only the money an individual driver earns will be available to him/her).
Then, the software development team's job is to start over. Not from scratch, but at this stage in development, a hard restart is very helpful. It is like taking a couple of hours before editing a paper you spent hours working on -- taking a break from the app then editing the code from the beginning is essential to catching bugs or reworking passages of code that could be cleaner. This hard reset will help us to look at our system, point out flaws and continually improve, all the while introducing new features. Inevitably, we will discover better ways of implementing existing and new features and the app will evolve.
Patrizio Murdocca is Chief Web Developer at Drover Rideshare, a student at Vanderbilt University, and President of Interfaced Ministries.