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New ServeryApp publishes menus for campus serveries, plans expansion

By Andrew Ta     9/11/14 10:17am

The new ServeryApp will help keep Rice University students informed about available food options at Rice’s six serveries, according to developer and Rice Apps member Ethan Steinberg. The app joins Owlections and Atlas as Rice App’s third product.

“We think the app is pretty useful,” Steinberg, a Will Rice College sophomore, said. “If you’re in a class and you want to see which servery has the most interesting item, the ServeryApp makes it a lot easier. It’s already gotten 1110 page hits after just three hours.”

Steinberg said the app was originally envisioned as a collaboration with Housing and Dining, but the design shifted once it was clear how long it would take.

“We just pull from the menu PDFs as they’re published by the serveries,” Steinberg said. “The previous plan was to do it completely through the serveries, where [H&D] would go on and submit what food they were serving.”

Steinberg said whether the app becomes institutionalized depends on its popularity.

“I’ll wait a couple weeks, and if it gets used a lot, we’ll contact H&D and see if they’re interested in doing anything with the app,” Steinberg said.

Currently, the app displays the menus and hours of every servery, allows users to upvote or downvote specific menu items, and filters for gluten-free or vegetarian food, according to app developer and Rice Apps member Krishna Thiagarajan. There is also a page dedicated to displaying the menu for the next meal.

“We’re also thinking about adding reminders for ‘favorited’ meals if there’s enough demand for that functionality,” Thiagarajan, a McMurtry College sophomore, said.

According to Steinberg, future functionality will depend greatly on what users want.

“We’ll add more features as people show what they want,” Steinberg said. “We wanted to get it out and see what people would do with it. We’re waiting for people to tell us what they want.”

Steinberg said anybody who wants to contribute should feel free to. Suggestions can be submitted at https://trello.com/b/5cVHeknd.

All of Rice Apps’s work is open-source and available at https://github.com/rice-apps. ServeryApp can be found at http://servery.riceapps.org, Owlections at http://owlection.appspot.com and Atlas at http://atlas.riceapps.org. More information on Rice Apps can be found at http://csclub.rice.edu/riceapps.

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