Project BERNERS-LEE is the name given to our upcoming Study Suite platform for web. The name “BERNERS-LEE” comes from the name of the computer scientist, Tim Berners-Lee, who is credited for inventing the World Wide Web.
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Here’s a fun little read on how the internet came about. The internet did not magically appear one day. In the early 1900s, Nikola Tesla conceived the idea of a “world wireless system”. In the late 1960s, the first workable prototype of the internet called ARPAnet (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) sent its first communication from one computer to another. In the 1970s, computer scientists Vinton Cerf and Bob Kahn invented the internet communication protocols (TCP/IP), which manage how data is transferred through a network. In 1990, computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee developed the principles of the World Wide Web, such as HTML (a system of achieving colors, fonts, graphics, and hyperlinks), HTTP (the transfer of data between a web browser and a server), URLs (the address of a webpage), and web browsers (think of Chrome, Safari, and Firefox).
I chose BERNERS-LEE as the name of the project since this is the development of the long-awaited web app of Study Suite. Over the past several years, especially during COVID, we’ve had a lot of schools and internships asking about a web app of the software, since many of their students are spread throughout the country, and using the Academic Edition on campus was simply not feasible. I started the project of converting the desktop Study Suite program into a web-based app in January. I wanted to wait until I had a good portion completed before I announced it publicly. Today is that day! There is still a lot to do in this project, and we are on track for a Summer 2023 launch!
A little bit about this project and the plans for the future of our product line:
- The Study Suite web app’s official name, pricing, and subscription lengths are TBD
- Since this will be a web app, this means you will be able to use the app on any device that is connected to the internet, and this includes mobile tablets (iPads and Android tablets) and Google Chromebook computers! The app technically should also work on smart TVs and gaming devices, since they can also connect to the internet. You also will not be limited to using the app on just one device as in our desktop app. You will be able to work on it on your work computer, then later on your home computer, use it on campus, and so on
- While iPhones and Android phones can connect to the internet, and the web app should run on these just fine, the screen size might be too small for the app, so these might not be the best mobile option. But we will certainly be testing this to see if we can make it work in the future. Initially, it would be ideal to use it on a larger screen tablet or computer
- The web app will join the desktop Student Edition (for Mac and Windows) line of products, so students will have the option to choose between an installed app or a web-based app. Both will have their own pros and cons. More on this in a future post
- In time, the current Academic Edition will be phased out and replaced with the web app. Schools and internships using the Academic Edition will have the option to switch over to the web app or stay with their current license of the Academic Edition while still within their current subscription. We will maintain updates on the Academic Edition until the last school’s/internship’s subscription is over. This will go on for up to one year after the web app is released. After that time, the desktop Academic Edition will be discontinued, and when a school/internship is ready to renew their license, they will be renewing to the new web app
- The web app will be subscription-based for usage. This means if you choose a 3-month subscription package, you will have access to the web app for 3 months. Compared to the Student Edition desktop app, this one can be used indefinitely, even after the initial 12-month update/support subscription expires
- At this time, the web app will have most of the functionality of the desktop app, but not all. For the initial release, the web app will include Library, Practice Exams, Videos, Matching, and Flash Cards as these have been identified as being the most popular study modules. The features not included in the web app include Study Sessions, Study Partner, Hanging with Nutrition, Abbreviations, and Blind Exams. Part of this decision is to keep the cost down for students as the web app will be all-inclusive of the five study modules listed above, at least for the initial launch
- All of the included study modules in the web app (Library, Practice Exams, Videos, Matching, and Flash Cards) share the same features and functionality as the desktop, for the most part. There are basic limitations when developing for web. I had to get creative with several functions to make things behave the same as they do on the desktop software, and unfortunately, some of this did not carry over. In the Practice Exams, for example, the web app has the ability to take a pretest, all simulation exams, any main domain or subcategory of a domain, all math-related questions, custom-built exams, redemption questions, and unfinished exams, just like in the desktop app. The Practice Exams in web do not have the Newly Added Questions or the Self Evaluation Questions
As mentioned above, the Student Edition desktop version for Mac and Windows computers will still be available once the new web app is launched. Both the desktop version and the new web app will have their own pros and cons, and students will be able to choose which product will work best for them based on what they really need and want in a study guide app.
We are still working out some details on switching schools and internships over from the Academic Edition to the web app. Rest assured, this will be done in a fair way where all of your students will have access for the remainder of your Academic Edition subscription. More on this will be announced at a later date.
As for future pricing with schools and internships who have a current Academic Edition license, we have a plan for this as well and feel positive you will be satisfied with the plan. More on this later.
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more updates on the project!
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