When I was young, I was told by one of my first bosses that whenever you try something new you can count on two things; first, you will learn something. Secondly, you will pay tuition for that learning experience.    

Now that our Braxton-Bragg iPad App is available at the iTunes App Store, I can report that my old boss was right. I believe we have learned a few things, and tuition has been paid.

Computer technology has become an integral and almost indispensable part of life for over 1 billion of the earth’s inhabitants. All over the world, merchants are working feverishly trying to figure out how to meet the changing desires of their customers regarding the use of these new technologies.  

Our objective was to develop technology that would allow our customers to order from Braxton-Bragg in any way that was convenient for them. We also wanted to provide online searchable archives of the Slippery Rock Gazette and free classified ads for our customers to network within the industry. 

The first visible step for us was to develop websites. The second was to equip our salesmen with smart phones, personal toll-free phone numbers and email. The third step was to develop our first mobile app. We can now receive orders via the phone, fax, web, text messages, email, and now via the Braxton-Bragg iPad app.  

But before we could create our first website we learned that unless you had a very solid foundation to begin building your e-commerce strategy, you would be building a house of cards. At some point, it would collapse.  

This understanding led us to first replace our internal computer system with a new generation system that enabled us to implement the new security recommendations for credit card processing and data security. This is where the tuition bills started to be paid.  

The next step was to create the structure that would support multiple websites, mobile applications and be open for further development as technology changed. Fortunately, we were able to find very cost-efficient teachers, but again there was a tuition bill.

Our most recent step in this evolution is the release of our iPad App. Last month I mentioned that we had submitted our new iPad App to Apple for review. In order to have an App distributed through iTunes, Apple must approve the App for distribution, which requires a review by Apple technical folks. The good news about the process is that the user can download an App from iTunes with reasonable assurance that the product will not harm their device or compromise their other applications. The bad news for developers is that this process may take considerable time and may require significant modifications to the App before approval is granted.  

We were very pleased when Apple approved our App, without requiring modifications, in a very short period of time. It is now available at iTunes. You can type Braxton-Bragg in the search bar and download it. At this time the app only works for the iPad and iPad mini.  

We have not decided on our next big project. Do we develop an App for the iPhone? Perhaps the Android tablet? I would appreciate your thoughts for our future efforts and especially any complaints and criticisms regarding our current technology. Please email me at publisher@slipperyrockgazette.net

Have a good read.

Rich Hassert

PS: Two weeks ago I visited with one of our customers who is working with a software company to develop and sell a system to design and create bids for kitchen countertops. The system will enable a non-CAD trained salesperson to layout the kitchen, really know the number of slabs required, and create a bid that reflects the true cost to fabricate and install the kitchen based on each shop’s own internal costs. It also includes a work-flow scheduling feature and some other neat stuff. I saw the system and think that you could train a salesperson to use it in about an hour. If a system of this type would interest you, please send me an email and I will pass it on. Your response will help them decide on investment and rollout decisions.