Paly student-developed app makes strong debut

“The Vike” offers updates for Paly athletics

The Vike, a mobile application developed by Palo Alto High School junior Brian Tracy and senior Matt Seligson, allows users to see when and where Paly teams are playing, and who they are playing against. With this app, students can now support their friends and peers with the click of a button.

Tracy and Seligson initially created the app to track the availability of Paly fields.

“In the past, whenever Matt and I wanted to go to Paly to practice lacrosse or soccer, we ran the risk of showing up and having a team playing on the same field we wanted to use,” Tracy said. “It spun off into a more comprehensive scheduling app not just for the fields, but for every sport.”

The Vike has a simple and welcoming interface that is intuitive to use. The app opens to a clean home screen that slides to the left and right to change the team whose schedule is being shown on the screen. Double tapping on the picture of the sport will display all the times and locations of games for that sport. If the sport is not in season, a note comes up saying, “Sport Not In Season.”

Tracy and Seligson have been working on the app for the past year or so, starting off as a class project.

“We started the app last year as a project in our AP Computer Science class and developed it continuously through the rest of the year and into the summer,” Tracy said. “We finished it off early this school year.”

The Vike has spread through all of Palo Alto and is used by many Paly students on a daily basis.

“I think that The Vike was an amazing idea,” junior Louie Marzano said. “Many students can use it to see upcoming games for their favorite Paly sports team, and also find out future games, all on their mobile device. I also love the interface, all the pictures of actual Paly students in action, and it runs very smoothly too. ”

Developing such a clean and smooth appearance for the app was no easy task.  Tracy and Seligson had to design the entire app from scratch, though it was not their first time making an app.

“The amount of networking involved with The Vike was far greater than anything we had done before.” Tracy said.

Even though the two had past experience making apps together, they faced a lot of challenges during the project, some which were harder to solve than others.

“A big challenge was finding a reliable resource that we could pull data from to deliver the kind of information you see in the app,” Tracy said. “Paly doesn’t provide the clean information seen in The Vike — it has to be derived by our code.”

Students also have been giving some constructive criticism to the app, and their own ideas for things that could improve The Vike.

“It would be nice to start seeing some scores from the games on the app as well,” Marzano said.

The app has many unique and special features, other than displaying Paly’s field availability, including the “Take Me There” feature, which provides information for those who would like to attend away games.

“The Vike makes it really easy to get directions to all of our away games by integrating with Apple Maps,”  Tracy said.

It is no surprise that the teenagers in the heart of Silicon Valley are creating applications to make their lives and the lives of those around them easier. There are many students doing what Tracy and Seligson have done, but few have achieved the amount of success that these two have.

The app is free on the Apple App Store, making it accessible to anyone with an iPhone. However, the app is not yet accessible to those whose phones run on Android.

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