Technology and Treats (Part One: Appiness)

Last year we happily experimented with creating web apps to organize and inform the BEA experience, and now we are back with new and improved versions. Two new features come directly from user feedback:

1. The iOS and Android versions use some HTML 5 magic to work offline as well as online. That means that when the mysterious Javits Center electromagnetic force field renders you unable to connect to either a cell tower or wifi at 21st-century speeds, the Publishers Lunch BEA to Go app will still let you search the events schedule and exhibitor directory. Just make sure that you load the app into your mobile device ahead of time, so that it can cache all of the data. (This means the app won't "hang" on loading if it can't find a good connection.)

2. This year, the iOS and Android versions are also customizable. The app will save your personal "My BEA Lists" of exhibitors and events that you have selected: just click to "star" the items you want saved to your lists.

The other main change this year is that we actually simplified the app. Last year we experimented with a lot of features to learn what users might like, and the feedback was clear: the curated events, searchable directory and news feeds drew nearly all of the traffic. So that is our focus this time around.

You can get full BEA-related Publishers Lunch Deluxe news right through the app all the time, because show news happens live, not "daily" (or weeks ahead of time). We also feature PL Automat headlines and the #BEA11 Twitter stream.

But our curated schedule may provide the most value. We take all of BEA's own confusing where-do-I-search-it, how-can-I-find-it events info and organize in categories. So you can browse the Main Events, Insight Stages, about 45 of the most prominent in-booth author appearances; all the Big Ideas events, ABA and librarian-focused events, the Italian Global Market Forum and the Publishers Launch Conference. Or you can scroll day-by-day, according to time.

While the app is a great way of carrying news and reference in your pocket at the show, Penguin's Colleen Lindsay suggested that some people still wanted an old-fashioned, low-tech printable schedule. So we posted our raw schedule grid and she made it into Word and Excel versions on her blog.

One more cool thing: if you loaded our BEA app last year and it's still on your mobile device, launch the same icon and it will refresh itself with the new app and you are ready to go!

For iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches, as well as Android devices, go to:
http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/bea/
(and use the "+" to add our app icon to your home screen, or follow your device's instructions)

Blackberry users should just bookmark this link in the mobile browser:
http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/bea/bb

Special thanks to this year's programming ace Jason McIntosh at Appleseed Software Consulting, who built on the solid original programming base created last year by another programming star, Liza Daly at Threepress Consulting.