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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Of Eagles, Boy Scouts, and Windows Phone

Over the past few days, I have been helping my brother with his Eagle Scout project, which has been taking a lot of my writing time. As for me, I am already an Eagle Scout. As part of giving back to scouting more than that it has given me, I am working on a program (for Windows Phone) that any boy scout to use to track his progress to Eagle. It will be something like this: the first time the program is run, you get a "setup" screen which gets your birthday, name (name is optional), and religion (religion is also optional). Then, you are brought to the home screen (which is where the program will open every further time it is run), which shows your current rank and how long you have until your time runs out (since all requirements, except for the Eagle board of review, have to be completed before the 18th birthday), and you can go to a rank to look at requirements for it. I also plan to have little reminders for the boys (like for example, a reminder for scoutmaster conferences and board of review and a countdown to the 18th birthday if the scout hasn't gotten Eagle yet and is getting near the deadline). Besides having all the requirements, I will eventually have an add-on to it that will allow you to get any requirement for a merit badge. This way, you won't have to lug the merit badge requirements book with you, but you will still have to get the booklet for the individual merit badges (if needed at all). Any awards the scout might get, such as the totin chip and the Ad Altare Dei religious award (I am Roman Catholic), will also get an add-on. For the religious awards, I will have it filtered based on the religion you specified during setup (if you didn't choose it during setup, you will have the opportunity again to choose it here, or this section will be blank). All of this is designed to be mobile and not dependent on the internet, which will allow the boys to have something ready and available while "out in the field". Right now, it is still in the developing stages, but if you would like some snapshots of the program anyway, I will be happy to provide them.

I'm curious to hear what everyone thinks of this idea, so feel free to give me your thoughts via the comment box.

Update 6-3-11: Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class requirements are done, but no save capability yet for anything. The Home Screen is also semi-finished. Some screenshots will be coming later once I get a few more things with the program done.

Update 8-3-11: Version 1.0 of BSA Eagle Tracker has been released and is in the Windows Phone Marketplace. More details can be found here.

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