John Kotz

Mobile Developer


BookUp LLC is a startup with a goal of improving the way students study in groups by creating a forum for group creation, discovery and discussion. The service helps students at Dartmouth find other students to study with for their classes. At the moment we have released an iOS application for iPhone or iPod and a website, and intend to complete and release an Android app soon. Dartmouth has been our main focus for development and business, but soon we intend to expand to other colleges.

BookUp was started by two Dartmouth students, and now has grown into a 7 member startup LLC. I began working on it as a DALI lab project and continued once the creators made a startup. Since then I have been in charge of all iOS development and server/database maintenance, as well as a liaison at Dartmouth (as the two founders left Dartmouth after graduation).

The app has two main functions: Study buddies and study groups. The study groups are limited to 8 members to encourage students to get to know and study with other students. The study buddy option provides a one-on-one meeting so that people can quickly find a time to pair up and work on assignments and study for their class.

We ran a pilot program of our iOS and web app during the summer term of 2016 which was a big success. After a number of focus groups and feedback we developed a new version that will be released soon with an improved interface and further features to help the college.

For this project we decided to use Parse as a backend due to its simple and easy to use interface and structure along with the amazing iOS API. After hearing the news of Parse's demise we migrated to a Parse-Server hosted on Heroku until we found a better alternative, and as the server has become more and more powerful as an effect of being open source we have stuck with it.