[TSTIL] SnelTrein

[ This is a part of "The Software That I Love", a series of posts about Software that I created or had a small part in ]

2009 - SnelTrein

While I was off studying Computer Science the smartphone revolution kicked off. Being an Apple hater, I got the first Android phone I could get my hands on: the T-mobile G1. Loved it and still think killing physical foldable keyboards was a shame. I had all kinds of ideas for apps, for some reason most of them revolved around trains. Like a GPS alarm clock that would wake you up when you got close to your destination.

I traveled by train a lot, and planning a trip or checking train times was a pain. I decided to build a train times app, but the name Trein was already taken, so I named mine SnelTrein. The Dutch name for high-speed trains. It was a simple wrapper around the mobile website of the NS (Dutch Railways). My app was super fast and super simple in the UI, as it remembered your trips. Your most often used trips were always on top. Once the app opened, it was literally one click to see the departure times of any of your 5 most used trips. I loved it, users loved it, and it grew to 3000 installs.

After some time, the NS released their own app, and I figured they are probably not scraping their own mobile site. After MITM'ing the traffic, it turned out they indeed had an XML based API which was password protected but they did not use HTTPS. I created a blog post post about this, submitted it to Dutch tech website tweakers.net. It was posted to the front page and I got my 15 minutes of Dutch tech fame. https://tweakers.net/nieuws/73527/ontwikkelaar-verkrijgt-toegang-tot-ns-api-voor-treintijden.html

I stopped maintaining SnelTrein because the NS app caught up a bit and is good enough. Early in 2022 I also switched to an iPhone SE from 2016 because Android phones are so big.




next: 2010 - Snapp

previous2005 - Porting an Atari tax program to Delphi

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