Everybody knows how annoying it is to navigate through CAESAR during registration season, seeing as how you can’t even press the back button without losing all your saved searches. Regal, a Chrome extension for CAESAR developed by Northwestern Senior William Xiao aims to improve CAESAR’s user interface, and make every student’s registration experience on Caesar a little less painful than it is.
Decided you don’t like your classes, or just that you’d do just about anything to switch out of an 8 am (or 9 am, or 10 am)? Regal for Caesar, a Google Chrome extension with a tagline of “Make CAESAR great again”, promises to make your class registration experience easier.
Regal includes some very useful features, such as the ability to instantly add classes by name, a button to add classes automatically to your Google Calendar, and a more readable format for CTECs that puts each review on a new line and emphasizes commonly used words. Besides adding functionalities, Regal also improves performance and user experience.
One of Regal’s coolest features is that it lets students search and instantly add classes by name.
As to the motivation for creating Regal, its developer, William Xiao (McCormick ’17), said, “I was really annoyed by having to manually add all of my classes to my calendar, especially since I entered the wrong room for one of my classes and showed up late on the first day.” Thus, the Google Calendar button was the first feature he built. For the other features, Xiao said he initially included what he thought what could be better about Caesar, such as breaking separate CTEC reviews into their own lines. When he ran out of ideas, he then asked other people what they would like improved.
While there are existing student projects that aim to help Northwestern students with course registration, they are in the format of a web application. Xiao explained that Regal works better as a Chrome extension because it has different goals. For example, Xiao said that web applications like Serif and Brutus “aim to make visualizing your course schedule easier, while Regal wants to directly improve parts of Caesar itself.” He also added that since one of his major goals was to get rid of the rounded corners of Caesar, the only way to do that on the website itself was through an extension.
Regal also separates CTEC reviews into different lines, so it’s easier to read.
That experience will come in handy for Xiao, who stated that he still has a long list of ideas left for updates to Regal, including being able to show a course’s final time on Caesar for easier planning.
Developing individual projects can be difficult, especially the very beginning stages, but Xiao has some relevant advice as a now experienced student developer. He said, “I think the key to a successful project is to make something you care about and want, otherwise it’s easy to lose motivation. It’s too easy to give up if you’re not motivated. On top of that, think big, but start small. My goal was to make Caesar better, which is a lofty idea, but the first steps were small and concrete, such as adding a button or changing the font size. Seeing the results of your work early and often helps keep you going.”
As for the name of Regal? Xiao said, “Regal comes from the Latin for king, which Caesar was! I thought it would be fitting since I was trying to improve Caesar. The icon I use is a laurel wreath, which is another Roman symbol of honor and nobility.”
Check out Regal for Caesar on the Chrome Webstore – and make Caesar great again!