The #KibarBenderaPutih movement has gained momentum since the announcement of MCO’s last extension on June 28, 2021. Businesses and individuals have lent a hand by providing basic necessities like rice, oil, bread, flour, etc. need, following the observation of physical white flags.
On June 4, Malaysian student volunteers Sidharrth Nagappan, Cornelius Pang, Sin Yin and Shaun Mak launched the Bendera Putih app to collect information on white flags and food bank locations across the country. This aims to streamline the process of connecting people in need to those who can help them, which was previously done through Whatsapp and phone calls.
A card to help you
Upon entering the site, you will be asked to sign in with your Google account before seeing a map of the country of Malaysia with icons highlighting white flags and food banks. Sidharrth clarified that login information is currently required for authentication in order to control API requests from the server.
Dictionary time: An API (Application Programming Interface) is a software intermediary that allows two applications to communicate with each other. In other words, an API is the messenger that forwards your request to the provider you request it from, and then sends the response back to you.
Users can click either icon to get more information about the location and its address in real time. To request help or report white flags, users must attach a picture of the room, enter its address, and provide additional remarks such as phone numbers or the exact supplies needed.
In the latest update to the app, it is mentioned that the images will be reviewed by the team to ensure there is no breach of privacy. If you’ve turned on your location services, the site can detect it automatically, much like you would send your location live to Whatsapp.
While these details are beneficial in providing direct help to those in need, they open the app to scrutiny for security concerns. Individuals now have their approximate (or exact) locations exposed, making them vulnerable to potential malicious intent.
However, the first priority of this app is to connect those users who need help with those who can extend it, and vice versa, in the most convenient way. Therefore, users of the app should exercise their responsibility when using it, sharing their locations, or viewing the locations of those who need it.
Food banks highlighted on the web app are taken directly from Google Maps. While most of those currently listed on the Bendera Putih app are located in Klang Valley, the developers are working hard to generate more names through an upcoming Google Sheets file on the page.
By Malaysians, for Malaysians
The site’s developers hope to make Bendera Putih App an open-source app so the developer community can work together and improve it, according to Sidharrth in a Facebook post.
Version 1 of the Bendera Putih app was created using React.js and Firebase, platforms to speed up the app development process. “Once it’s available, we hope to write a Node.js API to streamline data to a solid web view,” Sidharrth added.
More features and functionality will be added to the Bendera Putih app, such as the ability to mark white flag reports with a “positive vote” or “Supported”. On the current app, these features are visible but do not yet work.
Vulcan Post has contacted the developers of Bendera Putih App for more information on its development, and will update the article accordingly once they respond.
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