The #KibarBenderaPutih movement has gained momentum since the announcement of the last extension of the MCO on June 28, 2021. Both companies and individuals have been helping out by providing basic products such as rice, oil, bread, flour, etc. necessity, following the sighting of physical white flags.
On June 4, Malaysian student volunteers Sidharrth Nagappan, Cornelius Pang, Sin Yin and Shaun Mak launched the Bendera Putih App for reports from collective white flag sources and food bank locations across the country. This is meant to streamline the process of connecting those in need with those who can help, which was previously done through WhatsApp and phone calls.
A help map
Upon entering the site, you will be prompted to sign in with your Google account before being shown a map of the country of Malaysia with icons highlighting white flags and food banks. Sidharrth clarified that login details are currently required for authentication to handle API requests from the server.
Dictionary time: An API (Application Programming Interface) is a software broker that allows two applications to communicate with each other. In other words, an API is the messenger that delivers your request to the provider you request it from and then returns the response to you.
Users can click on any of the icons 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 venue, enter their address, and provide additional comments such as phone numbers or the exact supplies needed.
In the latest update to the app, it mentions that the team will review the images to make sure there is no privacy violation. If you have enabled your location services, the site can automatically detect them, much like how you would send your location live on Whatsapp.
While these details are beneficial in providing direct help to those in need, they open the app up to scrutiny for security reasons. People now have their approximate (or exact) locations exposed, making them vulnerable to potential malicious intent.
However, the first priority of this application is to connect users who need help with those who can extend it, and vice versa, in the most convenient way. Therefore, users of the app should practice responsibility when using it, whether they are sharing their locations or viewing the locations of those in need.
The food banks featured in the web application are obtained directly from Google Maps. Although most of those currently listed in the Bendera Putih app are located within the Klang Valley, the developers are working to gather more names via an upcoming Google Sheets archive on the page.
From Malays, for Malays
The site’s developers hope to make the 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 application was built using React.js and Firebase, platforms to help streamline the application development process. “Once available, we hope to write a Node.js API to optimize the data in a robust web view,” added Sidharrth.
More features and functionality will be added to the Bendera Putih application, such as the ability to mark white flag reports with a “Vote Up” or “Compatible”. In the current application, these functions are visible but not working yet.
Vulcan Post has contacted the developers of the Bendera Putih application to find out more about their development and will update the article accordingly once they respond.
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