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Students invent ‘Journalit’ app to keep track of life

April 18, 2017 By Sara Griswold
UW-Madison students Shane Lian and Colin Harris have created a journaling app called "Journalit."

UW-Madison students Shane Lian and Colin Harris have created a journaling app called “Journalit.” Submitted photo

UW-Madison student Colin Harris, a senior in computer science, has written code since freshman year and had five software engineering internships.

So when he got an idea for a journaling app he called “Journalit,” he had the skills to make it happen, with the help of computer science junior Shane Lian.

“During my summer internship at Facebook I constantly thought about how I should keep track of what I was doing each day so I could look back on my experience, whether it be tasks I expected to do each day, or just writing about my experience for the day,” Harris said.

When you combine the idea of keeping track of your daily life tasks along with a place to put your thoughts and ideas, you have Journalit. Harris plans to use it himself for school, applying for jobs, exercising, eating healthy and more.

Harris of Mequon, Wis., and Lian of Hangzhou, China, have been working on creating “Journalit” for about a year now, and it’s ready to download and use on their website –

Harris met Shane when they lived next to each other during their sophomore year. They have already built a few projects together, but nothing quite like “Journalit”.

The two kept costs down by using several open-source tools. They hope to buy advertisements to encourage people to use the application.

They want Journalit to be a tool that for people to manage and learn from their data to help them reach their personal goals. It is currently completely free and will remain free unless they update their software.

“Our primary goal is to help our users best understand their behaviors and provide a simple way to learn from it,” Harris says.

They continue to tinker with Journalit to improve it. They hope to someday work with and incorporate third party vendors such as FitBit and Apple Watch into their program.

“We want our users to be able to set goals for themselves and then be able to help them reach their goals through this app by watching their daily habits,” Harris says.

The website works on both iPhone and Android browsers, but there currently isn’t a phone application. That’s in the plans for the future so that people can more conveniently access their journals on their mobile devices.