updating DB forms via email

Discussion of the version of HanDBase that runs on the iPhone and iPod touch devices. This includes the synchronization conduits as well.

updating DB forms via email

Postby Will_Smyth » Tue Aug 27, 2013 5:08 am

Hi
I have an app consisting of 3 DB's which I distribute to users via email.
So long as the user deletes the existing DB from Handbase this works well.
I have recently updated the app to use forms and would like to distributed
form changes in the same way. If I email the form and open it
in Handbase then I get the message

"File received was a forms file: Sales_HDF. This forms file already existed and
was overwritten with this new version"

On the face of it this looks exactly what I would want to see but the form remains
unchanged on the iphone/ipad. Should this work? How can I update the user
iphone/ipad forms without directly sync'ing? (users are widely distributed geographically)
Thanks in advance
Will_Smyth
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 11:11 am

Re: updating DB forms via email

Postby dhaupert » Tue Aug 27, 2013 7:42 am

Hi there,

This is a great question! I actually addressed and improved this functionality for the upcoming update (shipping when iOS7 is launched). First, I'll answer your question about the forms. The forms file should be indeed overwritten, but the problem may be that the cache of the forms may have already been loaded. One of the many performance 'secrets' of HanDBase is the use of caching to eliminate unnecessary loading. The forms file is loaded when the database is opened and it's assumed (incorrectly in this case) that the next time it needs it, it already has it. Since the email launching updates the forms file but does not update the cached copy you may not see any change in the forms in the case where you had the file opened before and then received the update. If you close HanDBase (ie, go to the Home Screen, double tap the home button, press and hold the HanDBase icon in the tray below and select the - button to close it), and then relaunch, perhaps you'll see that the changes have arrived correctly? Let me know!

Now to the changes in the new version- there is now a download manager that gets called when you open a database or form from an email. This will prompt you to overwrite, merge/sync, or cancel when you are receiving a database, and overwrite or cancel when receiving a forms file. And it should address the above mentioned bug as well!
dhaupert
 
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Joined: Tue May 26, 2009 11:51 am

Re: updating DB forms via email

Postby Will_Smyth » Tue Aug 27, 2013 10:41 am

Hi Brian

Thanks for the explanation. Clearing the app via the "task manager" appears to allow the new form to be loaded.
Bit fiddle for users but update sounds good. With the new update will email still be the best way forward for distributing an app to users?
Will it come along with the expected September IOS7 release?
Will_Smyth
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 11:11 am

Re: updating DB forms via email

Postby dhaupert » Tue Aug 27, 2013 10:57 am

Hi,

I have the new version written and being tested now but we have to wait for Apple to open up the App Store submission for iOS7 built apps before I can submit. As soon as they do, I should be ready and able to submit it! I don't know for sure that September is the iOS7 release date- but it is definitely the rumored time I've seen on the blogs.

Regarding distribution, been trying to optimize that with this version, the new receive option is designed to enhance that process. It also improves the process of opening from a web link, DropBox, etc. I figure right now those are the easiest ways to provide a file to multiple users, so until I can figure out a better way that's the method I will use.

There is one more feature in the new version that may be to your liking- it's an automatic update feature of sorts. Here's how it works:

Right now if you provide a url in an email or on a web site with the http: replaced as handbase: it will function a little differently- instead of downloading the file in Safari and then the preview box comes up with the action button option to open in HanDBase, it will pass the URL to HanDBase which will then download it directly. This feature is enhanced in the new version- if we open a file directly via a link like that, I am storing the link itself in a database along with some file and date information. Now in the future, when the user goes to reopen that database in HanDBase, in the background it will check the link to see if there is an updated file available. If there is it will prompt you to see if you'd like to update. If you select yes, you'll get the normal receive database window that is referred to above.

So if you can weed through all of that back end information, basically if you have a database and put it up on a web site, then you can provide a special link to your users that will download it and then auto check for updates. It's kind of an experimental feature in this first release. If customers like it, I can definitely enhance this to also support forms files, and perhaps in the future provide a share option in HanDBase that would store the database easily on our server.

As you can see, I'm still trying to figure out the best way for database distribution in this regard. I am simultaneously planning the cloud syncing feature that will be in development in earnest this fall. I have many thoughts and ideas for that product, but will be limited by my own limited financial and development resources for how to best implement it.

I am not sure what your specific application is, but I'd love to hear more about the setup and if you have ideas for the ideal way to update people and share information.
dhaupert
 
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Joined: Tue May 26, 2009 11:51 am

Re: updating DB forms via email

Postby Will_Smyth » Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:13 am

Hi Dave
The link to a url sounds very interesting. I take csv files of customers and their sales history from an accouning system and load this into my handbase app.
The forms have enhanced the user experience greatly. Providing an automatic prompt for a new version of a DB is not something I had considered but it sounds excellent and
I look forward to try it out. I will certainly provide feedback. Maybe you would be able to overlap the functionality of this feature with the cloud sync, with the destination/source
being a parameter - ie cloud site or server web site with all other functionality common??
Regards
Will
Will_Smyth
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 11:11 am

Re: updating DB forms via email

Postby dhaupert » Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:37 am

Hey,

That's definitely a really interesting idea regarding the cloud connectivity! Not sure if I can get an address/URL that could be used for later in all cases, but it's something to look into. I have thought about cloud syncing for years now and had many different plans of action to address the different needs people would have for it:

1. The ability to deliver information to multiple devices automatically.
2. The ability to collect information from multiple devices automatically.
3. The ability to sync information between multiple devices automatically.
4. The ability to back up databases automatically.

Each of these has their own subtleties in terms of how to best implement them and I am right now wrestling with how to make all of these not only possible, but done without requiring a complicated setup. My current thought/plan was to offer a single switch type of setup to sync all databases to a DropBox account. So you'd specify the login information and I'd create the HanDBase subfolder in DropBox and sync to it automatically. Then there would be the option for non-default syncing (exceptions so to speak) so you could set up one database to be a one way sync from the cloud, or a data collection mode from the device to the cloud for a database or two.

The question comes up with best dealing with multiple cloud accounts- what if you are a user of HanDBase and want all of your databases synced and backed up, but also have one database that you want to get from a work account that you share with others at work? I'm not sure how to implement this at this point. Your idea of storing the link would be a great one potentially. I will have to look into that!

Certainly would love to hear any ideas people may have for this as well..
dhaupert
 
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Joined: Tue May 26, 2009 11:51 am


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