HanDBase sync vs Backup

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

HanDBase sync vs Backup

Postby Mixer1 » Fri Sep 18, 2009 5:30 pm

Please allow me to compare HandDbase Wi Fi Sync with another product. On that product, it uses PC name and not IP address so there’s no need to confirm the IP. I open the dektop program, initiate sync from the IPhone, and it is done. I even keep this program open on my desktop so I can sync while not being in front of my desktop.

HandDBase’s sync is a product that has to be initiated from desktop and handheld both. This means I must be in front of my PC to sync the program.

This seems to be a bit of a minor point when you look at it as you folks probably do - - having databases accessible on both the handheld and the desktop.

But for me, and I suspect many others, I am living more and more on the IPhone and I don’t even want to be in front of my desktop. Maybe I work on the desktop during a initial database design. But after that, I do most of my modifications from IPhone. And I do the syncing NOT because I want to edit in both places. I do it because I want a BACKUP somewhere other than my IPhone.

So if you don’t think of it in terms of sync, but in terms of BACKUP you might see my point better.

Let me use another IPhone app as an example of what I would love to see. It allows be to backup/restore and import/export to Google docs. Now, I know that HanDBase wouldn’t really do exporting and importing. But if you could just create a backup utility that backs up to Google Docs or any computer within wi-fi range - - - without having to be in front of the computer? Now that would be sweet!! The App I am referring to is Awesome Notes.

Thanks for the great product. I enjoy watching it get even better.
Mixer1
 
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Re: HanDBase sync vs Backup

Postby dhaupert » Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:23 pm

Hi,

Thanks for your email and suggestions. I have been looking at the APIs for syncing to Google Docs as well as Mobile Me as possible alternatives to the desktop/laptop syncing with the device. This is not something we can work on right now, as plans have been mapped out for many months of work, but something for a version down the road. In the interim, finding the best solution is something that interests me greatly. For example, many of our customers store sensitive patient information, or information that is private/sensitive in nature, and I wonder how many would be happy enough keeping data on Google or Apple's servers!

On the other hand, we can make our desktop app act as a web server of sorts as well and let people sync to it, but that creates issues with firewalls- most users these days are behind a router and using NAT (Network address Translation) such that getting write access to a computer would be a tricky proposition and not for the feint at heart.

A web server hosted by DDH is another option as we can offer automated backups and also integrate with the desktop apps as well so they could find the databases stored there. We could also build a web interface for editing the data from any browser or device.

Lots more options and all are being considered and debated here internally. Hope to have a great solution in the future in this regard!
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Re: HanDBase sync vs Backup

Postby Mixer1 » Mon Sep 21, 2009 4:49 pm

Thanks Dave. It's just that I realized the other day, "The only reason right now, when I am not in any 'design phase' that I access the desktop is to make sure I back up. So let's give the option to forget about "sync" and simplify backup. But wherever you go with that, you could surely make the present sync a bit less clunky? Download a trial of SplashData to an IPhone or touch and also the Desktop. And compare it's sync to yours. I don;t like the one step/two step I have to do with HanDBase by comparison.

I know Google makes their api available. Awesome Notes backs all up to their own backup file, but I know it's just a massive text file. So, security would be an issue. But surely there would be a way to encrypt a file before sending it on.

Anyway, thanks for the considerations.
Mixer1
 
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Re: HanDBase sync vs Backup

Postby dhaupert » Mon Sep 21, 2009 8:43 pm

In regards to the steps- I don't know if you've read the other posting here for using the bonjour address. If not, check here:
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=168&p=581&hilit=bonjour#p581

It was discovered by a user and is a great way to avoid having to type in new IP addresses should they change as many routers do with them.

It doesn't eliminate having to start desktop connect and then launching the conduit on the desktop, but it is a time-saver.

WRT Google Docs, there are several problems there- relying on a service that may change over time, one that requires an account from another company (though free), trust factors/privacy concerns, and storing data securely. As we already offer encryption, the latter could seemingly be worked around with no change, but in reality, there is a lot more to it than that. HIPAA rules would prohibit putting the data somewhere where access to it could not be audited, so it's not as simple as it sounds!

In regards to SplashData, I'm aware of how they do things. Doing things a bit differently than that was actually a design decision I made, due to some of the early reviews of issues with their product. It wasn't 100% trouble free. Maybe things have stabilized on it now, but I wanted to be sure that with all the users we're going to be supporting with this solution that it was a reliable connection process. Thankfully with maybe a fraction of a percent of issues, it's turned out to be the case. But surely we'll be able to come up with some improvements to streamlining the process!
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