Work Order System for 2-5 technicians

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

Work Order System for 2-5 technicians

Postby lukeskywalker » Wed Mar 17, 2010 5:04 pm

I am trying to rap my head around the information I have been reading on this forum regarding a the best way to implement a work order system for mobile technicians

I have been a HanDBase user in the past on PalmOS so I am familiar with how to create the various databases I want, Client Info, Work order form, etc and how to look up data, link them etc. What I am trying to figure out is what the best way to get the data to each tech throughout the day.

Example; call comes in to main office, client record is created with address, phone etc, new work order is created linked to that client all on iphone in main office, now how can I get that data to my tech equiped with an iphone out in the field without him coming into the office to sync?

I have been reading about an 'e-mail database' feature and tell me if i'm wrong but the database can't be sent directly to the iphone but can be sent to that techs e-mail, imported through the desktop app and then sync'd to his iphone, is this correct?

What would solve the problem is a feature that I do not believe exists and that is the ability to sync over 3G to a remote server, correct?

Any advice on how I can occomplish this would be very helpful, a real time dispatch/work order/payment accepting app is needed on the iphone :-)

Luke
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Re: Work Order System for 2-5 technicians

Postby dhaupert » Thu Mar 18, 2010 12:16 pm

Hi Luke,

Thanks for your post and question. I have heard from a number of small businesses in your situation especially over the last few weeks. For many years now I've researched and pondered the best way to handle over the internet syncing. We've done trial solutions for people on Palm OS and Windows Mobile with some success. But with the iPhone because of the email receive database limitation, it's becoming more front and center of an issue. This past week I've been brainstorming a few new ideas, ones that may be easier to implement and maintain, but limit the overall vision I had for an online version of HanDBase. So obviously the wheels are turning here, and hopefully some time in the future we'll have a solution for this.

In the interim the description you had- email the database, and then the tech can merge this or install this to their iPhone from their desktop is the only way to go right now.

One other idea is that you post the update on a web site somewhere. If you then provide an email with the link to the file like this:
handbase://www.site.com/database.pdb

HandBase does get called and then downloads and installs the database. Worth considering as well!

Hoping the iPhone OS update for this year will incorporate a way for us to send a database attachment from the mail program to our program.
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Re: Work Order System for 2-5 technicians

Postby lukeskywalker » Thu Mar 18, 2010 1:13 pm

dhaupert wrote:
One other idea is that you post the update on a web site somewhere. If you then provide an email with the link to the file like this:
handbase://www.site.com/database.pdb

HandBase does get called and then downloads and installs the database. Worth considering as well!



wait a minute, if my dispatcher uploads a database to say our website and e-mails or texts the link to the tech, they tap on it, it opens safari on iphone, handbase opens and installs the database?

refresh my memory on what happens to all the data in a database on the techs iphone if they did it this way, would the data merge or be over written?

Thank you much
lukeskywalker
 
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Re: Work Order System for 2-5 technicians

Postby dhaupert » Fri Mar 19, 2010 11:32 am

That's right- shouldn't be too hard to set up something automated!

In terms of what happens on the iPhone- the HanDBase application launches, grey's out for a few moments while it downloads, and then if the database already exists on the iPhone it will do a sync/merge of the data. That is, any new records are added to the database, any updates are propogated, and any deletes are carried out as well.

If the format of the database changes, it will save a copy of the database with a slightly renamed database name (eg "DatabaseName (1)"), so be aware of that!
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