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Cloud and Server based Systems.

PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 5:21 am
by travisdh
Hi guys,

This is more of a feature request than anything else but I had a few ideas that I think would see this app be of great use, anyway I work in the scientific consulting industry, my role requires me to visit private, commercial and goverment facilities conducting a range of audits, some are entirely visual audits whilst others involve taking samples and getting those tested to form Risk assessments and data for scientific reports.

Currently the way this (at least in part works) is that I take my iPad with me and use it to collect site observations, notes, photos, sample information and more, when I get back into the office I can then mail merge the photos and descriptions into a word based table.

What I would love to see, and what would make this app great in my industry is the ability to apply specific database based sync without the need for other conduits and desktop apps. Ideally this would be available in two forms, one would be a cloud based solution whereby multiple devices can obtain syncs versions of the same database automatically, which would be syncd with a local 'enterprise' service / client so we could maintain our own SQL based database in the office, and from that the data could be sync'd each direction to and from the cloud, and to and from the cloud to individual devices (where data includes photos and databases),

The second form would be the same concept, without the cloud, so an enterprise server application could be present on the companies server, and mobile devices could sync to and from this server remotely, they obtain a copy of the database, and if they have an Internet connection (and automatically update after each record setting is turned on) depending on the specific database settings the handheld device would send the data, and photos to the company server, otherwise it may wait until you manually sync o. The road then all data is sent across.

The idea with database specific controls just provides a greater level of control, in this example it would be great for all handheld devices to have the latest version of the client database, so if a change is made on a handheld device, it would be automatically syncd to the server, and then out to each other handheld device, but with the sample database not all clients would need to have the latest information, but it would be important for the office to have the latest information, therefore instead of syncing both directions, that could be sent to just sync its data to the office.

Thanks for beating with me, I guess in the end what I am looking for is an easy, seamless way to be able to share data with head office(s) and the mobile workers in near-real time, and to be able to control which direction that data is sync'd, what data is sync'd and how it is Sync'd so that all works have good access to data, and your great tool streamlines the informatin collection process.

Re: Cloud and Server based Systems.

PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 8:39 am
by Brian_Houghton

Thanks for posting. Very sorry for the delay in response!

Your suggestions sound great. While I'm not making any promises of functionality, cloud support of some sort is something we need to look closer at.

Re: Cloud and Server based Systems.

PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 7:37 am
by dhaupert
Hi there,

Thanks from me also for the suggestions. I can tell you that both of your scenarios have been floated around here over the last few months. While we don't yet offer a cloud based sync solution it's been on the radar for many years and is something we plan to pursue in the near future. I am not 100% sure what implementation we will go with at this point but we are definitely narrowing down the choices and gearing up for the development!

Re: Cloud and Server based Systems.

PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 10:36 am
by uboche
I'm using a few apps on my iPad which synchronize files with the PC via Dropbox. This is working quite nicely and seems like a good solution to me.


Re: Cloud and Server based Systems.

PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 4:44 pm
by Benji
As mumbled in the past, Drop Box interaction would make life a tad bit easier. Extensive use throughout the day with Documents To Go, Camscanner for on the go creation of PDF files, use at home...

I work with Excel files on the hand held and tablet via Drop Box and once home, more work done on those same files via Drop Box. Really nice. Even nicer if HDB were a member of the club.

Sent from my PC36100 using Tapatalk

Re: Cloud and Server based Systems.

PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 3:09 pm
by jhanlon
Deleted post

Re: Cloud and Server based Systems.

PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 3:31 pm
by dhaupert
Hi there,

Thanks for your post. HanDBase has not been abandoned. In fact, just sent out a release candidate to our beta testers today for a new version. With any luck, we'll be submitting to the App store by the end of the week!

Please understand that HanDBase is a multi-platform solution with versions for iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, Palm, Mac and Windows and all programming done by one programmer (me!), so I have to often switch gears between various platforms and what is worked on. I can't get much done when I try to work on all of them simultaneously so I typically focus on one product at a time. Sometimes I also have a short custom project though I try to keep those to a minimum. The last few months I was working on an Android version and a custom project and that is why there hasn't been any iOS updates during that time. Most of my time does get spent on iOS updates- if you look back historically you'll see that Android has suffered quite often because of the priority I have given to iOS. But I did release an Android update about a month ago and have been working on an iPhone update and iPad to follow that.

In regards to cloud syncing, I am still exploring options. The update I have worked on is not a cloud sync solution - it contains other features that have been on the todo list. One of them is the ability to open in.. any database, so in theory it adds some basic cloud option since you can now open/save a database to DropBox to accompany the previous ability to open one from Dropbox or other cloud solution.

But to be blunt, I am likely not going to implement a cloud sync solution as a free update to the program any time soon. I have spent many years researching this very topic- long before there was DropBox and iCloud and even Google Docs I have been watching this space, implementing various prototypes and wireframes as I want a cloud solution to be as seamless as possible, work across multiple platforms, etc. I have yet to find a perfect solution and thus am weighing out lesser options to find the best option currently available. The implementation of a cloud sync will be a major programming endeavor for me and mean that many apps will not be able to worked on for a long period of time, so I am trying my best to time it within my own constraints and expectations from users for features and updates. When I do dedicate the time to making this a solution I do believe it will have to be something we can charge for, otherwise, it will never be able to justify getting my full attention when other options exist for my time that will help pay my bills.

Long story much shorter, I continue to watch this space and listen to customer opinions, but that doesn't mean I'm going to jump on something right now. I frankly just can't work that fast on something that I take this seriously!

Re: Cloud and Server based Systems.

PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 2:06 am
by lcslouis
well having some kind of sync support would be good the best way I know of that would work across all platforms is MySQL database.

you could have a database that has multiple schemas the schema would be 1 per handbase db and then the tables and so forth and all you would need to then is have the handbase software just check for what has the most recent data and then just sync and download from the MySQL it could also work if the device is online then changes to
handbase and the MySQL db could be immediate which could work
well in like doctor's offices and the like

Re: Cloud and Server based Systems.

PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 2:11 am
by travisdh
I am interested in your view, if it will be possible (in future) versions to be able to Sync photos as well as databases.
In my case whilst the database is 80% of the 'picture', having the site and item specific photos is very important in getting a report and useful information out.

With the dropbox solution, which is one of many solutions, is there any way that the photos could be stored automatically in the dropbox folder, or automatically sync'd with dropbox so it is as seamless as possible?

Interested to see you thoughts on where you see cloud, or server support going with HanDBase, and if you see that the device could have an online / offline function where it sync's all information to a server software (either on the cloud, or with the user) and the photo's could be sync'd, or if you saw some other system being implemented.

In my scenario (and i recognize i am only one of many users), i have a need to be able to collect a large amount of information (textual, notes, photos, GPS locations) for a range of clients and sites, what would be useful is to have this information become available to other users, so that anyone who came on site had access to the information. What would be especially useful and important however would be to be able to sync this data, including photos to a central server, even if that server is a standard PC that just runs some special software, so that i can take data collected in the field, collect useful information, send this information to other people (after being extracted from a central database), and even take information which would be provided from other companies, and import this information (through another means) into the server PC, which then gets Sync'd to the field users.

In the above example, one scenario would be that over the span of one month, we may have 4 - 5 different people who are conducting a building audit, this audit involves each user going out to the site, conducting a range of measurements, observations, collecting photos and recording each of these into the database (HanDBase), this information is stored in the device (Android, iPhone, or iPad) and becomes a record of all of the information, notes and 'stuff' that has been collected throughout the site. Since there are so many people at the site it is not practical to email, download etc the database to each user, and this is where the start of a sync solution would come into the database.

What would then be useful is (somehow) a SQL / checkbox system could be present for each device, so when the specific field user is ready to generate a purchase order, and send off the samples that were collected to subcontractors the purchase order gets generated, this would be done externally, so i guess the SQL would create a copy of the records for the other system to use, and it would then generate all the appropriate information.

As part of our normal system, we generate sampleID's for each of our samples, so we have a site based ID which makes sense to the site person, but then also a Lab based ID (just a number), if the system was Sync'd it would be easy to have an ODBC system look for Site based ID's that don't have a Lab Based ID and generate one each minute or so, this would then be pushed out to the field user.

Where this sort of system would be useful however, is once the samples had been sent out for subcontracting, the information could be retrieved from that subcontractor, and pulled into the ODBC system, which would then be sync'd back out to the client.

As you can see, this is just one example but the constant, one or multiple way Synchronization (including photos even if just to server) is really important and key here.

Re: Cloud and Server based Systems.

PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 2:14 am
by travisdh
As per the above, even basic Sync support with MySQL whilst it would not get over the image problem, it would absolutely solve my sharing information problem, each time a new entry is entered it would try and Sync that with the external database, and if it could not it would then store that information. Once the information is sync'd it would then just have to somehow check the external server to make sure it the same version as the device, or vice versa and it would be looking great!

I guess the same would apply to running reports / views.