iPhone and Mac versions

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

iPhone and Mac versions

Postby jrhurley » Sat Jun 06, 2009 6:10 pm

Hi all,

I'm a recent convert to HanDBase... I fell across it as a database solution for the iPhone, but needed desktop sync as well. So far it seems to be working well - I've got high hopes for the updates to the Mac desktop version later in the year as I hate having to run Windows just to be able to manipulate my HanDBase data! Anyway, I just had a couple of suggestions for the iPhone client:

(1) There are a few areas where the HanDBase client aesthetically doesn't feel like an iPhone app... e.g. blue text on the Home screen (showing the database list), fonts used on the list view (though I appreciate the size can be changed, there's no bold text like usual list views), an old-style bitmap check mark... not big issues but would just round the whole thing off

(2) Please could the record list view be indexed, e.g. like in the Contacts app - this would help to speed up finding records. I've got a database with 4000 entries in and it takes a *very* long time to scroll down to the ones starting with a W! This could be set through a preference in the database perhaps? On a similar note, adding options for grouping by a field would be helpful and would use the list view to its maximum potential.

On the plus side, I love the fact that the app is landscape responsive, and the fact that the search box remains at the top of the list view when scrolling - saves a lot of hassle! Also the sync between iPhone / Mac / Windows (running on Parallels) has been flawless so far. And it's quick! Those 4000 records load much faster than the nearest rival! LOL. Well done and keep up the good work!


Best wishes

Jonathon
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Re: iPhone and Mac versions

Postby nefserrano@gmail.com » Sun Jun 07, 2009 9:53 am

I completely agree with your comments, especially with the list view indexing which is sorely needed.
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Re: iPhone and Mac versions

Postby Brian_Houghton » Sun Jun 07, 2009 8:57 pm

Hello Jonathon and "nefserrano",

Thanks for posting. You bring up some very good suggestions for improving HanDBase.

One item in specific that each of you bring up that I'd like to take a moment to address is the ability to scroll down the database in record list view. You'll hopefully be happy to know that this functionality is already built into HanDBase in the form of Quick Search.

Basically, Quick Search allows you to enter a character in the search bar at the top of the screen, and have HanDBase jump to the first matching record in the configured field. Note that this field has to be configured, that it can only be configured for one field and that it only works for the first character.

You can configure it in DB Properties -> Change Field Order. Once set up you'll see a search bar at the top of the screen when viewing the records in list view.

This should help to provide the functionality that you are looking for. Please take a moment to check it out on your device and see how it might help!
Kind Regards,
Brian Houghton, DDH Software
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Re: iPhone and Mac versions

Postby dhaupert » Mon Jun 08, 2009 8:10 am

Hi all,

Thanks for the great feedback. The indexing feature is on the near term todo list. One I'd expect some time this summer or early fall.

I wanted to ask for more detail on these comments:

(1) There are a few areas where the HanDBase client aesthetically doesn't feel like an iPhone app... e.g. blue text on the Home screen (showing the database list), fonts used on the list view (though I appreciate the size can be changed, there's no bold text like usual list views), an old-style bitmap check mark... not big issues but would just round the whole thing off


By blue text, are you saying you don't like the font of the text on that screen, or the color being blue?

On the List view, we're using the iPhone standard font. You mentioned no bold, so I assume you'd like to see that text in bold? When I was designing the app, I noticed that some apps used bold, and some didn't, and in particular the contacts app uses some text bold and some not. So it did not seem like there was a consensus either way.

Lastly, the checkbox is something we can easily update. The OS does not support a checkbox, but all the example Apple provides involve showing a bitmap for a checkbox. They do have their on/off slider, but the terminology doesn't make sense for many fields. For example, saying On/Off for a checkbox for a field called 'Sent?' probably would not make as much sense as the more 'agnostic' checkbox bitmap. Please let me know what you had in mind here.

Thanks in advance!
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Re: iPhone and Mac versions

Postby jrhurley » Sun Jun 14, 2009 1:28 am

Hi Dave,

Thanks for your reply - my apologies for not getting back online sooner! On a side note, it's nice to see a developer respond to comments, most software companies pretend to be interested and then ignore them completely! Top marks!

So, to the comments I made:

(1) Blue text on the home screen
It's the colour that I think looks out of place, not the font (which is the standard bold list view font). I guess there's a lot of personal preference about this, but most other apps use black text in their table views - Mail, Contacts, Settings, iPod, etc. The key items in the list view are always bold (e.g. surname in Contacts when the list is sorted by last name), and secondary information is normal weight text (e.g. First Name). For the list of databases, I feel that it would look more in keeping with the standard apps if the list was just black text (left bold as it is currently).

(2) Fonts in the list view
Having started using HanDBase a lot more, I've changed my mind on this one LOL! Originally I was referring to the text used to display the fields in a particular database's view; I knew that the size of the font could be changed from the HanDBase settings app, but the text was all normal weight. However, this works better in the table view where there's several fields displayed - so ignore my original comment!

(3)Checkbox bitmap
Again a lot of this is personal preference, but the black-and-white large tick looks outdated compared to the visual style of the iPhone icons. A slightly smaller box and smaller, possibly coloured tick mark, would fit in better - something similar is seen in some of HanDBase's rivals! LOL. I definitely think you've done the right thing by using the bitmap rather than the system-provided on-off switch; like you mentioned that wouldn't make any sense (and is too big and clumsy to fit nicely on a view screen).

(4) Animation between pages
Having changed my mind on number 2, I've added a new thing to my list! Please could we have an option to disable the 'turning' animation between pages, and just have a normal 'slide' type animation?



Hope this clarifies things, thanks for taking the time to listen to my ideas. I can't fault the way HanDBase works on the iPhone, it's by far the most powerful and customisable database available (and I've tried them all!) It syncs brilliantly with my Mac, and a combination of the Mac and Windows software lets me do anything I want with the databases. Thanks to everyone involved!

Oh and my two-penneth about adding custom forms to the iPhone version: unless they can be done with the inbuilt iPhone controls, please don't.... it would spoil the looks of the product and not add much functionality over a table view split up properly with headings.

:D

Regards,

Jon.
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Re: iPhone and Mac versions

Postby dhaupert » Mon Jun 15, 2009 10:23 am

Thanks for following up with those questions Jon.

We can certainly fix the text color easily (and I agree with your thoughts on this), and regarding the checkbox itself, can certainly do something to improve the look of that someday.

Regarding the animations- it's actually a completely different set of calls to pop up a form without animations at all, so it would require a lot of code changes (HanDBase has so many dialogs compared to the average 5 dialog iPhone app). But if enough people agree with this, I can certainly consider changing it!
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