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Other Making an App... where to start?

Discussion in 'Software' started by IamJudd, 15 Aug 2017.

  1. IamJudd

    IamJudd Well-Known Member

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    Hry gang,

    Long time no speak!

    I was wondering if I could pick someone's brains in regards to an app I wish to make.

    It's quite straight forward in that I would like to make an app that will allow me to survey a site of its kitchen equipment on my phone.

    I've tried Google Sheets which, in principle, works on a tablet and could be formatted to work on a phone but it's not ideal with the column and row indicators showing.

    I'd particularly like to be able to list what you would normally find in a commercial kitchen and tick them off as I come across them on a site survey and then be able to grade how clean they are.

    Later iterations would allow me to add materials and dimensions of specific items and perhaps add a button that would allow me to take a photo.

    Once completed, this would then compile the results to a spreadsheet to be emailed back to the office. We use a lot of paper at the moment and I could see productivity increase if we didn't have to scan each piece of paper over to the office to be formatted into Excel before a quote is realised.

    I'm initially looking at Android because the office uses Android phones and don't look to be changing.

    Any pointers would be greatly appreciated - the company has spent quite a bit of money on an app that looks like it has stalled in development and I would like to be ol' Golden Bollocks in producing something that's workable.


    Here's a link example of what we currently use...

    https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9_XbjON61BHbU42bXd2QVZjeEU
     
    Last edited: 15 Aug 2017
  2. Big Elf

    Big Elf Oh no! Not another f----ing elf!

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    Maybe a custom database? I highly recommend Sailforms but it would require a significant amount of design before build.

    I haven't looked recently but there used to be templates to download and modify from the support page.
     
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  3. Guinevere

    Guinevere Mega Mom

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    There's so many ways to accomplish this, how you progress depends on your time frame, skill set and budget.

    1. Buy into a service. A quick google of 'drag and drop app builder' brings up services like www.fastfieldforms.com. I'd recommend reading up and doing some research in this area. It may be worth looking into free trials to a get a proof of concept in your hands.

    2. Use a free service. Google took me to https://www.outsystems.com It looks like it may do the trick.

    3. Code an app yourself. Can you code? Does it need to be multi-platform? If you're starting from scratch with no existing coding skills then it's a big topic as there's lots of places to start, including just using Visual Studio and MS tech. www.visualstudio.com/vs/mobile-app-development/

    2. Web based. Will you always have mobile data access? Probably not, but it's worth mentioning anyway. There's lots of web based form systems that will do the job. Or coding your own isn't too difficult depending on your skill set.

    Here's what I would do:

    Either:

    1. Look at outsystems.com or alternatives. There's got to be an easy to use system out there which will pull together a basic app in short work.

    2. I'd use Visual Studio & Xamarin to build a data collection app. I'd use json or XML files for configuration, so the app reads the files and knows what to present to the user. The app would dynamically position the input controls based on this definition so wouldn't need to be re-coded to change the questions/options. I'd save the output to a textile or whatever method needed and attach it to an email. There's loads of options to expand from here, but that's the basics. This is probably no more than about a day's coding to get this up and running in its most basic form, there's no real upper limit on how clever you can make it.

    Disclaimer: One of my previous products was a web platform called 'Form Creator' and we used it for everything you could imagine, but mainly complex data collection and payment handling for the big non profits. It had dozens of modules and could do all sorts of things that were cutting edge for the time. Your needs, and I don't want to belittle them, sound really easy. I think there's bound to be hundreds of off the shelf solutions that will fit - if you have the google-fu to find the right one. Unless you already have the skills to code one up, I'd suggest focussing your time on finding a system rather than learning to code.

    Feel free to PM me. I'm happy to have my brain picked.
     
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  4. IamJudd

    IamJudd Well-Known Member

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    That's an awesome post Guinevere! Thank you so much! And thanks to Big Elf also... lots to think about!
     
  5. RedFlames

    RedFlames ...is not a Belgian football team

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    VS + Xamarin also gives you the option to port the app to iOS with minimal grief [though iirc you need a mac to do so] if you ever need to [or port it to UWP if you're mad].
     

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