Mobile app Dev-mobile-forms

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New Mobile Forms Software Includes Features Such As Enhanced Offline Media Capture, Custom Data Entry Editors, Ink and Voice Annotation

Since the 2013 launch of Alpha Anywhere, Alpha Software identified the evolution of tablet use by enterprises to replace paper forms - particularly by people who work standing up. The company assembled a Tablet Advisory Group of early adopters working with or within enterprises on online forms requiring complex data integration, security and tablet capabilities. The group has been meeting to answer the question, "How to create tablet forms?" and to outline the challenges in building touch optimized forms.

After its most recent Tablet Advisory Group meeting, where product engineers showcased the latest beta features in Alpha Anywhere that address the concerns these enterprise developers outlined, Alpha Software announced this Beta 1 Version of the fundamental mobile forms builder technology in Alpha Anywhere. Current Alpha Anywhere customers will now be able to take advantage of the following capabilities when they create mobile forms:

  • Robust offline forms capability with storage of large media files;
  • Easy-to-incorporate designs, which do not require designers to have knowledge of working with Alpha Anywhere;
  • Form optimized editors to improve usability during data entry compared to normal soft keyboards;
  • Ink, video and voice annotation;
  • Full database CRUD support.

These new tablet optimized forms capabilities, along with the power provided by Alpha Anywhere for customizing workflows while still quickly developing an application and responding to user feedback, allow customers to switch from paper to smartphone & tablet forms to help solve the issues of time lag and lack of responsiveness around field data, as well as solving responsiveness issues through escalation or event triggers within workflows. In addition, the tablet forms builder easily couples design and development, allowing Alpha Anywhere developers to leverage any designer, or templates designed for popular frameworks like Bootstrap, in the development of their apps. End-users will now be able to easily add large numbers of photos or videos when they're in the field without connectivity and will also be able to add comments using powerful ink annotation along with voice comments.

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We've taken a complex problem—building hierachical data sets in mutli-table offline database applications—and boiled it down to a single checkbox. With Alpha Anywhere, simply select the "Pre-load data" option when setting up your lists and guarantee that all of your Parent-Child data is ready to go 'in-memory' even when your app is offline.

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After a List has been populated with data from the server, the user can perform incremental refreshes on the List data to retrieve any edits that have been made to server data. Unlike a full refresh, only rows that have been edited are sent to the client, resulting in a much smaller payload being sent to the client compared to a full refresh of the List data.

You can also set a 'synchronization policy' in the List definition to specify that every time edits to the List data are synchronized with a server an incremental refresh of the List should also be performed.

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In the real world, its typical for users to be working offline for days at a time without regaining connection, making changes to a large amount of data that needs to eventually re-synchronize with the server. In that case, you might want to synchronize the data in batches, rather than sending all of the edits to the server at once which, if using a slow connection, could risk client time-out

Using Alpha Anywhere, its easy to re-synch large amounts of offline data in batches, minimizing risk and keeping your users in the loop through progress updates as the data goes back to the server.

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Keep your users on track by giving them clear visual cues as to what data has been edited while they are in offline mode. In Alpha Anywhere, we've built in icons that mark rows as 'dirty' (i.e. data edited while offline) that stay that way until the user regains connection and is able to synch their changes and clear any possible conflicts. And, you have full access to the CSS to style the icons however you see fit.

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Offline applications built in Alpha Anywhere include built-in geolocation features such as capturing location information when the user edits data, capturing location information when the user synchronizes data, and geocoding data.

Watch the video - Geocode data on sync Watch the video - Capture location at sync time Watch the video - Capture location during edits

More Information, Video Tutorials and Documentation

Please note that this page is just an overview of Alpha Anywhere's built-in offline capabilities. To see the full list of features, along with screenshots, video tutorial and extensive documentation check out the Alpha Anywhere Offline Documentation.

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