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Is Mobile the Correct Solution for Our Shop

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    Is Mobile the Correct Solution for Our Shop

    Hello. We are a small furniture repair shop. We have employed Alpha software for many years to help manage our job shop. I am not a technical user.

    All our employees have smartphones and we would like to use AA to provide their devices with more timely information.

    Our current situation:
    - Alpha Anywhere v4.0 (12.4.0)
    - Our alpha system has been kludged together over the years
    - 3 terminals running Windows 10 desktop version over a wireless network

    - We use Alpha to do the production administration our business. Keep track of customers and their jobs in our shop.

    - Twice weekly, using AA, we print a hard copy priority report showing our craftsman what to work on.

    - Size.
    - 6 employees with +- smartphones (Apple and Android).
    - Generally we have around 100-125 active jobs
    - 11,000 customer records and 32,000 historical job records.

    We wish to:
    - Push information to the shop and become more proactive
    - Put the Priority Report information on craftsman’s smartphones
    - Use their smartphones as terminals to replace the printed priority reports
    - Provide pictures of work for identification
    - Data lookups

    - Minimal input from shop floor users.
    -Check job done,
    -Capture information for time reporting

    - All mobile interaction would be over our wireless intranet

    In my ignorance, I assumed the mobile functions of AA would tie into our current A5 databases in .adb format. I’ve been reading the forums and working through the tutorials and I did not realize the need to involve using a SQL backend database when using a web project. This is another level of complexity that we do not wish to get into

    Any recommendations for a course of action to take. Is there an “smart” way to deploy the information to smartphones over our Intranet? Thank you for your help.
    Last edited by stevenw; 06-04-2018, 01:00 PM. Reason: text cut off

    Re: Is Mobile the Correct Solution for Our Shop

    If for you the use of SQL backend is complex, then I suggest you create a web app instead of a mobile app. You say that all communication is over the intranet, so you don't need disconnected, and you don't indicate that you will use the phone app outside the shop, so I'd stick to the easiest way.
    Pat Bremkamp
    MindKicks Consulting


      Re: Is Mobile the Correct Solution for Our Shop

      Looks fine to me, I agree with Pat - I would use a device independent design, that will run in a browser on mobile devices and the desktop, that takes advantage of panel cards, Viewbox and List controls in a UX, they will deliver what you want, no so sure dumping the .adb format your files and users are only small. You should be able to preserve you table investment removing disruption to current work flows if you design it right. I think it will go well for you. It's not hard.
      Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
      Albert Einstein, (attributed)
      US (German-born) physicist (1879 - 1955)


        Re: Is Mobile the Correct Solution for Our Shop


        Thank you for your responses. Pat is correct, 1)I do not anticipate needing disconnect and 2)all work will be on location, at our shop. I am investigating developing our solution via a web app.

        My first dumb question. What is the difference between a 'web app' and a 'mobile app'?


          Re: Is Mobile the Correct Solution for Our Shop

          Steven, a web app runs in the browser, like Chrome or Firefox. (I'd stay away from Edge or Internet Explorer) That means you can use it on any device that can run a browser which means now days all of them. It will look and run the same on all the devices. A mobile app runs on a mobile phone using the phone's resources. It must be built using phonegap and would typically be phone or tablet only. That means you need other programs on your desktop machines. That is, more work to do. But it is terrific if you are out in the field or up on a rooftop.
          Pat Bremkamp
          MindKicks Consulting


            Re: Is Mobile the Correct Solution for Our Shop

            I would agree with everyone else, do a web app, and design it to fit on a mobile phone when viewed in the browser of choice.

            Mobile apps are only really needed if you want
            Complex offline capabilities
            To reach an App Stores user base.

            We have done a web shop for our customers in Alpha, we have only been working on the platform for 18 months. This took us < 3 months and works on mobile, tablet and desktop. Its way more complex that what you describe above, and we were/are still learning alpha.


              Re: Is Mobile the Correct Solution for Our Shop

              While smart phones are handy and available, tablets have much bigger screens and easier to read.

              Are you sure you want to restrict your screen real estate to a 5 inch screen?

              If you have a screen large enough, you can use a terminal emulator to bring the desktop system screen to the smart device.
              Al Buchholz
              Bookwood Systems, LTD
              Weekly QReportBuilder Webinars Thursday 1 pm CST

              Occam's Razor - KISS
              Normalize till it hurts - De-normalize till it works.
              Advice offered and questions asked in the spirit of learning how to fish is better than someone giving you a fish.
              When we triage a problem it is much easier to read sample systems than to read a mind.
              "Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler."
              Albert Einstein



                Re: Is Mobile the Correct Solution for Our Shop

                Just use the panels and list control and it will work in anything.
                Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
                Albert Einstein, (attributed)
                US (German-born) physicist (1879 - 1955)


                  Re: Is Mobile the Correct Solution for Our Shop


                  Thank you for your input. I have been busy the last day and a half rebuilding our computer system after Microsoft's latest Windows 10 upgrade. Thanks Mr. Nadella. Networking and printer issues.

                  I plan to attack the web app solution. It sounds like it will do what we need. Provide timely information and communication to/from the craftsman at our repair shop.

                  I may also investigate a tablet solution. My quick inquiry shows that AA only runs on windows based tablets, Correct?

                  The power and flexibility of AA can be overwhelming. Your professionalism, generosity and sharing of time and knowledge on this forum is amazing. I really appreciate your help and directions.


                    Re: Is Mobile the Correct Solution for Our Shop

                    My quick inquiry shows that AA only runs on windows based tablets, Correct?
                    No. Once you deploy your web app it will run on any device or browser. The only limitation as alluded to above, if you build it for the web, it may not "fit" on your phone. But otherwise you can run your app on an Ipad or Safari, etc.
                    AlphaBase Solutions, LLC

                    [email protected]