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New to Mac, need company only app

This is a discussion on New to Mac, need company only app within the iPad Apps forums, part of the iPad App Store category; Hey guys. Seems that this is a pretty active/knowledgable forum, so I'm hoping you guys can help me! I've been thrust into the role of ...

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  1. #1
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    New to Mac, need company only app

    Hey guys. Seems that this is a pretty active/knowledgable forum, so I'm hoping you guys can help me! I've been thrust into the role of IT. I'm the bookkeeper.... and I've never used mac before this week. I need the following...
    1. To create an app for frequently used docs. This app needs to:
    - be accessable to ONLY employees
    - be able to be updated often as we are constantly changing versions of these docs, ie client contact lists, etc.
    - be idiot proof- i am NOT a coder. I do NOT know macs well.
    - be usable by iphone, i pad, and to have an android counterpart.

    We have a website with some of the documents already on it, but I don't know about how to host this app without setting it up with itunes, which we DO NOT want. We're currently using a google cloud that no one likes, so hopefully this will be a reasonable alternative. I would LOVE some help/insight/direction. I saw another thread pointing me to the Stanford U lecture series, which I will probably be checking out. But before I watch 50 lectures, it would be nice to know if the end result I NEED will even be possible. Thanks in advance!

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  3. #2
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    So, you want to write a cloud document app similar to what DropBox does? Should be possible. DropBox and several other cloud storage sites/serivces support sharing and multiple user access. Box.net and SugarSync two others that come to mind.

  4. #3
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    Since you have no software development experience, you don't want to develop an app...

    Since you need cross platform support, consider a web App. These do not need to be distributed thru iTunes.

    If you can't locate a package to do this- and since you don't really explain what you need the app to actually do it's hard to guess - that's cross platform, you will most likely need to hire someone to do the development.

    Write a clear requirements document either way...

    -t

  5. #4
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    I need it to house documents. and updated versions of documents. just frequently used docs that consultants can access in the field when not on their laptops, and things like updated client lists, contact info, etc. maybe even a company calendar. We currently have dropbox and a google cloud, but the powers that be don't want to be dependent on anyone other than our own webhost. We would be self-hosting.
    Last edited by ITbyDefault; 07-25-2011 at 11:06 AM.

  6. #5
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    GoodReader plus your own WebDAV server? Even if you have other reasons for needing your own app, this would get you half way to what you want.

  7. #6
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    revised parameters

    So after looking into the suggestions you guys have given as well as a few hours of research, I'm downloading the Xcode program from Apple. I have someone who will help me with coding where I need it. My question is this, and maybe it now belongs in a different forum... How do I get my app to automatically update with the latest information? Let me lay out what we need...

    1. centralized document hosting (already accomplished through our website, as in the docs are already there. we all have log-ins, just need to set permissions)
    a. We want to not rely on someone else to host our info. We also don't want our consultants to have to log into the site every time they need a doc, then have to download them. We want them to select the app, open it up, navigate to the document they need, and have it right there. Just need to figure out if it's possible and how to have the app talk to the website for the info.

    2. We need it to download updates frequently. We are changing participant and contact lists frequently, sometimes daily or multiple times a day. Many documents will remain unchanged and will not need updating, but a few will need to be done often.

    3. We will need an app for both iphone and android. I'm sure this will mean building two apps as from what I can tell, nothing is the same between the two platforms. It's not cost effective for us to pay someone. We also would like to be able to build another app or three in the future which is why I need to figure it out! For now, I figure the document app will be the easiest as it requires the least amount of action and is basically just locating documents quickly. We use mac in our office, so I will start with the iphone/ipad app, then figure out the android.

    Thanks! I know it's a lot!!!

  8. #7
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    You've gone well beyond what I can help you with. This should probably get moved to the developer forum, though that forum does not appear to be very active.

    Despite not really knowing what I'm talking about, I do have a few general observations. The kind that a non-developer can pick up.

    Lots of apps store login information, so the app should be able to login each time your consultant starts it. They should only have to enter their credentials once, or periodically if you decide to set a time limit for security reasons. You could even build it in, but I wouldn't recommend that. Having to redistribute the app every time IT security requires a password change might be a bit inconvenient.

    The iPad won't let you run an app in the background waiting for updates, so the app will have to be started each time you want it to update. It is possible to create Push notifications and display a badge or other notification to tell your consultants that there are updates to be loaded. You'll just have to train them to pay attention and start the app periodically. Of course, that will only be necessary if they tend to go places where they can not get internet.

    To keep files synced you will need to set up some kind of version tracking. This would probably be a file stored both on the server and iPad. Each time the app logs into the server it would download and compare the two files to see what needs to be updated. That means you need to update the file each time you make a change on the server. Since doing this manually could be a bit of a pain you'll want to run some type of script on the server that periodically checks the folders and updates the file. Or you could create an app on the server that is the only way to add/remove files, and does the updates. You could depend on simply comparing creation and modification dates of the files themselves, but that might not be as reliable.

    All of this has been accomplished in other apps like Evernote, 1Password, etc., so your consultant should be able to point out how to accomplish them. If not, consider a more knowledgable consultant.


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