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click Melbourne Graffiti item above , drills down to this page :
Handy for nested Product Catalog style apps … or a scrapbook
To build this app in CollabAPI I just defined a Creative item as :
- blurb text
- more [ a list of Creative items ]
so its like a set of folders … recursion : “its turtles all the way down”
Builders Invoice Mobile App
Lets say we want to create an app for a home Builder / Carpenter – they need to quickly make up an invoice on their mobile tablet, while onsite at a job.
The different things to keep track of are :
- Job / Invoice
- Invoice Line Item
Step 1 : Define the ‘DataModel’
We define all the properties for each of these :
- Customer : Name, Address, Phone
- JobInvoice : Date, Description, link to a Customer, list of InvoiceLines
- InvoiceLine : a Product, an Amount, a Cost Total
- Product : Name, Description, CostPerUnit, Units, Photo
I’ve shown the relations in bold, where one item refers to another item.
Step 2 : Run the App
So you just click thru and define the ‘DataModel’ above, and then you can run the app and try it out immediately.
For this Builders Invoice datamodel, the app looks like this :
Quick and Iterative
The immediate feedback is really useful. You can show a user, get them to try it and give feedback. You can try out different models and see which fits their business better.
This iterative approach really helps to reduce risk and cost in developing an app.
We could have picked any domain and modeled it in the same way with CollabAPI. Its not about Invoices .. its about making an app to fit your particular business : quickly and iteratively.
If your business finds it helpful to have a photo in each InvoiceLine, to give the customer more insight into the Job .. so be it.
When you business changes, you can change the datamodel to fit the new circumstance.
I hope you’ll agree, CollabAPI takes a pretty radical, and yet very practical approach.
Havent posted for a good while.. been incredibly busy working on a side project which seems to have a life of its own.
Collabapi.com is not quite ready for release, but I’ve been using it to get real work done for a while. Its basically a much quicker way to develop data centric apps. This kind of app is useful for tracking all the information you need to run a business well – the stuff that goes on paper / word / excel forms. It would be great if there was a quick way to make it mobile / web and have the data in electronic format from the get-go so you could search it more easily and so on.
Example App : Gym Membership Sales Pipeline
We can start by making a form each for our Salespeople, and our potential Customers. I configure up the data model in the App Designer for these, save those changes… then the app comes up on web and tablet straight away :
I did this by configuring the fields, checkbox items etc, and the app reflects this ‘datamodel’ :
Apparently there’s a sales-cycle thing we want to keep track of –
- initial contact
- see if the customers interested
- what are their goals
- book a meeting
- get them to signup
- success! happiness! cash!
So here’s a go at modeling up a sales call…
… hmm, promising and a good place to start, I can actually put that in front of the Gym Owner and her Chief Sales Maven, and they can try it out on the web or on their tablet device.
The point of this article is not to say ‘you can do apps real quick in Collabapi’ … which is kinda true.
The coolness is really just the way we can iterate and experiment : get something out there quickly and get the users to make suggestions.
Its more of a GSD or MVP / lean-startup approach to making apps. Its not just for business apps, but I think it will be really handy for business … putting the love back into the ‘small-data’ that’s important to most people.
I’ll talk a bit about the technology under the hood at some stage – and there is a lot of tech under the hood – but for now, that’s a good place to pause and have a cup of tea :]
justgord at gmail dotcom