Getting your database data into Mobile Forms

Let's say you have an existing database at your organization. Included here may be lists of products, customers etc and you want this data to be available on your forms in the field. Our Select question is the ideal place to store this kind of data in your form. You can have thousands of entries in this field type without degrading performance or the user experience. Large lists are automatically made searchable too. Inputting all of this information would be impractical, but you can import it via a CSV file.

Depending on the database you use and how you are able to interface with it, you should be able to export one or more tables into MS Excel format. Easier yet may be to use Excel's data sources functionality to connect directly to the database, providing you have valid credentials. Once in Excel, arrange the columns so that you have the customer/product name in the first column, followed by the unique identifier or customer/product code on to the right of that:

ACME                               ACM101

Bob's Ball Bearings       BOB234

 

Now, use Excel export menu to save this data as a comma-separate file. You're looking for something with a format like this:

ACME,ACM101

Bob's Ball Bearings,BOB234


With this file in hand (you may want to verify the export worked fine by viewing the file in a text editor), add a select question to your form. Click on Options and then towards the bottom of the dialog, click the "Import CSV List" button. Upload you file (it may take a while) and you should be good to go.

 

We hope this tip serves as a good starting point. If you have specific databases you are trying to get data out of, please post below so others can share their experiences.

 

 

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Comments

  • Avatar
    Pilot Software

    Thanks, but can I dynamically upload data?  I add and remove clients daily and would like a way to upload all of this data dynamically to the select field - perhaps by some form of secure connection to your database?

  • Avatar
    dusanb

    Hi Glenn,

    Our form data model is due for a revamp. In the meantime the best I can suggest is that you take a look at our Push API ( docs.devicemagic.com/push-api) which can replace lookup data in select questions with more current information, as well as our Forms API ( docs.devicemagic.com/forms-api) which would allow you to change entire forms dynamically from code.

     

    • Dusan
  • Avatar
    Rod McAdam

    Is there any way to use this facility to look up values of other fields on the .csv file at the same time.

    Ie enter the Client_ID and have the address field and the company name field automatically at the same time?

  • Avatar
    dusanb

    Rod,

    Thanks for the feedback. We're working on this - you will be able to upload a table of values, referenced by a client_ID, SKU etc. Then other fields can "bind" to this datasource via a LOOKUP function.

    The client_id or SKU field could be entered manually, or scanned by a barcode.

    Sorry I don't have an ETA yet, but we understand how powerful and useful this enhancement would be.

  • Avatar
    Rod McAdam

    hi there Dusan

    Thanks for your ever so prompt reply :)

    This sounds great, exactly what we need.

    Would you like to Hazard a guess when this feature might be available ie sometime in 2013 or 2014 or um ?

     

    Rod

  • Avatar
    dusanb

    Glad we've understood the feature correctly. 2013! Definitely not 2014...

    • Dusan
  • Avatar
    Blue Ocean Realty

    Hi Dusan,

    Any update on the availability of this feature?  Thanks

  • Avatar
    dusanb

    Hi Ethan,

    Sorry I don't, but probably available during 3Q.

    • Dusan
  • Avatar
    Michael Frederick

    Hi Dusan,

    It's been a while.  Any update on when this functionality will be available?

    Kudos to you and your team for the good work.

    • Mike
  • Avatar
    dusanb

    Hi Michael,

    Sorry I still don't have a date for the release of this feature. Thanks for checking in.

    • Dusan
  • Avatar
    LRFT

    Hi Michael

    I am curious if the above mentioned update is any closer to being released ? 

    This feature is something that I could make great use of as well

    Thanks

    Marc

  • Avatar
    dusanb

    Hi Marc,

    Sorry, still no ETA I'm afraid. We're hoping for 1Q next year. Can we help in the meantime?

    • Dusan
  • Avatar
    Michael Frederick

    Hey Dusan,

    Since you guys aren't finished with this feature yet maybe you could add the ability to filter the look-up list based on the answer to one or more previous questions?  

    That way when a salesperson selects his/her SALESPERSON_ID in question#1, only their customers' CLIENT_IDs are listed in the look-up in question#2, and then only an active (set as code or answer to question#3) JOB_ID for that customer can be selected in question#4.

  • Avatar
    dusanb

    Hi Michael,

    Unfortunately that's part of the same feature (at least the way we're tackling the feature) so it will be available at a similar time. Right now we don't have the underlying schema support for performing the lookup-type function.

    We do completely see the value in these cascading drop-down lists and it will be coming in a future release.

  • Avatar
    Darrin Valente

    Any update on a release date for this feature?

  • Avatar
    dusanb

    Hi Darrin,

    The planned release date is during 2Q this year. I know that's a while out, but finally we have something more or less certain regarding timeframes.

    • Dusan

     

     

  • Avatar
    Vern

    Dusan,

    Any update on this feature? We have been asking for this for a long time and waiting patiently. :)

    Vern Butler

  • Avatar
    Blue Ocean Realty

    This feature is very important to our plans for expanding the use of Device Magic...
    Thank you. Ethan

  • Avatar
    dusanb

    Vern, Ethan,

    Thanks for your comments and patience. The feature is currently under development (we've expanded the scope slightly to include other types of reference data, e.g. PDF documents, images, etc, as well as the original tabular data). It just made sense to implement this thoroughly all at once.

    Current timelines indicate a end 3Q release date for iOS, Android and of course changes to the web app and designer.

    Are you both on our beta program list?

    Regards,

  • Avatar
    Chris Fairfield

    Hi there. Is the look-up feature coming closer any time soon? I am currently testing the service, and if it is not available soon, I need to move to another provider. Thank you for the update.

    It looks to be under development for the past few years. :-?

  • Avatar
    dusanb

    Hi Chris,

    Are you wanting this on iOS or Android? We've actually already completely the feature on iOS and Android is underway.

    I'll try and post a video or some screenshots so you can get a feel for things. Are you on our beta list?

    Yes, we have been talking about the feature for quite a while :) We just had a lot of other things blocking us from starting the implementation.

    Regards,

  • Avatar
    Vern

    Dusan,

    I am on the beta list and I use IOS devices. Are you saying that the database feature is available for me to test?

    Vern

  • Avatar
    Chris Fairfield

    Hi Dusan--

    Thanks for the prompty reply. I'm glad to see these do not go stale. That is the trait of a good software vendor. I'm pretty impressed thus far.

    It will be for Android. I would be happy to see the screenshots and such when you get time.

    Also, I am not part of it, that I'm aware of. Please add me to your beta list.

  • Avatar
    Blue Ocean Realty

    Please add me to the beta list as well. We really need this feature as well.

  • Avatar
    dusanb

    Vern, Chris, Ethan,

    Thanks for your comments and continued interest. No, we haven't made the feature available to our beta testers just yet, but they will be the first external users to test it out.

    Would you mind signing up at http://eepurl.com/Udhyf to join the beta list?

    I'm hoping we can post a video (iOS) here shortly.

    Thanks!

  • Avatar
    Waterstream

    Just testing this software at the moment. I can feel your users pain with all the promises. Is this live to test now?

  • Avatar
    RSI

    Is the LOOKUP feature available for android yet? If not do you have any idea on a timeframe? Really looking forward to this feature!

  • Avatar
    dusanb

    Hey everyone,

    This feature is now available on both our Android and iOS apps. Trial and paid users will have access to the feature too.

    If you wanted to test this but are not currently in a trial, please open a support ticket mentioning RESOURCES in the subject line and we'll reactivate a trial so you can test.

    Thank you for your patience and understanding.

    We are continuing to enhance the capabilities of LOOKUP and our Resources feature in general, so please stay posted.

  • Avatar
    Dimension Data Singapore

    Hi Dusan,

    Found this thread while we're enhancing the use of this service in my company.  I was trying out the LOOKUP function, and i couldn't find the way to filter the Select Options based on some database.  This feature was pointed out by Michael Frederick as below:

    I've tried Calculated Question as well, but this doesn't allow me to select from multiple options.

    ========================================================

    Since you guys aren't finished with this feature yet maybe you could add the ability to filter the look-up list based on the answer to one or more previous questions?  

    That way when a salesperson selects his/her SALESPERSON_ID in question#1, only their customers' CLIENT_IDs are listed in the look-up in question#2, and then only an active (set as code or answer to question#3) JOB_ID for that customer can be selected in question#4.

    ========================================================

  • Avatar
    mikew

    Hey,

    Thanks for the feedback.

    Filterable select lists, initially based on another answer, but ultimately from multiple criteria is definitely on our roadmap.

    We've got the initial parts of it working in the mobile apps internally, we still have some way to go to get it into the forms designer, and available for general use, but we hope to get it done soon.

    Mike

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