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MIS Systems Thread, Tablet Apps/Browser Views in Technical; Prompted by 2 conversations: on on FB with @ john and another with a customer, I wanted to ask some ...
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    GREED's Avatar
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    Tablet Apps/Browser Views

    Prompted by 2 conversations: on on FB with @john and another with a customer, I wanted to ask some opinions about accessing your MIS via mobile devices? What do you use: App or browser? Do you like it? What issues do you face, particularly around convenience and ease of use vs limited amount of data available and time between data exchange?

    Once again, this is not a bad-mouth-an-MIS party, generic feelings about technical uses only.

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    matt40k's Avatar
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    Apple are suppose to be moving away from the App idea towards HTML5, still the idea of HTML5 is that it can cache so the line between app and web will be blurred.

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    I access in a roundabout way using the 2X and Logmein Ignition apps on my iPhone and iPad. As I am effectively using a session on the server or using my desktop remotely the issues are more related to my internet connection, have found it can be very poor on 3G.
    That said it has been very useful when I have been away from school.

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    Quote Originally Posted by number34 View Post
    I access in a roundabout way using the 2X and Logmein Ignition apps on my iPhone and iPad. As I am effectively using a session on the server or using my desktop remotely the issues are more related to my internet connection, have found it can be very poor on 3G.
    That said it has been very useful when I have been away from school.
    Is this your MIS or your server/network as a whole? I used it for a while on an iPad, even over 3G it was ok, it depended on changing graphics (so a live performance monitor was not good!) that affected the stream speed.

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    Graham,

    I am accessing server/network as a whole although when using 2X I am limited to what has been set up. When using Logmein it is just as if I was sitting in front of my desktop PC. Should add that I have licence for Logmein Pro.

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    vikpaw's Avatar
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    LogMeIn free works ok for us, but better on an iPad than iPhone, that's full access to the native application, though is hardly needed. A web based MIS would obviously be much easier to manage / access without that middleware.

    Emerge (dedicated app) works really well and is a robust little program, the only time it's slow is when it needs to sync but the data is then cached and easily available. Lets you do registers and lookup info, plus has the offline option.

    I suppose, if the MIS is web based to start, rather than need an app you just need a web app / mobile version that lets you do a cut down set of tasks. Using it for keeping up to date on things would also be very useful. E.g. a behaviour alert prompt to tutor / head of year. Much like a Doctor's pager.

    I'd be very happy to have lots of app pages that replicated various tasks from the MIS, if some data exchange was necessary, then that would be acceptable for the convenience: registers, behaviour, medical events, basic markbook on the editing side; plus lookup of all of those plus timetable and contact info on the view side. I'd prefer an app / simple interface to a webpage where you're going to have a lot more functions / options which would complicate the UI on a phone.

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    GREED's Avatar
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    I was having a conversation with my dad of all people yesterday about tablets and the web: The web is just not designed for touch screens, not yet anyway. A few years maybe, but it is still revolving around a mouse.

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    Actually for display tablets are brilliant. I've just come back from holiday and took my phone, laptop and tablet. A few minor changes to the tablet and I could do most things on them.

    However don't hold your breath waiting for Apple to make the HTML5 experience as good as an app - they are making billions out of the app market and I think that has influenced them over Flash, SilverLight and HTML5 compatibility.

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    vikpaw's Avatar
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    True, but currently along with Google Chrome, an iDevice is one of the few places html 5 works well.

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    GREED's Avatar
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    @PhilNeal totally agree that for display, tablets are great (my dad is buying based on my recomendations!), but for data entry on HTML pages is a little way off, particularly those with big fingers.

    It's funny, I remember a presentation you gave at the end of PSP conference (2009) about the future of tablet and mobile devices, you were completely right!!

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    Applications vs. HTML

    I'd agree with Phil Neal's answer (then again, he is my boss .... ). The technical merits of stateful vs. stateless application models are relevant, but ultimately if one "follows the money", Microsoft and Apple might never made a penny out of the millions they must have poured into open standards compliant browsers on their respective operating systems; they are spending money just to keep up. After al, no-one buys an OS because it has a browser on it - its just an expected feature.

    Meanwhile Apple have made a lot of cash out of a non-browser, but internet enabled application model (app store) and made many people rich and generated an industry out of nothing. Theres nothing "non cloud" about an App just because its not hosted in a browser.

    Buying a smart and easy to use iOS device, or Windows8 laptop and then running a non-native application on it (like SalesForce.Com - Force.com User Interface Demo - YouTube ) through a browser could be a jarring user experience, and makes no money for Microsoft or Apple, and their carefully crafted device is relegated to being a mere portal for someone elses application. Its interesting that many web sites providing consumer services have both a HTML and App version, and I'm guessing that most iOS users will choose the App version. Facebook website or Facebook App on an iPad - no contest (in my opinion). Rumour has it (Mary Jo Foley All about Microsoft Blog RSS | ZDNet ) that Microsoft are about to release Office Apps for iOS, as well as having the Office365 HTML browser offering, so even they might be having the same debates internally that you have raised here.

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    vikpaw's Avatar
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    I heard that about office on iDevice, but also heard it could be some way off. So far this looks like an awesome option, but it's restricted to UK,US,Canadia and only for iPad - CloudOn brings you Microsoft Office(R) on the iPad

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    GREED's Avatar
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    Thanks Philip, not quite the point I was making, where I was talking about the www. as a whole slowly converting to be compatible (ie better) with touch devices. Any app unless REALLY large will not replicate all features of a full blown desktop application, so the alternative is looking at the cloud as a delivery method, where if your application is already web based then you are half way there, and can start making it touch friendly. MS are going great guns with this on their cloud Office apps, and then making it touch friendly will be the next chore... and the apps that Vik mentions is a good step forward.

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    Tablet Apps/Browser Views

    Quote Originally Posted by GREED View Post
    Thanks Philip, not quite the point I was making, where I was talking about the www. as a whole slowly converting to be compatible (ie better) with touch devices. Any app unless REALLY large will not replicate all features of a full blown desktop application, so the alternative is looking at the cloud as a delivery method, where if your application is already web based then you are half way there, and can start making it touch friendly. MS are going great guns with this on their cloud Office apps, and then making it touch friendly will be the next chore... and the apps that Vik mentions is a good step forward.
    Not sure I understand the distinction you are trying to make between browser based and native applications; both need to download to the client (assuming we're talking a multi-tier application architecture in the first place) in one case its JavaScript+HTML+CSS and in the other case ObjectiveC/.net (or other client specific language).

    However I do see that designers of browser based apps can go a long way to making their sites touch-friendly, but I dont think that touch is the primary benefit people get from owning and using tablets; I reckon its portability, instant-on, and design ethic. Having said that, I think the BBC home page on a iPhone looks really nice and fits very well into the form factor and general design, but hate the fact the BBC large form factor home page tries to ape Windows 8 Metro on my iPad; which just looks wierd.

    I see what you are getting at in terms of scale of App solutions, but I suspect its the same with browser based too - its interesting that the Office365 subscription model comes (in some tiers) with a license to download the "full" Office application - so MS aren't really intending to replicate fully the Office experience and depth in a browser, at least at present. Its all very mixed up at the moment :0|

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    GREED's Avatar
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    Yes it is how suppliers will not make different versions of sites and or applications, but rather make one site or application available and useful for both mouse and touch input. I'm not talking now, but rather a few years down the line, but soon there will need to be bluring of the divide between desktop browser use and tablet input use.

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