ViziApps

ViziApps Expands Intuit QuickBase Support – Now includes Sub-Account Authentication and Query Response Limits

Companies worldwide use QuickBase to create cloud-based business process applications, without doing any coding.

Those businesses often require access privileges to company data at different levels of authorization.These QuickBase apps can run on iPhones, iPads, and Android smartphones and tablets.

For example, a Sales VP may have a higher level of authorization than regional sales people have. While the Sales VP may access sales results in all regions, an individual sales person might have access to sales results only in his/her region. When an end user logs into their QuickBase ViziApps app, their login credentials will automatically determine which data to select depending on their level of authorization.

Here’s how it works. When you register QuickBase as a data source for your ViziApps app, you will see a dialog box like the figure below. Add the field names in your app that will be used for end users to login and access your QuickBase data. Then, when the app runs, your users just login and the data query you designed in ViziApps uses the authorization from their login.

Also, the ViziApps Studio now enables you to specifiy a limit to the number of responses for any data query, since large data sets may have much more data than is needed by a mobile user.

Posted at 2:10 pm

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Global Grid and Mobile Apps Bring Big Data to Small Businesses

Thanks to mobile apps and other technologies that ease access to massive amounts of information, small businesses can reap the highly touted benefits of big data.

A new report commissioned by Intuit predicts that small business owners and consumers will take advantage of emerging trends to leverage large, complex sets of data, dubbed “big data.” No longer the exclusive purview of big business, big data is becoming available to smaller organizations, the study researchers maintain, providing the intelligence they need to make informed business decisions.

The Intuit report focuses on three trends that will affect both small businesses and consumers over the next ten years, as big data continues to proliferate:

  • The New Data Democracy – Data will become a vital raw material, taking on a role comparable to capital and labor. Small businesses will enjoy increased access to huge volumes of information, as well as the tools needed to analyze and employ it the way large enterprises do.
  • Data Empowers Consumers – Consumers will also take advantage of big data. As people are increasingly connected, through the global grid and mobile devices, “data will shape decisions both large and small, inform purchasing decisions and create communities and relationships,” according to the Intuit report.
  • Data Provides Main Street – Access to the types of data once available only to major corporations will empower small businesses. Like their larger counterparts, they will find ways to use big data to run their business more efficiently, attract new customers, and ultimately, drive growth.

Today, using ViziApps, businesses of all sizes can create mobile business apps that access valuable data, whether it’s stored in Google spreadsheets, SQL databases or on websites.  The DIY mobile app development tool enables people with intermediate computing skills to create apps that incorporate the data their users need to work productively, whether they are in offices or on the road. The recently announced ViziApps support for Intuit QuickBase allows QuickBase users to build mobile business apps that access data to support business processes on iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. And like QuickBase, ViziApps requires no coding.

ViziApps Supports QuickBase for Mobile App Data Integration

Now, using the no-coding ViziApps mobile app development tool, enterprise and small business users can easily create QuickBase mobile apps.

Companies worldwide use Intuit QuickBase to create cloud-based business process applications, without doing any coding.  With ViziApps, they can build mobile apps that support the processes vital to their business – for the iPhone and iPad, and Android smartphones and tablets.

ViziApps provides several features for creating QuickBase mobile apps:

  • A drag and drop process for creating QuickBase database operations, using familiar database commands such as select, insert, update and delete. Adding QuickBase database operations to your mobile app takes just minutes.

  • A graphical test for verifying that database commands work properly right in the ViziApps Studio.

  • The  ability to view a hybrid mobile app in preview mode to ensure that it is running correctly before it is published.
  • The ability to see your app design running, with QuickBase access, on a mobile device in seconds, without wires.

Because ViziApps provides a no-coding process for mobile app development, business and IT professionals can quickly and cost effectively use the ViziApps tool to build mobile business apps that empower employees, partners, and customers. With the new support for QuickBase, ViziApps provides organizations of all sizes the mobile app data integration their users need to perform effectively virtually anywhere and anytime.

Incorporate Google Spreadsheet Data in Your Mobile Business App

Check out the latest ViziApps video for step-by-step instructions on how to set up, access, and manage Google spreadsheet data as an easy to use a database when you design and build a mobile business app. Using ViziApps, you have the advantage of being able to connect your app to a full-fledged database across the Internet while avoiding many of the hassles of managing a dedicated database system.  You can follow the instructions the video provides when building iPhone, iPad, and Android apps.

 

In the 4-minute video, you will see how to use the ViziApps drag and drop tool to create a database for your mobile business app, then build and test a query that enables your app to interact with that database. The video demonstrates a step-by-step approach for integrating Google spreadsheet data using Google Docs. Alternatively, you could follow the same approach using Google Apps for Business to integrate Google spreadsheet data in your app.

For guidance on using other ViziApps’ capabilities to create data-rich mobile business apps, see the full portfolio of ViziApps tutorial videos here. They cover topics such as creating your mobile business app layout; designing tables; using the camera, picker, and GPS field; and adding JavaScript to further enhance your app.

 

IT’s Move to Mobile Worldwide Means Greater Need for Mobile Apps

Mobile business apps will assume a larger role in the enterprise, as the IT industry relies more than ever on mobile devices, cloud services and other technologies.

In a new report, IDC Predictions 2013: Competing on the 3rd Platform, International Data Corporation predicts that the coming year will witness the IT industry’s accelerated move to “the 3rd platform” – built on mobile computing and cloud services, as well as social networking and big data analytics.

“The IT industry as a whole is moving toward the mobile/social/cloud/big data world of the 3rd Platform much more quickly than many realize: from 2013 through 2020, these technologies will drive around 90% of all the growth in the IT market,” said Frank Gens, Senior Vice President and Chief Analyst at IDC. “Companies that are not putting 80% or more of their competitive energy into this new market will be trapped in the legacy portion of the market, growing even slower than global GDP.”

In 2013, IDC expects IT spending to surpass $2.1 trillion, up 5.7% from 2012, with smart mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, and eReaders) experiencing nearly 20% growth. “Mini tablets” will enjoy wide acceptance during that period, IDC predicts, and will represent as much as 60% of the 170 million tablets expected to be shipped.  Other analyst firms also see a bright future for tablets, forecasting that global sales of those devices will span from $49 billion to more than $77 billion in 2015.

(For a concise overview of tablets in the enterprise, see James Kendrick’s ZDNet article, which points out the benefits and challenges those mobile devices present for IT.)

For all the different mobile devices that will be deployed for business use in the coming months and years, enterprises will require well-crafted, data-rich mobile business apps. The most effective mobile apps will afford enterprise users access to the data they need to work effectively wherever they are. DIY mobile app development tools like ViziApps, which streamline the app building process and hold down mobile app costs, will help enterprises build the apps they need. The no coding data management capabilities of ViziApps make it especially well-suited for this business need. Any company planning for the transition to the 3rd Platform needs to include a plan for providing employees, customers, partners and others with mobile business apps that give them easy access to information wherever and whenever they perform their jobs.

Snap To It! How ViziApps Supports Mobile App Screen Layout

By Neil Perlin, Hyper/Word Services (www.hyperword.com)

One of the hardest parts of creating mobile apps is to align all the screen objects – labels, text entry boxes, and so on. Aligning the bottom of a field label with the bottom of the corresponding text entry box, for example, can be difficult to do. Checking the result by eye or by holding a ruler up to the screen sort of works but is inefficient. ViziApps offers two ways to address this problem, a built-in alignment tool and the ability to use an external alignment grid. This post describes both methods.

The Built-In Snap to Grid


Selecting this button in the ViziApps Studio makes screen objects automatically align themselves on predefined grid lines. (Using this feature is like using a sheet of graph paper that can automatically move your drawings to specific grid lines.) Say, for example, that you insert a label and move it to a position with X and Y coordinates 14 and 74, as shown below.

You set the grid spacing to 10 pixels, by clicking the icon on the right side of the Snap to Grid button as shown below.

That label’s X and Y coordinates now default to 10-pixel positions, such as 20 and 70. By doing this, you are limited to moving the label in 10-pixel units.

This feature not only lets you put objects precisely where you want them but also helps align multiple objects. No more tedious pixel-by-pixel movement to align two labels. Just position the first label at an X coordinate of 20, for example, then move the second label until its X coordinate also snaps to 20, as shown below.

The External Alignment Grid

The Snap to Grid feature is very useful, but there are two design considerations to keep in mind.

  • You can’t see the grid position. You have to assume that the objects are moving where you want them. They are, but you may want to see what’s going on.
  • The grid positions are absolute, but you may want to use them as guides. For example, you may want to customize where the descenders of letters like “y” touch the grid baseline rather than use the predefined snap-to grid settings.

To address this, you can create a graphic the size of the canvas and draw your grid on the graphic, as shown in the example below.

This graphic is easy to use – make it the app’s background image during development, then replace it with the real background image once you finish placing all your screen objects. (Thanks to Dan K, in ViziApps Support, for providing this graphic.)

Either approach works fine. Just don’t use both on the same mobile app development project or you may find that the objects you so carefully aligned using the visual grid suddenly shift position if you turn on the Snap to Grid option.

Features like the alignment tools make mobile app development much simpler and more efficient than coding by hand. You’ll find other helpful features in the ViziApps Studio, and there are more features for building mobile apps in the works.

How to Incorporate Camera and GPS Features in Your Mobile App

The camera and GPS are two features of mobile devices that users particularly enjoy using. To help businesses use ViziApps to create hybrid mobile apps with those features, we have a new a tutorial video.

Watch this video to allow users to take pictures within the app you’re creating with ViziApps. The video also demonstrates how to easily save photos for use in a mobile business app

In addition to the camera, the GPS is another powerful function that many app creators want to make available to their users. The video shows how to insert a GPS field anywhere in an app and use the latitude and longitude variables to load a map. It also explains how to save location data to a web data source for address detection or distance calculations. The GPS field is particularly useful for displaying a list of nearby stores or other businesses, for example, or to store a user’s location for other purposes.

For help using other ViziApps features to create mobile apps, check out the full set of tutorial videos here.

Posted at 3:07 pm

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Enterprise App Stores For Managing and Deploying Mobile Apps

As the use of mobile apps in the enterprise grows, companies are implementing – or considering implementing – their own enterprise app stores. By adapting the highly successful app store model, companies can experience many benefits, including:

  • A convenient way to make approved corporate mobile apps and upgrades available to employees, partners and others
  • The ability to control mobile device users’ access to confidential corporate data
  • The ability to manage the types of apps employees use for business

Marco Nielsen, VP, Services at Enterprise Mobile, sees the growing use of corporate mobile apps driving the need to implement both mobile device management and mobile app management (MDM and MAM) on a large scale. Through professional and outsourcing services, Enterprise Mobile helps companies deploy and manage mobility initiatives across mobility platforms. Through work with global businesses, Nielsen sees enterprise app stores playing a significant role in how companies are managing both mobile devices and apps.

”Many of our global customers rely on an enterprise app store to rapidly deploy apps to iPads and other mobile devices,” Nielsen reports. “Their management solutions allow for deploying some apps worldwide but limit others to use in specific countries. That way, through carefully planned deployments, companies ensure that the mobile apps they have approved for use on their tablets and smartphones are used to their best advantage.”

Today it’s estimated that only 10 percent of enterprises have their own app stores, but that number is expected to jump.  At last year’s Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president at Gartner and global head of research, predicted that “by 2014, private app stores will be deployed by 60 percent of IT organizations.”

And in a recent article in Voice and Data, Gartner Research Vice President Brian Prentice wrote: “The dynamics that drive public app stores are consistent with those that will ultimately drive private app stores in the enterprises.” He recommends that enterprises provide access to more than their own mobile apps in their app stores. He also suggests including third-party apps, as well providing links to public app stores and enterprise content.

Wired magazine blogger Scott Schwarzhoff suggests that an enterprise app store can provide a wide range of services. In a post titled “How IT Can Better Equip the Mobile Workforce,” he writes that an enterprise app store can be a “unified store for all apps and data, app availability based on role, app request workflows, self-service subscriptions, native app delivery for mobile devices in use, and ‘follow-me’ access to information across devices.”

Managing mobile apps for the enterprise is challenging.  An enterprise app store provides a proven means of controlling and managing them for a medium-sized business or a large global enterprise.

Posted at 3:27 pm

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By 2017, 2.4B Workers Will Use Smartphones

Forecasts on the use of smartphones in the enterprise highlight the need for mobile business apps – to meet current and future demand.

In 2013, smartphones will comprise 54% of all global cellphone shipments, according to the IHS iSuppli Wireless Communications market tracker report. That will mark a significant milestone: for the first time smartphones will account for more than half of cellphone shipments worldwide. And that milestone will be reached two years earlier than was previously estimated.

The growth of smartphone shipments can be attributed to several trends in the market over the past year. Specifically, IHS iSuppli reports, smartphones have become increasingly affordable while the availability of a wider range of models has provided consumers greater choice. In Asia-Pacific, those trends have translated into growing sales of low-end smartphones, while in the U.S. and Europe sales of midrange and high-end smartphones have jumped.

The popularity of smartphones has, and will continue to have, repercussions in the enterprise, where employees have enthusiastically adopted mobile technology.  ABI Research, for example, predicts that smartphones will continue to be important to the global workforce, and that by 2017, 2.4 billion employees worldwide will use those devices for work. That type of growth, says ABI Research Enterprise Practice Director Dan Shey, underscores the need to provide all employees with tools, apps and services they can access and use with their smartphones.

As reported in an earlier ViziApps blog post, most companies are supporting BYOD in some form, and according to the results of an AppCentral report, employers are making one or more custom mobile apps available to their workforces. In addition, non-employees, such as partners and contractors, are also being supplied with mobile apps tailored to a particular business need.

Today it’s no longer necessary to single out “mobile” employees. Smartphone users in all areas of the enterprise can now be considered mobile since they carry considerable computing power wherever they go. That’s why all employees could benefit from mobile business apps. They need a full range of mobile business apps to meet their needs – from simple productivity tools to more complex apps that can access and deliver critical business data. Those are the types of mobile apps our customers are creating with ViziApps.

Online Guide Helps ViziApps Users Build Data Rich Mobile Apps

ViziApps provides app creators with a major advantage – the ability to quickly produce data-rich mobile business apps without coding.

And now, with an online guide available in the ViziApps Studio, app makers have a handy reference to help them build apps using Google Docs spreadsheets for access to a wide range of data, including text, images, and maps.  The searchable documentation speeds development of robust data-rich apps for the iPhone and iPad and Android smartphones and tablets.

Designing and building a mobile business app with ViziApps is free. If you haven’t already, sign up for a ViziApps account here.

To check out the data management documentation, simply look for this button in the manage data catalog and click it:

ViziApps users tell us that delivering their business data into the hands of mobile users is driving new revenue and attracting new customers for their business. Providing mobile access to business data is what sets their apps apart from their competitors.

To make the most of your business data in your next mobile app, take a look at the new data management documentation in the ViziApps Studio. There you will learn how to present and manage data in a way that gives your app users the information they need – wherever they are.

Topics covered by the data management guide include:

  • Introduction to database commands
  • Updating and deleting data
  • Incorporating images and maps
  • Using Google Docs spreadsheets
  • Data Management best practices

This is just a sampling of the topics provided to help app creators select, create, and efficiently manage data for use in their mobile business apps. Check it out by clicking the “Spreadsheet User Guide” on the Manage Data page in your free ViziApps Studio account.

 

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