Tablet PC App

We have a database application built for a service company using the web. Programming is in php, MySQL database. The app lets customers (or office staff) schedule appts on-line & generates daily schedules (on paper) for techs to make their service routes. Performs other functions like letting customer pay bills on-line, etc.

We want to provide techs with a tablet style computer that they can take with them. We want to download to the tablet each day the daily schedule with driving directions (as calculated on the web server using Google Maps). The tech will make service calls, then will use a parts database on the tablet (downloaded from the web server), indicate which parts are used on each job. The tech will enter labor hours spent on each job. The tech may take credit card payments from the customer. Finally, the tech may take photos (using the tablet) of circumstances of a specific job. The tech might also enter free-form text to annotate job circumstances.

At the end of the day, at the office, the tech will upload the results (parts used, hours per job, photos & payments made) to the web server.

The ideal circumstance would be to use php & mySql as the software on the tablet, using the tablet as a web server during the daytime (localhost), then when connected to the internet, upload the appropriate info from the tablet database to the web server.

We are looking for the tablet best suited for these requirements.

Which one would be best suited for these needs?

Richard KortsBusiness Owner / Chief DeveloperAsked:
Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

Jason C. LevineDon't talk to me.Commented:
It's not so much "which tablet" as "which developers do you have access to?"

What you describe can be built for either platform.  You could actually use something like Adobe Flex and build a cross-platform application.  There won't be a built-in web server and database, that's too tough but what you can do is make the online database available as JSON formatted data and both tablets can suck that feed in and create web-like pages, searches, and interfaces.  We're in the processes of building a cross-platform App now that gets all of it's data from a WordPress site which makes JSON feeds available through a plugin...

So really, don't let the hardware be the deciding factor.  Find developers and then match the hardware to the experise.
Richard KortsBusiness Owner / Chief DeveloperAuthor Commented:
To jason1178:

I am a one person company, If I use a technology I am not familiar with I will have to outsource the development & it becomes less attractive financially to me.

The customer (like a lot of people) is enamored by the iPad, but I suspect development there will be hard unless there is already a service tech "app" for that at the Apple App store, I haven't looked. I suspect even if there is, it will not be an exact match for our needs.
Jason C. LevineDon't talk to me.Commented:
>> unless there is already a service tech "app" for that at the Apple App store, I haven't looked.

Not something that meets all of the needs above.  

>> I suspect even if there is, it will not be an exact match for our needs.

Correct.  There are "database" apps that sync to the cloud and mapping apps and payment apps but there is not one app to rule them all.


Sorry, just googled for gollum app and the internet comes to the rescue again.

So you are left to either working with a slurry of unrelated apps to do this or trying to get close with a few apps in conjunction to do it or grabbing Flex and a good book on it and start learning.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
Richard KortsBusiness Owner / Chief DeveloperAuthor Commented:
To jason178

I guess you are suggesting I learn Flex & do the App in that?

I gather (from Adobe) that Flex works on Android & iOS, is that correct?

So if I use Flex, it will be workable on an iPad, and iPhone & any Android based device?


Jason C. LevineDon't talk to me.Commented:
You create the app in Flex and then Flex has the ability to publish it as iOS and Android packages which can be sent on to the respective Apps Stores for approval and listing or if you are using the devices in enterprise config mode, you can install them locally.

But it's a process to learn this stuff:
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.