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How to create app that will store data to be exported to Excel

Posted on 2013-06-04
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Last Modified: 2013-06-06
Hi all.

We want to be able to have our field agents use some kind of "app" that they would have on their phones or iPads. They work offsite. They would need to choose data from 3 drop down boxes, we would then need to get that data and import it into an Excel spreadsheet we use for forecasting.

Any idea how we could do this?

Thank you in advance.
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Question by:Sim1980
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Expert Comment

by:Rob Jurd, EE MVE
ID: 39224143
Would they have constant internet access on these devices?  
If so it would be easy enough to have a mobile / tablet friendly website.  Your website can take these inputs and put them in a database or excel spreadsheet.

If not, you'd need to look at developing your own app that can sync the data when they're back online.  Not as hard as it sounds as you can develop this as a webpage and use a converter such as http://phonegap.com/ to create an app for that devices platform.  For Apple (iOS) you'll need a mac at some point to digitally sign the app and also submit it to Apple.
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by:Sim1980
ID: 39224230
Hi tagit. Thank you for the reply.

Yes they would have constant access to the internet.

My confusion is where will the website keep the inputs, in the hosted web server? If so, would I need to write some vba in Excel to pull the data from this web server table?
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by:Rob Jurd, EE MVE
ID: 39224318
You can put the inputs anywhere, I suggest a database on your hosted web server.
You can then link your spreadsheet to this data easily and without vba
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Rob Jurd, EE MVE earned 500 total points
ID: 39224327
I would do it by setting up an ODBC data source that points to the database on your web server.
You would also need a simple server script such as asp or php to handle the inputs and insert them into your database.
Not sure on the environment of your app but would your users need a login given the site would be publicly available?
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Author Comment

by:Sim1980
ID: 39224346
We have a web host package that is Linux, so the table is mySQL. That being said I guess we'll use php.

Yes they will need a login. Would that mean the first page they see would be a login page and if successful then go to the data entry form. Right?
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by:Rob Jurd, EE MVE
ID: 39224486
Sounds like a good setup with php etc.
That's right about the login, you can use sessions with php.
Need help with any of this?
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Author Comment

by:Sim1980
ID: 39225162
Thanks tagit!

But I think I should post that as another question, to be fair.

The question I should ask is how to do sessions in php?
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Expert Comment

by:Rob Jurd, EE MVE
ID: 39225487
No problem
As for the sessions, You'd be better off searching experts exchange, I guarantee its been answered before, maybe even an article written on it. :-)
You can also find great help, tutorials and examples at php.net
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