Solved online form that can be saved for offline use

Posted on 2014-07-15
Last Modified: 2014-07-25
We upload data from our in-house SQL database to a website with information used to inspect various plants.  I want my inspector to be able to go to that website prior to visiting the plant and download the inspection ticket with various fields prefilled from the database.  (Example:  Company name, number, contact name, phone number, address, specific plant information he/she needs to know prior to visiting the plant, etc.)  This is easy as long as the inspector has a network connection.  The problem comes in that many plants do not have Wi-Fi connectivity so the inspector needs to be able to download the inspection sheet prior to getting there.  He would then need to SAVE it on his tablet, phone or laptop and then bring the form up while in the plant and offline and fill in the details of his visit (who he saw, how much time he spent, what issues that he might have seen,etc.).  He/she needs to be able to once again save the data with the form so when the inspector gets back to a Wi-Fi connection he can email the form back to our office.

Is there a way to implement a form with data entered from a database, go off-line and enter more information, save it all and then  go back online and email the data?
Question by:janmishkin
    LVL 53

    Expert Comment

    Saving it on the inspector's device is relatively simple, but updating offline is a non-starter. The form is just a carrier of the information. They could bring up the form but any updates would need a place to store them. It might be possible by using local storage, but the retrieval and return to the primary server would have security and reliability issues.

    There is also the issue of having to support many different devices which may require special device specific coding unless you standardize the device the inspectors use.

    If the inspectors have a local server like WAMPserver on their device you could work server to server to transfer data, but smaller devices may not be able to support a server.

    Overall this is a relatively complex project and well beyond the scope of a question that can be answered definitively. You will assign or hire professional resources to work through a design based on formal requirements, at which point you will have some handle on feasibility and cost.


    Author Comment

    We can simplify this a little.  Once the online form has been propagated with the company information, it needs to be saved to the local device only, it does not need to go back to the server.  

    Do you know of a way to open the form online, get the data and then save it to the local device in a text or Word format that can then be edited and saved to the local device while offline?
    LVL 53

    Accepted Solution

    If you really want to simplify it just generate it as a text file and then just send a download link to the client.  then they just click the link and save the file. I would not generate it as a word document unless you can be certain that the users will have word or a word compatible app installed so they can edit it.


    Author Closing Comment

    I think at this time there is no savvy and easy methodology.  This will be what we do for now.  Many thanks  to COBOLdinosaur for your thoughts and help!

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