Object driven doc creation in iOS

Discussion in 'iOS Programming' started by SimesH, Sep 20, 2010.

  1. SimesH macrumors newbie

    Sep 20, 2010
    Is this possible? Before learning to dev iOS I want to be sure the product I am looking for is possible.

    The project is to build an object driven document creation tool which would go something like this;

    The user selects an object from a pallet which is added to a templated word/pages type document. The user can then add additional information to the section he has started. With the appropriate tools/interface I would need the user to be able to take photographs and add these to the document like you can with an iPhone.

    Ultimately the completed document would need to be electronically signed, made write only and be exportable and preferably email-able from a 3G enabled iPad.

    I can't currently reveal the exact project but I can give an example of a similar project;

    Imagine a car rental firm want to inventory a vehicle and its condition. They would begin by choosing the type/class of vehicle from the template, how many doors, type of transmission, fuel type, colour, etc. to create the basis of the document. They would then be able to detail any damage for instance by choosing: Front Door, Scratch and then a free form type box to detail the damage.

    I hope that makes sense. I am looking for a little advice on the complexity of such an app, and in fact if it would be possible before investing time in learning Objective-C.

    Thanks in advance

  2. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    The iPad doesn't have a camera at this time. Maybe by the time your app is ready it will. Or it may not. It's risky to develop software for products that don't exist, and for which you have no privileged information about their future appearance.

    How similar is that example, really?

    Because if I was running a car rental firm, all the cars would have inventory bar codes, and the iPhone or iPad would have a scanner or camera, so none of my employees would have to enter anything from a template. They'd simply scan the bar code, it would retrieve the vehicle characteristics from my inventory database, and then they would proceed with damage checks.

    I don't see why it needs to be a separate document, like Word or Pages. The interaction of data entry (photos, descriptions, etc.) can be done in a web view, and the results posted to a web server (even a private server on an intranet). The server can then produce other documents, such as the signed PDF or RTF or whatever. It's just an inventory control app. It doesn't have to be entirely resident on the iPhone or iPad, and customers probably don't want it to be so, because it means they can't centralize the database of inventoried physical objects.

    So if your described app is really something for inventory assessment, then I don't think it will be practical for customers to use, as described.

    It's not a terrifyingly complex app for a skilled developer.

    As a beginner's first real-world program, it's going to take a long time to get it right.

    For someone with no development skills, it's impossible to say much more, since you didn't describe any of your background, experience, or skills. It depends on how quickly you learn programming, how good a programmer you turn out to be (I've seen smart people fail at it, for various reasons), and how well you master things that aren't iOS resident like the inventory database.
  3. SimesH thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 20, 2010
    Thanks for the reply.

    Firstly the car rental industry is one I was involved in some time and this came to mind when trying to describe the project. In reality it is a totally different industry and different real-world situations. I love the idea of bar-coding but this would not be possible in this project case. Imagine if you like that you would not know what car it was upon commencement of the inventory of the vehicle.

    As far as my experience, it is limited and potentially we may need to outsource development of the project once I am convinced that the iPad is the solution.

  4. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    I have difficulty imagining an inventory system that has no way of uniquely identifying assets. In my experience, there is always some kind of individual identifier, because that's the purpose of inventory systems: to track individual assets. It may be a manufacturer's serial number of some kind, or it may be an "unremovable" stick-on label with an asset ID number, but there's always something. The only time there isn't a unique ID is when the asset is a fungible commodity, like a low-cost electronic chip, resistors, sheet metal, chemicals, etc. Then you just count or weigh the amount, and identify the type.

    Which leads to the question: Is this really an inventory system? Is it coupled to an inventory system of some kind?

    And you still have the problem of iPad not having a camera. Granted, it may not always be that way, but if you intend to target iPad, you have to take product timing into account.

    If you can't be more specific about the project, and you are considering outsourcing development, then you should simply get in touch with an experienced developer, have them agree to an NDA (Non-Disclosuer Agreement), then ask them their opinion on the feasibility of the real project. There's no practical way to evaluate the feasibility of "something like an inventory system". There may be some show-stopping issue that seems easily produceable to you, but a seasoned developer would recognize as being a serious obstacle.
  5. SimesH thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 20, 2010
    Thank you for all of your help, it really is appreciated. Guess I now need to find a developer :)

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