Build A BlackBerry Data Collection App In 5 minutes

By Chris Morisette on December 6, 2010

We are always proud of how easy it is to create data collection applications with Canvas that help our customers go green, reduce errors in their daily processes, save time and save money.  All of the data collection mobile applications built using Canvas run on Android, Windows Mobile and BlackBerry - but this article walks through how to build a mobile app in five minutes and demonstrates it running on a BlackBerry device. 

In this example, we walk through taking a paper based safety inspection form found using Google and convert it into a Canvas application.

Step 1 - Find The Form To Convert

The form being converted in this example, is a simple safety inspection form that was the first result found using Google.  A copy has been hosted on our servers at: http://www.gocanvas.com/content/misc/labshop-12052010.pdf.  To keep things short, we are only going to convert a portion of the form, but the entire form could easily be converted.

Step 2 - Log Into -or- Sign Up For Canvas

If you already have an account with Canvas, sign in at www.gocanvas.com using your computer.  If you don't have a Canvas account, sign up at www.gocanvas.com/signup.

Step 3 - Build Your 'Safety Inspection App' Using Canvas

In the 'My Apps' tab in the Canvas website, click 'New App'.  See the screenshot below for the highlighted button to click:

Name the application the same as the paper based form - 'Laboratory & Shop Inspection Checklist' and click 'Save and Launch Designer' to start building the mobile application.

In the App Designer you will be prompted for a name for the first screen - call it 'General Information'. 

Next add the first field by dragging a "Text Box" control into the center screen area from the palette on the right.  This field will be analagous to the first field in the paper based form, so lets make the label 'Building & Room' - exactly as it is on the paper based form.

Since we have walked through creating the first screen and first field, we won't walk through the remaining fields to add to complete this example, but the outline of our safety inspection application will look like the following once completed.

Step 4 - Save And Publish Your App

At the top of the Canvas app builder, click 'Save' and select 'Save and publish'.  Once the Canvas app builder has finished saving, you will be prompted what users should have access to the new application.  Make sure to check your login and click 'Publish'.

Step 5 - Start Canvas On Your BlackBerry And Log In

Start the Canvas Smart Client on your BlackBerry device and log in.  If you don't have Canvas installed on your BlackBerry, please see our help topic - How To Install The Canvas Smart Client.

Step 6 - Fill Out The Safety Inspection App On Your BlackBerry

Fill out the 'Laboratory & Shop Inspection Checklist' on your BlackBerry and upload your filled out application.

Step 7 - View Your Data Online

If you logged out of the Canvas website, log in again and click on the 'Submissions' tab.  You will find the data you just filled out on your BlackBerry .  You can now view it online, download it as a PDF, export it as a CSV/Excel file, or integrate it into a backend system.

A PDF of the example application above can be seen here.

View A Walk Through Video

We have also created a video walk through of this example.

Wrap Up

Hopefully the above example demonstrated how easy it is to go paperless with Canvas.  All of the applications created with Canvas will work across all of the devices we support, which include Android, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry with iPhone and iPad under development and coming soon.

Contact us if you have any questions about Canvas.

Comments

Ed
July 27, 2011

Can data be retrieved offline, or do users entering data need to use the web to submit results?  Do they have to enter the data while connected to the web?

Chris Morisette
July 27, 2011

One of the benefits of using Canvas over a web application, is that users do not need to be online at all to use Canvas.  Once they have the Canvas Smart Client installed on their device, it allows them to work offline.

Let us know if you have any other questions,
Thanks,
-Chris

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