Build A BlackBerry Data Collection App In 5 minutes

By Chris Morisette on April 29, 2014

Editor's Note: this post was originally published in December 2010. We've updated the post for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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 how it runs on a BlackBerry device. 

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

Step 1 - Find The Form To Convert

The form we're converting is a simple safety inspection form that was the first result found using Google.  You can see a copy here.  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 app the same as the paper based form - 'Laboratory & Shop Inspection Checklist'. Click Save and Launch App Builder to start building the mobile app.

In the app builder you'll be prompted for a name for the first screen - call it 'General Information'. 

Next add the first field by dragging a Text Box 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. The outline of our safety inspection app will look like this 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. Don't have Canvas installed on your BlackBerry? 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 this showed you how easy it is with Canvas to go paperless. All of the apps created with Canvas work across all of the devices we support, which include Android, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, and iOS. With Canvas mobile apps, do business your way. 

Do You Want to Save Time and Money? 

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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