Create your own Android mobile app with signature capture in 5 minutes

By Chris Morisette on March 26, 2014

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

Canvas allows for you to easily create your own mobile app for Android, iOS, Windows Mobile and BlackBerry.  Today, I wanted to walk through a quick and simple example of how to do this in 5 minutes. This app will allow you to capture a signature. Below, you can see what the result looks like on Android.  We already have over 13,000 pre-built data collection applications in our Canvas Application Store.  Each of these can be customized, but in this article we are focusing on how to create one from scratch.

The goal of this article will be to walk through signing up for Canvas, building a simple mobile app which captures some simple information (first name and last name) and a signature, fill out the app on an Android and view the results.

Step 1 - Sign up for Canvas

If you aren't already a Canvas customer, sign up for a 30 day free trial of Canvas.

Step 2 - Install Canvas

Once you sign up for Canvas you should receive an e-mail or text message with a download link for your device.  If you didn't get the email or text message, you can always open the browser on your Android or other device. Go to http://www.gocanvas.com/m to download Canvas.

Step 3 - Login to the Canvas website using your desktop computer

Login to the Canvas website with your new login on your desktop computer to begin building your signature capture mobile app.

Step 4 - Build your Canvas signature capture application

On the 'My Apps' tab in the Canvas website, click 'New App'.  Below, you'll see the button to click inside the red box: 

create your own app

Enter a name for the new app, lets call it "Sample Signature Capture" and leave description blank.  Click 'Save and launch Designer'.

In the app builder, you will be prompted for a screen name, enter 'Basic Info'.  The screenshot below shows what it should look like:

Drag a 'Text box' from the right hand palette.  In the popup for the text box, enter 'First Name'. Drag another 'Text Box' control from the right hand palette. In the popup for the text input, enter 'Last Name'. You can see an example of editing a 'Text Box' in the following screenshot.

We need to add another screen, which will contain the signature control.  Click the 'Add Screen' button on the top of the Canvas app builder.  In the prompt for the screen name, enter 'Signature'.

Drag a 'Signature' control from the right hand palette.  In the popup for the text input, enter 'Please sign your name'.  The outline of your 'Sample Signature Capture' Canvas mobile application should look like the below screenshot.

Step 5 - Save and publish your Canvas signature capture application

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 6 - Start Canvas on your Android and login

Start Canvas on your Android and login using your e-mail and password that you registered with.

Step 7 - Fill out the 'Sample Signature Capture' app

Fill out the 'Sample Signature Capture' application and once done, click 'Yes' to upload your submission.

Step 8 - View your data online

If you logged out of the Canvas website, login again and click on the 'Submissions' tab.  You will find the data you just filled out on your Android.  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.

Wrap Up

Hopefully the above example demonstrated how easy it is to go paperless with Canvas.  All of the applications created with Canvas work across all of the devices we support. These include Android, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, iPhone and iPad. You can get rid of filing and data entry and save your business time and money. 

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