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Author Topic: Familab App  (Read 8493 times)

tetsuharu

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Familab App
« on: June 02, 2013, 05:56:55 AM »
We don't have a project journal for this yet, and Conner and me made some good headway on it today, so here goes.


In a 4-hour sprint many months ago, I churned out an Android application for FamiLab using Phonegap (produced and maintained by my pet consulting company LevelsetLabs).


Conner badgered me for months to let him rebuild it natively, so I gave him access to the code and authorization to the Google Play marketplace.


He abandoned my code entirely, and created a wonderfully fluid tabbed interface that swipes and slides and is awesome.


The current version is available here:
http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.familab.app


It has: A list of collaboration outlinks, a listing of events (embedded google calendar), and full-screened draggable famduino image






What we worked on tonight:
http://famitracker.herokuapp.com/unique_items


This is a recreation of Lance's stuffdb, pared into the 'famitracker' app that I made to help with paypal accounting. Technically, every lab member should already have an account on this system, because it's based on our paypal transactions and Caleb Beck and I spent a night entering all of the membership forms in as well.


The /unique_items route has a mobile-friendly list of Items in FamiLab. My original goal was to make a FUID system, for 'Familab Unique ID', comparable to the GUID system used elsewhere. We can print out a few thousand sequential barcodes and qr codes and made NFC chips if anybody wants to, then use the app to scan your FUID tag and tag an item in the lab to give it more metadata. Later, people can scan the tag using the Familab app and get more metadata about that item.


The current use of it is to give our machinery a minimal Ticketing system and digital Logbook, and display howtos/tutorials, contacts, and caveats for using the machine.


This will be in the next release of the familab app, so be sure to set automatic-updates when installing the Familab App!  ;D

bethjaneway

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Re: Familab App
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2013, 09:45:23 AM »
Wow. Just.. wow. What a great solution to the 'stuff' problem. It enables independent work, but it also enables collaboration with the contact person list. 
Note: To improve mood, administer chocolate.

tetsuharu

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Re: Familab App
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2013, 11:36:03 AM »
I do admit it's a rehashing of Lance's StuffDB effort, and I do sincerely apologize to him that I'm not comfortable enough in python web frameworks to continue that project. I was able to get a lot done in short time, so I'm pleased with this effort.

tetsuharu

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Re: Familab App
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2013, 12:13:32 AM »
Just got QR code scanning to work! And made like 400 QR code stickers!

tetsuharu

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Re: Familab App
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2013, 05:54:31 AM »
http://famitracker.herokuapp.com/unique_items/17

complete with a tutorial, a caveat, and a ticket :p

digitalman2112

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Re: Familab App
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2013, 07:14:15 AM »
I created one - http://famitracker.herokuapp.com/unique_items/19

Did I use it as intended?

(I'll need to figure out the sticker part on Tuesday night...)

Some notes from my usage of the app:

1) Nicely done :)
2) For newbs like me, might be good to have the multiple per FUID entities (logs, caveats) state that on their create page so people realize to only add ONE thing there, and they can add more.
3) Editing contacts, logs, and caveats is required (assuming you just haven't added that yet...)
4) Linking / Displaying YouTube (or other) videos would be awesome.
5) You said ANYTHING can be used for FUIDs, I had spaces, etc - that still OK?
6) Left Justifying tickets would make them easier to read.

Future ideas:
1) Create a forum on SMF, then have the app auto-post changes there so that people who don't go to the app are made aware of changes when they search for new posts on SMF.
2) Same logic, but facebook / google+ group, etc.

tetsuharu

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Re: Familab App
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2013, 07:32:43 AM »
:D I was excited to see a new item on the top of the list. They are ordered by the last updated date, so whatever the latest changed object was is the top of the list.

A FUID is a string between 1 and 255 characters that can be put into a computer-readable identifier like a QR code or NFC tag. You can make an QR code with the FUID you entered, or replace it in the app with the number of a QR code sticker you pick up. The idea here was that one reason StuffDB didn't take off was that we had to print out QR code stickers to attach to things after making them, this way if you want to add something to the database you can just scan a tag and slap it on. I had thought about the case of existing objects that don't have QR codes, and we may add a QR code scanner intent for that view as well.

RE Youtube, when making a Howto/Tutorial you can choose to -either- enter a tutorial with text (this will be a larger feature later, with markdown formatting and powerpoint-esque presentations for the kiosks) OR a URL, and if that URL is a youtube URL your android device should open it in youtube.

I like the social media tie-in ideas, ESPECIALLY for images :D. My favorite combination of features so far is using 4.2's speech recognition to enter long detailed descriptions I probably wouldn't bother adding manually.

This is the same application as the paypal tracker, so we have user accounts. I would like to get sign-in working soon, and associate more things to users.



The current styling is nothing incredible and if anyone has design skills and wants to help us with the mobile interface, come talk to us about it :)  http://famitracker.herokuapp.com/unique_items/12

(oo, a link shortener would be awesome)



I want people to be free to add FUIDs to anything and everything they want to. Tag suggestions and curated tags will make the interface more interesting. I suppose I should expose an API as well so people can make little RPi/arduino dataloggers for the different areas.

digitalman2112

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Re: Familab App
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2013, 07:48:15 AM »
Was there a reason to not use URL QR codes?

If you have scanning within your app, you can trim off the part you need, but then people without the app can still scan and get to the website without the app.

(Thinking of iphone users or guests at an open house scanning the QR codes, and not getting anything...whereas with URLs, they'd get to the mobile app, and we could encourage them to download the native app)


tetsuharu

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Re: Familab App
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2013, 09:30:14 AM »
there are lots of reasons, but we did originally struggle with the idea of making url QR tags.

1. it's an encouragement to get people to use the app.
2. URL tags are one of the "simple solutions" that may have lead StuffDB to not find any long-term users, and we want to avoid making the same mistake
3. a URL would also tie each tag forever to a particular hosting environment, which is currently a temporary heroku account
4. the app wont launch if you scan a URL QR tag, it will launch a web browser. unless we specified it to launch the familab android app, in which case it would still be useless to ios users.
5. there is no standard ubiquitous QR code scanner that everyone has pre-installed on their android device, and if they have to install an app to use our system I'd rather it be the FamiLAB App :)
6. it reduces the complexity and maintenance of the tags to representing just a unique identifier value
7. Conner really wants to get as far away from WebViews and mobile-web as possible :p


For NFC tags, however, I think we will be using something that directly launches the familab app in a URI fashion. But, IOS doesnt have any plans to support nfc, heh. We are really just hoping Pat whips up an ios app for us
« Last Edit: June 03, 2013, 09:33:30 AM by tetsuharu »

digitalman2112

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Re: Familab App
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2013, 09:41:05 AM »
Cool, I figured you had good reasons, thx for indulging my curiosity :)


P47

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Re: Familab App
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2013, 10:27:08 AM »
Cool work guys. I'm so on board with working on the iOS side of things. As I'm running blind here, could someone at open house show me what the FamiAPP looks like one one of them Android phones :-)

willasaywhat

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Re: Familab App
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2013, 04:19:27 PM »
Shiny. Me likey. Major props for doing this.

tetsuharu

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Re: Familab App
« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2013, 06:30:26 PM »
If anybody wants some work-experience with building a custom Search Engine backend and implementation or Recommendation Engine (like amazon 'suggested items'), now would be the time to join the project. Lots of complicated stuff going on in the backend here.

Goal:
- Recommendation/Suggestion Engine for items
- Cluster items

Tech involved (for now):
- Solr
- sunspot-solr
- carrot2 ?

This is a self-hosted solr server, not a WebSolr hosted server, so there is experience to be had setting up and maintaining Solr servers. As I understand it, this skill is highly valued in the various tech hubs of our country.

tetsuharu

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Re: Familab App
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2013, 10:19:34 AM »
Added an Areas functionality, populated it with a few default areas. There' no link to add new areas in the mobile app, but you can set new items to the area.

Simply7

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Re: Familab App
« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2013, 06:57:16 PM »
Tetsu, what if we had a way to feed station function status directly to the app?

I was thinking of a small lighted panel with a switch, something simple that could be used to update the status of any device at the lab (green/yellow/red). Anyone in the lab would have a visual indicator of device condition, and anyone using the app would know ss well.
I spoke with Pocky and he likes the idea. He is willing to work with me on the micro controller communication piece.