We’re having a HACKDAY at Conduce Software today. We’re attempting to build a software product from scratch in a single day. You can follow our progress throughout the day here.
So we’ve decided we’re going to do an aviation iPad app. We had discussed over the last week or so about building an app to capture Mandatory Occurence Reports (MORs) and send them to the CAA. This was pretty straight forward and useful as all airlines and operators in theory use the same format document as prescribed by their Nation Aviation Authority. However over the past couple of days we’ve had other thoughts as the MOR has lots of fields. We’ve been thinking about doing a Cabin Defects app instead as everyone needs one of those, cabin crew are starting to get iPads deployed to them and the data requirements are pretty light weight. I had some design ideas this morning whilst shaving and have already commited those to the white board. The guys are working on setting up a development server, so whilst they do that I’m cracking on with the wireframes. (Paul)
I’ve posted an update on Twitter using the #ConduceHackDay hashtag. Follow our progress throughout the day with the #ConduceHackDay hashtag. (Paul)
So we’ve discussed our ideas and have definitely concluded that we are going to a defects app. Please post any ideas, suggestions or requirements in the comments below. (Paul)
We’re using Backpack to organise ourselves today. I’ve created a Backpack page and have added a couple of lists and have started to upload any reference documents we have. (Paul)
I’ve just made our Backpack page publically visible. You can see read-only live updates to it here:
The read-only view of the Backpack page is pretty lame (sorry)
The project name and therefore the likely product name is “DEFEXX”
The virtual development server is set-up, has had SQL installed and is ready to go on Amazon EC2 (Marcin)
Datebase Design – Everyone agrees that we are only going to use 2 digit ATA chapter numbers but need to allow scope to expand to more digits at some point in the future. So the field is created as an nvarchar(11) to allow for 8 charcaters and 3 dashes. However nobody is comfortable with 11 digits in a field so it gets expanded to 16. The database name is “Defexx” and currently has 3 tables: CabinDefect, Account & User. (Paul)
Coffee break finished. Its suddenly all very quiet as everyone is now working on the tasks we set ourselves. Marcin is building the app, Mark is working on the web app and I’m putting together the various design assets. Wayne is doing a couple of support tasks but is chipping in with advice and suggestions and will be getting his hands dirty a bit later. I’ve just created a photo album on our Facebook page here: HackDay Album
Ola has joined the team and is going to build the web services we need to connect the iPad app with the database and therefore the web app.
We need some license free images to use in the app. We need three photos for the iPad homepage, one of a cabin interior, one to represent a queue of completed defects to be sent and one for settings (a spanner or something similar). We have some holding images for now, but if you have some suitable photos that you’d like to be used in our app then please let me know. (Paul)
I’m off to Sainsbury’s for vital sustenance for the team. Requests for doughnuts as it is Fat Thursday in Poland.
We’ve got a working build of the iPad app. Very basic, but it renders the data structure in the form. In other news lunch has arrived (Marcin)
During lunch I’ve selected the icons we’re going to use in the web app. I’m using the lovely Default Icons from http://www.defaulticon.com/
Here’s an enlarged version of the “My User Settings” button. (Paul)
The app is coming along nicely now with the cabin defects form UI, functional design, microcopy and rendering completed. Marcin is working on the code to allow some of the context associated with defect rectification and deferral to work as required. Ola has completed the database access webservice. Next is the XML to send form the iPad to the server. Mark is asking for more icons but otherwise is very quiet which usually is a good sign things are happening as planned.
XML is now being successfully passed from the iPad to the server. Minor problems with incorrect time format but easily fixed (Marcin)
Now working on the iPad app homepage. The tile images are all prepared and scaled to the correct size & format. Mark is still very quiet! (Paul)
We have the beginnings of a logo (Paul)
iPad icons in all sizes and formats done (Paul)
The web app is coming along nicely. I’m not sure how this has happened but we have made something very monochrome looking with black, white and grey being the dominant colours in the web app, the logos and the iPad app. I like it! Its very utilitarian and modern looking but Wayne urges caution that it doesn’t have a detrimental affect on colour blind users and people with impaired vision. Some screenshots coming up shortly. (Paul)
Here’s the completed wireframe done exactly to scale with the final images and icons in place. The only change in the final app will the font used on the tile labels.
Success! We are successfully transmitting Defect data from the iPad app to the server and are able to view from the web app. Video evidence is available and will be online soonish. We are all feeling rather smug about it. Time for a celebratory can of Coke. (other Cola drinks are available)
I’ve uploaded the video to my Vimeo account. You will be able to see it in about half an hour here. I’m also about to upload it to our Facebook page. We’re going to open up the web app to anyone who wants to take a look. We’re creating a test user with read-only access now. Also we are happy to let volunteers trial the iPad app which will be available shortly. Please let me know if you want a beta invite.
The web app login is here: http://cgl.cabindefects.com/
Stand by for login credentials.
OK so the web app is ready for visitors. You can access here:
Login credentials are user name: “test” password: “test”
This is a read-only account so don’t worry about breaking anything.
Let us know what you think! (Paul)
UTC conversion testing is difficult when you are in the UTC timezone (Marcin)
Vimeo have finished converting the video. Here it is:
There are a couple of people logging in to the web app using the test account we set up. Please let us know what you think. I just had Kristin Majcher from Aviation Week magazine retweet me and I think she’s going to feature us on their blog. Lots of tidying up to do now and get the iPad app looking nice.
OK that’s it for tonight. I think that was a fantastic success. We have a working set of apps that all talk to each other. With a bit of polishing we have a fully demonstrable solution for cabin defects. Thanks for all the hard work from the team and thanks for following. I’ll post additional details and fallout from the day tomorrow. (Paul)
FINAL UPDATE 19:14
Marcin has finished off the app for tonight. There’s a bit of a polish and tidy up required before we can submit to the app store, but it is 95% done for version 1.
Here are a couple of screenshots of the home screen and the defect form. Good night all and thanks again for following. Please contact us if you would like more information about our new Cabin Defects app “Defexx” or if you wish to know more about how iPads can be used in your organisation.
Here’s the completed iPad app home screen above and the defect form below.