Tap Forms Organizer and Secure Database for iPhone, iPad, and Mac › Forums › Using Tap Forms › Email CSV Export use to create time record system
September 4, 2009 at 6:33 AM #2995
Currently I’m using Tap Forms to keep track of my time records and it’s WONDERFUL. All the Executives at our company are eyeing the app with envious eyes, because they want support for IPhone based time records. Tap Forms is bound to be the solution. Currently everyone at the company must enter their time records in front of a computer (and remote users have never had a good solution). They really like to write up their hours on the IPhone everywhere from the plane, the car, the pot, you name it. Usually they add a notepad entry and email the text file to a receptionist who copies and pastes the records in the office database system (it uses Access front end and SQL Server backend).
Unfortunately the TapForms syncing option can’t work because none of the users are technically savvy enough to do it. What they can all do is simply email the CSV file to a collection email, very easy. I’m writing a bit of a java application to parse, de-duplicate, and then mass-import the records into the SQL server database. I’m almost done. Just a minor inconvenience – tap forms doesn’t place a comma after each record and before each new Tap Forms form entry ID. My last field in the set is a description of work that is a note. Simply having a return doesn’t work since the users often place returns in the description text. Also the whole email message seems to be formatted to a certain width. Can that setting be removed for better flow?
All in all kudos for a great software product!September 4, 2009 at 6:38 AM #3753
Thanks for the compliments. I’m happy you’re enjoying using Tap Forms.
The next version of Tap Forms will email your records as a single CSV file attachment instead of embedding the text within the body of the email message. I think this will give you what you are looking for.
BrendanSeptember 4, 2009 at 7:02 AM #3754
Purrfect! Very good. Look forward to it’s arrival. May just wait for it to come out. The CSV files you export load just fine in Office, even with the commas in description text.
RonSeptember 9, 2009 at 10:15 PM #3756
Hey there Brendan.. So I completed the java application that deduplicates and imports the timerecords into the main company SQL database. This is the first thing I’ve programmed in 10 years, and I must say Sun’s Java is kind. It takes away all the memory management woes of hard-core C programming, the libraries are extensive (include SQL support and image functions), and the IDE is good at detecting problems and suggesting solutions. With Google as a help – programming is almost too easy, these days. Gone are the days of books only help with few people to talk to.
My application is elegant in both looks, and robust. You just drop files onto the window that need to be processed (currently only works with exported Tap Forms exports). It gives a verbose consistent reporting of things it’s doing. I’d be happy to share the source/and or webex session with any programmers who are attempting to do the similar thing and need a jump start. Must be willing to do some C customizing.
And whenever you’re ready to release the email attachment feature – I’m ready!
Ron J. PackardSeptember 10, 2009 at 1:25 AM #3757
Just to give you a heads-up on the file export function, I’m including the field types in the header row in 1.8. That way when you import a file back into Tap Form (say on another device), it will auto-create the form with all the field types intact.
Don’t know if that’ll affect your program or not.
BrendanSeptember 11, 2009 at 5:54 AM #3759
Yes, including headers would be good – for auto-adapting purposes. And the import-auto-create function would be real good – I was wondering how to go about the form creation process. Also, please keep the TapForms ‘form entry id’. After discussing the program with the business manager today, I’m going to insert those in a new field in the company SQL server because undoubtedly someone will change one word in an already made entry. That also helps to know which records were added by IPhone.
Already got one remote partner to purchase an IPhone specifically for this app.October 5, 2009 at 12:32 PM #3786
Your CSV format is perfect in 1.8. The Java CSV reader, http://www.csvreader.com, can read the emailed CSV export file just fine with all the default settings. To set up the forms on the other IPhone’s I’m using the Syncdocs app because the time record form uses some pick lists.
Also, love all the fixes in 1.8. Thanks again!October 7, 2009 at 2:19 AM #3792
Great! I’m glad you like the improvements in 1.8! In 1.8.1 I’ve added the option to exclude the form_entry_id from the CSV file export and email. But it’s an option so you will still have it if you need it.
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