Ah, well I've finally finished and posted the next version of my Smartphone Universal Conversion app which now includes a Forms Engine to enable Data Tracking. It's posted it up at Smartphone.Net and Airfagev.Com - both sites have full descriptions.

It builds on Convert It 2.6 and I wanted to try out a couple of ideas namely

  1. Community involvement to enable easy sharing of conversion ratios via a Web Catalogue
  2. A Form Designer and Manager that was integrated with the conversion engine to create scenarios such as Expense Tracking Forms, Health and Fitness Tracker etc...

    As an aside, I've become an avid fan of the 10000 Steps program ever since Frank got us involved in the Corporate Challenge and I use this app everyday to track how many steps I'm walking, what my average is, total steps etc, blimey 10000/day is hard, I average 8200... I've set up conversions ratios for steps walked to calories/kilojoules burned to how many calories or steps that chocolate bar takes to wear off – one of those 50g white chocolate bars is over 7100 steps – scary!! Lol, I'm also tracking a friends steps and it makes for a bit of competitionJ

    The app is great to track expenses, my phone is always handy and good to use in conjunction with the inbuilt currency converter, but hey you can build any forms you like...

I've often suggested particularly to ISVs that a good approach to customisation is to define forms in XML and then at run time read the definition and build the form on the fly. I've always wanted to build an app that works this way and this is exactly what I've done on the Smartphone/Compact Framework, with a bit of effort it's wickedly fast and you'd really not notice that the form is being built on the fly.

The forms manager I've implemented dynamically builds a form based on an XML form definition and supports

  • Number, Text, Selection Lists, Checkboxes, Date, Time, Track Times and Regular expression data types,
  • Default texts – useful on devices to minimise the amount of data a user has to enter
  • Alignment flexibility
  • Regular expression validators for Regex field types and the brave
  • Optional or required fields
  • Field visibility
  • User data validation by type
  • Persistence of data

There is a built in forms designer so you can easily build your own forms.

The Tracking Forms can be either used stand alone or associated with a conversion category and core conversion data items can easily be mapped to fields on a form. For example the Forms designer allows you to map the Input Value from a currency conversion to a field on an Expense Form so when you have do a currency conversion, you click the "Track It" button and all the data from the conversion is preloaded in to the form. Check out the inbuilt Expenses form to see how this works...

So learnt plenty from building this and see the related articles

  1. Tip: Deploying Windows Mobile Applications from Vista with MSI Installers
  2. The i-Mate Smartflip SmartPhone Just Rocks!! A quick Review
  3. Tips and Tricks for building Smartphone applications

So if you have a Windows Mobile Smartphone then download and let me know how you get onJ

Cheers, Dave