Offline forms platform development

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This is not really a help related post, just wanted to bounce a possible idea for an offline forms  platform:

Getting forms to work offline natively with quick-base is not possible.  I know Viziapps has a great platform to allow this, but they don't currently have a drag and drop form builder where you can build complex forms and put in form logic and rules etc.

I was thinking of developing a third party application where anyone can easily create a form in a drag and drop front end via a website.  

Part of the form will have a "connections" toggle,whereby on submission of the forms the data can be sent to various different "Destinations" (e-mail as html, google drive spreadsheet, zapier to quickbase, etc).  

Once the form is ready and made active the user can "deploy" the form in various different ways:

1) Into their own native iOS/android app (we will develop a piece of code for the developer to embed into the app that can collect and sync the form) - so it can be changed on the fly and the app will automatically update the form without any further development from the developer)

2) Websites via wordpress plugin/code snippet etc

3) Our own native app that can be downloaded and receive/sync/submit the forms if the customer doesn't have their own app.


I think the person that would greatly benifit from thuis would be the developer, instead of creating forms from scratch in code based on clients needs, he could save a massive amount of time just referring his/her client to the form builder online. Might save a lot of money/time in development. 

Would appreciate some critique and ideas from the community on whether this would be something worth exploring?
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Geoffrey

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Posted 1 year ago

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So is this a limited use case for forms submission and now viewing records or reports?
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Geoffrey

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So the idea is to start with offline capturing of data - View records and reports will still be done natively in quickbase as per normal.  Is that what you are asking?
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Ⲇanom the ultimate (Dan Diebolt), Champion

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You can get QuickBase to work offline using Service Workers and Workbox.

I have been ranting and raving about using Service Workers with QuickBase for almost three years now and described them as god mode for QuickBase. Not surprisingly last week at Google IO the State of the Union for the Web presentation led with the topic of Service Workers and used the acronym OMFG to underscore their power:



The Web: State Of The Union (Google I/O '18)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ay-mdLMDtbs

Workbox
JavaScript Libraries For Adding Offline Support To Web Apps
https://developers.google.com/web/tools/workbox/

In practical terms you can get reports to display when offline and simple forms to queue for submission while offline and silently complete submission when network access is regained. Obviously there are limitations to how these operations work when offline. Reports might not be up to date when viewed offline so they are best used for non-mission critical situations like listing contact or account information. Similarly, offline forms operate best when viewing existing records or creating new records. In the case of creating new records offline, simple forms that don't use lookups fields or relations and don't require unique field value can be made to work offline. The essential situation to avoid are forms that need network access to reach related tables or a round trip to the server to validate a field.
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Geoffrey

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Does this apply for any complex form with logic and built in calc fields etc?  
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Ⲇanom the ultimate (Dan Diebolt), Champion

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It would apply to any form that does not need to communicate with the QuickBase server while offline. For example a form that included a field that must be unique would require communication with the Quickbase server to insure the value entered did not already exist in another record. Simple forms that just had basic fields such as contact information would be ideal for offline usage as they don't need to communicate with the QuickBase server and can just be queued for submission and eventually submitted when network access is regained.
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Geoffrey

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So there could actually be a use case for something that can solve the problem of having complex forms work offline?
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Ⲇanom the ultimate (Dan Diebolt), Champion

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You can do complex offline forms in terms of hide/show fields or sections and other manipulation of the form inputs. But when you need network access to do queries and lookups you would have to cache that data offline (the primary use of Service Workers is caching) and the task becomes much more difficult. Bottom line is that you can get QuickBase to work offline when the data collect in forms is "intake data" and not deeply related to other records.