Tag: database forms

frevvo + SQL: Part 1. Dynamic database forms

Practically every organization has at least one SQL database and often many of them. And, many day-to-day business activities are simply more useful if they can access information from SQL databases on-demand. If Customer Service has visibility into order history from the database, they can better help the customer. Ordering Managers don’t have to look up part numbers or type them in manually if the order form is integrated with SQL. HR applications can access employee data and so on.

frevvo provides a Database Connector that allows you to perform sophisticated integration with your database. In this multipart series of articles, we’ll explore several possibilities in detail from dynamic dependent pick lists, master-detail views, creating and updating records in SQL and running stored procedures.

DBConnectorFirst let’s take a look at how the DBConnector works. frevvo communicates with the outside world using XML (or JSON) over HTTP(S) i.e. it’s RESTful. Databases want you to talk SQL and return data as ResultSets.

With frevvo, the steps are straightforward:

  • Configure the Database Connector using SQL or Stored Procedures.
  • Generate form controls from the configured queries (no programming).
  • Drag and drop in the Form Designer to rearrange controls.
  • Connect forms/workflows to queries using URLs exported by the Database Connector.

frevvo takes care of all the data transformations in both directions. JSON, XML, SQL – it’s all transparent to the form designer and you don’t have to worry about programming any of this. The result of a SQL query could be a single row or multiple rows each with many columns – the form will instantly update to show you the information relevant to your request.

You can check out a couple of examples here on our website. We’ll get to HOW they work in the next several parts of this series or there’s a link to the Database Connector Tutorial on the above page. See: Part 2: Dynamic Pick Lists, Part 3: Master-Detail Views, Part 4: Multiple Results, and Part 5: Creating/Updating Records.

Contact us for more information if you’d like to learn more or register for an upcoming webinar.

La Cité College chooses frevvo for student applications integrated with Salesforce, DocuShare and Oracle.

Deeply rooted in the National Capital Region and Eastern Ontario for over a quarter of a century, La Cité is the largest French-speaking applied arts and technology College in Ontario.

lacite1

1200+ registration forms have already been submitted electronically with a 24/7 service offering. Students save time since they no longer have to stand in line for registration. Instead of lining up, they simply complete the process on their smartphones.

La Cité serves a diverse population from students and faculty to a large student body. Students, in particular, prefer to use their mobile phones for almost everything. Yet most of La Cité’s forms and applications were paper or PDF documents that had to be printed out, hand-filled and signed. They didn’t integrate with databases, DocuShare (their document management system) or salesforce.com (CRM).

That means students filling out long forms by hand and standing in long lines to register, internal employees scanning and indexing paper forms and a tedious, inefficient overall experience.

Students love the built-in mobile support. Now that the forms are compatible with devices, 60% of responses have come in on mobile.

La Cité decided that they needed to improve services to students and staff. They selected frevvo Live Forms and, in a matter of months, they’ve replaced several paper/PDF forms with electronic ones. They’re available 24/7, work automatically on mobile devices, and integrate with DocuShare, Oracle and salesforce.com. frevvo forms also work in multiple languages including French, which is the dominant language on La Cité’s campus. Data is pre-populated, frevvo’s build-in validation ensures fewer errors, documents are automatically stored in DocuShare and salesforce and students are no longer standing in line.

Co-Op applications, which used to be paper are now electronic. As a result, the number of applications has gone up from about 10 in previous years to over 70.

The results have been impressive and La Cité plans to roll out several additional forms and workflows in the coming months.

Click here to read the Case Study and contact us if you’d like more information or to sign up for a free 30 day trial.

[Infographic] Why Hybrid Cloud?

 Tell me, Why Hybrid Cloud?

Why hybrid cloud? Why not hybrid cloud is the question you’ll be asking yourself after this article!

Hybrid Cloud: “A hybrid cloud is an integrated cloud service utilizing both private and public clouds to perform distinct functions within the same organization.” (http://www.interoute.com/cloud-article/what-hybrid-cloud)

The Road to Hybrid Cloud. The cloud computing model continues to create a larger and larger footprint in the IT landscape as enterprises pursue the model’s benefits including but not limited to: 1) shared resources 2) facilitated access to information and resources from anywhere on any device 3) on demand provisioning and reallocation of computational resources. The greatest benefits are typically achieved using public cloud services however most organizations are unwilling to put ALL their data (particularly sensitive information) into public cloud solutions. In order to still reap the benefits of the cloud computing model, organizations will implement some solutions on internal private cloud platforms.

What is Hybrid Cloud and How Does It Work. A hybrid cloud refers to an environment that runs both public and private cloud services AND provides a way to to share data between them. Typically the data shared with public cloud services is limited and secured/encrypted to reduce exposure. Exposing a server within your firewall to a public cloud service is not what we mean by hybrid. A hybrid cloud connects 2 or more internal and external cloud platforms in such a way that they can exchange information.

What Are the Advantages. A hybrid cloud allows organizations to leverage the efficiency gains of the cloud computing model without having to expose all their data to public cloud services by providing mechanisms to securely share data. Once mechanisms have been defined for exchanging data between internal and external cloud platforms, CIOs can incrementally control what data is exposed to public cloud solutions. The ability to integrate internal data with external/public cloud services is hugely beneficial (if not required) to leverage public cloud services in a compelling and useful fashion.

The Benefits of frevvo. When you sign up for an account on app.frevvo.com, you’re using frevvo in the public cloud. If you deploy frevvo within your organization, you are setting up frevvo as a multi-tenant, private cloud solution. Either way, there are many examples of frevvo participating in hybrid cloud architectures. A frevvo account running in the public cloud could be configured to securely access LDAP information running within a private cloud. Enterprises running frevvo within their private cloud infrastructure can write data to google spreadsheets (public cloud). Another example is utilizing frevvo’s database connector to allow frevvo from either a public or private cloud to integrate with any back-end relational database.

In Summary. This cloud computing phenomenon migrates both, public cloud and private cloud services, to solve your business needs. From small business to large enterprises, being able to keep private information secure as well as hosting public information is very beneficial. As noted on the infographic (pictured to the left) using frevvo in the hybrid cloud is a business strategy to lead you to successful business agility. Our cloud based product is mobile ready, with a drag & drop easy design, that allows you to create custom forms and workflows to increase business agility.

Click here to view the infographic in full. You can learn more about frevvo on our website as well as join today and receive a free 30 day trial!!.

Dynamic database forms – easy!

It’s a very common business need. Enter a client id and you want client details to automatically fill in from the DB. Select an order and you want to view/edit order line item details. The problem is, it’s not easy to do even for programmers. There are all the details of connecting to the database, managing shared DB connections, error handling, transforming data back and forth between SQL and HTML forms, security/authentication and so on.

Not so with frevvo. It’s amazingly simple with our built-in Database Connector. You can find many details and try it out yourself by following our Database Connector Tutorial.
1. Write your SQL query in the DB Connector

SELECT p.productName as product, o.quantityOrdered as quantity, o.priceEach as price, p.productDescription as description, p.MSRP FROM OrderDetails o, Products p WHERE o.productCode=p.productCode and o.orderNumber={onum} ORDER by o.orderLineNumber

The {onum} is a variable representing the order number. It will get a list of line items for a particular order.

Database Query

2. Add it as a data source to your form or workflow
Generate an XSD for your query (using a sample order) simply by visiting the URL for your query in the DB connector. Save the XML and upload it to frevvo as a data source.

XML Schema

3. Generate the form with the click of a button
Drag/drop to customize as desired.Click the + icon for the data source and frevvo will generate controls. Since this query can return multiple line items, frevvo will generate a repeating section. We’ve changed it to a Table (grid) again just by modifying a property.

Generate FormCustomize

4. Link the form to the SQL query in the DB Connector
Open the Doc URI Wizard and set the URL for the data source to point to your query. In this case, we’re getting the order number variable from a separate drop down in the form.

Link to the SQL Query

That’s it. Try the form. When you select an order, the underlying Table automatically updates with the list of line items for that order. frevvo will automatically add and remove rows as necessary. No programming needed to create a form as sophisticated as this.

Order Line Items

Interested? To learn more Sign up and check out the Database Connector Tutorial. Or contact us for more information.

Nearly 60% of employees abandon corporate mobile apps due to a bad user experience

A recent study by Mobiquity finds that nearly 60% of employees are not satisfied with the quality of apps they should be using for their work-related tasks and abandon them. The study highlights a key challenge facing Business-To-Employee (B2E) apps – companies (especially mid-size ones) simply don’t have enough internal developers with the skills needed to build well-designed apps with a rich, intuitive user experience. With the BYOD trend only set to go, what’s IT to do?

For internal business processes like leave approvals, expense reports, employee on-boarding, patient referral, student admissions and so on, there are clear alternatives to internal development. You can choose specialized applications for many of these like Concur for expense reports and there are plenty of cloud-based HR providers.

But, for many companies, this isn’t a viable solution because (a) you have to deal with multiple vendors and (b) you have unique business needs. That’s where a mobile form builder like frevvo can help. You can easily design online forms and workflows so that they fit your business, integrate with back end systems and  yet work on all devices from smart phones to desktop computers to provide an appealing user experience for your employees. When employees can take pictures of receipts, sign using their finger on a touch screen, see tasks in one place and get work done quickly and easily anytime anywhere, they’ll use your apps and you’ll be well on your way to overcoming the B2E challenge. Infographic by Mobiquity.

abandonment-in-the-workplace-infographic

Why we do this

Building web forms really, really sucks!

frustrated-300x271

Years ago, my friend Yuri and I were working on a project for a large P&C insurance carrier. We had automated some business processes and were working on the online forms that people would use. The whole experience simply sucked. We’d worked for months, been through umpteen conference calls and no one was happy. Setting aside issues like the business users didn’t know what they wanted (true), the biggest problem was that we were mind-numbingly BORED. For developers used to a complex enterprise product, building electronic forms was beyond tedious. How many times can you tweak the border or the color or move a field a few pixels? Ugh!

We had to free other developers from this incredible waste of brainpower. As a developer, wouldn’t you be doing pretty much anything else than debugging CSS in Internet Explorer? Validating a Date in JavaScript? Tweaking XSLT so you can generate XML when a schema changes? It’s fun for a while but …

Real business forms & workflows are hard.

In the aforementioned project, the forms were huge, complicated ACORD forms
with supplemental data. They needed to conform to the ACORD XML schema. One of the
single most painful schemas in existence. A developer has to worry about:

  • Complex Validation (may be based on an XML schema or database)
  • Business Rules (calculations, skip logic etc.)
  • Electronic Signatures
  • PDF Generation (gotta print the form exactly according to regulatory requirements – yeah, this is true even in 2014)
  • Integration (databases, business systems, BPM etc.)
  • Mobile (becoming more of a must-have every day)
  • XML/XSD (many business systems and applications are XML-based)
  • Sophisticated layouts
  • IE8 to iOS 7 and everything in between
  • the list goes on and on and on …

We looked for existing solutions but nothing came even close. If you want a contact form or a wedding invitation or a survey, there are a dozen great products but try to actually meet real business requirements like the above and forget it. Maybe if you want to shell out $100K for InfoPath or Adobe.

So, we engineered frevvo for all this stuff. It really does all the above and more. We’ve had a lot of fun doing it and it’s very satisfying when we see fellow-developers at our customers being spared from enduring the mental torture of hand-building
business web forms.

Save The Trees while you’re at it.

We don’t like waste. We especially hate wasted paper. And we love our trees. So, we figured we’d do our part. With over 350 customers all over the world printing fewer documents thanks to frevvo, we’re saving paper and trees every single day. Plus, going
green == more green for the bottom line:

  • Fewer $, €, ¥, ₹, ₩, B$ spent on supplies (we get i18n)
  • Increased productivity (I know I type 5 times as fast as I can write) and fewer errors
  • Speed (get your vacation approved instantly).

At the end of the day though, for us, it’s about developers so let me reiterate. If you make developers build complex business forms by hand, you’re inflicting untold pain and suffering on them. Trust me – you’ll save money and end up with happier, more productive programmers using frevvo or even a competing product. Though, of course, we think they’ll be happiest with frevvo!