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Creating User-Friendly Mobile Forms as Progressive Web Apps with Oracle VBCS

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) built using the Oracle VB Studio are proving to be the leading option for responsive, flexible smartphone apps. Unlike traditional web apps accessed on a phone, PWAs don’t create a frustrating user experience. This type of mobile app looks and feels like a native app but requires a fraction of the time, effort, and expense to build.

Bringing Simplicity to a Complex Mobile Request Form

A large construction company that does office build-out work needed a better way for workers in the field to enter requests for equipment, tools, and materials. Their previous mobile request form was overly busy and required significant scrolling to even find the correct fields to enter data or select items. While this setup wasn’t too burdensome on a desktop’s full-size monitor, the layout wasn’t working for employees in the field using a phone. 

Key Features and Functionality for Entering Form Requests in the Field

User-Friendliness: The app needed to be responsive and easy to use for people in a rush and on the go. We built it using sections, buttons, and drop downs so all selections could be done with a thumb click. Although it is a web form, it has the streamlined, simplified look and feel of a native mobile app. The layout automatically adjusts to the user’s device for a superior experience across a variety of screen dimensions including both tablets and phones.

Business Logic: In addition to accessing a massive amount of data around inventory and order options, the app needed to have substantial logic built in. For example, entering a job number would determine which options were available for selection on subsequent fields. With Orchestrator to handle this logic on the backend, filtering the available options was much easier than it would have been if the logic had to be built into the app itself.

Offline Persistence: The app needed to be available for form completion offline since wi-fi can be spotty on construction sites. Workers needed to be able to enter form requests anywhere on a worksite, not just when they were near the hotspot in their truck. Their previous app would lose any data entered if the connection was lost. The new app is able to keep data on the device and complete the submission process when a connection is reestablished.

Notable Advantages for VBCS Compared to Other Frameworks

Mobile Security Options for Performance

As with many of the mobile apps we build using Orchestrator and VBCS, security is managed on the Orchestrator side in JDE. However, we also have to consider how that data reaches JDE. There are two modes of connection within the framework. First, data can be sent from each mobile device to a single VBCS instance thereby restricting all JDE communication to a single source. Alternatively the app can be configured to use a highly secure connection between each device and the JDE AIS server. This security feature is built into the framework for easy deployment.

Prepackaged Functionality Equals Easy Customization

As with most apps we build at ACBM, this one took less than a quarter of the time of a traditional mobile app interface. A fast turnaround was doable even though this complex form request app wasn’t mobilizing a single JDE application, but a wide range of capabilities. Using Orchestrator on the back end to handle data and business logic while leveraging Oracle’s Visual Builder Cloud Studio for the interface allowed us to take advantage of the wealth of pre-packaged options to build a full-featured, professional app for quick deployment.

Click here to learn more about ACBM's approach to custom mobile application development.

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