My LiveCompare Diabetes App, Part 4

This is the fourth and final post in a series that introduces the new LiveCompare 3.1 apps system by developing a Diabetes Tracker app to replaced my existing Excel-based system. The story so far:

  • Part 1 covered the data model and basic data entry.
  • Part 2 covered migrating my Excel data into LiveCompare
  • Part 3 covered the reports and showcased the new Create Dashboard Report action.

All that remains is to register the app and run it from my smartphone. Let's get started.

I need to register several workflows as apps:

  • Blood Data Entry
  • Weight Data Entry
  • BP Data Entry
  • Blood Dashboard
  • Weight Dashboard
  • BP Dashboard

In LiveCompare an app is defined by one workflow. The workflow may depend on and use other workflows but there is always a one-to-one relationship between an app and a top-level workflow. To launch the app registration wizard, select the workflow in the Model Explorer and choose Register as App from the shortcut menu:

The app registration wizard looks like:

The new LiveCompare 3.1 wizard supports the most frequently requested customer enhancement: change the display order of input parameters. In the old web forms wizard, the HTML for parameters was created based on the order in which the parameters were added to the workflow. Now you can simply move the parameters around.

The next wizard page is new to LiveCompare 3.1:

LiveCompare 3.1 includes an enhanced app store so we need to capture information about the app that will be published in the app store. Like all good apps you should add a description and a beautiful image. The images above are just what's on my development machine, we'll include a decent library of images by the time we ship.

Next is the summary page:

You can go back from here to correct any settings or click Finish to create the app registration.

We expect that most LiveCompare analyses will be run as apps. With this in mind, apps management has a more prominent position in the Model Explorer as evidenced by these new hierarchy objects:

The App Store presents a summary view of the workflows that have been registered as apps:

We'll see later that the new "LiveCompare Consumer" user experience provides its own access to the app store.

App Ratings is part of the social dynamic that's support by LiveCompare 3.1. The ratings system is a simple way for users to provide feedback on what they like (and works well for them) and what they don't like. As a LiveCompare Editor you can see all the ratings:

Monitoring has several shortcuts that filter the view of all apps to just those that are running now, recently completed and those that failed with an error.

Notice the little "A" icon in the top-right of the frame? That's the apps user interface shortcut. It lets an Editor switch to the apps UI to check-out their recently registered app:

In LiveCompare 3.x the web forms system relied on browser bookmarks to gain access to favourite workflows which was a bit messy. If you own a smartphone you'll be familiar with the "home screen" where from where you access all your favourite apps. LiveCompare 3.1 has its own home screen:

Graphics here are placeholders. They'll be beautiful by the time we ship.

To start with all LiveCompare consumers have two apps: App Store and iShare. Let's go to the app store and find my Blood Pressure app:

This is the LiveCompare consumer view of the app store. I can use this view to easily rate each app. Move over an app and the "Add to Home" button fades into view. Click the button to add the app to your home screen. Let's do that for the Blood Pressure app:

If I got back into the app store I see that the app is marked with a little badge that tells me that it's already on my home screen:

When I run the app from my home screen I see:

The left side of the screen shows me the variants I've configured for this app. Variants are useful when you want to fix one or more input parameters to known values. In this case that's not applicable as I want to capture all the values each time I run the app.

I click on the name of the variant to open its edit/run view:

As you can see there are values already in the parameters. These are the values that I had left over from when I last ran the workflow as an Editor. I'll go back later and zero them out.

Bear with me while I take a new reading.

I plug in the values and click Run.

I'm taken back the app page where the status of the run is reported:

Once the app has finished an entry is added to the "My Results" half of the screen:

In this case the app didn't produce its own result – remember it just adds the values to the LiveCompare External Data Source that powers the dashboards. But I don't really like apps that don't produce results so this is something I'll change. It'll be good to report back the values I entered to confirm that I did it right.

I've also registered the other workflows as apps so my home screen now looks like:

I've shrunk the view so that you can see all the apps. Yes, I know I need more icons!

After running the Blood Pressure dashboard app I see:

Since the dashboards apps do produce a result I can click the hyperlink:

which gives me the dashboard we saw in Part 3.

Unlike the LiveCompare Studio user experience that uses ActiveX controls, the consumer apps UI is pure HTML. Using pure HTML means we can run in any browser, on any platform. We saw in an earlier post the dashboard running in Chrome on my laptop.

Here's an app sequence taken from a BlackBerry:

And here's what it looks like on an iPad:

That wraps it up for this series of posts introducing LiveCompare's new apps system. I hope you enjoyed it. Yes, we still have work to do on styling and making the experience beautiful but the core usage experience is now laid down. We support all modern browsers on all platforms giving you anytime/anywhere access to all your LiveCompare-powered information. The new Create Dashboard Action makes it easy to create powerful information reports that are delivered automatically to all key stakeholders.

There's more "apps" information to share in later posts. How do we prevent one bad app from breaking them all? What about complex parameters like IMG Select List? What about the ability to copy+paste from Excel or upload an Excel spreadsheet to feed an input parameter. These are just some of the enhancements we've collected and (more importantly) implemented the LiveCompare 3.1 apps system. Stay tuned for more details.