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From:Lord_Devi Date:August 18 2010 5:43am
Subject:OpenOffice, Go-OO, ODBC, Offline Data Entry
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 I am new to the mailing list here, so I'd like to introduce myself
quickly. My name is Casey Quibell, and I am also rather new to the
concept of programming a database (Or in this case, more specifically
using an ODBC connector to tie OpenOffice into it.)

 Just a bit of technical preamble. While I am currently implementing
this solution using Go-OO and MySQL, I am not tied to them. I like
PostgreSQL as well, and there is little wrong with OpenOffice. Hell, if
there are recommendations to be made even beyond these software
selections I am listening.

 I have a project I have been commissioned to complete, and while the
majority of it seems very simple and straight-forward to me, there
remains an issue that has me concerned. Simply put, this agency which
needs a database, has a large number of paper forms they have to fill
out on a regular basis. Many of these forms ask the same questions over
and over again. Using an ODBC connector and OpenOffice, I am able to
create .pdf files that resemble very closely the forms they are already
used to. By entering information into these forms, they are able to have
the information parse directly into a SQL database which they can then
create reports from later (A very important ability for them).

 In addition they are able to bring up an empty form to fill out, and if
the relevant individual being processed is already in the system, it
will fill out most of the 2nd form's fields for them; leaving only the
remaining fields which are new and specific to the 2nd form. All of this
is a massive time saver for them.

 Here is the catch. The SQL database itself exists at a 'home office',
and these workers are wanting to be able to enter this data remotely; in
an 'offline mode' as it were. Because they are required to fill out
these forms away from the office, I have a logistical problem. If they
could have WIFI or Internet access while away from the office, I would
simply configure a VPN solution for them. However this is not something
I can do; where they must go frequently has no Internet access at all,
and a cell phone tether with a dataplan would just be inordinately
expensive for this particular group.

 What options do I have available to me? I realize that while these
workers are on-site, there is likely very little that can be done as far
as the forms 'pulling' data from the office SQL database to auto-fill
fields, but what about the other way around? I.e. Them going off-site,
filling out the necessary forms, and then once they can get back to the
office, upload the data to the database then?

 I don't know if maybe having a local SQL database running on each
worker laptop which could somehow 'sync' the data would be a viable
option or not... That is something I have never tried before. One option
as far as that route goes that I have found is an application called
Pervasync: which claims to be able to sync
database material in this manner. However, it is commercial, and I am
quite devoted to using only Open Source software.

 So far, it almost seems like I might have to tell the clients that it
is simply not even possible what they are asking for. That they may have
to enter the data twice: Once on-site, and a 2nd time when they get back
to the office. Essentially copying the offline data, into the 'live'
forms essentially.

 Thank you for your time and consideration. I appologize if my post was
a little long, but I really wanted to try and be as clear as I could be
as to my over-all intent, as the possible solutions are so very vague to

 Casey Quibell, <lorddevi@stripped>

OpenOffice, Go-OO, ODBC, Offline Data EntryLord_Devi18 Aug
  • RE: OpenOffice, Go-OO, ODBC, Offline Data EntryJerry Schwartz18 Aug
    • Re: OpenOffice, Go-OO, ODBC, Offline Data EntryJoerg Bruehe19 Aug
      • RE: OpenOffice, Go-OO, ODBC, Offline Data EntryJerry Schwartz19 Aug
        • RE: OpenOffice, Go-OO, ODBC, Offline Data EntryLord_Devi19 Aug