Why Flexibility in Scripting Can Future-Proof Your Mobile Data Capture Solution

mobile data capture scripting

North Carolina’s General Statue Article 3 Chapter 19 defines the Animal Welfare Act of 2005. The act lays out the requirements, responsibilities, and procedures for boarding kennels, shelters, and pet shops. It also provides important guidance on the way these establishments must be inspected.

When the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (NCDA & CS) decided to modernize their inspection process, a key requirement became immediately clear. Beyond the basic abilities to look up license data even while disconnected, validate all collected information, and capture photos of potential violations, subtle variations were required.

While the statutes for different establishment types are similar, a series of differences apply. Boarding kennels only require three inspection questions relating to their recordkeeping, while animal shelters require seven. And that’s only one of the differences between establishment types. Other differences include entire statute sections being required or not.

Until the NCDA’s recent modernization project, this need was handled by separate forms (Word documents) that, while similar, still required separate updates any time the common elements changed. The NCDA needed a mobile data collection system that would provide a more seamless approach to data collection.

This is one of the reasons the agency turned to our Mi-Apps product. We’ve written several blogs advocating the need for a simple design tool where business owners can design effective data capture. But, that simplicity should not come at the expense of flexibility. Mi-Apps allows for customization of forms in real time based on specific collection needs. This level of flexibility has existed within the Mobile Impact Platform for years and allows the use of a single form in this use case.

Now as we continue to enhance and improve the NextGen Designer, we’ve been proud to bring this level of flexibility to our design tool. Version 11.4 (released in Q4 last year) introduced JavaScript client-side scripting. This comes with a full syntax checking auto-complete enabled editor as shown below:

Scripting in Mobile Data Capture

A line or two of script code can take what was originally FIVE forms and reduce them down to just ONE. This can make a world of difference for the long-term maintenance of forms. We’ve since added .NET server-side scripting to the same tool for the purposes of approval workflows and customized data exports. Here too a little scripting can go a long way to automating your process.

When you’re deciding on a mobile data capture solution, ask yourself if you have a need for a little bit of customization. If you do, then make sure you consider a platform that’s poised to deliver that flexibility—now and into the future.