Lifedrivedoc.com began as a place to talk about the Lifedrive. It soon became apparent that it was much more than that. Since moving on from my Lifedrive, I am engaged in more avenues of technology. That technology has intersected with my professional life - Medicine as well as my social life.

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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Hey Dataviz? Why are you not porting Smartlistogo?

Okay, So I am being somewhat rude in my title, but for good reason. I bought an iPhone recently and followed the latest downloads of Handbase, the relational database tool, which to be honest, on a Palm device pales in comparison to Smartlistogo, which has a much richer calculator and conditional line statement handling. A recent survey on the Dataviz smartlistogo website shows a need for the company to port this app to the iPhone and other smartphones. However, there has been no word from the company in regards to doing this.

When you have one of the best programs ever written for a mobile device sitting in your lap, I cannot believe that you would not want to transfer that to another platform or at least look into doing this. Or at the very least IMPROVE UPON THE PRODUCT on the Palm.

I had lunch last week with an esteemed colleague and we discussed databases and the reason why he was staying with Palm. The people in attendance were split down the middle - 3 with iPhones, 3 with Palm devices. The number one thing for the 3 with Palm devices echoed was the lack of software on the iPhone and the rudimentary nature of the Apps that are presently being written. I can agree wholeheartedly with that opinion. Handbase's program, although good (a full review to follow), is still in a relative beta phase. Some of this appears to be due to Apple and not the company - which I have been told by at least two people and I can testify to the veracity of such statements personally - (Handbase/ DDHSoftware) are working diligently on adding more features. The main feature - forms, was not submitted to Apple yet, but they are working on this. Handbase for the iPhone works well, but is very rudimentary and I really believe that the equation section and conditional formulas section could be improved. An example is listed below:

Handbase conditional formulas are akin to this:

o If A then B, else C.

While Smartlistogo's conditional formulas are more complex:

o If A then B, else C.
or If A and B, then D.
or If A or B, then E.

You can see how this comes in handy. For example, another feature missing in Handbase is the monitor function. In Smartlist, you can change the color of a cell, using conditional statements like the one listed, add a marker, ie. *** which when added to a table, makes it stand out.


A pregnant patient requires a repeat C-Section. You could put in a conditional statement that will make this show up every time you look at the list view:


Field 1 = "***"
Field 2 = " Checkbox"
Field 3 = " "

If Field 2 = "checkbox" ( <=== in this case the box is checked), then Field 1 (***).

The same can be done in Handbase.

However, let's say that our same patient has something due between week 16 and week 20,
then you have problems with HandBase. This sort of thing would require a conditional statement that would take into account the time interval. Something not easily accomplished with Handbase:

TN=Time Now.
A= 16
B= 20
C= "***"


if TN > A, but < B then C.

Name: Jenny Sample
Age: 28
Weeks: 17
Msafp: ***

Every time you look at your list (and I do), you can tell what needs to be done. I have markers for a lot of things. It is really a good feature, currently missing in Handbase and leaving a GAPING BIG HOLE FOR DATAVIZ TO FILL IN.

So again I ask this question, as many others are doing:


What I see happening here is that Handbase's DDH Software will own this entire platform mainly because of their incredible desire to listen to customers and push the envelope. As I stated to you before, I have been the recipient of their help when an email was sent to them. Not only did I get the help that I needed (Version 1.000 of the program crashed incessantly), but the company was also helpful in discussing their features and open to questions, criticisms and suggestions. The last time I tried that with Dataviz, I received very little response.

To Dataviz's defense, I do see that they are busily working on their flagship product - Office and will probably be the first company to produce 2 way editing of Office documents on the iPhone, something that is obviously needed very badly. So that leaves their "hobby" sitting around rotting in the wilderness. Perhaps they could sell it to someone or give it to the open source community. Smartlist is such a good program that I think it would be sad to see it go.

May be DDHSoftware will take up where our good friends at Dataviz have left off? There's something to be said about doing one thing and doing it well (ie. Oracle versus Microsoft. Oracle is the better database).

Chime in with your thoughts on this.