Last week, we introduced our first apps for the iPhone and iPad. Although (with a minor exception), LabArchives is fully functional in Safari on these devices, the screen size for the iPhone made it somewhat difficult to navigate and use.
As for all of our software developments, it is the feedback of our customers that drives our priorities. In speaking to a number of our users, it turns out that many of them were already using iPhones to take photos in the laboratory to document their research. These included pictures of gels, samples, and even animal colonies. With our unique “Inbox” feature, these customers were already able to e-mail the photos to their LabArchives Notebooks, but felt it would be more convenient to be able to move them directly. Thus, the idea for Version 1 of our iOS App was born.
Now available on the Apple iTunes Store, our iPhone and iPad Apps can be quickly installed; for those with a local server, they can be configured in the device Settings menu to use your personal URL. With this release, users can log in with their normal credentials, choose a Notebook, and then browse through the Notebook Navigator and take photos (or choose from the photo library) and move them into the Page of their choice. One can also view existing photos in any Notebook.
We are extremely enthusiastic about the new mobile platforms for LabArchives users. Although most labs have a number of computers, they are often not right at the “point of entry”, so having a tablet or other mobile device that one can carry around is a major benefit to our customers. We plan for a number of important enhancements over the coming months, and welcome the suggestions of our users. Years of experience have taught us that it is usually best to get a useful version of an application in the hands of our clients; having a “starting point” makes it much easier to provide useful feedback, which is how we drive all of our development priorities.
Android users: don’t worry! We plan an Android version in the near future. Microsoft “Surface” users? Well, there aren’t any of you, yet, since it was just announced this week. Needless to say, we will be evaluating this platform as well in the near future.