Sorry for the long question, but I want to be sure to define my problem clearly.
For my thesis (in aerospace engineering, so not much programming experience) I want to develop a (prototype) mobile application which will facilitate the reporting of safety related events in African aviation. Although the content of my thesis focuses on the more technical and sociological aspects of safety (management) I decided to include some practical design for demonstrative purposes.
Considering the criteria I will present below, my first guess is to develop a mobile app using PhoneGap or something similar. But life can't be that simple, so I'll need more than just this single framework. My question to you is, what a convenient and effective approach would be to satisfy the following description?
Quite simply this is what I envision (in layman's terms):
- A user (pilot, ground crew, etc.) experiences or notices a safety related event
- The user fills out a form (Air Safety Report) about the event on his/her phone
- Additional information (pictures/videos) are attached
- Once a stable internet connection comes available (we're in Africa) the report/form is submitted to a server.
Important considerations here are:
- The limited availability of internet -> I need a native/self-contained solution/app so the reporter does not have wait with reporting, and which stores data and submits once possible.
- I don't want - nor should - exclude potential users (for multiple reasons) -> The app should be available on as many platforms as possible (especially BlackBerry and Symbian are still very popular in Africa!).
- I am doing this as a form of development aid and want it to be cheaply available -> open source preferably.
Altogether, the following criteria can be defined: It should
- be open-source
- support multiple-platforms
- allow file attachments (pictures mainly)
- be self contained/native
- support/allow web services
- provide geolocation and date/time support (automate report whereabouts)
- allow camera use for direct attachment (optional, but preferable)
- identify an internet connection and submit the data once possible
- store data until submission
Besides PhoneGap (which doesn't support image library browsing? -> apparently is possible, see supporting documentation), I have considered the following frameworks:
- Mobl (not tested for all major platforms, no date/time support?)
- QuickConnect (does not support BlackBerry and Symbian)
- Rhodes (meets my requirements as for as I can see)
- Appspresso (doesn't support BB and Symbian, no date picker)
I've read the following thread on stackoverflow: