Designing a Project

Learn how to create a project in the designer

Getting Started with Mobile Data Anywhere Designer

This page introduces the essentials of the Mobile Data Anywhere Designer application, starting with how to design a new project, or open an existing project such as one of the examples provided.

The Breathalyser, Courier, Sales Force and other example projects have been chosen to demonstrate how to design and run a project with Mobile Data Anywhere. These projects are provided with the Mobile Data Anywhere Designer to be used alongside these tutorials. These and other example projects are typically installed into one of these locations:

C:\Program Files\Mobile Data Studio
C:\Program Files (x86)\Mobile Data Studio

Installing Mobile Data Anywhere Designer

Download the Mobile Data Anywhere Designer installer from our Downloads page. Once the file has downloaded, open the installer by double clicking on it. The installer will guide you through the process for setting up Mobile Data Anywhere Designer on your computer.

Creating a new project

A new blank project can be created by opening the File menu and selecting New Project . Provide a unique name for the new project and select where you would like to save the file to. The project will be saved with a '.ppc' file extension.

Opening an Existing project

To open an existing project, open the File menu and select Open project . Select the project file that you would like to open - a valid project file should have a '.ppc' file extension.

Creating a new project from an existing project

To start a new project using the contents of an existing project, open the existing project using the steps above. Once the project has been opened, open the File menu and select Save Project As... and provide a new, unique name for the new project. Click Save and the old project will automatically be closed and the new project will be opened.

If you have created a new project, the Project Properties window will appear, prompting for more information about the new project, including a Title; this is covered in more detail below. Project Properties will not appear when opening existing projects.

Essentials of Mobile Data Anywhere Designer

Once you have a project open, the Project Window will appear with two icons:

Properties icon

Step 1 
Describe the project with Properties  

Related Tutorials:
Project Properties (below)
Design icon

Step 2 
Design projects on Windows desktop or laptop PC  

Related Tutorials:
The Design Window (below)
Adding Simple Points
Design - Adding Points
Design - Adding Points Continued
Adding Point Functions

These two icons provide access to the key functional areas of Mobile Data Anywhere Designer: configuring and designing a project:

  • Properties - Properties, including read/write control, licence.
  • Design - Project Pages (Add, Edit, Delete), Points (Add, Edit, Delete).

Each area will be covered by these tutorials. You can also access these functions via theProject menu:

Project menu

Project Properties - Information

The Project Properties window opens as soon as you create a new project. For existing projects, you can open it from the Project window or Project menu.

The Information tab describes the project. Only the Title is used directly to identify the project on the mobile device.

Properties information

Project Properties - Options

The Options tab provides customised properties for each project running in Mobile Data Anywhere on the mobile device and sets up the presentation of sessions in the Session Window on the mobile device; see options below.

Properties options

  • The add project to Start Menu option enables display of a projects Title or name in the Start Menu in Windows Mobile; when checked the Title will show after the project has first been opened and closed on the Windows Mobile device. However, Windows Mobile up to and including 6.1 will only allow up to seven programs to be shown in the Start Menu, thus space may need to be generated via Settings > Personal > Menus. Windows Mobile 6.5 combines the previous separate Start and Programs menus for management of links to Programs. With Windows Mobile 6.5 uncheck Show in Start Menu after the first install of project, then updates don't cause replicates of project Title in Start.
  • Set Auto-scroll for projects with long pages; note the scroll activates with data points (eg Selection, Drop List) and may be interrupted with Layout and Sketch points.
  • Immediately start new session after previous session has closed. Useful for repetitive operations such as bar code scanning. Tap 'Finish' within 2 seconds to end automatic start cycle. Unnecessary for most projects.
  • When the Read Only box is checked changes cannot be made to data collected in the field; the default unchecked setting is to enable both read and write to the project after a user session is finished.
  • Sessions cannot be deleted on the mobile device, only synced , prevents accidental and deliberate deletion.
  • Set Unit ID when sessions are re-opened on a new device , enabling identification of mobile devices on return of sessions to wireless server that may have originated via a 'broadcast' to all mobile devices (see page 10 Wireless (TCP/IP) Functions).
  • Play an alert sound when new sessions arrive is enabled by default, and can be unchecked and turned off.
  • The Lock Data Pathway option enables systems managers to reduce accidental changes to Data Pathway settings by users.

Session List Columns is an important Option and enables the selection of a point/s from which data will be presented in the Session Window on the mobile device to identify particular sessions. In Windows Mobile the columns on the mobile device can be widened to see data, and data can be sorted by tapping the top of the column/s, the width of columns is set when the project is closed. Android and Apple iOS devices present less session columns of data and do not support alphanumeric sort of sessions; however, key information to identify sessions can be presented via Session List Columns. The Formatter point can be used to expand detail in Apple iOS, gathering data from multiple points. Default is time and date of session creation.

Project Properties - Visual Style

The Visual Style tab allows the visual style of the project to be modified (see below). Mobile Data Anywhere Designer provides a default colour scheme and graphics set, but these can be replaced with a custom design. Custom visual styles consist of a set of colours, fonts and graphics that are used to display pages, and are stored within the project file. The default Header image in Mobile Data Anywhere Designer is 1,280 pixels wide to cater for most Tablets in both portrait and landscape mode.

Properties visualstyle

When loading over the default graphics, ensure the JPG or Bitmap image used for the page Header image is at least 480 pixels wide (but may be up to 1300 pixels wide for use in Landscape view, and on Tablets, desktop and notebook PCs), and between 40 and 60 pixels high so it fills the required area on screen. The page Background pattern will be tiled vertically down the page, and can be any width and height. Below are 480 pixels wide Header and Background JPG images previously used in the Sales Force project. Now, in Mobile Data Anywhere Designer, the Sales Force images are 1,300 pixels wide to support use on Tablets in both portrait and landscape mode.

Sf background Sf header

Project Properties - Licence

Licence enables presentation of the licensing conditions for the project, see below. An important facility for commercial developers of Mobile Data Anywhere projects for sale. Lock Project secures a projects design so that it can neither be seen nor amended. There are a number of cautionary steps to Lock a project, most importantly, a separate copy of the unlocked project must be retained by the author. While one of the features of Mobile Data Anywhere is the ease with which projects can be amended, sometimes it may be desirable to prevent amendments by parties other than the author/developer.

Properties licence

The Design Window

Next, double clicking the Design icon in the Project window causes the Design Window to appear. A project will be empty to begin with , but once created, this is what the design area will look like. Features of the three panelled Design Window are:

  • the left panel shows the Pages contained in the Project;
  • the central panel is a WYSIWYG preview ('what you see is what you get') of the Project Pages being created, showing the page highlighted/selected in the left panel;
  • the right panel shows the Point types and titles on the selected page;
  • the bottom toolbar is a quick link to design functions;
  • selection of points in the right panel by right mouse click also presents design functions, including the ability to Save Default Value for a point.
  • the design settings can be managed via top toolbar, Edit and Design Settings.

Properties designwindow

Add a Page

Clicking the Add Page button on the Design window (at the bottom) causes a dialog box to appear prompting for details. The Caption for the new page - " Location and Test " is entered. Avoid using long page captions, as they don't wrap down a line (or reduce Page Caption font size via Visual Style). If required, Introductory Text can be added. The check box control for 'This page can be reached with Previous/Next' is set by default, when unchecked the page is 'hidden' and not part of the normal navigation, and can only be reached via Link points (see page 4).

Properties page

The Guidance tab in the dialog box can be used to enter information to guide or 'help' the user of the project page in the field. If guidance support is provided with the project points described below, it can be helpful to also copy it onto the page guidance field for quick reference. The Guidance area on a page can be accessed by a tap on the top of the page, and tap page to return. Text cannot be added to the Guidance area on the mobile device, it must be added or amended in the Project Design phase. Guidance can be formatted by a limited subset of HTML, for bold (b), underline (u) and headings (h1); headings reflect the Visual Style for page Title.

Properties guidance

Add a Point

Clicking  Add Point  button on the  Design  window (at the bottom, or right mouse click with cursor in right panel) causes the lists of 24 point functions to appear within the  Add New Point  window. While all of these point functions are supported in Windows Mobile devices, some are not supported on Android and Apple devices, please see note below.

Properties add point

Point Properties

Clicking one of the Point Types causes the appearance of a Point Properties dialog box, see below. Point Properties provides three tabs:

  • General - a Caption for the point, and unique ID Name derived from the Caption, this is important for managing data, duplications are not accepted within a project so a little creativity may be required in describing point ID Names. The Caption and ID Name do not have to be the same; the IDName can be chosen to match pre-existing database fields. The Caption can be dynamically expanded by parsing from a point on another page using <%OtherPointID%>, the Captions will then present what is entered in the other point. Point Style enables control of point presentation and use. Required prompts the user to enter text and numeric data before leaving the project page; Hard both prompts the user and prevents leaving the page without entering data in the point. 'Required' and 'Hard' are not responsive to images and other 'binary' data. Visible on Page and Include in Data Store are default functions, but can be varied depending on the project. Visible on Page is particularly important for Conditional Logic (see Page 4). Retain Session Value enables the value of the point(s) to become the default for new sessions, until the value is cleared, a time saver in the field;
  • Function - Drop List in this case below, other options are Boolean, Selection, Edit, Date Time, Outlook, Math, Sketch, Link, Layout, Logic, File, UltraDrop, GPS, Camera, Numpad, Incrementor, Print, Telegram, Voice, Formatter, Stopwatch, Event Counter and Slider . Each are described on the following pages. Please NOTE Mobile Data Anywhere for Android and Apple iOS does not support Outlook, Print, Voice, Stopwatch, Event Counter and Slider points; and
  • Guidance - the opportunity to include guidance on use of the information collection point.
  • Properties point Properties required
Tips for Efficient Project Design work -- features to assist Page, Point and Project design:

  • 'drag and drop' Pages and Points presented in the Design Window to re-arrange their order within the project (pages) and on pages (points);
  • use the Edit function in the Control Menu to copy and paste pages and points, and then amend the copies for new information collection requirements;
  • the ID Name is automatically generated from the caption, however it can be manually amended to be made unique if a caption needs to be used more than once in a Project, or to shorten;
  • avoid long ID Names, shorten them for efficient presentation in Data tables
  • use less than 25 characters for project file names, eg ServiceReport
  • use the right mouse button for shortcuts ;
  • amend a project and ' Save Project As ' to create a new project from previous project;
  • always use Session List Columns to identify sessions on the mobile device; and
  • copy guidance notes into project from source documents.
  • Always s ave design work (File - Save Project, or click disk icon) as it progresses AND make a copy of the project to store in a backup folder.