The iPhone is a wonderful and game changing mobile platform. Unfortunately the sad reality is many of the programs available for .99 are worth exactly what you pay for them. Perfect case in point. I’m in the market for some time collection software for my consulting work. I’ve scoured the Internet looking at many different “web 2.0″ services. Quite a few of them have free iPhone clients. All of them are slickly designed. Sadly almost every one is missing some major feature that made it unusable for me. Here’s where HanDBase comes in. This relational database software is available for Palm, Windows Mobile, Symbian, BlackBerry and now iPhone/Touch.
HanDBase bills itself as the worlds largest collection of Palm and Pocket PC databases (over 2,000 all freely available to you for download and use). Happily these databases work with all the different versions of the software including: iPhone, BlackBerry, Symbian S60.
The Palm and Pocket PC versons of HanDBase offer a forms design add-on ($14.99 additional) so you can create snappy looking data entry screens for your handheld.
Not all of the versions of HanDBase support custom forms (the iPhone doesn’t). So if you try to download a database with a customized form you’ll have to make do with the ordinary data entry screen.
As to whether there will ever be an iPhone/Touch compatible forms design program – HandDBase has this to say on their site:
While technically quite feasible, we’re not sure whether Apple will approve forms support because the UI for customized forms may be non consistent with their guidelines. For this reason we are going to wait on adding support for HanDBase Forms and see whether there is demand and whether there is a precedent for Apple to allow this.
UPDATE: We have already seen some demand for this feature, so it’s safe to say we’ll try to add it to a future release and hopefully it will pass through to users without a problem! Stay tuned..
In return for rolling up your sleeves and creating your own database (or more likely modifying one of the more than 2,000 that DDH Software catalogs for free on their web site) you have complete control over customizing your database fields (up to 100 per database).
Unfortunately the Mac version of the desktop sync client for HanDBase is still in development though you can purchase a Mac client that will allow you to create databases – they just won’t sync automatically.
To their credit, HanDBase have also created a large knowledgebase entry addressing almost every concern that is mentioned under the App Store reviews. The chief criticism seems to be over the lack of UniCode support (primarily for multi-language use).
If you’re sick of buying .99 iPhone/Touch applications that don’t live up to their hype – then you should look at HandDBase. At $9.99 the price is a bit steeper than the average iPhone download – but you have full access to over 2,000 pre-made databases which you can modify to your heart’s content to suit your business or personal needs.
Link: HanDBase for iPhone