Mobile:Tracking

Mobile Tracking is essentially a sub-set of Public Tracking – the key difference is that it has a completely different user interface presentation, which is geared towards the very limited screen size that’s available on a mobile device.

All smartphones have an on-board Web browser – for Apple’s iPhone this is “Safari” and for Android devices it’s Google “Chrome”. So of course standard Public Tracking can actually be launched on any smartphone. However, the latter is really designed for use with a browser running on a desktop PC, with a “landscape” orientation monitor and a minimum resolution of 1024 x 768. Conversely, in its natural upright position, a smartphone has portrait orientation – and of course a much smaller screen size.

Now, imagine trying to view the standard Public Tracking presentation in such a small display area: to begin with, the end-user would be best advised to turn the device onto its side in order to flip into landscape orientation; but regardless of orientation, the rendition of the information is simply too tiny to read without having to use “gestures” to zoom in and then move the page around the screen to read it.

In fact, this goes beyond just smartphones – this application is also geared up to work with tablet devices such as the iPad. Even though they may have a resolution of 1024 x 768, tablet devices also have physically small screens (the iPad is 5.82” x 7.75”) – and they may also be held in a portrait position – which makes them candidates for the same treatment.

It’s for all of these reasons that FCL has developed Mobile Tracking. This uses a completely different set of web server pages that are based around a high-performance HTML5 and CSS3 mobile application framework. It is not a “native” smartphone app, but a web app. The reason for this is very simple: by making it a web app, it remains completely platform independent and can run on any smartphone – provided of course that its native browser supports HTML5 (which most do).

Where our customer has a licence for Mobile Tracking, whenever anyone launches their Public Tracking service, the application determines what type of device the browser is running on. Where it recognises it as a smartphone or tablet device, it simply re-directs the request to a specific suite of mobile web app pages. There is a pause while the page loads, a connection opened to the ForwardOffice server, the query performed, the results returned and the information rendered. Initially, a “Home” page will be displayed showing the PIN number and Consignment reference, and it then flicks over to the “Details” page: –

The “Details” page itself consists of four Category headings, each of which has a direct correlation to the boxes/containers that are displayed in the “Details” panel within standard Public Tracking. Each Category heading has a blue right-arrow, denoting that further information is available beneath them. A finger touch to any one of these Category headings will drill into a new page, where all of the associated fields are displayed. It’s entirely down to you to decide which fields are included in any “View” and how they are categorised. If there are more fields to display than will fit in the viewable area, the user can make a gesture to scroll up and down:-

To return from a Category details page to the main “Details” page, the user simply presses the button. Other page options can be selected using the other buttons in the footer area, as detailed below.

 

Tracking History – a list of the OPS Analysis/Events that have been logged against the Consignment. Again, if there are more Events to display than will fit in the visible area, scrolling is enabled: –

 

Diary/Memo – a list of any Job-related Diary/Memo records that have been logged against the Job. Again, the user can scroll up and down the list: –

Related e-Documents – a list of Job-related e-Documents. Each e-Document shown in the list has a blue right-arrow, denoting that further information is available if selected. On an iPhone, tapping on a list entry will open up the document (if compatible) in a new browser window. To return back to the e-Document list, the user simply closes the new browser window and they will find themselves back where they were: –

 

 

That, in a nutshell, is it. All of the above screen snaps are based on an iPhone, other devices operate in a similar manner, although there are subtle differences in certain areas. For example, Android-based devices don’t handle the e-Document download quite so smoothly as an iPhone; if the Mobile web app recognises an Android device, then the file will be downloaded as a separate attachment instead of inline and the Android should then offer to save the attachment, or open it if it has a registered viewer for the type of file (e.g. PDF).

Demonstration: -

Provided that you are viewing this page ON YOUR SMARTPHONE you can view this capability by clicking on one of the following links: –

Client “ACME Manufacturing” – Export Trailer Consignment 2TIR0414001
Client “ACME Manufacturing” – Export Ocean Consignment 2SEA0414001
Client “Linen Traders” – Import Ocean Consignment 2IDS0413004
Client “Linen Traders” – Import Ocean Consignment 2IDS0437006
Client “Wellworths Ltd.” – Import Trailer Consignment 2IMP0414001