Cloud

How to set up cloud synchronization on Android using MobiDB

If you're looking for a mobile database solution that syncs to the cloud, Jack Wallen demonstrates how to do this with MobiDB.

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Image: Jack Wallen

Sometimes a mobile database can be a real time saver. With such tools you can have an incredible amount of data at your fingertips—keep track of server, client, or company information. Sure, you could retain that information on a spreadsheet or other type of document, but those solutions miss out on the power and flexibility of a database.

Of course, having that information on your mobile device is one thing, but being able to sync with a cloud service makes the prospect even more appealing. That's where an app like MobiDB comes in handy. This app is found in the Google Play store and offers a free or a paid version. The free version doesn't include the synchronization option, but you can check it out with a 7-day trial period. Chances are, you're going to want to pony up the $19.99 for the basic version. Check out the full price/feature matrix here.

Once you have either the trial period enabled, or you've purchased the full version, you can then configure one or more of your databases to sync with Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive. I want to walk you through the process of syncing a database with Google Drive. The process is quite easy, but not altogether intuitive. With the sync option in place, you can then sync your data between your devices or between team members if you've purchased a license for enough users.

Installation

First let's install MobiDB. Here's how:

  1. Open the Google Play Store on your Android device.
  2. Search for MobiDB.
  3. Locate and tap the entry by Vitaliy Korney.
  4. Tap Install.
  5. Allow the installation to complete.

That's all there is to the installation. When you first run the app, I suggest you allow the installation of demo databases. This makes it easier for you to test the synchronization feature. Otherwise you first have to create a database.

Unlocking the trial

With MobiDB installed, let's unlock the 7-day trial period, so you can kick the tires of the sync feature) To do this, open up the app, and from the main window, tap the menu button (three vertical dots) on one of the databases. Tap Set up synchronization (Figure A), and then when prompted, tap UNLOCK. You will then be required to either log in with a Google or Microsoft account, or create a new account.

Figure A

Figure A

The MobiDB main window.

After the trial has been unlocked, go back to the main window, tap the menu button associated with a database, and tap Set up synchronization. From the popup window (Figure B), select Google Drive, and tap OK.

Figure B

Figure B

Setting up synchronization with Google Drive.

Give the database a name. If you're already syncing this database from another device, you'll have to give it another name, and tap NEXT.

That's all there is to syncing a database to your cloud storage.

Connecting to a cloud-stored database

If you, or a member of your team, has sync'd a database to a cloud storage, you can then connect MobiDB to that database. Your device will have to have that cloud service account added such as a shared Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive account. Here's how to connect to a cloud-stored database:

  1. Tap the + button in the main window.
  2. Tap Connect to MobiDB database in cloud storage.
  3. Tap Google Drive, or whatever cloud service the database is stored on.
  4. Select the database to be added from the list (Figure C).
  5. Give the database a name.
  6. Tap NEXT
  7. Once the connection has been made, tap EXIT WIZARD

Figure C

Figure C

Connecting to a remote db.

That's all there is to it. Just remember, after working with the database, to tap the sync button so it syncs with the remote database. In fact, that is the one caveat to the MobiDB, it doesn't include an auto-sync feature. Because of that, every time you make a change to a database you must manually sync it to the cloud. For the same reason, before you open a database from the cloud, it's always best to tap the sync button first so you're always working with the most up-to-date version.

An easy mobile database solution

MobiDB isn't perfect, but it's one of the better mobile database solutions you'll find. Give the 7-day trial a go and see if it doesn't meet, or exceed your needs.

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About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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