Jack Wallen shows you how you can take advantage of database-like power for keeping data on your Android device.
If you're looking for a tool that can easily help you manage the overwhelming amount of data on your mobile device, why not turn to a database tool? There are plenty, but none are as simple and effective as Mobi DB. With this app, you can enter data -- based on 19 pre-set data templates (such as books, CDs, schedules, employees, orders, expenses, purchases, etc) -- with an ease you won't find on other mobile database apps.
There are two versions of Mobi DB:
The only difference between the two is that the paid version allows you to have more than 1,000 entries per database. So, if you plan on keeping overly large databases on your device, you'll want to go with the Full version. You can (and should), however, try the free version first (to ensure that the app is right for you).
Let's walk through the installation and usage of Mobi DB. I'll demonstrate using the free version on a Huawei Ascend Mate 2 smartphone.
As you might expect, the installation of Mobi DB is simple. Just follow these steps:
- Open the Google Play Store on your Android device
- Search for mobi db
- Locate and tap the lite entry by Perpetuum Software
- Tap Install
- Read through the permissions listing
- If the permissions are acceptable, tap Accept
- Allow the installation to complete
You should find a launcher icon on your home screen. If not, open up the app drawer, and you should find it there.
One of the first things you'll notice -- and this is the only negative point with Mobi DB -- that the Quick Start Guide is pretty pervasive. Every time you undertake a new action, the guide pops up and leads you through. Once you've take care of that action, the guide will no longer appear. Walk through the Quick Start guide, and you're ready to go.
Let's create a new database. Here are the steps:
- From the main window (Figure A), tap the plus sign [+] that's located in the bottom toolbar
- Select the template to use for your new database (Figure B)
- Give the database a name, and tap OK
- Tap the table for the database (Figure C)
- Tap the plus sign [+] to start a new entry for the table
- Enter the data (Figure D)
- Tap the plus sign [+] again to add another entry
You can continue adding as many entries to the table as you like. You'll also notice a barcode button in the data entry section. If the item you are entering offers a barcode, you can tap the barcode button and scan the code on the item for easier (and more complete) data entry.
It's also possible to add multiple tables to a database. From within the database window, just tap the plus sign [+] again to create another table.
Mobi DB includes a handy table designer tool. This tool allows you to design tables with specific fields for a form. You can edit elements of a form you are already using or add new elements. Let's add a new element to an existing table. To accomplish this, do the following:
- Open up a table
- Tap the Design button (pencil/ruler button on the bottom toolbar)
- From the Designer window (Figure E), tap the plus sign [+]
- Select the field to be used (Figure F)
- With the new field surrounded by the blue border, tap the Edit button (pencil)
- Rename the column properties (Figure G)
- Tap Save
- Tap the checkmark to save the form
If you're looking for a database approach to keeping information on your Android smartphone, you can't go wrong with Mobi DB. Give the lite version a try and see if it doesn't satisfy your power-hungry need for serious data on the go.
Do you use database tools on your smartphone? If so, which do you prefer to use? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.
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