I've been tasked with creating a custom program for the management of training certificates. The client company does on-site training classes. Before each class, student information will be entered into a database by a salesperson. After each class, an instructor will confirm that each student has completed the class and will assign certification numbers.
The web application is straight forward enough, but a wrinkle has been thrown in: At about 50% of the classes, there is no connection to the internet! Ack! And the customer still wants their people to be able to use a similar interface while still on-site to do the entry. Double ack! And now for the clencher: They don't want to install any sort of desktop application that would need to be updated/patched each time we change something because they have too many users and it would become a load on their IT department. (Triple, quadruple, quintuple ack!)
The instructor can wait until returning to the office to do the confirmations, but the enrollments done by the salesperson will have to be done on-site whether there is internet access or not.
Last night I realized Google Gears might be the answer.
If the login page to the online app requires them to install Google Gears to login, then I could maintain data in their local Gears database on classes and instructors so that when they are offline they still have the most up-to-date data available. A special off-line version of the web page would allow them to add classes and enroll students. The next time they login, that data could be uploaded to the main site database and removed from their local database. (And then any new classes could be added to their local database.)
They would never be updating or deleting data from the system using the off line version of the page, so there would be no data conflicts. It would all be additive.
Security shouldn't be an issue because no student data will be loaded to their local databases - only classnames and instructor names. An unauthorized user might add records, but they wouldn't make it to the main system unless they were able to log into the secured area, at which point they could wreak havoc anyway.
So, two questions: Is Google Gears as good a match for this challenge as it seems to me? And: Is there something else better?
Thanks for any thoughts you may have!
This post has been edited by wzeller: 18 January 2010 - 11:21 AM