Instructions of use for maintainme mobile

Functionality description

MaintainMe mobile, is the mobile client for the MaintainMe web service. This client provides access to the fundamental features of MaintainMe web service through a clear menu driven interface.

With MaintainMe mobile you can register your properties, edit and delete them, register maintenance types, edit and delete them, link properties and maintenance types in order to create maintenance types per property and edit and delete them.

The above features are the preliminary steps to the final and main feature of the application, creating and manipulating maintenance records.

The procedure of maintenance record creation as described above comes in four steps. The first three, registration of a property, registration of a maintenance type and creation of the link between them has to be done only once. After that the user can proceed to the creation of maintenance record for this specific property and this specific maintenance type without repeating the initial steps.

The application also allows the user to retrieve an manipulate these records. The user can retrieve the stored information about his properties, his maintenance types and his maintenance records. If the number of results of the query are more than twenty, then the pagination of the application is activated and the user can browse through the results in groups of twenty records each time.

In the special case of maintenance record manipulation, the user can apply an advanced filter to the results of his query based on date and maintenance types criteria, limiting thus his results to the period and the specific maintenance type he or she requires.

User interface description

The first two screens available to a new user are the login view and the registration view. A new user without an active account in the MaintainMe web service can use the registration view in order to create an account, providing a username, a password and an email. If the username already exists in the database, the user will be notified and allowed to change his proposed username. The same will happen if he enters an invalid email. MaintainMe uses the approach of two step registration, so after the initial step of registration, there is the step of account activation. After the registration the user will receive an email with instructions of how he can activate his new account. Usually this is achieved by opening the link that is included in the activation email.

After the successful registration, the user is redirected to the login screen, where he can enter his new credentials in order to be authenticated. There is an option for the user to store his credentials on the device he is using, so that he will not have to type them every time he will start the application. This is an option that can be used when using the web service through a personal mobile device and should be avoided when using the service through a shared device.

The main interface of the application is revealed after a successful login, and is consisted of a number of simple intuitive options. The functionality of the application is provided through the first four options. Maintenance Records, Maintenance Types, Maintenance types per property and Properties. The rest are auxiliary options giving access to information about the application regarding its documentation, its license and in the last case the ability to erase the credentials of the user and return to the login screen.

This application is menu and property oriented. That means that everything is achieved through the use of menus with property as the main filtering option. When the user selects the properties option, which is the first step as described above, he will be presented with his existing properties and a choice to add more. In the case of a new user, there will be no existing properties, so the user will click the Add Property option in order to register a new one. The create a property record screen, allows the user to insert a property name, the date of record creation (already filled with the current date as a default value) and a selection of a category and an organizational unit. The first two options are self explanatory. The General category option allows the user to add the property he registers in one of the categories supported by the application. This is a mandatory field and the registration of the property can not continue without selecting a category. The next option is selecting an organizational unit. This is not a mandatory field and can be left blank. Organizational units are already existing properties, that can be used as containers of other properties. This feature will be especially useful for companies that have multiple branches and similar equipment in each branch. If for example the company owns two printers of the same model, that are located in two different branches, they can define their hosting branch by using this option. This option will be used in the future in order to create reports per unit e.g maintenance cost per org. unit.

MaintainMe web service billing is based on how many properties per category a user can use. It is free for personal use (one property per category) and comes at a premium for commercial use (multiple properties per category). Over all it is a very affordable choice, however it is easy to miscalculate and go from the free operation to the commercial operation. This is the reason why the feature of increasing the maximum allowed properties per category has been omitted from the mobile version of the application. It can only be increased only through the web interface of the service. Despite all that, the mobile version will check if you have reached the maximum allowed number of properties per category and warn you if in such an occasion. If you have tried to add a new property in a category that was already full by mistake, that is fine no new charges has been saved to the database. If you really need to add a new property and have reached the maximum number you had previously selected, you can increase that number through the web interface of the service.

After the registration of a property, the user is returned to the main screen. If we select the properties option again we will be presented with the add new property option once more, and the new property we have just registered. By selecting the property we can view its details. We are also provided with the choice of modifying the property or deleting it. The edit option leads to the edit form, while the delete option deletes this specific record. Be careful the delete option will not ask you to confirm your action, it will delete the record instantly.

This is pattern of operation that is used through out the application with one or two minor differences, when we use property filters or date and maintenance types filters. Both exceptions will be described later.

After the registration of a property, the user has to create a maintenance type. The structure of MaintainMe service, allows a maintenance type to be shared between different properties, so you can create a maintenance type with name for example tyres inspection and use it for all your vehicles. The interface of maintenance type screen is once more consisted by a set of menus that is very much alike to the one used for property registration. By selecting the maintenance types option, the user is once more presented with a list of already existing maintenance types and an option of registering new maintenance types. The registration is once more very simple, a maintenance type is consisted of a maintenance type name, and the date of registration (the default value is always the current date). As before, you can edit/delete already existing maintenance types by click on them.

The next step is linking an existing property with an existing maintenance type. This is what provides maintainme web service with flexibility since a property can be linked with multiple maintenance types and vice versa. When the user selects the maintenance type per property option in the interface, he is presented with a list of existing properties (this is what we meant that the service is property driven, better get used to it, you will see this often). From this list the user can select the property he desires, and he is redirected to a list of the existing maintenance types for this property. Once again there is an option to link a new maintenance type with the selected property. Through this option, the user is presented with a form that contain a drop-down menu with the existing maintenance types, the date and a comment. There is no restriction in how many links of this type the user can create. After the creation of a new link the user is redirected to the mail application screen and from there he can select the maintenance types per property option to view/edit/delete the link he has just created or proceed to the next step which is the creation of one or more maintenance records.

It is best to think about the first three steps as the preparation of the service in order to accept the maintenance records. These steps are usually performed once per maintenance type for each property. After that you have everything ready in the service so you can go straight ahead an create your maintenance record without any hassle. By choosing the maintenance record option the user is presented with the familiar by now list of existing properties, where he can choose the property he would like to work on. The selection of the property leads us to a list of existing properties in groups of 20 records (which we can of course view/edit/delete by selecting them) and an option of adding maintenance records or applying a filter. The creation of a maintenance record is straightforward, the user has to choose a maintenance type for the property he has selected and add a number of details for this maintenance record, like date of publication, cost, counter (the meaning of the counter depends on the type of property. In cars this is the mileage counter, on printers it is the printed pages count, on industrial equipment is the hours of operation etc, in some properties, this field has no application so it will be best left blank), the quantity, the maintainer and a comment field. All fields are initialized with reasonable default values, so the user has just to choose the maintenance type per property in order to create a maintenance record.

This is the main option of the web service so it is expected for a property to have a lot of maintenance records, hundreds if not thousands of records as the days go by. The number of the maintenance records and their diversity made the need of a filter apparent. The user should be able to limit the results by maintenance type and by time. For example it is possible that I would like to see when was the last time I replaced the tyres of my car in the last two years. It was for this purpose that the apply filter option was created. When used the user is presented with three options. He has to choose a maintenance type for the already selected property, and a date period. The default date period is of one year. When everything is ready and the query submitted, the user is presented with the maintenance records of the specific maintenance type for the selected property performed in the selected period, this filter provides maximum flexibility when used and can limit or expand the result set as much as the user likes.

There are a number of features that exist in the web interface of maintainme service and are not duplicated in the mobile version. A number of these features and a number of new ones that will exist only in the mobile client of the service will be implemented in future releases.

Last modified: Sept. 29, 2013, 8:12 a.m.