Flow Cloud Services work together with the mobile apps and include user & device management, automatic database synchronization, app lifecycle management, scheduled tasks, analytics and more.
The Flow Mobile Apps act as native containers for your hybrid app and provide additional features, like barcode-scanning, automatic data synchronization, networking capabilities, access to various native features of the device, internationalization, and many others.
User & Device management
The Flow Web Dashboard offers an easy way to manage your users, along with their devices and permissions. Activities can be restricted to only a certain group of users and device limits can be set for all users, to make sure that your team gets easy access to the activities they need.
You can also easily integrate your own user management system by using an external authentication provider via Authenticators.
Automatic Data Synchronization & Offline Capabilities
All data is synced automatically between Flow Cloud and the mobile apps, including activities, database data and schema, user & device settings and appearance options.
Flow provides a distributed document-oriented database, synced between all your devices and Scandit Cloud. Automatic syncing happens whenever updating the data is necessary and involves only changed objects to make sure syncing is fast and your devices are always updated. (Please note that data synchronization requires an internet connection.) Data is continuously available, with or without a network connection and enables fast, consistent data reads, writes and queries.
For a simple introduction to using Cloud DB in activities, the Ticket Validation tutorial shows you how to set up classes, import data through the web dashboard and use that data in an activity.
The networking features available in activities also have the ability to run either synchronously or asynchronously, so you can easily queue requests to your backend or third party service, even when the network is not available and still deliver a great user experience.
Application Lifecycle Management & Activity Development
With Flow, you can easily target multiple platforms with one code base and deploy your changes smoothly, on-the-fly to your users, without needing them to update anything manually. You can also easily maintain multiple versions of the same activity, for example to give early access to a development version for your testing team, but keep the production version stable.
For a closer look at the development cycle, take a look at the Getting Started with Local Development guide.
Using Cloud Build, you can also build and customize the container app to distribute it yourself, either in-house or through platform app stores, whatever your needs might demand.
Easy Integration with Existing IT Systems
You can easily integrate your already existing system (SAP, Salesforce, Netsuite, etc.) using any combination of Authenticators, the REST API, Cloud Jobs and the networking capabilities available in the Mobile API (HTTP, SOAP).
- Authenticators are special connectors that use standard authentication methods to provide your already existing users access to various Flow services. They allow you to use and configure different providers to authenticate and define who can access data on Flow, either via the mobile app or external apps you build.
- The REST API gives you access to Flow Cloud Services for your external apps to consume using RESTful operations.
- Cloud Jobs provide an easy way to execute tasks that need to be run routinely, such as generating report emails, running analytics of your gathered data or batch synchronization to and from your backend.
For an example of integration with external systems, take a look at the Barcode Lookup tutorial which shows you how you can quickly build an activity that looks up scanned barcodes in an already existing backend system using simple HTTP requests.
- To get started with activity development, head to the Getting Started guide, where you'll build a basic "Proof of Delivery" activity and get to know the various features of Flow in more detail.
- To learn about developing, testing and debugging activities locally, find out more in the following guides:
- the API available to activities in the container apps, including the barcode scanner, Cloud DB, networking utilities, image capture, signature capture, native Google Maps, UI elements and many more
- access Flow services through a RESTful API, using basic HTTP operations, for example to query Cloud DB
- execute routine tasks with Cloud Job, including easy integration with other Flow services, for example to generate reports, run analytics or run batch synchronization jobs to and from your own backend
- customize the container app and distribute it yourself