Capturing lead opportunity and customer information

Tomorrow Inc. is anticipating a very large turnout at the road show; your users will need 'at a glance' access to key information as well as easy navigation across the various data entry windows.

Mobile screen design

To cite an example of a screen design that is the product of objective thought, consider the following Lead Details form:

You might be used to the idea that phone numbers, street addresses, and e-mail addresses are related and should all go together under a single Contact Details tab. Thinking objectively though, the salesperson would likely spend more time trying to follow up on a lead making phone calls rather than holding face to face meetings at the lead's address. In this case, it makes for a better design to have the phone number and not the address on the first screen.

When we build this application later on in the book, you will encounter other similar examples and learn how you can minimize the need to switch between tabs by placing the most commonly used fields in a single screen.

We will also extend the idea of objective design to the toolbars and menus in the application, covering best practices and how efficient use of these controls can help reduce on-screen clutter.

Creating reusable controls

You may have also noticed from the previous screenshots that we have placed various icons next to the phone number fields. They allow the user to initiate a phone call or send an SMS directly using the number in the adjacent text box. This control, called the PhoneNumber control (shown in the following screenshot), is one of the various Usercontrols that we will build and reuse throughout this application.

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Maintaining global lists

You will also learn how to implement a simple checklist such as the Interested product(s) checklist shown in the succeeding screenshot using the .NET Compact Framework's Listview control.

To make things interesting, we will also feature a dynamic product list that can change any time at the remote server end. We will explore how a sync in the opposite direction (from server to mobile device) can be used to update global lists like this in your application.

Data retrieval and manipulation on the mobile device

As this is the first section dealing with data retrieval and manipulation, we will also get a first-hand look at the ADO.NET libraries and how we can make full use of the library to execute SQL queries against the local database to retrieve and manipulate sales force data.

We will cover data access and ADO.NET in full detail when we build a generic data layer in Chapter 2, Building the Data Tier.

Data transfer between multiple mobile devices

Transferring data between one mobile device and another is a common requirement in most enterprise scenarios and our sales force application is no exception. At any point in time, a salesperson may decide to hand over a lead to another colleague, possibly because he or she is not interested in following up on that lead.

Passing the lead to another person means that the receiving party needs to have the lead details and all other relevant data transferred to his mobile device. There are a few different approaches to data transfer, which we will cover in detail when the time comes, but for this application we will concentrate on using both Infrared and Bluetooth technology to transfer a lead record (in compressed XML format) directly from one device to another.

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