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Old 01-29-2016, 07:52 AM   #1
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Lightbulb Custom software

Hi to all!

As a software engineer I am ALWAYS busy writing software for personal use in my spare time.

What I am planning.....

I want to write a custom app that will allow me to set reminders, dates, times, and and and.....about all the systems, items and other things that I will need to service and when to service them, what to service, instructions, manual references with page numbers and and and...

The ultimate goal is to get the software to integrate directly with the electronics to record and log hours, temperatures, pressure and and and....Thus allowing the software to automatically set reminders of services that are up coming or outstanding and and and....

This will also integrate with the engine and fuel systems.

My question is.......

What will you want in a system like this?
What must it be able to do except for the above.

My problem is that sometimes I am too close to a project I am working on for myself, that I forget about other stuff that I might need.

I am not sure if software like that already exists out there and I have not looked for it either. I design all my own software to suite my personal preferences, work flow and and and....

Any and all suggestions will be helpful.

Thank you!
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Old 01-30-2016, 09:40 AM   #2
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That would be great but many of us own boats that are old enough that they cannot output data.


The other problem is, your market would be so small that you would have to charge a very high price for your software.
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Old 01-30-2016, 11:57 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Padda View Post
Hi to all!

As a software engineer I am ALWAYS busy writing software for personal use in my spare time.

What I am planning.....

I want to write a custom app that will allow me to set reminders, dates, times, and and and.....about all the systems, items and other things that I will need to service and when to service them, what to service, instructions, manual references with page numbers and and and...

The ultimate goal is to get the software to integrate directly with the electronics to record and log hours, temperatures, pressure and and and....Thus allowing the software to automatically set reminders of services that are up coming or outstanding and and and....

This will also integrate with the engine and fuel systems.

My question is.......

What will you want in a system like this?
What must it be able to do except for the above.

My problem is that sometimes I am too close to a project I am working on for myself, that I forget about other stuff that I might need.

I am not sure if software like that already exists out there and I have not looked for it either. I design all my own software to suite my personal preferences, work flow and and and....

Any and all suggestions will be helpful.

Thank you!
What will make your software better than all the other software options available?

I buy that you can tailor it to your exact needs and desires, which is the point of custom software. However, for others with the variables involved, different systems and desires, I don't see that pursuit as being a small thing. I'd see it as a tremendous task, expensive to do, and little return.

Have you looked at the products in the market and determined in what ways you would want to improve them? Considered perhaps custom mods to an existing system?
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Old 01-30-2016, 12:05 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Padda View Post
Hi to all!

As a software engineer I am ALWAYS busy writing software for personal use in my spare time.

What I am planning.....

I want to write a custom app that will allow me to set reminders, dates, times, and and and.....about all the systems, items and other things that I will need to service and when to service them, what to service, instructions, manual references with page numbers and and and...

The ultimate goal is to get the software to integrate directly with the electronics to record and log hours, temperatures, pressure and and and....Thus allowing the software to automatically set reminders of services that are up coming or outstanding and and and....

This will also integrate with the engine and fuel systems.

My question is.......

What will you want in a system like this?
What must it be able to do except for the above.

My problem is that sometimes I am too close to a project I am working on for myself, that I forget about other stuff that I might need.

I am not sure if software like that already exists out there and I have not looked for it either. I design all my own software to suite my personal preferences, work flow and and and....

Any and all suggestions will be helpful.

Thank you!
You didn't say whether it was a smart phone / tablet app or traditional PC app.

If you go phone / tablet based app route, use Corona SDK so you get both Apple and android (and the rest of the crowd) when you are done.

As said before, you won't get your $ back for your time so it will have to be a 'hobby'...

I thought there might be a checklist app market, where you could say what has to be done to prep for a day / weekend / week on the boat. With a calculator function so you could say average consumption = x for a person, times 3 people times 3 days = supplies required.

Never got much further than that.
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Old 01-30-2016, 12:43 PM   #5
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As to receiving engine data, etc. it will come from all equipment in different forms. Many of the engine builders today have their own proprietary systems. So, if I was coding this to market I would just make sure I had half of the interface basically programmed very flexibly so it could accept information in many formats from many other forms of software. My point is that there will have to be integration and interfacing, so build it in a way to make that as easy as possible.

For ideas I would look at some of these and then decide what part of the things they do, do you want your software to do.

Deep Blue Software

Yacht Management Software | Triton Administrator

https://www.sealogical.com/?gclid=Cj...qwvBoCHlXw_wcB

IDEA Software SpecTec GmbH - Yacht Management Software

Yacht Management Software - Financial Module - Latitude365

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Old 01-30-2016, 12:50 PM   #6
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One thing that I would add for any new system and it's something we had to code as a modification to ours is bar coding. Now that everything in the world has gone to bar codes, every phone can read them, that's a place the existing systems lag. We have all our inventory of parts, supplies and everything else bar coded. If you have multiple areas of storage on the boat you can even bar code the locations.

We find two huge benefits in a system. First, the scheduling and reminders and reporting of what you've done. We've even put check lists in for starting a trip and check that you've done each item. The second is having all manuals and guides scanned and available electronically. Every piece of equipment or machinery on the boat should have a complete manual, perhaps two (operating and maintenance) available to any device you use.
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Old 01-31-2016, 01:56 AM   #7
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Just a suggestion.
Trying to interface with all the different onboard systems, would be a Hugh undertaking.
Most software that I have looked at are too complicated for the average user to use let interface with the system they have.
I'm still looking for a software program that is easy to use and is affordable for the average user. Below is a short wish list for me.

Tablet and or phone use almost a given but hard to find.
Able to maintain an expense record by month/year.
Parts usage, inventory and location, with part number and vendor info to reorder.
Asset inventory, hours of operation, anticipated scheduled maintenance with a reminder to update status monthly/quarterly.
Repair documentation with cost, location, self repair/vendor.
Fluid supplies, type and supplier info for reordering.
A general page for all other repairs, such as light bulbs, fuses, winch motors, spot lights, windless motors, radio's and such.
A vendor supply page that you are able to search by vendor or material.

If this sorta sounds like a Quick books contractor edition, that's what I'm looking for. Drop down menus, report capable, material handling and easy to use.

Just my wish list, I'm sure you could add more stuff.
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Old 01-31-2016, 04:46 AM   #8
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I think you will end up reinventing the wheel when the wheel is easily currently available. We use two pieces of software, one for maintenance and the like, and one for log/cruising info. The first does pretty much what you outlined as well as having virtually every manual known to mankind online or available for download. Automatically provides reminders on all maintenance issues, automatically notifies of updates, maintenance bulletins etc. They even come in and do the original setup for you. Cost is not prohibitive. $699 startup including loading all info on all equipment on the boat, and then $199/year. I can print out a complete maintenance record since we owned the boat including when, where and by whom work was done and the cost. Nav and log software cost us $199.
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Old 01-31-2016, 06:38 AM   #9
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So far I'm using "Boat Suite" App on both iPad aboard and my iPhone 6 as well, but always interested with new app / software for log book, service operations, check lists.
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Old 01-31-2016, 12:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crusty Chief View Post

If this sorta sounds like a Quick books contractor edition, that's what I'm looking for. Drop down menus, report capable, material handling and easy to use.

Just my wish list, I'm sure you could add more stuff.
Have you tried using Quickbooks Contractor edition for this?
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Old 01-31-2016, 12:17 PM   #11
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Custom software

I would talk to James Hamilton on Dirona:
http://mvdirona.com
He will have ideas and suggestions for you. James was VP of web design for Amazon. He still works with them in some capacity. He has written a lot of custom programs for the operation of his own vessel. His vessel is probably the most "connected" vessel out there.

Don't let anyone dissuade you from your intended task. I started all-grain homebrewing in 1991. At the time there were no calculators available for recipe formulation to calculate grain bills and to estimate IBU contributions from different hopping regimes, so I build my own spreadsheet for that purpose. I still use it 250 batches of beer later, even though there are many software packages available for that purpose.


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Old 02-01-2016, 03:11 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by WesK View Post
That would be great but many of us own boats that are old enough that they cannot output data.


The other problem is, your market would be so small that you would have to charge a very high price for your software.

Hi WesK,

The older boats can also make use of it. Instead of integrating with the electronics, we can use it to basically input data like temp, engine hours, gen hours, and and and....maybe fuel consumption, speed, and and and....in order to get graphs of performance etc.

And maybe use it to only remind us of what needs to be serviced when and how and and and....

Maybe?

Maybe I did not state it clearly....I do not want to sell the software.
I am not interested in taking this to the "market".

That is why I am writing it for myself, in my off time.
Will gladly share the software with other boaters for free.
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Old 02-01-2016, 03:15 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by BandB View Post
What will make your software better than all the other software options available?

I buy that you can tailor it to your exact needs and desires, which is the point of custom software. However, for others with the variables involved, different systems and desires, I don't see that pursuit as being a small thing. I'd see it as a tremendous task, expensive to do, and little return.

Have you looked at the products in the market and determined in what ways you would want to improve them? Considered perhaps custom mods to an existing system?

Hi there BandB,

Thanks for your reply!

I do not want to sell the software.....
I will gladly share it with other boaters for free....but I do not want to take it to "market".

That is why I said that I am writing it in my spare / off time, for myself.

I would just like to know if maybe I should include other functions in the software that I did not list already....
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Old 02-01-2016, 03:20 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by stubones99 View Post
You didn't say whether it was a smart phone / tablet app or traditional PC app.

If you go phone / tablet based app route, use Corona SDK so you get both Apple and android (and the rest of the crowd) when you are done.

As said before, you won't get your $ back for your time so it will have to be a 'hobby'...

I thought there might be a checklist app market, where you could say what has to be done to prep for a day / weekend / week on the boat. With a calculator function so you could say average consumption = x for a person, times 3 people times 3 days = supplies required.

Never got much further than that.


Hi there Stubones99,

Thanks for the reply!

I do apologize, it will be a Windows application.
That said, I am not going to sell the application.

Not interested in taking it to "market".

I will however share it for free with other boaters, if they want it.

Your checklist idea is perfect, with your permission I will include it in the application.

Thanks again for your reply!
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Old 02-01-2016, 03:23 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by BandB View Post
As to receiving engine data, etc. it will come from all equipment in different forms. Many of the engine builders today have their own proprietary systems. So, if I was coding this to market I would just make sure I had half of the interface basically programmed very flexibly so it could accept information in many formats from many other forms of software. My point is that there will have to be integration and interfacing, so build it in a way to make that as easy as possible.

For ideas I would look at some of these and then decide what part of the things they do, do you want your software to do.

Deep Blue Software

Yacht Management Software | Triton Administrator

https://www.sealogical.com/?gclid=Cj...qwvBoCHlXw_wcB

IDEA Software SpecTec GmbH - Yacht Management Software

Yacht Management Software - Financial Module - Latitude365

Manage My Vessel - Yacht Management Software


BrandB,

Thank you for your reply!

I will be looking at all those links you have posted, tonight.

Thanks for all your trouble and time!
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Old 02-01-2016, 03:30 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by BandB View Post
One thing that I would add for any new system and it's something we had to code as a modification to ours is bar coding. Now that everything in the world has gone to bar codes, every phone can read them, that's a place the existing systems lag. We have all our inventory of parts, supplies and everything else bar coded. If you have multiple areas of storage on the boat you can even bar code the locations.

We find two huge benefits in a system. First, the scheduling and reminders and reporting of what you've done. We've even put check lists in for starting a trip and check that you've done each item. The second is having all manuals and guides scanned and available electronically. Every piece of equipment or machinery on the boat should have a complete manual, perhaps two (operating and maintenance) available to any device you use.


BandB,

The barcode thing makes perfect sense and with your permission I will include that in the application.

The scanning of manuals is also a good idea....but what I had in mind when it comes to servicing items when they are due.....

1) Show what is due to be serviced;
2) The user selects an item from that list (of things that need to be serviced) when the application works out it needs to be serviced;
3) The details screen for that item open up;
4) On the screen is listed all the manuals for that item (that you have on your boat) and also the page numbers, tools required, spares required and and and....

That prevents the user from having to scan all the books into the system....however this can still be done if it needs to....
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Old 02-01-2016, 03:57 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Crusty Chief View Post
Just a suggestion.
Trying to interface with all the different onboard systems, would be a Hugh undertaking.
Most software that I have looked at are too complicated for the average user to use let interface with the system they have.
I'm still looking for a software program that is easy to use and is affordable for the average user. Below is a short wish list for me.

Tablet and or phone use almost a given but hard to find.
Able to maintain an expense record by month/year.
Parts usage, inventory and location, with part number and vendor info to reorder.
Asset inventory, hours of operation, anticipated scheduled maintenance with a reminder to update status monthly/quarterly.
Repair documentation with cost, location, self repair/vendor.
Fluid supplies, type and supplier info for reordering.
A general page for all other repairs, such as light bulbs, fuses, winch motors, spot lights, windless motors, radio's and such.
A vendor supply page that you are able to search by vendor or material.

If this sorta sounds like a Quick books contractor edition, that's what I'm looking for. Drop down menus, report capable, material handling and easy to use.

Just my wish list, I'm sure you could add more stuff.

Crusty Chief,

Thank you for your reply!

Yes, I am aware that the work might be a lot.
I take it from your reply that you have had your fair share of thoughts on software....?

My idea with the software is not to give the user yet another place to view their gauges, info and and and.....but instead the system only uses that information in order to assess what needs to be serviced.

Let me put it this way....
Lets say your generator oil needs to be changes every 500 hours.
The system uses the engine running hours of the generator to simply remind you when the time comes to change the oil.
It also shows you the manuals you need to reference for this and the page numbers....tools needed, parts needed and and and.

My idea is not to have yet another system on board that you will need to check on and and and but rather a system that will remind you of things that need to be done.

That is one of the features of the application.

The ease of use:
That is something we can work on continuously in order to make it more user friendly.

Here is your wish-list with my replies to them:

1) Tablet and or phone use almost a given but hard to find.

Some of the features will not be able to work on the above. Computing power is only one of the issues....


2) Able to maintain an expense record by month/year.

That is easy as pie. I recommend that we also include to date selectors where the user can select his own FROM and TO date. Them the system can generate a rapport for all expenses between the selected dates. This takes away the limiting factor of only having to choose between month and year.

3) Parts usage, inventory and location, with part number and vendor info to reorder.

Also as easy as pie. I will also suggest that this part of the system integrates with a complete stock control part of the system. This way the system will know what you use, how much of that item you still have and when you should order new stock. It will also have a re-order level that will be used to automatically generate a report of items that are running low. It will also be able to automatically draw up the order for those items for the preferred vendor. The user will only need to click on "send" in order to order the items.

4) Asset inventory, hours of operation, anticipated scheduled maintenance with a reminder to update status monthly/quarterly.

This is the first part that the system will need to do and it is also the part that got me thinking about other stuff that the software will need to do.
This is one of the main functionalities of the software.

5) Repair documentation with cost, location, self repair/vendor.

This is the part that I mentioned in my original post. That the software will need to show the user in what manuals and on what pages to look for more detail.

Cost can be brought into this as well as self vs vendor repair.


6) Fluid supplies, type and supplier info for reordering.

Will fall under stock control.

7) A general page for all other repairs, such as light bulbs, fuses, winch motors, spot lights, windless motors, radio's and such.

Very good idea. Can also be included in the general stock control.
Also be part of the "How To" with references to manuals, pages ect.

8) A vendor supply page that you are able to search by vendor or material.

This is already part of the stock control section. Also the vendor/supplier section.


Looks like you know what you are looking for!


All the above can easily be done. I think we need 1 or 2 more brain storming sessions and then about a week worth of coding, then we will be ready for a demo.....what do you think?

Hope to hear from you soon!
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Old 02-01-2016, 04:04 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by omc View Post
So far I'm using "Boat Suite" App on both iPad aboard and my iPhone 6 as well, but always interested with new app / software for log book, service operations, check lists.

Hi there OMC,

Thanks for the reply!

Anything specific you would like?
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Old 02-01-2016, 04:12 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by JDCAVE View Post
I would talk to James Hamilton on Dirona:
MV Dirona
He will have ideas and suggestions for you. James was VP of web design for Amazon. He still works with them in some capacity. He has written a lot of custom programs for the operation of his own vessel. His vessel is probably the most "connected" vessel out there.

Don't let anyone dissuade you from your intended task. I started all-grain homebrewing in 1991. At the time there were no calculators available for recipe formulation to calculate grain bills and to estimate IBU contributions from different hopping regimes, so I build my own spreadsheet for that purpose. I still use it 250 batches of beer later, even though there are many software packages available for that purpose.

Jim
Sent from my iPad using Trawler Forum
JDCave,

Thank you for your reply and advice!

I will certainly be contacting James Hamilton on the Dirona.
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Old 02-01-2016, 09:47 AM   #20
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Padda,
Thank you for the response.
I recently sold my contracting business and was referring to QB Contractor as a tool to look at for your development challenge. It works well for a business, but after looking at it a little more, it would not work for what I am looking for on an IPad or tablet on boat maintenance.
We used it on a Windows platform, and with all the upgrades in Windows it soon became somewhat of a nightmare to integrate with all the devices that employees were given.
Maybe we were trying to accomplish too much with so many different devices.
We also used a very simple "Asset Management" software program to maintain all of our equipment. However, it would not integrate with our QB software.
We soon realized that short of hiring a full time IT rep to write the software to our needs, and that no one software maker can afford the cost to develope a program that does it all, we just made do.

So for the time being, I fall back on "Old School", paper and pen.

Best of luck on your endeavor.
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