We are evaluating the development of a software application help golfers improve their skills. We've looked at the apps that are currently offered and most of them track performance in the normal metrics that golfers see and hear - fairways hit, greens in regulation, number of putts, etc. And most of the mobile apps for golf provide course information and GPS data.
Our approach will be a little different and that's what makes the decision on the type of app to create difficult.
Our application will have minimal data entry once the primary data is entered. The primary data will be the golfer's name, email, and profile. The profile is calculated for them after they provide some basic information about their current abilities. We will probably preload the database with course data.
The data entry will consist of 4 or 5 values (or metrics) for each hole played. From this, we will calculate performance data that are compared to his current profile to evaluate his round of golf. The profile can be updated at any time by selecting rounds of golf that have been played as a measure of his abilities.
We are considering the following types of applications and each seems to have their own drawbacks. With the limited information that I have provided, I would like to hear what others might think about the following application platforms.
The desire to create this application comes from most of my staff being avid, although completely amateur, golfers. Consider it an act of appreciation for the game and a desire to help others improve and get more enjoyment from their time on the course. With that being said, other than the development time, we want to keep the fixed costs as low as possible. The pricing of the app will probably be ridiculously inexpensive.
Webapp - this would require a backend connected database such as XOJO Cloud and mean that we would update and maintain with the latest course information, etc. However, it would also mean that we would have to charge for monthly/annual access and manage subscriptions for accessing their data. It would also mean that we would have to put all the data in one database file and filter the user's data.
My other concern is accessing the webapp on a phone (IOS or Android) and how easy it will be to obtain location information and present an interface that is suitable for a mobile device. For example, I know that on an iPhone they have different keyboards for different types of data entry. Is it possible in a webapp to display the numeric entry keyboard if that is all that is required versus the full alphabet keyboard if that is required?
IOS App - Can an IOS app be connected to a remote database? That's just one of the questions I have. This would eliminate syncing data from the phone to a desktop application where reports could be printed and for more extensive data entry of course data, etc. If it can't connect to a backend database, then the problem with syncing comes into play. Allowing the user to enter metrics during game play and then syncing to a desktop database at a later time.
I think one of the advantages of the IOS app is we should have access to all of the phone's features, such as, camera, phone calling, and GPS.
If we connect to a remote database, we still have the problem of managing each user's access and filtering their data.
Of course, the downside to an IOS app is only be able to sell it through the IOS App store. We already have some experience with this and quite honestly the biggest problem we have with it is that very often your app gets lost in the maze. We'd rather do our own marketing and distribution.
Desktop app - Since there are only 4 or 5 metrics that have to be entered for each hole played, the golfer could enter this information on his own personal scorecard and then enter the data later into a desktop app. All major data entry can be done in the desktop app and reports printed from it. It eliminates the need for a database sitting on a server and we would only have to activate the app for the user to have access to it. We currently do that with all of our desktop apps so this part of the process is ready to go.
We want to consider all approaches before continuing so if you have any thoughts on this, I would greatly appreciate your input. Right now, we have a blank slate to start with other than the feedback that we want to provide to the golfer.