Freeform Record Linking
At the heart of Flexile is the ability to link together records without a hassle. Any record in Flexile can be easily linked to any other record by simply selecting the other record you wish to link to. That's it, Flexile does the rest.
Flexile uses Links to give more meaning to each record by their association with other records. Links are displayed along with the record itself which essentially makes them a part of each record rather than as a afterthought you have to click through to get to. Flexile is unique in that there's no setup here... nothing to manage. Flexile groups, arranges and displays your Linked data automatically. You then have access to powerful Field types like References, Aggregates and Calculations that can leverage your Linked data to provide additional information.
Flexile makes it easier to edit your data by removing the Save button. Instead, Flexile automatically saves changes as you make them and so long as Flexile is running, it keeps a list of those changes so you can undo them later. This makes it easy to edit data in Flexile without worrying about loosing your hard work.
Flexile allows you to view your data the way you want to see it. While columns and rows are nice (well, sort of) pictures don't fit well in a grid, and why would the name of a contact be the same size and font as the profession? It wouldn't. Some data should be displayed prominently while other data can be neatly tucked away when you need it. Flexile makes it easy to create views that display your data in a way that makes sense.
Flexile give you an unprecedented amount of control over how your data looks with a drag and drop interface that allows you to design:
- Field Position and Size
- Font Type, Size & Color for both labels and fields (that have text)
- Text and Control alignment options (left, center, right)
- Label positioning (Top, Bottom, Left, Right or None)
- Formats for Date, Number, and Phone Number fields.
- Popovers - A Popover button can be set to provide additional information for a field.
- User specified, colored grouping containers to help organize your data better.
- Resizable separators, just in case the grouping containers aren't enough.
- Resizable Row Heights for Table Views.
Every view in Flexile can be set up with multiple pages of information for every view. The pages are easily accessible by either tapping on a tab selector or swiping on the record (much more fun).
Orienta tion Based Views
In many instances, different views can be setup for corresponding orientations (Landscape/Portrait). This allows you to easily switch between views by simply rotating your iOS device.
Drag and Drop View Creator
Really, it would be pointless to have all these view-creation options only to have the creation process be a pain. So Flexile uses a drag and drop interface for view creation where you can drag fields to position, tap them for options, and pinch to resize them. Moreover, fields will snap (can be turned off) to guidelines when dragged or resized, because nothing is more annoying than a field that's off by 1 pixel.
You can choose to display field labels in a header view or right next to the field for List views. Displaying the labels in a header will allow you to fit a lot more information on screen. You can even use it to create a grid, very much like what a "normal" database displays.
Flexile is designed to be easy and... well, kind of fun to work with. Everything is custom designed to be easy to interact with by providing interactive transitions in a simple iOS 7 style interface. We've gone to great lengths to keep Flexile's interface simple and engaging.
Full Screen Data Entry
There's nothing so irritating as tapping on a field to edit it only to realize the field is too small for editing. Wouldn't it be great if that field expanded to fill the screen, using all that precious screen estate rather than wasting it? Flexile does just that. Tap on a field and it'll expand to fill the screen, giving you as much room as your device has. Each field control is custom designed to make it as easy as possible to enter and edit your data.
- Pinch to Close a window. It's very satisfying to be able to Pinch-close a view. Fair warning though: you may find yourself disappointed when you find yourself trying to do this in other apps after using Flexile a while.
- Tap & Hold to rearrange. After a brief moment, the item you wish to move will turn semi-transparent and you can drag it to rearrange lists and grid items.
- Swipe back on the navigation bar to go back.
- Swipe back or forward on a record navigation bar to move between records.
- Swipe Right to Delete or Show options (depends on the element).
- Swipe left/right between pages in a record.
- Pinch to resize a field in View Creator.
- Drag and Drop for the View Creator, Import Matcher and the Formula Creator.
Gestures are great... they really are, but there's nothing worse than when an app hides it's functionality behind gestures. Ok, maybe there are worse things, but it's still pretty bad. Flexile is designed so that no function is hidden behind a gesture. Buttons are always available to perform every function in Flexile.
Flexile tries to give you the options you want when you want them without cluttering up the screen. By placing editing options in an pull down menu (literally... pull it down) you can easily Delete a record, add a new one, change your view options and share.
Double Pane Interface
Ok, to be fair, split-pane interfaces aren't exactly new... for the iPad at least. Flexile implements a slightly (or more than slightly) altered version that uses the entire screen so you're not left with unused space. Why would you need to see your table list when you're editing a field? Your list of tables resides in the left pane while all your data is accessed in the right pane. At any time you can switch between the panes, meaning you'll never have to press "Back" 30 times just to get to your list of tables. In addition, you have the choice between displaying your Tables in Full-screen Grid or using a faster Sidebar table list (default).
Lots and lots of data types... although, to be honest, not nearly as many as I'd like. So there will be more to come. But for now, most of the basics have been covered with some nice additions.
Basic Field Line Up:
- Text Field: An oldie but a goodie, the lowly "Text Field" is still probably the most used field type, excepting perhaps the "Number Field". Text fields are limited to 250 characters, FYI.
- Number field: Just like it sounds, you put numbers in this one. You've also got formatting options like 'Grouping' and 'Rounding'. You can also place a small Prefix (4 characters or less) to help identify what the number represents. Hint: There is no currency field, but to create one all you need to do is Prefix a number field with the appropriate currency symbol (ex: $)... sorry, no currency conversion.
- Note Field: A multi-line field (aka: text wrapping) that can be used to store simple text.
- Date & Time Fields: Date, Time and Date & Time fields....three fields atually. Fields can have per view formatting, which means you can format the fields differently for different views. Also, I'd like to mention that the Date Picker is pretty neat: Swipe up/down to change years, swipe left/right to change month and tap to select the day of the month.
- Email/Website. Pretty much like they sound. They're basically a text field with an option to launch an in-app browser or email message.
- Phone Number. Enforces strict formatting according to a pre-selected format. You can also auto-dial a phone number straight from within Flexile.
- Checkbox. Tap to check, tap again to uncheck. Keep tapping to enjoy the animations.
- Rating Field. Choose from 1 - 10 star max rating. Tap to rate. Easy peasy.
- Pick List. Pre-define a set of options to choose from. Then tap to select.
Semi-Advanced Field Line up:
- Image/Picture. Take images from the camera or choose one from the gallery. Note: Images are stored in full resolution (along with a smaller thumbnail) so they can take up a bit of space. Just saying.
- Audio. Record audio from the device microphone. Separate Audio sessions can be deleted until the record is saved (then they're all combined). Sorry, can't import external audio files.
- Location/Address/GPS. Set a location by using your current location or do a search, then edit the resulting address, if you want.
- Running Balance: Creates a running balance from a another field in the table. Balances are updated in real time for record changes, table searches and sorts.
- Reference: This field will reference another field in a Linked record. It displays data from either the first or last linked record (your choice). It also includes a convenience button to change references, which makes it very much like an advanced Pick List that uses another table as it's list values.
- Calculated Fields: Calculated fields perform mathematical operations on other fields. Calculated fields can perform normal operations like 'Add' and 'Multiple', but they can also do more advanced calculations like "Avg" and "Sin". More importantly, Flexile uses a drag & drop interface to create the formula.... much easier than typing.
- Aggregates: Aggregate fields combine the values of linked records to a specific table and field. Aggregate fields can take aggregate values: Average, Total (or Sum), Count, Max & Min.
- Concatenation: This allows you to combine the text values of other fields in the table together into a single text value according to a formula you create.
Also, there is another feature that allows you to copy values from fields in other records. You can even setup "trigger" fields that allow you to copy in multiple values from a record at once. For more info, see our Copy Fields Tutorial.
All number-based fields (numbers, dates, ratings, calculations, etc) can display an aggregate field at the bottom of the table for all of the displayed records (yes, it updates if you filter the table). Flexile will calculate for you the fields Total, Sum, Average, Minimum and Maximum values and automatically display whatever default you want.
Backup & Restore
Flexile gives you access to several services to backup and restore your database (including all external files). You can now setup multiple accounts under the same service, giving you a lot of flexibility in where you want to backup and restore your files. Flexile also include a remote service browser to make it easier to find files stored in the cloud. Backups are compressed and can be password protected.
Import data from CSV (comma separated values), TSV (tab separated values) as well as the Contact database on your device. Not content to provide you restrictive imports, Flexile provides you sophisticated import abilities that allow you to match your import data to your Flexile database using a drag and drop interface. Import features include:
- Split a single import file into multiple tables.
- Auto generate Links between imported records that are split between tables.
- Match columns to multiple instances of the same table.
- Match a single column multiple times.
- Define Default values for empty fields and/or empty import values.
- Duplication Detection on fields you specify, allowing you to update your records rather than add new ones.
- Prevent Import Data from overwriting existing data (used in conjunction with duplication detection).
- Import images (from local Contact Database only)
- Save the match configuration as templates you can apply to other imports (a huge time saver).
- Drag and Drop system for matching Import Columns to Fields.
For more information on importing, please visit our Importing Tutorial.
Exporting & Sharing
Flexile's not stingy, if you want to share you data you've got options.
First, you can email individual records so long as you've got an email account. You can choose to include a record's images & audio files as attachments. You can also choose to include all of a record's Links. Emails are composed in HTML and designed to look professional.
Oh... I should also mention that you can copy the text of a record to your device's clipboard to make it easy to paste the information in another app.
Flexile can also export a whole table as a CSV file. CSV files are a very common data format that provide an easy way to transfer data between services. You can choose to upload the export to your preferred remote service or you can email the export as an attachment. Flexile also includes a few useful option for the export:
- Export data is taken from the current table's record set (those records that are currently displayed). Therefore you can pre-filter and organize your records and Flexile will only export those records in the order they're displayed.
- Include all linked records in the export. When you do this, each Link will add an additional row to the export. This will effectively preserve the relationships between your records and your links. Flexile can also consolidate those links so that multiple Links are fit on a row (this can save space).
- Compress (zip) the export to save on space.
Flexile allows you to password protect both the app and individual tables with fully encrypted passwords. You can use either a number-only, pin-based password, which is easier to enter or go with a full all-characters-allowed password for ultimate protection.
The app password is used when you want to protect your entire database. The password is required in order to use Flexile at all.
- You can require the password only on startup, which means Flexile will only require the password when it's started. It won't require the password if you're jumping between Flexile and other apps.
- Flexile can require the password every time you enter Flexile. This means if you close the app (hit the home button) and immediately re-open Flexile, you'd have to re-enter the password. This is a lot more secure and, frankly, a lot more annoying... especially if you were trying to copy data from another app.
Each table can have it's own password. You'll be required to enter the password for a locked table to edit it or to view any of it's contents. You'll also have the option to have Flexile auto-lock a table if you leave Flexile.
You can unlock a group of tables at the same time so long as they are in the same Category and have the same password. By tapping on the Lock Icon in the Category, the password you then enter will be applied to every locked table in the category, making it easy to protect a group of tables without having to manually enter the same password multiple times.