Designing Scouting app for 2017 - Community Input Wanted!

So far I have seen about four, maybe five, apps for FRC that gets updated every year sometime between December 20th and February 10th. Wouldn’t it be nicer if you could use one of these apps for scouting without having to get an individual scouting app on your phone? Well, I’m not introducing one - yet - but I am looking in to designing one with iOS and Android compatibility and transferability in mind.

Information about the app (iOS):

-Designed for iPhone 6, 6s, 6 plus, 6s plus, and iPad 4th Generation (before version 0.4.0 - sometime in August)
-Beta test hopefully coming June 25th and lasting through December 25th (unless I reach 2000 testers before December 25th)
-Design update for version 0.2.0
-UI format update for version 0.3.0
-Versions between 0.x and 0.y will be bug fixes for the app
-More information to come!

Information about the app (Android):

-Project will be started during version 0.3.0 of iOS
-Beta testing (if possible, I’m not an android user) hopefully coming July 25th
-Design will match version 0.3.0 on iOS (including settings location)
-Major updates only (0.x to 0.y updates will come at the same time, but there won’t be in-between updates)
-NFC data transferability (possibility)
-More information to come!

Information about the app (Compatibility/Transferability):

-Data will be transferrable between devices whether you’re using android or iOS (method: TBD)
-Chat possibility (depends on the wireless communication rules of the 2017 game - so it likely won’t happen at the event) between scouts

Information about me (It is always important to meet the developer):

I participated in FRC during my senior year in high school and loved the environment, it naturally makes me a happier person. I volunteered during this past season (2016’s Recycle Rush) at Philomath, Oregon as one of the two CSAs; and I was told that the team I was on wanted an app that could manage to be compatible for both iOS and Android (at the time I didn’t have access to a Mac, now I do). Either way, this app should allow people to talk to each other, get contact information, and encourage gracious professionalism between teams. Right now, the app has no plans to monitor activity anywhere other than on the device (so your scouting data is yours unless you choose to share it with your team or other teams). Oh yeah, I am in college in Washington state currently studying Computer Science (the college I’m attending will supply an Associate’s in Applied Sciences then I will be transferring to a University).

Google Forum (I would invite everyone to respond):

Also posted on Reddit:

Relevant XKCD:

There are a bevy of scouting apps available, and sifting through them all takes a lot of time and effort. Frankly, introducing one for your own team makes a lot of sense (if you’re affiliated with a team, it appears you aren’t), but release it to the public, you need to have a reason for people to use. Either compile a standard file format for scouting data, because everyone is going to use something a little different, or have the ability to export to several different export types, please.

I applaud the concept, and I recognize the frustration of having to find and download (or write) a new app each year.

But yes, it’s going to be a challenge to come up with some sort of universal data model that will work for any scouting for any team for any FRC game.

Agreed. This is why I’m turning to the community, I want to see common patterns in the way people scout and add custom sections for them to decide whether or not to share certain pieces of information. For example,

The first scout could be storing: Team Number, Average Match Score of a team, Foul count, and Red Card count.

While the second scout has: Team Number, Team Name, Average Match Score of a team, Foul count, Red Card count, Team Helpfulness (what is their strong suit - programming, mechanical, pit storage, etc.), OPR, and likelihood of choosing that team for finals.

If the second scout decides to share: Team Number, Team Name, Average Match Score of a team, Foul Count, Red Card count, and OPR - then the Application should look for similarities between the two scouts and store the data accordingly.

My only worry is transferring from iOS to Android - Apple has been getting better at allowing Bluetooth PAN connections to transfer data between the two Operating Systems, but they still have some sections locked-down. File import via email would be the best beta-tested way to start. I appreciate the concern, though! :slight_smile:

^^…especially because the relevant data is not the same from year to year.

I don’t think is isn’t possible, but question whether it needs to be done. Just write it by February 25 and you’re covered. Anything more is likely less than ideal anyway, so stick to ‘easy’ over 'ultimate". Extra work is over-rated.

Have you considered using Xamarin (now free) or some other cross-platform tool to help you deal with all the different OSes? I’ll be writing a data collection app for my team this summer using that to bridge the app gap.

Our team (4269) has done something like this before. We built our program through Google Sheets and Forms, so users could just fill out the form online and have it sent directly to the central server. From there the data is processed to generate Pick Lists etc. We’re expanding it into a Multi-team effort for next competition season. The link is Message me is you have any questions, I’d be glad to either help you out with your system, and/or send you a copy of ours.


There’s an inherent tradeoff here in flexibility vs ease-of-use. Every team scouts slightly differently, prioritizes data differently, and utilizes that data differently. If you want to build an application that multiple teams use, it has to be flexible enough to support the differences. However, the more flexible the app is, the more configuration time it adds on the user end, and (generally) the more generic the UI has to be.

In my opinion, most successful app-based scouting programs are developed and maintained by teams for internal use, and highly customized towards that team’s scouting process.

I wrote a working back-end for an Android scouting app (UI exists but is terrible right now) similar to what your goals are. It currently stores data on a local SQL database and synchronizes through NFC. There’s a possibility that I’ll attempt to do an iOS port this summer, but that’s still TBD.

While Xamarin is free, you are still required to have a Mac attached to your account and turned on at the time of compiling for iOS otherwise Xamarin will not compile an iOS app. After all, the actual code for an iOS app is compiled via Xcode and that is the only compiler, that I’m aware of, specifically for iOS or macOS. Xamarin will certainly help you get started, but just a quick head’s up - in case you though you could save $500+ (USD for Mac Mini base model). :slight_smile: Also some extended features are covered under the Github student package, in case you have that as well.

Good Luck to you!