I am interested in developing a scouting app for the team I am a part of, but I don’t know the first thing about app development? Can anyone point me towards resources or people I can use/talk to so I can make this a reality
To verify: Is your objective “I want to learn to build a mobile app”, or “I want to make a really effective scouting system for my team”? Both are fine, but may lead down different paths.
Something that is fairly simple, and can be used across all devices (apple and samsung), is AppSheet. There isn’t much coding that goes into it, and it hooks up to Google Sheets. One of the best parts is that you don’t need cellular service to submit forms, unlike a web based system. (From my experience) the app will save your submissions so that you can send them once you have access to internet. I myself do not have a lot of experience when developing one of these apps, but i know @Hailey.faiella does. If you want a more detailed explanation, id go to her.
I want an effective scouting system for my team
Have you or your team figured out a good workflow already for crunching the numbers and displaying the information you want? If you have, people more in tune with the typey-typey magic will chime in I’m sure. If not, I might recommend starting by building a spreadsheet where you can make edits and adjustments on the fly. (Because you will make adjustments.)
Having an electronic scouting app doesn’t necessarily mean display as well.
The largest pro of an app is the input method rather than the display.
My team has used AppSheet for the last two years. The cost has gone up for usage, and is borderline prohibitive considering the free options (like just using a spreadsheet). But even a slick interface and automatic data graphing can’t make students “jazzed” about scouting. You’ll need to do what Billfred recommends before jumping to the snazzy interface.
Here is one option for a scouting app that only uses Google Forms / Google Sheets.
There are a few questions you should ask yourself probably first around what the end goal is for you?
- do you want this system to only collect data as some form?
- do you want this system to only show the analysis of externally acquired data (paper input into excel) ?
- do you want this system to be real time (requires cell service to comply with rules) or to be sync based using blue tooth or sync when you have internet type of thing?
- do you have any experience in making any sort of app? (web, iOS, Android, Java, .NET, etc)
- why do you want to go electronic? (this can help you focus on resources to solve a known problem with your existing system)
All of those question matter because the resources for all of those things are different. I recommend you start simple with making small parts of your scouting electronic before you go all in. Unless of course you have programming experience or mentors who can assist with the efforts. It can be a lot of work in addition to all the robot stuff that you likely have with FRC/FTC.
That all being said, 610 does web applications because we have devices with cell service which are sponsored for us. Every year I have been on the team (2017-now) we have changed parts of the app and tried new things. Mostly we tinker just to learn new frameworks or tools. This is fine because we have a big team and students with some experience.
To actually answer your question though, a resource that can be useful is team 1678 whitepapers about their scouting systems. There are also videos available from what I remember. This is something to look at to get a sense of just what goes into one such app.
1678 whitepapers: [https://www.citruscircuits.org/scouting.html] They have used Firebase, which is something 610 will be playing with this year.
If you are looking for help in terms of people to discuss this with, I would say that 610 would be happy to talk to you. I cannot say for certain that our model is great because we lack documentation and change parts year after year, but we have been electronic for a while. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Yes hello, I have messed around with a bunch of different platforms including AppSheet. If any questions arise feel free to send me a PM