Personal Sales Assistant

New customer often means new challenges. Adaptation. New strategies are thus required to face them.

For this job, we couldn’t simply start from scratch. Our customer had already a working solution for their sales agents so we had to integrate with an unknown and unmodifiable system. Our solution was to provide the same functionality of a software which had years of bugfixing and refinements on its shoulders, yet had to prove itself a better alternative by improving the user experience and becoming a more solid solution when it came to synchronisation.

I was assigned the whole client-side solution development and it had to be done in iOS SDK: thus, iPad.


The first thing on which I spent my time on was a library for making queries to SQLite. I could have simply used templated queries (storing queries as strings in a plist and then substituting parameters dynamically) but this solution was impracticable. There were some cases where the very same query, depending on a condition, could become a union of some very complex queries, or a trivial select-from-where with a single parameter. There were some pretty clever open source libraries that could have worked but all of them had this or that thing missing. Without wasting any more time I took the SQLite specifications and started coding my own library. After an intense week I had almost everything working. I was able to combine queries, use transactions, cope with almost any nasty combinations of single or double quotes and even got the time to produce a flimsy looking documentation.

Another aspect of the application where I could express some of my creative talent was the “cover flow” view for the product’s list. It’s basically a rip-off of the well-known eye-candy view available in any Mac OS X version. Of course I had to implement it by hand from scratch as there was nothing like it available for free on the internet.

ios7_NewOrder

From that point on, the whole development proceeded quite fast, not without hiccups, but never halted for some critical obstacle. We then published the application a year later and now we’ve just updated it for iOS7.

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