Should I build a cloud-based dive logbook?

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epicrecluse

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Hi all, super new diver here, so I may be missing something obvious. But I've been looking into the options available in the digital/cloud dive log space, and haven't been very impressed. So considering building an app myself. Wanted to get the community's opinion before getting serious about it. My unfiltered thoughts are below.

Entirely Web Based
The app would run in your browser, so install won't be necessary, and it'd work on any device with a reasonably modern browser, including Linux systems; which tend to be less well supported by such things. It'd progressively take advantage of available browser features to provide the nicest experience possible, without compromising the portability inherent to web apps.

Just A Logbook
It'd just be a logbook, nothing more. Existing cloud based 'logbooks' seem to include full fledged social media platforms, which also seems totally dead in the case of Diviac. More 'features' means more overhead, which means slower progress/fixes/support. Social features will be limited to the ability to share your profile or logs on various social media sites.

Dive Computer Imports
The app would make use of experimental features available in many modern browsers to import logs directly from a dive computer via USB or Bluetooth.

File Imports/Exports
Would support file imports from/to other logbook apps, and from/to CSV for analysis by other software.

Sign Off
Would allow buddies, instructors, etc. to sign off on a log either through a one-use link or in person (by lending them your device).

Feedback
Not sure if anyone would actually be interested in this, which is why I'm posting here. Any feedback is welcome. I'd rather not waste my time building this if it's a dumb idea, so criticism is especially welcome.

Depending on what y'all think, I'd build this as a side project for myself and select interested individuals (free to use). If the app ever received enough interest to be worth opening it up to more people, we'd need to figure out a fair way to monetize it; since a public app would require more resources than I could fund out of pocket.
 

Hoag

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Your premise would rely on internet connectivity which you may not get in some locations or on many Live Aboards while "at sea".

Yes, at some time, you will once again be able to re-establish connectivity, but in many cases, you might not be able to update your log until then. Many hotels also charge for WiFi, so a cloud based log may also incur extra costs even if there is good connectivity.

These may or may not be deal breakers, but some of the best dive sites remain the best because they are remote.
 

Wibble

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Cloud; hell no.

Once you've been diving a bit you'll settle in to either using your computer to log dives. They all have applications and most computers can be connected to the open source (is it?) SubSurface application.

Signing logbooks is only for early novices. Thereafter you just go diving and write some notes against the computer profile downloaded into your application.

I'm familiar with the Shearwater application. This is excellent as it uses distributed databases, so you can download to your phone/tablet/computer and then sync with the little fluffy clouds when you've network connectivity. It works; there's more than enough info to stash on there, no problems.


Alternatively you might be the type of person who likes writing stuff into a little log book. Good for you. Maybe you have a book of blank pages where you write everything down, maybe even pasting in photos. Good for you. Maybe even use ms Word to write your book. Again, good for you.


Of course if you want to write yet another dive logging application (YADLA), fill your boots. Good for you. Alas there's no magic "gap in the market", some will come, most won't.
 

Marie13

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MacDive syncs to the cloud but you can easily log on your phone and upload to cloud later if in a location without internet connectivity.

And, yes, logbook signing is for newbies. Or vacation divers who like collecting the stamps from various dive ops in their logbook.
 

stiebs

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Adding dive computer sync functionality within a browser is going to be a major PITA. It's hard enough as it is to keep up with the wide variety of idiosyncratic and largely undocumented protocols ways that dive computer manufacturers implement, let alone trying to do that in a browser while maintaining cross platform and cross browser support.

If you're keen on developing, take a look at the open source Subsurface and start contributing!
 
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epicrecluse

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Adding dive computer sync functionality within a browser is going to be a major PITA. It's hard enough as it is to keep up with the wide variety of idiosyncratic and largely undocumented protocols ways that dive computer manufacturers implement, let alone trying to do that in a browser while maintaining cross platform and cross browser support.

If you're keen on developing, take a look at the open source Subsurface and start contributing!
True, that'd probably be one of the more difficult parts; but I've reversed protocols before, and figured I'd only allow sync on browsers that support the Bluetooth and Web USB APIs. I enjoy that kind of work, so figured I'd just take it slowly, one computer brand at a time.

Whatever the case, based on other replies, it seems like the app wouldn't be very useful to the community; so not worth building. Though it is true that we can support offline mode for web apps... the issue with it is that it can't be made free for everyone as a native app could, since it'd cost to keep the servers up.

I might try contributing to Subsurface, we'll see. Right now I'm more interested in the write-once-run-anyware capability of web apps, which are becoming more powerful with modern APIs.
 

Wibble

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Right now I'm more interested in the write-once-run-anyware capability of web apps, which are becoming more powerful with modern APIs.
They're also starting to get seriously annoying and massive security risks. Remember Flash... that wasn't the saviour of the universe! Same with Java clients. Until security's thought through -- specifically with JavaScript -- it's unlikely to get "better", more like more people will block this functionality as the hacking scumbags inevitably exploit it.
 
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epicrecluse

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They're also starting to get seriously annoying and massive security risks. Remember Flash... that wasn't the saviour of the universe! Same with Java clients. Until security's thought through -- specifically with JavaScript -- it's unlikely to get "better", more like more people will block this functionality as the hacking scumbags inevitably exploit it.
Fair enough
 

Wibble

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There was an airline website breach a few years ago that siphoned off thousands of payment card details. Root cause was a JavaScript library component compromised by hackers. This was imported into the website and due to the lack of JS security, dutifully sent the details to the hackers. The airline was fined millions. Have often wondered the fate of the incompetent script kiddie who pulled in those libraries.

Our current challenge is ransomware and the usual exploits to take control of the machine. This is why browsers won't be trusted.

Security | Ease of use | Low cost
Pick any two.
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/perdix-ai/

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