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Comparison to original Attendance app

  • How is this app different from the original app?

The original app was written for iOS 2 and officially maintained through iOS 7 (although most features still worked through iOS 7). Since the original app was a 32-bit app (as that was the only option in the early iOS versions) and many changes had been made to iOS over the years, it was not reasonable to update it to a 64-bit app for iOS 11. 

The original app stored all the data in one database file. Attendance2 stores each course as a separate file so you can easily share a course with TAs or administrators. Attendance2 includes all the features of the original Attendance app except for group SMS messages as those did not work reliably for large numbers of recipients due to carrier limitations (to prevent spam I assume).

Because each course is a separate data file, the way user interface is a little different but the way you take attendance is basically the same (select a date and tap on the status for each person) as the videos show.

Because they are separate apps, they are separate purchases.

General Questions

  • Why do you charge for your apps?

I don't collect information to sell (all the data remains on your device unless you use the options to save to Dropbox or email it off the device) or use ads so the only way I make money is from selling the app or donations. I have spent thousands of hours working on the app and answering emails about it so purchases and donations are appreciated.

  • How do I copy my data to another device?
Use the option to Backup to Dropbox or the Backup via email option. If you backed up via Dropbox, launch Attendance2 on your other iOS device and choose Import from Dropbox and select the file you backed up. It will load in the file from Dropbox. If you already had a course with that name (i.e., an earlier version of the data file), a file with the suffix -backup will be created.
If you emailed yourself the backup file, launch the Mail app on your iOS device, tap on the attachment and select Open in Attendance2. Again, if an existing course with the name existed a -backup course is created.
Only one level of -backup files are created. If you already have a -backup file when you load a course with the same name, the existing course is moved to -backup and then the newly imported file has the original name.
Note that this backup/import is a copy operation not a sync/merge operation. The existing file is replaced with the new file (and the -backup file created with the old data).
  • Can I take attendance with multiple devices at the same time and merge/sync the data?

No, syncing is incredibly difficult to get correct and is not something I want to try to support in a $5 app.

You can copy a course to other iOS devices (via email or Dropbox) so the data can be viewed or edited on other devices but you cannot combine data from multiple devices. This means the device you are using at the moment must have the latest copy of the data for the course you are using. 

For example:

1. Use Attendance2 on your iPhone

2. Use the Back up to Dropbox option to store the course file(s) you just modified in Dropbox

3. On your iPad use the Restore from Dropbox option to get the most recent copy of the data onto your iPad

4. if you make any changes on your iPad, use the Back up to Dropbox option on your iPad, and then the Restore from Dropbox option on your iPhone.

  • Where can I get more help on using Attendance2?

There are a number of videos on the Attendance2 web page here. These videos were made with an older version of iOS so the app looks like an iOS 6 app in the videos. Attendance2 has been modernized to look like current versions of iOS but the way the app works is the same as in the videos.

Dropbox Usage

Make certain you are using the latest version of Attendance2 as Dropbox changed their API and shutoff the old version in September 2017. I updated Attendance2 to support the new Dropbox API in early 2017.

  • How do I use Dropbox with Attendance2?

Use the option in Attendance2 to Link with Dropbox and give Attendance2 permission to access Dropbox. This will create the Attendance2 folder within your Dropbox/Apps folder. Do not manually create this folder on your computer. If you did manually create it, see the steps below in the "Dropbox importing or exporting is not working."

  • Where do I put my CSV and/or JPEG files in my Dropbox account so Attendance2 can find them and where do my Attendance2 files go when I back them up to Dropbox?

After following the steps in the previous answer to link with Dropbox, put the CSV and/or JPEG files in your Dropbox/Apps/Attendance2 folder. When you backup to Dropbox fromt he app or save reports, those files will also be placed in this directory. 

  • Dropbox importing or exporting is not working.

On your computer, move the files out of the Dropbox/Apps/Attendance2 folder. Use the option in Attendance2 to unlink with Dropbox. Use your comptuer to delete the Dropbox/Apps/Attendance2 folder. Use the option in Attendance2 to Link with Dropbox and give Attendance2 permission to access Dropbox. This will create the Attendance2 folder within your Dropbox/Apps folder. Move the files back into the Dropbox/Apps/Attendance2 folder.

Attendance Statuses

  • How do I take attendance?

See the videos here and read the Help section within the app (accessible from the inital screen) on how the various status settings work.

  • How can I use Attendance2 to track participation?

See this blog post for some options.

  • How can I use Attendance2 to track when children are picked up at a day care center?

See the "Shows how to customize statuses and gives an example for day care centers" here.

Usage Questions

  • How do I reorder the names?

To automatically sort by the various fields such as first name, last name, identifier of the custom fields, choose "Sort order for names" on the course main menu. Press the Edit button and drag the fields into the order you want to sort by using the handles on the right side. For example to sort by first name and then last name, drag the firstName field to the top and drag the secondName field to the second row. Make certain the course main menu option states "Switch to manul sort order" which means you are currently using the automatic sort ordering you just specified.

To manually sort the names, press the course main menu option "Switch to manual sort order" so it now says "Switch to automatic sorting." Then choose "View/manual sort names", press the Edit button and drag the names into the order you want using the handles on the right side.

  • What gestures can I use on the screen for taking attendance?

Press the photo (or where the photo would be on the left side) to view a larger version of the photo and/or take a new photo with the camera or get a photo from the photo library or your Dropbox/Apps/Attendance2 folder.

Press a name to display a screen where you can enter a note for the person for that day and modify the stuatus. You can then use the Prev/Next buttons to move through the various names.

Press and hold a name to display the screen for viewing and editing the various fields for a person.

Double tap a name to display the status totals for that person (based on the Start and End Date in the Report Settings).

Press a status to cycle to the next status. Press and hold a status to view all the status options and select one.

  • How do I start a new term and/or copy students and settings to a new course?

Create a new course on the initial screen by pressing the + button at the top left. Select that course. Choose "Import from existing course." Select the course you want to copy data from. Now press each row of the data (All People, Statuses, Take Settings, Report Settings, Person Sort Order) that you want to copy from the existing course and then press the "Copy" button at the top right.

  • How to I reorder the courses/groups on the main screen?

On the main screen with the list of courses, press the Edit button and then use the handles on the right side of the screen to drag the courses into the order you want. Press the Done button (was Edit) when you are finished.

  • How do I delete a course?

First, I recommend you first backup the course data file to Dropbox (or email it to yourself) as deleting a course cannot be undone (other than reimporting it from a saved file).

On the main screen with the list of courses, press the Edit button and then press the red minus button followed by the delete button that appears. Press the Done button (was Edit) when you are finished.

  • How do I delete a date?

Select the course, choose "Select existing date", and press the "Edit button at the top right. Then press the red minus button next to the date you want to delete followed by the "Delete" confirmation button that appears. Press the "Done" button at the top right after deleting the date(s) you want to delete or just press the back button at the top left to go back to the previous screen.

  • How do I change a date?

Select the course, choose "Select existing date", and tap and hold the date you want to change to bring up the date dialog. Change it to the date you want it to be and press "Save."

  • How do I delete a person or modify the information for a person?

On the course main menu screen, select View/manual sort names, and then select a person. There is an On/Off switch for enrolled to drop a person. Dropping does not delete the data, but the name will no longer appear while taking attenance and will now be in the bottom dropped section in this list. In addition to the On/Off switch for enrolled there is a "Delete" button at the bottom of the person's fields. Deleting a person does delete all the data for the person and cannot be undone.

  • How do I add photos?

You can import photos with your CSV file from Dropbox. See the "CSV Import Video" here for the steps.

Or you can add photos from Dropbox, the photo library, or using the camera on your device after you've added the names. There are two places you can add photos.

1. Add a date, and take attendance for that date. On the screen for taking attendance, press the space to the left of a name and you can add a photo from Dropbox, for your photo library, or with device's camera (if it has a camera). To use Dropbox, you must first link with Dropbox (see Dropbox Usage section above on this page).

2. On the course main screen, press View/manual sort names, select a name, and press the top Photo row.

  • Why do some dates not show up in the reports?

Open the course, choose Report Settings, and adjust the Start Date and End Date to include the dates you want. This allows people to keep reports for an entire year, but only create reports for a current term. These dates are also used when calculating the status totals that affect whether a name appears in red or not when taking attendance.

  • How do I change the emal adress that reports and other in-app email messages are sent from?

Apple does not allow apps to access or change the From address for in-app email messages. The email address that is set as the "Default Account" in the Mail, Contacts, Calendars section of the iOS Settings app is the default email address used by all applications for sending email messages. You can change that Default Account setting and then Attendance2 (and all other apps) will use that email address as the initial "From" address.

Contact Information

  • How do I contact you?

I teach computer science full-time so I have limited time to work on the app and support it but I will do my best to respond to email. Since the app is relatively inexpensive (I make about $2 a copy after Apple's 30% cut and taxes), I respectfully ask that you first skim through this FAQ and watch the videos to see if your question is answered there. If this site does not answer your question or you have a feature request you think would be useful to a wider audience, or if you think you found a bug, you may email me at: dave256apps (at) me (dot) com.

If you'd like to thank me for adding a feature or answering your support email, a donation via PayPal is appreciated (PayPal donate link).