WebDAV / Networkable iOS apps for the school environment

WebDAV / Network Solutions and investigation for particular iOS Apps

Scenario:
School environment using syncing case, but not actively managing each device with iTunes – looking to get the most out of saving / opening files from WebDAV or other network solutions.

Possible Solutions

Internal School network with WebDAV service connecting users to Home Folders
Portable WebDAV solution – Air Stash (Around £100)
Free 3rd Party solution such as Box.net
Web Hosting Solution that has a CPANEL / WebDAV sever
Other Free 3rd Party servers – see review http://www.free-online-backup-services.com/features/webdav.html

Instructions for setting up on the following platforms

Box
https://www.box.net/dav//Documents
Account email and password
Notice: The account needed to be fully setup on a workstation before it worked properly the iPad

Internal Network WebDAV server
http:// <given IP address or server name>
Student username and password

CPANEL Hosting  (This potentially won’t work in schools due to firewall restrictions)
http://<hosturl>:2077/
note the trailing slash seems to be important, and not compatible with all apps!

Review of Apps to Test for WebDAV
I will run through the possible solutions for the given list; (Case Study for South London School)

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£5.49
Office2
Detail : Office App (Presentation / Word / Spredsheet etc)
Claims : Claims to stay connected and work on the fly with a WebDAV server
Test : Indeed it works well, complicated at first but easy to get used to
WebDav :  Yes

Pros:

I thought it was interesting that a number of “Cloud Folders” locations could be setup – in other words you can simultaneously have multiple WebDav servers set up (internal network / Box.net / etc)
You can also move files between the local store and the WebDAV server – although its not obvious where thats done at first.
Cons :

Not as slick as the Apple products but it does have some more convenient features
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GarageBand
Detail : Music Sequencing Software

Test : There is no way to export to WebDAV
WebDav : No
Existing Output : m4a file to – Facebook, YouTube, Soundcloud, ITunes, Mail

Pros :

Cons :

Only the final file can be output, this means you can not edit the file when you import from elsewhere.
Solution :

Consider setting up a generic email account on all devices to export to teacher
Consider setting up a class YouTube account
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Photos
Detail : Built in photo viewer
Test : There is no WebDAV but there are other output methods.
WebDav : No
Existing Output : Mail, Message, Photo Stream, Twitter, Facebook, Copy

Pros :

Cons :

No output to WebDav
Solution :

Consider setting up a generic email account on all devices to export to teacher  (this method using ‘Photos’ allows you to export multiple images)
Photo Stream would be possible, by setting up a group iCloud account, but this could get messy and bloated
Copy, may work well – Simple “Copy” image and then open up another app perhaps a Document and Paste
Consider using FREE app WebDAV Nav to upload images to school server (tested and works with Box.net)
Consider using File Browser for connecting to networks
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£4.99
Notebook (SMART)
Detail : Slide creation for other SMART systems
Test : This is an expensive app for what it does – consider other tools
WebDav Compliant : No
Existing Output : Proprietary to SMART software

Pros :

Good if you have SMART software
Cons :

inflexible
Solution : none

Try : Adobe ideas – email pdf output, Draw Free – email output, keynote/pages – email/WebDAV

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£1.49
Book Creator
Detail : ePub book creator
Test : Application worked well with File Browser.
WebDav Compliant : No
Existing Output : epub

Pros :

Cons :

The file can not be imported for later editing (meaning you have to work on that device until complete)
Solution :

On export choose File Browser to send to a network (but coming down from network can only open in iBooks)
also works with WebDAV nav – but its not so easy!
also works well with DropBox (consider a group dropbox account)
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£2.99
Comic Life
Detail : Comic book creator
Test : – unstable app – crashed many times while trying out app.
WebDav Compliant : Yes
Existing Output : to WebDAV , Dropbox, iTunes as PDF or Comiclife file (also output to facebook/twitter/mail/photo library

Pros :

Cons :

for me – an unstable app
didn’t work with Box.net, but it may be an unusual setup – should be possible. hopefully works on school network.
Solution :

Using Dropbox / WebDAV should be fine
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£FREE / 6.99
iStopMotion
Detail : iStopMotion / animation utility
Test :
WebDav Compliant : No
Existing Output : Camera Roll, Mail, YouTube, DropBox – you can only output as movie

Pros :

Cons :

project files cannot be exported (meaning you have to work on that device until complete), only final output
Solution :

consider a group dropbox account
export (final work) to camera roll then use WebDAV nav
export (final work) to camera roll then use File Browser for connecting to networks
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£FREE
WebDAV Nav
Detail : Folder Management Software
Test : Tested a number of of uses
WebDav Compliant : Yes
Existing Output : Can only output / work with WebDAV servers

Pros :

Where an app cannot be output, it might be possible to at least get a screen shot and then use this WebDAV Nav to upload image to a server.
Works with most files (some require appropriate app – i.e. if downloading a presentation you need an app like Office / Keynote)
Take images/ Photos / Camera Roll etc straight to WebDAV server
file functions like – new folder, delete, rename, Open with
can have multiple WebDAV servers set up
Cons :

Small configuration to do on each device, also need to consider security as credentials are remembered unless you delete setting.
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£2.99
FileBrowser
Detail : SMB (not WebDAV) Windows server file browser
Claims : Claims to work on most servers
Test : Can be used to copy files from to to a server (works well on a NAS box, and Apple server with SMB enabled)  – actually quite impressive.
WebDav Compliant : No
Existing Output : Relies on applications installed on iOS device

Pros :

Works with DropBox
Works with NAS boxes, and Apple Servers if SMB features are enabled
Cons :

doesn’t natively work with WebDAV or Apple Networks(AFP) (Only Windows)
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Keynote / Pages

Detail : Presentation and Word processing
Test: Works with most servers
WebDAV Compliant : Yes
Existing Output: Proprietary, and Microsoft, PDF etc

Pros :

Works with DropBox – via ‘Open in Another App’ – also from Drop Box you can open in Keynote/Pages
Email enabled for output
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Notes:

In all cases where a WebDAV / Dropbox / Server connection can be made, the app will remember the credentials unless you log out – unless of course you are using some kind of ‘Group Accounts’ that an entire class can share as a intermediate pool of files.

 

General Solutions :

If you have the following you are best equipped to deal with most things where apps allow.

– WebDAV server (with on local network, or free external service) in conjunction with ‘WebDAV Nav’ app

– FileBrowser for connecting to networks in general

– General email account setup on a group or individual iOS devices

– Dropbox account for group of iPads

* Some info may dis/credit any particular apps, but results are based on the time of writing and particular needs of an individual study and may not be the same result for different testing criteria or establishment

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