I would like to set up a database which allows interagation and updates of certain fields by mobile phone short messages and calculation of time and value fields when an action has been performed. How can this be done? Also which database is best to use for such actions?
Mobile messaging is changing quite literally day by day. New technologies are going to be released every few days or weeks for the next few months, so my answer could literally change day by day. This answer is based on what I know as of 2001-03-21.
Right now, most mobile phones don't have two way digital messaging. DTMF (touch tones) are still the most reliable input method, and voice response is the most reliable output method by far. Based on these limitations, I'd suggest that you use a VRU (Voice Response Unit) unless you plan to buy new phones for your entire user base, and confine them to working in areas with full digital service.
Each of the major VRUs has scripting components provided with the product, as well as the ability to program the VRU using 'normal' programming languages like VB, C, etc. Most of the scripting languages, and all of the programming languages allow you access to any of the major databases.
Be sure to spend some time learning how to efficiently use your VRU. I'd strongly suggest getting training from the manufacturer. Pay close attention to user interface details, especially the ones that are language specific (English, Spanish, French) if those capabilities might become important to your application.
Keep a clear division in your application design between the business functionality and the user interface. Decide what functions you need to provide, and then figure out how to provide those functions using the tools that are available. This will make it easier to add new business functionality as you need it, and to adapt to new user interfaces as they become available.
Because of products that will be released shortly, I would personally stay with either Microsoft SQL Server or IBM DB2/UDB running on an Intel Platform. These will allow your mobile solution to grow and incorporate new features as they become available.
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