Forms, Reports, Apps

Build and deploy rapidly. Use offline, online, on-premises.

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Monday, January 8, 2018PrintSubscribe
Dynamic Form Builder

Powerful custom data input forms with responsive design is the higlight of our product.

A modal master-detail form in the app with Touch UI.

A modal master-detail form in the app with Touch UI.

A fullscreen presentation of the same master-detail form in the app with Touch UI.

A fullscreen presentation of the same master-detail form in the app with Touch UI.

Developers can design forms with drag & drop operations.

Our team is working on further enhancing form development and making it possible creating forms at runtime. Our strategy is multi-pronged.

Assumptions:

Forms must allow collecting master-detail data that can be manipulated as a single complex entity. This requires enhancements in the Application Framework.

Form Builder must allow live preview of design changes in forms.

Form Builder can be a part of both design and runtime environment.

The Big Plan

1) Offline Data Processor (ODP) will make possible creating controllers that allow collecting data without posting records to the server. This enables createForm1 with visible child DataView fields in "New" mode. The new record with the child data is submitted to the server as single entity and saved to the database in the context of a database transaction. ODP will go live by the end of Junuary 2018.

2) Survey is a JavaScript definition of a data controller not based on a database entity. The framework reads definition and converts it into the data controller structures. Application Framework heavily utilizes surveys in Batch Edit, Quick Find, Advanced Search, Import, and OAuth registration forms.

3) ODP will make possible creating surveys with master-detail data collection.
Expected availability is February 2018.

4) ODP makes possible creating surveys and data controller forms collecting child data along with the master record.

5) ODP makes possible confirmation controllers with master-detail data. Child data will be accessible in business rules in JSON format. Expected availability is February 2018.

6) The framework will be extended with Data Driven Surveys. This is a simple but prominent feature on our Roadmap. In the nutshell, the purpose of Data Driven Surveys is to allow using surveys stored in the database to collect master-detail data at runtime. We already have prototypes of the technology and will have it integrated in the code generation library in the February 2018 when ODP is completed.

7) Next iteration of Code On Time is called "v9".  We are moving the design environment directly into the apps! The new Project Explorer is written in JavaScript and loads in live apps on-demand. Drag & Drop between the Project Explorer and live pages/forms will simplify development. Live inspection of pages will synchronize the selection in the Project Explorer. Build-in Object Inspector will make it easy learning about properties of selected objects. See our roadmap for details about Code On Time v9.

8) The forms of a Data Driven Surveys are stored in JSON format in the long text column of a dedicated table in the app. Application framework displays DDS as a textarea when the record is opened in an app. Developers can edit the definition of the survey directly or come up with their own "form builder" to do so.

Developers mark the corresponding data field with the tag "survey-form". The framework will activate the survey available in the same row when another field in a data controller marked with the tag "survey-data" is activated.

A new product called Form Builder Add-On will become available with the introduction of "v9". It includes the packaged design environment of "v9" activated at runtime in a live app. The add-on will cause the data field marked as "survey-form" to be rendered as “Design” button. Form Builder is displayed when the button is pressed.

Sunday, December 31, 2017PrintSubscribe
Offline, Online, On-Premises with Personal Assistant

Happy New Year to You, Code On Time enthusiasts!

Welcome to the new era of apps that work Offline, Online, and On-Premises.  The first quarter of 2018 will see seamless conversion of online apps into a hybrid mobile applications for modern phones and tablets. We are bringing a new meaning to “write once, run anywhere”. Now the client-side libraries of any Touch UI app can be automatically installed at runtime in a device by a native shell application for iOS, Android, and Windows. The native “shell” app will communicate with the online web app to read and write data. The “shell” app will display your data locally in a native Webview of the device.

The new product Offline Sync Add-On will extend your apps to enable pre-emptive downloading of data into the device to allow “always offline” mode of execution. Application users will work in a completely disconnected mode after the initial synchronization. Users can opt to sync data manually or whenever the online connection is detected.

Offline Data Processor is at the core of this amazing capability. Native and Online apps that do not need disconnected execution will also benefit from Transactional Data Input implemented in ODP.

Ten years ago we have embarked on building a framework that enables rapid application development with low code customization capabilities. We believed that it was possible to create a technology-agnostic meta description of a business database application that can survive the breakneck pace of advancements in software development. An application engine will interpret the meta description to render a user interface.  If proven correct, this would have enabled creating alternative implementations of application engine and reduce the cost of maintenance and development. The initial implementation of the user interface was modeled after Microsoft SharePoint. Today we offer a new engine called Touch UI that works great on both desktop and touch-enabled devices. Tomorrow (in the second quarter of 2018 to be precise) we are introducing the new application engine called Assistant UI.

Touch UI app with Dark theme shows the Assitant UI option in the context menu.

This new application engine does not require a display. Users will interact with their apps via voice, email, SMS, and built-in chat. The new UI engine will be delivered as Assistant UI Add-On. If installed, an app created with Code On Time can be connected to the cloud infrastructure of Assistant UI. Connected apps will expose “Assistant” context menu option opening a chat window. User can request creating a new supplier by typing in “create a new supplier” command. The personal assistant will recognize the user identity of the connected app and download  meta description of data controllers and pages. The description is converted in a conversation script, which will drive the responses from the assistant. The assistant will respond “What is the Company Name?”.

These amazing capabilities require no additional programming and tap into the power of natural language processing. Users of connected apps can also email assistant by sending their requests to a predefined email address or texting a message to a predefined number. The assistant will recognize the user identity and email or text back while maintaining the conversation context in the built-in CMS of the app. Multiple apps can be connected to the Assistant UI online service. We will also offer pre-built voice extensions for Google Voice and Amazon Alexa to enable voice conversations with the assistant.

Assistant UI uses a significant set of features that were designed for native apps. It requires no additional programming. This further proves that our approach with application meta descriptions does lead to significant savings in development costs.

Great technology requires great development tools. The new tooling will exponentially simplify development process with Code On Time and open our products to more potential customers.

The year 2018 will see a new development environment called Code On Time v9. All customers with valid activation codes that are not expired at the time of the release will automatically get access to the new software. The pricing will remain the same for 2018 for new purchases.

Version 9 integrates application customization tools directly into the app. It will come with three different backends to support integrated JavaScript IDE. The new development environment is built with Touch UI and transfers significant portion of design-time processing to the client. The application file structure will remain exactly the same. We are using Offline Data Processor to create better configuration screens in the new IDE. New Object Inspector will make it easy to discover available configuration properties. Integrated documentation and community/ticket system will benefit users with any level of experience.

Code On Time v9 backend is a Windows application with the built-in code generator from version 8. It does not have its own UI. The apps can be launched in either the default web browser or in the Native App for Windows 7/10.

Cloud On Time is a hosted version of Code On Time v9 backend. Built-in database designer enables creating cloud data tables and views. Developers will be able to customize their apps with SQL/JavaScript/Email business rules with instant online deployment. There is no software to install. This backend will have a subscription-based pricing model.

Cloud On Time Private Edition is the version of Cloud On Time backend that can run on-premises. This option is for the customers who cannot put their data online. This backend will be priced per-core of the processors on the deployment server.

Find more details on our roadmap, subscribe to our YouTube channel, and newsletter to stay in touch in 2018 and beyond.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017PrintSubscribe
Light and Dark

Long dark winter nights are calling for a different kind of GUI. Here comes the “Dark” theme.

New 'Dark' theme in an app build with Touch UI and Code On Time app generator.

Place the following in ~/touch-settings.json to lock-in the Dark theme with the Bitter Sweet accent.  This configuration will also disable “Settings” option in the GUI.

{
  "ui": {
    "theme": {
      "name": "Dark",
      "accent": "BitterSweet"
    },
    "transitions": { "style": "slide" }
  },
  "settings": { "enabled": true }
}

This is the “Light” version of the same app. It works best if you use the device in the bright light.

The 'Light' theme in an app build with Touch UI and Code On Time app generator.

Light and Dark theme are provided to give developers more options to express themselves and to allow upcoming native apps to have day and night time versions of the GUI, while still enabling rich customization with accents.

Accents do look more dramatic with the “Dark” theme. Try building your own theme accent now!

Dark theme with Construct accent in the app created with Code On Time.

Dark theme with Construct accent in the app created with Code On Time.

Dark theme with Construct accent in the app created with Code On Time. The context menu is open.

Dark theme with Construct accent in the app created with Code On Time. The context menu is open.

Dark theme with Construct accent in the app created with Code On Time. The sidebar is hidden and the tab bar is displays icons for frequently used app pages.

Dark theme with Construct accent in the app created with Code On Time. The sidebar is hidden and the tab bar is displays icons for frequently used app pages.

Dark theme with Aquarium accent in the app created with Code On Time.

Dark theme with Aquarium accent in the app created with Code On Time.  The form is open and context menu of the form is also visible.

Dark theme with Aquarium accent in the app created with Code On Time.  The form is open and context menu of the form is also visible.

Dark theme with Aquarium accent in the app created with Code On Time.  The form view is open and the "Data View" field is visible in the form.

Dark theme with Aquarium accent in the app created with Code On Time.  The form view is open and the Data View field is visible in the form.

Dark theme with Verdant accent in the app created with Code On Time.  The sidebar is expanded.

Dark theme with Verdant accent in the app created with Code On Time.  The sidebar is expanded.

Dark theme with Modern Rose accent in the app created with Code On Time.  The app is displayed in a small form factor.

Dark theme with Modern Rose accent in the app created with Code On Time.  The app is displayed in a small form factor. 

Dark theme with Modern Rose accent in the app created with Code On Time.  The navigation menu is open.

Dark theme with Modern Rose accent in the app created with Code On Time.  The navigation menu is open.

If Settings option is enabled, then users can access the themes and accents at runtime.

Settings panel of app built with Touch UI and Code On Time.

Theme and accent selection panel of app built with Touch UI and Code On Time.