Application Factory

Blog
Application Factory
Friday, May 11, 2018PrintSubscribe
Inline Editing and Native Client

Release 8.7.0.0 is finally here and introduces many new amazing features! Your apps will run in a native mode with inline editing, multi-level master-detail data views, transactional data input, and more.

Inline Editing mode in a form of app based on Touch UI created with Code On Time app generator.

In the coming days we will post multiple video tutorials covering the new features available in your apps. Subscribe to our YouTube to say up-to-date at https://youtube.com/codeontime

Please make sure to watch the following tutorials right now:

  1. Controlling Inline Editing
  2. Multi-Level Master-Detail
  3. Wide Scrollbars
  4. Default Actions in Grid/List/Cards
  5. Transactional Data Input

Native Apps are discussed in these tutorials:

  1. Mobile Development with Code On Time
  2. Online and Mobile Preview
  3. Configuring Application for Cloud On Time.

Inline Editing

We are very excited to offer the first practical and universal implementation of inline editing in Touch UI. Inline Editing is the built-in feature available in apps created with Premium edition of Code On Time. It requires zero configuration and offers a high level of control when needed.

The feature is stable and ready for production use. We have a long list of various enhancements planned already. Many of them will be addressing some imperfections that we know about. 

Another minor release will go out in about a week and will introduce a performance enhancing feature called Optimistic Saving. This feature will be enabled by default in all apps. It will further enhance inline editing and change our approach to data saving via forms in general.

Native Client

The native client is here. We have started with two native clients for Windows 10 and Windows 7. Our app generator is a Windows-based product. We wanted to make sure that you can build native apps without requiring anything else on the development machine. In the next 45 days we will release support for iOS with Android and MacOS to follow.

Download the universal native client for Windows 7 and above at https://codeontime.com/releases/cloud-on-time-for-windows-7.

Download the universal native client for Windows 10 at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/p/cloud-on-time/9nblggh404nb.

Multi-Level Master Detail

Touch UI now supports multi-level master-detail relationships between data views in dashboards, full-screen, and modal forms. Data View fields can another such field in the data controller serve as the filter. Developers can configure relationships with any number of levels and complexity.

Multi-level master-detail form in an app based on Touch UI created wtih Code On Time app builder.

Data Pre-Fetching

Build a new app and try it in a web browser. You will notice that the data displays virtually instantly. Open the source of the page with CTRL+U and you will see that the data comes embedded in the page. This is a performance enhanching feature targeting web users of your apps. We are preparing a tutorial explaining how that works.

Transactional Data Input

Transactional data input is now available. The feature is disabled by default. Enter odp.enabled=true in ~/touch-settings.json and your will be able to enter data in transactional fashion if you add Data View fields in createForm1.

Note that inline editing is not yet compatible with ODP (Offline Data Processor). Some features of the server-side framework are also missing.

Release 8.8.0.0 will go out in June of 2018 along with a new product called Offline Sync Add-On. The release will make ODP a standard feature enabled by default and will make possible to build apps that work in disconnected/offline mode without writing any code. The majority of the code has been completed. We are preparing the infrastructure to start selling Offline Sync.

New Folder Structure

New apps will have a new folder structure. Learn more at http://codeontime.com/blog/2018/03/app-factory-vs-app-factory-advanced.

Real Time with Code on Time

We are planning to start hosting live video sessions on our YouTube channel each Friday at 10:00 AM. The purpose is to provide a real time demonstration of various product features. Viewers will be able to submit questions ahead of time, watch the show live, or review the latest episodes at their own convenience. Each session will include answers to your questions, we will tell you about the new stuff we are working on. The primary purpose will be to demonstrate how to use our product with practical exercises.

Release Summary

This is a brief description of the features and bug fixes included in this release:

  • New field values changed with custom actions are displayed when user activates the invisible content with tabs. Previously the original row values were displayed instead.
  • Method $app.execute now supports argument property "background" to control if the UI is to be blocked. If set to true then a non-blocking background call is executed without any indication of progress.
  • Data views displaying data in grid are automatically synced when user returns to the previous pages and there were changes to the same data controllers prior to return.
  • Wide scrollbars are enabled if (1) ui.scrollbars.wide == true or (2) ui.scrollbars.wide == 'pointer' and the pointing device is not "touch".
  • Tags inline-editing, inline-editing-none, inline-editing-when-pointer, and inline-editing-option-none are controlling "Inline Editing" mode in the view.
  • Web.config now includes <authentication mode="None"> for apps with no membership.
  • Ensured js/_ignore.txt is copied to output directory in Web App Factory projects.
  • ListBox, CheckBoxList, RadioButtonList styling is matched to accents.
  • Fixed issue with agenda not selecting rows properly.
  • Fixed issue with incorrect page being displayed as selected in site menu.
  • Added support for "view-selector-none" tag to disable view selector on lookup fields.
  • URL Hashing replaces spaces with "+" when getting from URL to avoid exception.
  • Fixed Azure Publish re-authentication bug.
  • Dbl-click on modal title bar will toggle fullscreen mode of a form.
  • Added haxisformat and vaxisformat properties to allow formatting the axis values using the following options: none, decimal, scientific, percent, currency, short, long.
  • Publish now supports FTPS by using "ftps" in the URL.
  • Blob Handler now checks if user has acess to BLOB column and requested row before streaming to user.
  • Blob adapters are publicly accessible if no membership is enabled.
  • ApplicationServices.HandleError and ApplicationServices.HandleException is now overridable to allow for custom error logging.
  • If command Confirm with argument set to the name of the child dataview field is specified then field values are accessible in business rules of custom data controller as @Parameters_MasterFiel1, etc. It is now possible to implement custom search with stored procedures as explained at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ClCHL8JuuMg&t=0s&index=4&list=PLy2g3SjvDe2b2cl9i0msBaMVLntQucZtb.
  • SQL business rules support @[FieldName]_FilterValue1 and @[FieldName]_FilterValue2 for reading filter values.
  • New Advanced Search tags for data fields.
      - tag “search-sample-distinct” will force distinct samples
      - tag “search-sample-all” will force all samples
  • Field values with HtmlEncode = false and containing HTML content will not be trimmed.
  • Advanced Search displays "yes" and "no" options for Boolean fields.
Monday, April 9, 2018PrintSubscribe
Changing Field Values Via JavaScript Business Rules

Some form of validation is required in every application to help the user insert the correct data. Applications created with Code On Time app generator offer validation in the form of business rules.

Validating the Last Name field of the New Employees form.

Let’s add validation business rules the Employees controller of our sample Northwind app.

Open the Project Designer. In the Solution Explorer, switch to the Controllers tab, right-click on Employees / Business Rules node, and press New Business Rule.

Creating a new business rule on Employees controller.

Specify the following:

Property Value
Type JavaScript
Command Name Insert
Phase Before
Script
if ($row.LastName == 'Smith') {
    this.preventDefault();
    $row.LastName = null;
}

The above script will run when the user presses Save. It will check if the user has specified a Last Name of “Smith” – if so, it will cancel the save operation and clear the field.

Save the new business rule. On the toolbar, press Browse to run the app. Navigate to the Employees page and create a new record.

Creating a new employee with Last Name of "Smith".

Enter values for the employee and press Save. The save operation will not be executed, and the Last Name field will be cleared.

The Last Name field has been cleared.

Our business rule does ensure the user does not enter an incorrect value, but it does not make it clear to the user what is going on. We will want to add some feedback in the form of a message box to help the user understand.

Change the business rule as shown below:

if ($row.LastName == 'Smith') {
    this.preventDefault();
    // show message box
    $app.alert('Last Name "Smith" is not allowed.').done(function () {
        // update field value to null
        $app.input.execute({
            values: [
                { name: 'LastName', value: null }
            ]
        });
        // focus on the field
        $app.input.focus({ fieldName: 'LastName' });
    });
}

Our updated business rule has a few changes. Notice that the $app.alert function is used to display a message to the user. However, this alert will show a different form and change the current context. Attempting to update the field LastName after an alert is displayed will attempt to update a LastName field inside the alert form – which does not exist. Therefore, a done handler will need to be added to the $app.alert method call in order to execute code after the user closes the alert.

One more point to notice is that the $row variable is only in scope during the execution of the business rule. The asynchronous code in the done handler is executed when $row is out of scope. Therefore, it is necessary to use the $app.input.execute API to update the field values when the user returns to the Employees create form. The execute method accepts an object with the property values that contains a list of key value pairs. The $app.input.focus API is called in order to focus on a field called LastName as well.

Save the business rule and regenerate the project. Create a new employee with the last name of “Smith” and attempt to save. Notice that a message box now notifies the user that the last name is not allowed.

Alert message box is displayed to the user.

Press OK to close the message box. The Last Name field has been cleared and is currently focused.

The last name field is cleared and focused.

There are other ways of displaying a message to the user without interrupting the workflow. Let’s try the following:

if ($row.LastName == 'Smith') {
    this.preventDefault();
    $row.LastName = null;
    // focus and show message next to field
    this.result.focus('LastName', 'Last Name "Smith" is not allowed.');
}

The example above will clear the field, and use the result.focus() method to focus on the field, and display a message next to the input. The result can be seen below.

Focus message displayed next to the LastName field.

Another technique is to use the notification API to display a transient message to the user at the bottom of the screen.

if ($row.LastName == 'Smith') {
    this.preventDefault();
    $row.LastName = null;
    this.result.focus('LastName');
    $app.touch.notify('Last Name "Smith" is not allowed.');
}

The result can be seen below:

image

The notification will disappear after a default of 2 seconds.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018PrintSubscribe
App Factory vs App Factory (Advanced)

When users create a new project in the app generator using release 8.6.6.0 and later, the project type will now be App Factory.

App Factory projects will create an ASP.NET-hosted web site project, deployable to any server running Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS).

These projects contain both a REST API web server and stream HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to web browsers, to support user interaction through a publicly accessible web site. App Factory projects also function as a REST API server for native Mobile Apps.

Developers can also enable App Factory integration with DotNetNuke and SharePoint.

App Factory project folder directory root contains metadata files required by the app generator, as well as the Visual Studio solution file. An “app” folder contains the generated code required to run the server.

Project structure of App Factory projects.

Note that projects created before release 8.7.0.0 will use the “WebSite” folder name instead.

The app folder contains a set of resources required for the application to function. The App_Code folder contains the application framework. Upon running the application, the code in that folder is automatically compiled and executed.

All styling is stored under ~/css folder. All client-side scripts are stored under ~/js folder. Standard styling and script files are read by the framework, joined together, and streamed to the client (native app or web browser). The “_ignore.txt” file located in the two directories enumerates which non-standard files and directories are included in the output.

App folder of App Factory projects.

App Factory (Advanced)

An additional checkbox is now present on the New Project screen – “Implement application framework as class library (for experienced users only).”

Implement application framework as class library.

When this option is enabled, the application framework code is placed in a separate class library project, named after the project’s namespace.

Folder structure of App Factory (Advanced) projects.

The developer must have an instance of Visual Studio 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015, or 2017 installed on the development computer in order for the application to run. At compile-time, the Microsoft Visual Studio compiler must compile and package the application source code stored in the namespace folder into a *.dll file under the app folder. Only then will hosting software (Microsoft IIS) will be able to run the application.

App Factory (Advanced) projects store standard CSS and JS files under the class library. Upon compilation, these files are saved as embedded resources and read from the class manifest.

Custom CSS files can be placed under a “css” folder under the “app” directory. Custom JS files can be placed under the “js” folder under the “app” directory. The framework will read any files in those directories and not excluded by the “_ignore.txt” file, and stream them with every page request.

Pros of App Factory (Advanced)

  • Application source code is stored in a re-usable class library.
  • Hosting provider or customer is unable to view or edit the application source code.
  • Developer can only modify code during debugging if solution platform is switched to x86.

Cons of App Factory (Advanced)

  • Microsoft Visual Studio is required.
  • Application takes longer to generate and compile.
  • Developer cannot modify code files while application is running.

Old Project Types

A number of project types have been deprecated or disabled:

  1. Web Site Factory – renamed to App Factory.
  2. Web App Factory – renamed to App Factory (Advanced).
  3. Mobile Factory – a variant of Web Site Factory with Classic disabled. Deprecated. Use App Factory with User Interface set to “Touch UI” instead.
  4. DotNetNuke Factory – a variant of Web App Factory designed to work as a DNN module in DNN 7 and below. Deprecated. Use App Factory with DotNetNuke Connector instead.
  5. SharePoint Factory – a variant of Web App Factory designed to work as a SharePoint extension in SP 2010. Deprecated. Use App Factory with SharePoint Add-in instead.