Blog: Posts from December, 2018

Posts from December, 2018
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
if ($row.LastName == 'Smith') {
    $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') {
    // show message box
    $app.alert('Last Name "Smith" is not allowed.').done(function () {
        // update field value to null
            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') {
    $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') {
    $row.LastName = null;
    $app.touch.notify('Last Name "Smith" is not allowed.');

The result can be seen below:


The notification will disappear after a default of 2 seconds.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018PrintSubscribe
Data Field Tag: Overview

The data field Tags property is a space-separated list of values used by the client library to automatically add enhanced functionality at run-time. The table below shows available values and their related function.

Value Function
Will render a Call action to activate the device’s dialer application to make a call to the field value. The “disabled” tag will disable the automatic Call action.
Will render an Email action to open the device’s emailing application to send an email to the field value. The “disabled” tag will disable the automatic Email action.
Will render a Link action to treat the field value as a URL. The “disabled” tag will disable the automatic URL action.
calendar-date The primary date field to be used for Calendar presentation style.
calendar-end The “end” date field to determine date range in Calendar presentation style. In forms, will also configure the calendar input to automatically jump to this field from the “calendar-date” field and only allow date values in the future relative to the “calendar-date” field to be selected.
calendar-color The value field that will assign colors to each record.
calendar-text The field will be used as the primary displayed text in an event in Calendar presentation style.
calendar-disabled Will disable calendar presentation style processing for this field.
calendar-input-disabled Will disable calendar input control for this field in Touch UI.
calendar-input-data-none Will disable automatic query of record counts displayed in the calendar input control.
calendar-input-future Only allows selecting date values in the future.
created-coords When a new record is created, the geolocation will be requested from the browser and saved into the field in the form “[latitude],[longitude]” (without brackets or quotation marks).
created-latitude When a new record is created, the latitude will be requested from the browser and saved into the field.
created-longitude When a new record is created, the longitude will be requested from the browser and saved into the field.
data-sheet-freeze The data field will be “frozen” when in second generation data sheet view. The user can still unfreeze the column by activating “Unfreeze” option in the column header dropdown.
header-image-original If the field is a BLOB, will render image as header in full quality.
header-text The value of this field (in grid1) will be displayed as the header in Touch UI forms.
import-duplicate-test When importing records, the process will search for records with matching values in fields with this tag. If it exists, it will skip this record.
import-duplicate-accept When importing records, the process will search for records with matching values in fields with this tag. If it exists, it will update the existing record.


The foreign key data field will be used as the parent when creating and rendering a hierarchy in second generation data sheet view. Examples include: ManagerID, ReportsTo.
lookup-details-hidden Hides the lookup reference arrow in the user interface.
modified-coords When a record is modified, the geolocation will be requested from the browser and saved into the field in the form “[latitude],[longitude]” (without brackets or quotation marks).
modified-latitude When a record is modified, the latitude will be requested from the browser and saved into the field.
modified-longitude When a record is modified, the longitude will be requested from the browser and saved into the field.
lookup-details-hidden Will hide the lookup details arrow from the user to prevent direct access to the lookup record.
Use both “map-latitude” and “map-longitude”, or at minimum “map-address” and “map-city” in order to enable Map presentation style in Touch UI.
map-none Will disable map processing for this data field.

Tags are also used to configure the Chart presentation style. All chart tags start with the keyword “pivotX”, with X being the ID of the pivot. Learn more about how to format chart tags.

These keywords must be combined with dashes “-” to form a tag. Note that keywords with “X” require an integer value replacing the X. If not specified, the default value is 0.

Note that keywords can be split into multiple tags. For example, specifying “pivot1-row1-area” will be equivalent to “pivot1-row1 pivot1-area”. Do not specify duplicate keywords for the same pivot.

Some keywords support specifying a string value. This keyword must be the last keyword of the tag. Format these keywords like the following:

pivot1-title:"This is the title"

The table below enumerates the available keywords.

Keyword Function
pivotX The integer value X determines the pivot ID that the properties will be applied to.
rowX The data field will be used as a row. The index of the row is X.
colX The data field will be used as a column. The index of the column is X.
valX The data field will be used as a value. The index of the value is X.
This keyword determines the chart type. If this keyword is not specified on at least one tag referencing pivot X, then the pivot will not be rendered as a chart.
Determines the default size for the chart in the user interface.
topX Only the top X number of rows or columns will be kept. The rest will be hidden.
other When used in combination with “topX”, the hidden rows or columns will be collapsed into an “Other” row or column.
date This keyword, used on a DateTime data field, will compose multiple pivots with different configurations. The pivots tested are: year, year/quarter, year/month, year/month/weekofyear, year/month/day. The pivot with the number of rows closest to 25 will be selected for use.
These keywords will determine the value that will be used when calculating cells.
These keywords determine the date bucket mode. The DateTime value will be parsed and use the relevant part of the date.
all Lookup data fields will select all distinct values from the database and ensure that all possible lookup values will be present in the row or column. DateTime data fields will make sure that each bucket between the first and last row or column will be present.
hideblank The “blank” row or column will be hidden.
Use the “sort” keyword to determine the sorting order for values of this row or column. Specify “sortasc” or “sortdesc” to sort the row or column alphabetically or numerically. Specify “sortascbyval” or “sortdescbyval” to sort the rows or columns numerically by the value itself.
maximize The chart will take the full allocated space in the view. Axis labels and titles will be displayed inside the chart area.
crosshair Crosshairs will be enabled for the supported graphs.
Specify a string value to set the relevant title text.
format Specifies an ICU Decimal format string.  Supported .NET-compatible formats are “c”, “C”, “d”, “D”, “e”, “E”, “f”, “F”, “n”, “N”, “p”, “P”, “x”, “X”. 
Controls how the horizontal or vertical axis labels are formatted. Supported values are “none”, “decimal”, “scientific”, “percent”, “currency”, “short”, “long”.
region Specify a string value to set the region mode for “geo” chart.
displaymode Specify a string value to set the display mode for “geo” chart.
resolution Specify a string value to set the resolution for “geo” chart.
curve Enables curvature in the “line” chart.
explorer Enables zooming and panning in the “line” chart.
maptype Specify a string value to set the Map Type in “map” chart type.
enablescrollwheel Enables the scroll wheel for zooming in “map” chart type.
usemaptypecontrol Enables the Map Type control in “map” chart type.
pointshape Specify a string value to set the point shape.
pointsize Specify a value to set the point size.
orientation Specify a string value for the orientation of the chart.
animation Enables the loading animation.
grandtotal Will show a “Grand Total” row and column for the pivot. Not suggested to be used in conjunction with a chart.
Wednesday, March 7, 2018PrintSubscribe
App Factory vs App Factory (Advanced)

When users create a new project in the app generator using release 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 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.