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A proverbial "Hello World" example for a rapid application development tool is the To-Do List. Every business process revolves around tasks. It makes sense to measure the strength of a RAD product by how quickly you can put a task list together.

Learn to build a task management app with Code On Time. It will take five minutes.

Our To-Do List will feature grids, forms, calendar, charts, maps, business rules, and much more.

Let's get started

STEP 1 - Tasks

First, let's start with a single table that keeps track of tasks. Create Tasks table in a database hosted in Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL, IBM DB2, SQL Anywhere, or Firebird. Code On Time app builder will "see" your table as the model below and turn it into an application.

These are the steps required:

Create a data model using the integrated Model Builder. Generate the project. The app will start in the browser. No coding is required.

A task management page will be created. This page will display a responsive grid of records. The user can search, filter, and sort data out-of-the-box. Tasks can be created, edited, or deleted. The calendar presentation style allows viewing data in a day, week, month, year, or agenda view when a date field has been detected. The mini calendar on the sidebar allows for quick filtering options by date. Data can be downloaded in PDF, CSV, Excel, Word, or TIFF format.

Let's add a lookup table

STEP 2 - Adding Categories

Let's classify tasks with categories. Create the Categories table in the database. Add a foreign key linking "Tasks" to "Categories".

It is easy to integrate the new table and relationship into the app. Simply add "Categories" table to the model of "Tasks".

This is what you do:

Start the application builder. Select your project and refresh metadata. Activate the Model Builder. Change the "Tasks" model to include the "Categories" table and borrow the "Name" field. Create a separate model for "Categories". It will take about a minute.

Inclusion of the Category field has unlocked a number of new features. Automatically created charts will pivot and present trends in the data. Tasks can be grouped by category. The Category lookup field in Tasks form allows typing in a category with auto-complete, selecting from a lookup view, or creating a new category in-place.

Let's make the app location-aware

STEP 3 - Locations

Let's say you want to maintain a list of locations where tasks are performed. For example, some tasks may be completed at home, school, or the workplace. Create a table called "Locations" and set up a foreign key linking "Tasks" and "Locations".

Add "Locations" table to the "Tasks" model.

You will perform the steps similar to when you integrated categories into the project.

Update the "Tasks" data model to include "LocationID" field, and borrow the address fields into Tasks. Create a separate model for "Locations" entity. Another minute has passed.

Users can now select from a list of locations when editing tasks. Locations can also be selected from a map. Selection of an item will populate the borrowed fields in the form. The Tasks page allows users to find the location of their task.

Add attachments to each task

STEP 4 - Attachments

Suppose that you want to associate photos or other documents with a task. Create the table "Attachments", with a foreign key pointing to "Tasks" table.

The new table will not affect the "Tasks" model. Just add the model for "Attachments", and borrow some columns from "Tasks", "Categories", and "Locations".

The instructions are below:

Create a data model for "Attachments". Use the Project Designer to add the "Attachments" data view field to the "Tasks" controller. Position the data view field in the edit form. We are now at the four minute mark.

Adding the model will create an individual "Attachments" page. A list of attachments will be displayed in the "Tasks" form. The user can select, create, or delete attachments related to the task. User can upload files, capture a photo with their phone, or add a signature.

Control access to your data

STEP 5 - Membership

Hold on, there is no security in this application! We would also like to associate each task with a user. Add the table "Users", and add a foriegn key "OwnerID" to the "Tasks" table that refers to "Users".

Create a dedicated model for "Users".

Also, update the "Tasks" model to include the "OwnerID" reference, and borrow the "UserName" field as an alias. The process is very similar to adding "Categories" and "Locations" to the "Tasks" model.

The steps are simple:

Add the "Users" data model. Update the "Tasks" model to include the "OwnerID" lookup, and set the "UserName" field as the alias column. Define the username and password fields with the custom membership map. Configure SMTP settings to enable password recovery. Fulfill project requirements, even last minute ones.

Users will now be required to sign in to access the application's pages. New users can sign up from the login page. Existing users can reset their password as well. The Users page has been added, allowing membership management. Each task can be assigned to any user present in the table.

Customize app behavior

STEP 6 - Business Rules

Now that the pages are configured correctly, we would like to add some custom functionality and behavior. The "Created" date should be configured to the current date. The "Date" field should default to one week from that time. The "Owner" field should be automatically set to the current user. These behaviors can be added using SQL, JavaScript, C#/Visual Basic, or Email business rules.

Adding the required custom functionality is easy, as shown in these instructions:

Using the Project Designer, add a new business rule to the "Tasks" controller. Set the rule to execute during "New" action. Select SQL, JavaScript, or C#/Visual Basic, and enter the required logic. Simple process to add complex functionality.

Opening the create form will populate the "Created", "Date", and "Owner" fields.

Business rules can be used to extend your app with additional capabilities. Perform calculations, call stored procedures, send emails, query web services in response to user actions. The only limit is your imagination.

Get the app online

STEP 7- Deployment

Now that the app is complete, it comes time to bring it to the users. If you have access to a dedicated IIS server, simply copy the app to the server and configure the folder as an app.

No server? no problem. Easy cloud deployment to Microsoft Azure can be done straight from Visual Studio. Free app deployment plans are available.

Start the "Publish Web App" process from Visual Studio, enter account credentials, and the app will be deployed shortly.

Once the app is deployed, access it from any device, such as your phone or tablet. Dedicated mobile apps can be created with PhoneGap or Xamarin.

Interested to know more?

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