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Monday, November 14, 2022PrintSubscribe
Announcing Offline Sync 2.0

Code On Time release 8.9.26.0 introduces the new enhancements to support the upcoming Offline Sync 2.0 along with the collection of important bug fixes and enhancements.

Offline Sync 2.0

It has been our goal to allow seamless development of apps that work both online and offline. The application framework was recently upgraded to support the Progressive Web Apps specification. Apps created with Code On Time are now installable from the browsers and can become the backbone of the native deployments to the app stored.

Offline Sync Add-on has been re-worked to execute in the PWA mode. The framework uses the IndexedDB object stores to keep track of offline data and BLOBs. The client side resources are installed in the dedicated application cache.

Offline/disconnected mode is supported both in browsers and in the installed apps on all major mobile platforms.

Partial synching is now available. Users may choose to perform the full data refresh when sending the local changes to the application backend. Another option is to reconcile the changes and to keep working with the originally downloaded data.

Offline Sync supports partial synchronization. Users may choose to upload and reconcile the local edits only when syncing is performed. Users may request the full data refresh on-demand.
Offline Sync supports partial synchronization. Users may choose to upload and reconcile the local edits only when syncing is performed. Users may request the full data refresh on-demand.

The new data management architecture is compatible with all major mobile platforms. Previously a dedicated native app Cloud On Time was required to work with the data in the offline mode. Cloud On Time has been discontinued since the new Offline Sync Add-on works both in the browser and in the “installed app” mode.

Object store of an app with Offline Sync Add-On running in the offline mode in the browser.
Object store of an app with Offline Sync Add-On running in the offline mode in the browser.

The live demo at https://demo.codeontime.com will be extended to demonstrate the Offline Sync Add-on capabilities.

The licensing has been greatly simplified.

Offline Sync Add-On is licensed in the increments of 10 devices and will be available for purchase at a new low price directly from our website. Each license is perpetual and bound to two custom domain names and localhost.

Twelve months of maintenance updates are included. The new pricing will be announced soon.

Bug Fixes And Enhancements

The following features are included in the release 8.9.26.0:

  • (AppGen) The latest Windows 11 update uses Powershell to run the process commands. The original code of the app generator does not hide the console anymore. The console is minimized to the taskbar starting with this release. Both the app generator and console may be visible when certain Windows updates are installed on the development machine. Future releases will use a dedicated console to keep track of the app generator activities.
  • (PWA) Install prompt will not display for authenticated users if the anonymous user has opted out already.
  • (Touch UI) Fields with the Items Style property set to Actions will pass the argument of the action. Previously the argument of the "Action Group" lookup field was lost.
  • (Touch UI) Fixed incorrect processing of the checkbox in the grid. The state of the checkbox correctly switches when clicked.
  • (Framework) Fixed incorrect filtering of many-to-many fields on the server.
  • (Touch UI) Command "Update" with the "SaveAndContinue" argument will refocus the last focused input.
  • (Touch UI) A click on the form buttons of the wizard will execute the expected action when the field input value has changed. Previously the focus of the changed input was lost and the second click on the wizard button was required.
  • (Framework) Added the extended processing of the BLOB validation errors to the server-side framework. Exceptions raised when the BLOB is being persisted will be communicated to the client.
  • (Framework) The new master record with the failed blob upload will be deleted. The exception returned from the server will appear in the alert.
  • (Framework) The existing record with the failed blob upload will have its utility fields (filename, content type, length) retstored. The exception returned from the server will appear in the alert.
  • (Universal Input) A custom HTML template may define a layout with multiple instances of a form field. Clearing the field value will blur the field and have it focused. The instance of the field on the active tab or wizard page will regain focus. Previously the first instance was always focused.
  • (Framework) Page content framework is detected in the EnrichData method. This ensures correct detection of page-content-framework declaration in the HTML user controls.
Sunday, October 16, 2022PrintSubscribe
PWA, Device Authorization Grant, Many-To-Many Input

Progressive Web Apps

Code On Time release 8.9.25.0 produces Progressive Web Apps. Support of PWA specification makes an app installable on Android, Chrome OS, Mac OS, and Windows directory from the supported browsers. Deployed apps are ready to be packaged and published to all major app stores. Each app now has its own “beating heart” - the service worker. This script is installed by browsers when the app is loaded. The installed worker will cache the app resources using the “cache busting” technique supported in the server-side framework. A tiny change to a script, stylesheet, or font will cause the cache to refresh. This ensures the correct set of client files both in the online and offline modes.

Applications created with Code On Time will greet users with the prompt to install the app and experience the native mode. Deployed apps are easy to package and publish to app stores.
Applications created with Code On Time will greet users with the prompt to install the app and experience the native mode. Deployed apps are easy to package and publish to app stores.

Learn how to preview and debug an installed application.

OAuth Device Authorization Grant

Device Authorization Grant flow further extends the opportunity to find new ways to integrate applications created with Code On Time in the everyday life of their users. RESTful API Engine turns an application into a powerful backend for custom clients. Built-in Device Authorization flow will future-proof the app by making it possible to integrate the application with the smart devices.

"Cool Gadget" sample demonstrates the Device Authorization Grant flow available in the applications created with Code On Time. Users can safely authorize the 3rd party devices to access the user data and identity information.
"Cool Gadget" sample demonstrates the Device Authorization Grant flow available in the applications created with Code On Time. Users can safely authorize the 3rd party devices to access the user data and identity information.

Many-To-May Data Input And Search

Tagging is the populate user interface feature that allows setting up the many-to-many data relationships between data records in the database with the minimalistic input. This feature has been a part of the framework in the foundation of apps created with Code On Time for many years. The new release finally makes it possible to filter and search the many-to-many fields, which is not as simple as it may seem at the first glance.

Many-to-many data input is the standard features of the apps created with Code On Time. Users can also filter and search data records by entering multiple tags that must be linked to the items in the output.
Many-to-many data input is the standard features of the apps created with Code On Time. Users can also filter and search data records by entering multiple tags that must be linked to the items in the output.

Release Notes

The following features, bug fixes, and enhancements are included in the release:

  • (PWA) Apps now installable.
  • (OAuth2) Device Authorization Grant flow is now supported.
  • (Framework) Many-to-Many support is fully implemented.It is now possible to filter and search the many-to-many fields.
  • (Framework) Requests with the XML content type will ignore the whitespace and DTD links. The latter eliminates the possibility of a "blind" XML External Entity (XXE) Injection.
  • (Touch UI) A click on the checkbox in the grid will execute an update of the row with all field values of the row. Previously only the primary key and the toggled field were included. The new behavior ensures that the business rules on the server will have a consistent set of field values to work with.
  • (Reports) Action ReportAsExcel will produce the output in OPENXML format. The file extension is *.xlsx.
  • (Reports) Action ReportAsWord will produce the output in OPENXML format. The file extension is *.docx.
  • (Framework) YamlDotNet 11.2.1 is included in the library.
  • (Framework) Newtonsoft.JSON 13.0.1 is included in the library.
  • (Touch UI) Position of the context menu on the toolbar is shifted by 4px away from the edge of the screen.
  • (Touch UI) The default display density is derived from the physical screen size.
  • (Touch UI) Input focus will activate the tab containing the focused field even if it was not in the "edit" mode prior to the focus.
  • (Touch UI) Progress indicator has the "accent" color. Previously it was always blue.
  • (Touch UI) Theme selector switches UI to the "busy" mode during the theme preview.
  • (Touch UI) New "Reset" option is available in Settings|Theme menu. The option is available if the user has selected a theme in the past.
  • (Touch UI) Updated icons for "grid" and "cards" view styles.
  • (Touch UI) Top 5/10 options in the advanced search do not raise exceptions. The list of top 5/10 lookups is presented to the user for selection.
  • (Touch UI) Event handler context.app can inspect context.isMenu property to determine if the context options will be displayed in the context menu in response to the interactive request by the user.
  • (Touch UI) Labels with the blank header are marked with data-hide-when="wrap" attribute. The physical presence of the label allows adaptive hiding of the label when the content is wrapped.
  • (Touch UI) Login prompt displays the "Login" next to the icon on the toolbar when the form is displayed in fullscreen mode.
  • (Touch UI) New theme processing compatible with PWA mode.
  • (Framework) Account Manager persists the fixed number of user properties (name,email, access_token,refresh_token,claims). The user avatars are served in JPEG format.
  • (Framework) The new class AppResouceManager performs production of cacheable client resources.
  • (Framework) Method TextUtility.ToMD5Hash(string) will produce a hash of the string parameter.
  • (PWA) Method $app.getScript uses the app manifest information to download the dynamic scripts.
  • (RESTful) Fixed the bug in processing of PATCH requests.
  • (Touch UI) Click on the icon of the ui-disabled item will not trigger the "vclick" on the item.
  • (PWA) Method UserHomePageUrl() determines the 'start_url' in the manifest.
  • (Framework) Method DataCacheItem.SerializeRequest allows custom serialization of the request object. Override the method to use additional request data such as the request domain.
  • (Framework) Details are synced even when the external filter is not defined on the child data view.
  • (RESTful) Enhanced validation of "sort" parameter.
  • (RESTful) ASP.NET session is removed when the embedding engine is resolving the links.
  • (RESTful) Embedding engine calculates resource tags for faster embedding of the object resource. The links of previously fetched resources are used in place of the duplicates.
  • (RESTful) Embedding will timeout at 60 seconds or when the execution exceeds the option server.rest.timeout specified in touch-setting.json configuration file.
  • (RESTful) Robust refreshing of the page with the ".oauth2" cookie set upon receiving the authorization URL request. Simple 302 with Response.Redirect will not set the cookie on the domains other than localhost when running in Microsoft Azure.
  • (RESTful) Virtual on-demand fields specified in the body are ignored.
  • (RESTful) The "Detailed" HTTP error mode is enabled to allow RESTful error reporting in the apps hosted in Microsoft Azure.
  • (Runtime) Content types application/json and application/x-yaml are added to the mime map in web.config. This will ensure property recognition of JSON and Yaml file types on hosting services such as Microsoft Azure.
  • (RESTful) Configuration file web.config removes status codes 400, 401, 403, 404, 412, 4122, and 500 from HTTP error reporting delegated to the host web server. This allows custom JSON responses from the RESTful API of the apps deployed to Microsoft Azure and other hosting platforms.
  • Cloud On Time app for iOS, Mac, and Windows is retired and replaced with the PWA support in the generated apps. Applications are installable from the browser on the supported platforms. Deployed applications are ready to be packaged and published to the app stores.

Coming Soon

Offline Sync

The all-new Offline Sync Add-On is coming next. It will be compatible with the Progressive Web Apps support in the framework. The licensing will change as follows:

  • Perpetual use with 12 months of maintenance updates
  • Sold is multiples of ten users
  • Bound to the domain name and “localhost”
  • New lower pricing

Online apps that do not require the offline/disconnected data will benefit from the enhanced ability to operate when there is no network. If the app is installed on the device from the browser or as the native app, then the pages will be pre-loaded in the local cache for the improved user experience.

Live Project Designer

The next implementation target is the Live Project Designer described in the Roadmap. We are running behind our original schedule but the goal remains the same - make the app development process with Code On Time intuit and simple.

Tuesday, June 7, 2022PrintSubscribe
Brace for RESTful Impact

Code On Time is making a big bet on the RESTful API Engine to deliver the new benefits to our customers.

You and Your Apps

Applications created with Code On Time will gain the additional value of the following features without a single line of code written by developers.

IoT (Internet of Things)

Developers will be able to build apps serving as backends for devices that need to know the user identity and a way to read and write the user-specific data. The next release will support OAuth 2.0 Device Authorization Flow flow for the input-constrained devices. You may have experienced this flow when authorizing a medical device to access your health data or when allowing a smartwatch to use your music service. The same flow is authorizing a smart TV in a hotel room to access the video streaming service that you are paying for at home.

Cloud Identity

Cloud Identity has been on our roadmap for several years. Soon developers will be able to build a collection of apps with one of them serving as the Identity Provider while the others will become the Identity Consumers.

  • Each application will have its own security system.
  • Users will identify themselves by signing into the Identity Provider. This app may have the 2-Factor Authentication enabled or include an option to authenticate users with the third-party providers such as Google, Microsoft, or Facebook.
  • An application will become the identity consumer at runtime when the administrator creates a Cloud Identity link with another application. Device Authorization Flow will authorize the establishment of the link when approved by the administrator of the intended Identity Provider.
  • Identity Consumer application synchronizes its roles and custom OAuth 2.0 scopes with the Identity Provider database. This makes it possible to manage users of the entire application collection in one place.
  • RESTful API Engine access tokens will be issued by the Identity Provider application. The same access token will authorize requests to any application in the collection. The token will inherit the permissions configured in the Identity Provider by the collection administrator.

Microservices

Microservices Architecture becomes a reality with Code On Time even for the smallest of developer shops. Cloud Identity and access token portability across the collection of applications make it possible to create the frontend that will exchange data with multiple backend applications. Each backend provides a custom API, has its own performance characteristic, and can be deployed independently. This improves the stability of the frontend and its overall performance. Learn more in the Introduction to Microservices Architecture.

GraphQL

The upcoming built-in GraphQL processor will parse the queries and resolve them by executing the RESTful API Engine requests. GraphQL has emerged at Facebook as the query language for the complex collections of APIs. Their numerous apps needed small subsets of data from multiple sources, which required several requests fetching too much data. Graph QL server is the “fat client” that defines the supported query types. The server accepts the queries formulated as a graph and delegates the execution to the custom resolvers. The output of multiple resolvers is merged in the graph that matches the query.

Code On Time

The new engine makes it possible for us to deliver the following product innovations.

V9

The App Studio application is a part of each Code On Time installation. This local web app presently starts the product activation process by redirecting developers to the account management portal. App Studio will come with the RESTful API Engine enabled in the future releases. It will serve as the local project management portal that will replace the start page of the app generator, which will be relegated to the icon tray. It will also provide the backend to the v9 Live Project Designer. The code generator will be invoked in the command line mode by the RESTful API Engine of the App Studio in response to the developer activities in the Project Designer of live apps. This is the architectural departure from our original plan outlined in the Roadmap, but we are on the finishing line now to deliver the amazing development tools in the heads of developers.

Content Hub

Content Hub, our innovative publishing platform, creates the new content in our legacy public site. We have developed this platform for internal use. The hub agent monitors the shared drives in our corporate Google Drive and transforms the changed documents into the HTML-based Display Flow content published through the RESTful API to the account management portat. The portal feeds the content to the database of the legacy site. The following capabilities of the platform will become commercially available:

  • Content Hub Agent will monitor Google Drive, Office 365, and network folders for the content in Microsoft Word Format. The agent is a multi-platform application. Changes are pushed to the hub-enabled application built with Code On Time.
  • Content Hub Add-On for applications created with Code On Time will render the content imported by the hub agent as public pages, blog posts, documentation library, newsletters, helpdesk tickets, public forum posts, etc.

Add-on will provide the interactive content editor based on Touch UI. It will customize the presentation style of the live “content hub” pages. It will create tickets and community posts from within the apps built with Code On Time in the same format that is used by the hub agent. It will invoke the RESTful API of the app to read and write the hub content.