Forms, Reports, Apps

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

  Blog

Blog
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.

Monday, December 25, 2017PrintSubscribe
Offline Data Processor, Native Apps, Code On Time v9 – Coming Soon!

The roadmap at https://codeontime.com/roadmap provides an overview, direction, and status of product development. The projected delivery dates are estimates and may change at any time.

Release 8.x.x.x Features

The major milestones in the near future are:

Offline Data Processor

The new client-side application feature in Touch UI apps will enable transactional data input. ODP is automatically engaged when DataView fields are modified. Changes begin to accumulate on the client and CRUD operations are simulated creating an illusion that data has been persisted. If the master record is saved then the entire log of server-side requests is submitted at once to the server. The server-side framework will start a database transaction, execute all requests, and commit them if there are no errors.

Offline Sync Add-On turns a an app with database backend in a fully-offline app.

ODP makes possible

  • Entering child rows without submitting the master record.
  • Creating complex wizard forms with child data view fields.
  • Building surveys with the DataView fields.
  • Confirmation controllers collecting complex parameters for business rules. Child DataView fields are accessible in business rules in JSON format.
  • “Always-offline” execution mode of apps.
  • Built-in Project Explorer configuration forms in the upcoming Code On Time v9.

ODP is expected in Release 8.8.0.0.

Native Apps

Native apps for Windows 7, Window 10 (Microsoft App Store), iOS (Apple App Store), and Android (Google Play Store) will become available to run applications created with Code On Time directly on native devices without using a web browser. Native App is a collection of HTML, JavaScript, CSS files integrated with a platform-specific code, interacting with your web server via HTTP to read-write data.

We will offer pre-made native apps available in the corresponding app stores. It will also be possible to create a native branded app that developers can deploy to the app stores on their own.

Native Apps are expected in Release 8.7.0.0.

Offline Sync Add-On

This is a new product that makes possible for Native Apps to run in a always-offline mode by extending ODP (Offline Data Processor) with the pre-emptive downloading of data from the server-side code deployed to a web server.

In essence you are building an app that works with a traditional database engine (SQL Server, Oracle, MySql, etc) or REST backend and turn it in a fully offline app without writing a single line of code with the help of Offline Sync Add-On,

Offline Sync Add-On is expected in Release 8.8.0.0.

Release 9.x.x.x

Our  next major goal is a new development environment named Code On Time v9.

Today Code On Time is a Windows Application that combines a hierarchical Project Explorer implemented as TreeView component available natively in Windows and built-in Web Browser. Developer navigates the trees of pages and controllers to access project configuration elements loaded in the web view. There is no web server involved. All settings are loaded from the local file system of the development machine. Configuration changes are persisted back to the local file system.

Code On Time v9 drops TreeView+WebBrowser development environment and replaces it with a JavaScript implementation embedded directly into the apps.

JavaScript equivalent of the Project Explorer will activate directly from the generated app and display alongside of the live pages. The new Project Explorer will synchronize with the application as user navigates through the app and activates screens/forms. Drag & drop operations from the Project Explorer to the app will  cause the live app to change. Modal Forms will be used to change properties. A new Object Inspector will simplify learning and change the app configuration with instant live preview.

The new Project Explorer needs a backend to discover the project configuration elements and to persist project changes.

We will offer three different backends.

Code on Time v9 - a Windows application that performs many of the functions of the current Code On Time v8, but does not have any user interface. Apps created with Code On Time v9 will detect its presence on the local computer and provide end users logged in as Administrators/Developers with an access to Project Explorer if the app is running as "localhost".

This backend is an equivalent of current Code On Time and will have exactly the same pricing model available at https://codeontime.com/buy.

Cloud On Time - a hosted application running in the cloud. It will have a built-in Database Designer that will allow creating tables/views in the cloud database. Programming will be possible with SQL business rules. This hosted app is being created with Code On Time v9.

This new backend will have a subscription-based pricing and let creating apps with Unlimited Edition features without installing anything on a development machine.

Cloud On Time Private Edition - a  version of Cloud On Time that can be privately deployed on premises.

The pricing for this backend is per-core of the deployment machine.

Code On Time v9 is a single development environment with 3 different backends. Development environment of v9 integrates directly in the apps.