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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.

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.
Thursday, January 25, 2018PrintSubscribe
Cloud On Time User Guide: Universal Windows Platform

Cloud On Time app runs cloud applications created with Code On Time products directly on your device with an optional offline mode. Integrated access to device camera and sensors contributes to enhanced user experience.

This user guide explains how to connect, install, run, and manage the front-ends of the connected cloud applications in Cloud On Time app.

The home screen of Cloud On Time app displays Connect button if there are no connected clouds.

Home page of native Universal Windows Platform app Cloud On Time when no clouds are connected.

Tap “Connect” to connect to an application running in the cloud. When prompted, enter either the application name or the URL provided by your administrator.

Adding a cloud to native Universal Windows Platform app Cloud On Time.

Tap “Save” to connect to the application in the cloud. The name, icon, and description of the compatible application will be displayed. If the information is correct, then tap OK.

Cloud is found in native Universal Windows Platform app Cloud On Time.

Cloud On Time app will redirect to the application in the cloud to confirm your identity. Enter the username and password for your account to authorize access on the device.

Entering credentials to add a cloud in native Universal Windows Platform app Cloud On Time.

After receiving confirmation of user identity, Cloud On Time app will download the files of cloud application front-end and store them on the device. If the cloud application is configured to work in offline mode, then the data matched with the user identity is also downloaded.

The application is launched automatically after successful installation.

Cloud running locally in native Universal Windows Platform app Cloud On Time.

If you close the Code On Time app and start it again, then the installed cloud is automatically displayed with the same identity that was confirmed during the front-end installation process.

Cloud On Time app will also perform a brief verification of application files by comparing them with those reported by the application in the cloud. Any changes are automatically downloaded before the front-end is displayed.

File verification with the server is skipped if the app front-end is working with local data in offline mode. The process will be performed when the local data is synchronized and successfully committed to the cloud.

Cloud running locally in native Universal Windows Platform app Cloud On Time.

If you need more than one identity to work with the same app, then add another account by choosing “Add Account” option in the user menu.

Using Add Account option in cloud running in native Universal Windows Platform app Cloud On Time.

Confirm the new identity and the Cloud On Time app will install any required unique files on the device.

Adding an identity to a cloud running in native Universal Windows Platform app Cloud On Time.

A local version of the front-end specific to the identity is launched.

Using second identity in a cloud running in native Universal Windows Platform app Cloud On Time.

Use account manager to switch between identities.

If the Cloud On Time app is restarted, then the last used front-end with the last selected identity is launched automatically.

Choose “Exit” option in the user menu to exit the front-end and return to the home screen of Cloud On Time app.

Exiting a cloud running in native Universal Windows Platform app Cloud On Time.

You will see a tile representing the application front-end on the home screen. Tap the tile to launch the front-end of the cloud application.

Home page showing one cloud in native Universal Windows Platform app Cloud On Time.

Use “more” button on the right side of the toolbar and press “Connect a Cloud” to connect another cloud to the home screen.

Connecting additional clouds in native Universal Windows Platform app Cloud On Time.

Enter the name or URL of the cloud application when prompted. Connect the app and proceed to confirm your identity.

Cloud Employee Registry is found and ready to be added in native Universal Windows Platform app Cloud On Time.

Cloud On Time app will display the front-end of the connected cloud application.

Employee Registry front-end is running in native Universal Windows Platform app Cloud On Time.

Use “Exit” command in the user menu to return to the home screen of Cloud On Time app.

Each tile on the home screen provides “more” button with options to run the front-end or to delete the connected app.

Use the more button to remove registered clouds in native Universal Windows Platform app Cloud On Time.

List of registered clouds in native Universal Windows Platform app Cloud On Time.

To prevent unauthorized access to the application, use Logout option in the user menu.

Activating the Logout option in the front-end running in Universal Windows Platform edition of Cloud On Time app.

You will return to the home screen of Cloud On Time app. The tile of the cloud application will remain on the home screen.

An attempt to launch the “logged out” cloud application front-end will require confirmation of user identity in the cloud. When confirmed, the required files will be re-installed from the local cache on the device. The front-end will be launched with a minimal delay.

The cloud application can be configured by administrator to always confirm the user identity on the device when the front-end is started and to log the user out when the app is closed.

Continue to Cloud On Time App