Blog: Posts from September, 2015

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Posts from September, 2015
Sunday, September 6, 2015PrintSubscribe
Calendar View, Mini-Calendar, Multi-Select, Responsive Grid with Auto-Balancing, Hyperlinks, Multi-Column Sorting

We wanted to share with you that Iron Speed, Inc. has discontinued operations. Diligent developers have surely tried Iron Speed Designer and for various reason have turned to Code On Time instead. Read our comment about Iron Speed to learn more. We are charging ahead - expect to be amazed!

Calendar view style

Code On Time update introduces a brand new view style into the already potent mix of visualization methods available to end users of Touch UI. View style Calendar brings a whole new level of interactions with data. Drag & drop is fully supported with numerous enhancements planned ahead. Take a look at the Calendar and other view style supported right now.

Calendar view style in Touch UI

The following tags allowing controlling otherwise fully automatic display of Calendar view style:

  • calendar-date will mark a particular data field as start date or “general” date of event. An event is a database row with a date column.
  • calendar-end specifies the “end” date of the calendar event. Mark a field as “end” date to allow “resizable” events.
  • calendar-text specifies the field value displayed on the event
  • calendar-color specifies option “color” source for the events. For example, an order event can be presented with a different color for each employee associated with it. 24 standard colors are supported.
  • calendar-disabled excludes “date” field from being displayed on the calendar.


A permanent sidekick called mini-calendar is display on the sidebar whenever at least one data field is available to the user. Mini-calendar filters data in all data views and serves as a navigator in Calendar view.

Mini-calendar filters data displayed in Charts view style in the app with Touch UI

Other highlights include responsive grid with auto-balancing, multi-column sorting, and support for Hyperlink Format String property in Touch UI.


Ability to select multiple rows is now fully supported in Touch UI in Grid, List, and Cards view styles. End user can select up to a 1000 items at once.

Multi-select in the grid view style in the app with Touch UI

Responsive Grid with Auto-Balancing

The responsive Grid view style has been redesigned and now support auto-balancing of data.  Notice that the data is densely distributed on the screen. Built-in screen-size breakpoints automatically reduce the number of fields visible to the user .

Responsive grid view style with auto-balancing in the app with Touch UI

Application framework uses these breakpoints:

  • tn (tiny) – 480px
  • xs (extra small)  - 768px
  • sm (small) – 992px
  • md (medium) – 1199px
  • lg (large) – 1440px
  • xl (extra larget) – anything larger than 1440px

If you want to ensure that a particular data field is display on a tiny screen in Grid view style than tag it as “tn-grid”. The framework will automatically take core of the remaining fields.

Hyperlink Format String

Touch UI now supports hyperlink format strings. Field will be displayed as underline if a hyperlink is present. Context menu will display items for every field with a hyperlink even if it is not visible in the current view style.

Hyperlinks in the app with Touch UI

Multi-Column Sorting

End users are now able to perform sorting on multiple columns.

Multi-column sorting in an app with Touch UI

Other Enhancements

The release also introduces numerous enhancements to both Touch and Desktop UI.

  • High performance reading of many-to-many fields. Framework performs a single database request per many-to-many field to retrieve junction table rows that match the rows of the data page that will be returned to the client. (Desktop and Touch)
  • Authorized roles can be assigned to individual data views in SPA applications (Desktop and Touch).
  • Import processor assigns the same default values to all imported rows (Desktop and Touch)
  • Aggregates are now calculated on result sets based on stored procedures and web services. (Desktop and Touch)

  • SQL Business rules allow clearing "Modified" property of field values as follows
      set @FieldName_Modified = 0

    Application framework will not use the field in update/insert/delete operation.

  • Single Page Applications allow anonymous calls to data controllers.

  • Relationship Explorer links now use shortcuts for data controller URL parameters _commandName and _commandArgument. The new syntax uses _command and _argument.
  • HTML page implementation is now also supported in Relationship Explorer links.
  • “Borrowed” blob fields are correctly displaying a thumbnail in Touch and Desktop UI
  • Touch UI allows right-click of items in all view style with ability to perform quick filtering.
  • Paging is now supported in “Summary” presentation in Touch UI.
  • Touch UI memorizes tab selection for the last 10 objects on any given page.
  • DACL correctly processes parameters @BusinessRules_, @Url_, and @Session_.
  • Fixed issue with Oracle Session State throwing "Value does not fall within the expected range".

Coming Next

We are bring a controller-level Data Model in the Project Designer. You will be able to set up your own tables, columns, and relationships instead of relying on the app generator to do so. This will give complete GUI-based control over the command and fields in the application baseline.

Also Expect a mini-calendar to become a part of Desktop UI. This handy feature work similar to its counterpart in Touch UI.

Mini-calendar in the upcoming revision of Desktop UI

Saturday, September 5, 2015PrintSubscribe
What is a Premium Line-of-Business App?

Databases organize the real-world information and transform it into the structured data. Ends users can share, analyze, and process the contents of databases with the help of custom applications. Application developers write custom database apps. Custom database apps are known as line-of-business applications. What is a Premium Line-of-Business App?

Multiple data presentation styles, sophisticated data entry forms,  complex page layouts, and touch-enabled responsive screens are the hallmarks of  a true Premium Line-of-Business App. Premium features typically imply a premium price of a lengthy application implementation . Code On Time application code generator eliminates the word “premium” from the price and drastically reduces application implementation time for developers.

1. Premium Data Presentation

Naturally, the purpose of a database app is to present data items to the end users. A premium database application will allow viewing data in multiple styles whenever more than one data item of the same type is displayed. List, Cards, Grid, Charts, Map, Calendar, and Spreadsheet presentation styles are elevating an app to a premium level.

View styles available for selection by end users in a premium line-of-business database app.

List is a mandatory presentation style for a modern app. List makes it easy to present data on a device with any screen size. Data fields of list items in a premium database application will wrap to the next line on devices with a smaller screen size.

List veiw style in premium app created with Code On Time application generator.

List items must have a variable height to allow viewing data composed of any number of fields.

Cards is an alternative to a list view. Cards have the same height and will limit the visibility of long data values .

Cards view style displays data items of the same height in app created with Code On Time.

A premium database application will display cards in multiple columns on larger screens.

Large screen will display cards in multiple columns in a line-of-business database app created with Code On Time.

Grid presents data as a table of rows and columns to allow comparative analysis of data items.  This is a must-have view style for an application dealing with numbers.

A responsive grid of data items with multiple selection controls in an app created with Code On Time.

The variable screen size of devices in the hands of end users poses a challenge to the design of a grid presentation. Typical desktop computers have plenty of the screen real estate while the screen size of tablets and smartphones can vary widely. The hallmark of a premium database apps is ability to display a responsive grid. Responsive design of a grid will hide the less important fields from the view on a smaller screen size.

A responsive grid will collapse the less important columns in favor or more important information when a display area is small.

Premium database apps make it possible to display all data fields even on a small screen by enabling horizontal scrolling of data. Spreadsheet presentation style allows freezing columns and scrolling the invisible columns into the view.

Map brings work with data in  a real world in a premium database application. This view style can be triggered by a mere presence of City and Address fields.

Your data is displayed in real world in Map view style of an app created with Code On Time.

Seeing a calendar of data items with dates makes enormous difference for the end users.

Calendar view must be available whenever the application end users are dealing with the dates. A premium database app will offer a variety of ways to see data on a calendar.

For example, Month presentation with drag & drop operations and infinite scrolling transform the traditional “wall” calendar into a powerful electronic record of events.

Electronic alternative to 'wall' calendar is the Month mode of Calendar view style in apps created with Code On Time.

Scheduling of events is convenient in the Day and Week modes. Make sure that your app does that too.

Drag & drop events to update start and end fields of data items in Day and Week mode of Calendar view style in apps created with Code On Time.

A premium calendar will give users a bird-eye look at the data in the Year mode.

Year mode provides a great summary of events in the database when displayed in Calendar view style of an app created with Code On Time line-of-business database app generator.

Everyone needs a “to-do” list. That is the purpose of the Agenda mode in a premium Calendar view style. Application end users will not miss a thing!

Agenda mode of Calendar view style is a perfect To-Do list for end users of apps created with Code On Time.

Charts allow the end users to “see” their data for what it is. A truly premium database app will offer a built-in ability to render data as charts whenever possible.

Agenda mode of Calendar view style is a perfect To-Do list for end users of apps created with Code On Time.

Ability to see the same data in multiple graphical representations will transform every list of data items in an instant dashboard. Zooming into charts and seeing data behind the graphs is what a premium database app shall provide. If the time is displayed on a chart then a premium app must choose the most appropriate time scale as well.

End users can zoom into charts, see data behind the graphs, and touch charts interactively in an app created with Code On Time.

Any filters applied to data must be instantly reflected in the charts.

Charts view style responds to data filters including the ones applied from mini-calendar in an app created with Code On Time.

Filtering, Quick Find, Advanced Search

Data discovery comes in all shapes and forms to the end users. Sometimes it is convenient to see weekly or daily data sets. The mini calendar will be required to make it trivial in a premium app.

Mini-calendar makes it easy to filter data to week and day level in apps created with Code On Time.

Sometimes a user looks at the data value and wants to find all data rows with similar characteristics. A premium line-of-business application will let users to right-click any data value and apply an instance filter to it. Mobile devices will allow tapping and holding the value to bring about filtering options.

Touch UI allows activating quick filters when users tap and holds or right-clicks data values.

Selecting multiple values for a filter should be very simple in a premium application.

Multi-value filters are available in columns of responsive Grid view style in apps with Touch UI.

Search controls must be a touch or a click away in a premium app. Data search with simple conditions need to be supported to assist users with any level of expertise.

Ability to quickly find data is inherently available whenever more than one item is displayed to the user in an app with Touch UI.

Switching between quick find and advanced search will empower experienced users of a premium app.

Touch UI includes powerful advanced search capabilities in line-of-business apps generated with Code On Time.

Multi-Column Grouping And Sorting

Sequence of a data flow can make or break an application. Grouping data items by any combination of columns will make your premium app to stand out of the crowd of mediocre solutions. Much more so if the end users are empowered to do that on their own without requesting help from application developers.

Multi-column grouping simplifies work of users with data in apps with Touch UI.

Business life is unpredictable.  Give your end users ability to sort data items by any combination of fields in any order. That will make their work a premium experience.

Multi-column sorting is something every end user dreams about when working with data. It is possible in apps created with Touch UI.

Premium Data Entry Forms

Data entry forms must automatically fit into any display size while offering sophisticated data lookups and data input controls.

Responsive data entry forms work on any device in apps created with Code On Time thanks to the responsive nature of Touch UI.

Data fields on the forms need to be organized into multiple columns with optional tabs. A premium application implementation will abandon physical positioning of fields if favor of logical field groupings to enable effective display of forms on any screen size. Any other approach will increase the development costs tremendously.

Logical grouping of fields bring order in the development of responsive user interfaces.

Complex Page Layouts

Simultaneous display of different kinds of data on a page is known as dashboard. Dashboards with complex page layouts should be easy to organize in a premium application.

Complex page layouts or 'dashboards' are needed in premium line-of-business apps.  Code On Time application source code generator makes it possible.

Of course, there is no dashboard without charts.

Dashboards can display both data and charts in premium line-of-business apps created with Code On Time application generator.

Support for Devices With Any Display Density

The display technology has improved and now even the smallest devices feature an exceptionally high density of pixels that cannot be seen with a human eye.

The following two screens are displaying the same exact application page on devices with a different density.

Touch UI responds in responsive fashion to available real estate and display density.

High display density will not blur icons or disable actions designed by application developer in an created with Code On Time.

Application must gracefully adjust to the available “viewport” that defines logical pixels of the display on the device. The icons should look crisp and functionality must be adapted in responsive fashion in a premium line-of-business application.

If your app looks too small or too large for a display then your app is likely not in the premium category.

Don’t forget that your end users will literally touch your apps on many devices. A premium app is ready for “touch” interactions on native touch screens and hybrid devices.


Does your app provide a less than premium experience to the end users? Does it take a lot of money and time to get things done?

If so then schedule a live demonstration of Code On Time. Our code generator will assist developers in producing consistently high quality source code of custom line-of-business applications with premium features for Mobile and Desktop devices. Give us a call at 1-877-467-6340.

Friday, September 4, 2015PrintSubscribe
Iron Speed to Discontinue Operations

We were surprised to learn that Iron Speed, Inc. has decided to discontinue operations. The primary reasons were cited by the company CEO as “expense of litigation with patent troll” and “product sales have been severely impacted”.

Iron Speed has always been a product that generates a large number of data input forms from database tables. These data input forms were based on aging Web Forms technology virtually abandoned by Microsoft. The fact that “product sales have been severely impacted” indicates the possibility of IronSpeed going out of business even in the absence of litigation.

Code On Time has been focused on generating custom premium database applications with a solid extensible architecture. Our own Data Aquarium Framework and a concept of a data controller make it possible. We are inviting all Iron Speed customers to attend a live WebEx presentation of Code On Time. We will show you amazing Touch and Desktop UI in action, perform live project modifications, and answer any questions you may have. Open a support ticket to request a presentation.

Our Technology

A data controller defines an entity with a data model expressed as a collection of fields. Individual views describe presentation of data, while actions and business rules define the built-in and custom application behaviors.

Code On Time application generator is a single executable program for Microsoft Windows that allows creating custom software projects. The intended operator of the application generator is a software developer, who has designed a database and wishes to create a custom application source code for it. Several project types are supported and differ by deployment model of the source code “written” by application generator.

Premium database applications created with Code On Time may include content pages and data-aware pages.

A typical use case of the application generator would be the following: a software developer starts the application generator, selects a database for the project, and chooses to create the project source code without data controllers or to have data controllers configured from the database.

  • A project without data controllers must be populated with pages and controllers manually. A data controller can be configured to consume data from external web services or file system. The developer may also create a custom SQL statement to configure a controller.

    Use this option if you are developing an application on top of stored procedures or web services.
  • A project may have data controllers configured from the database tables. Application generator will de-normalize existing table relationships and define a singular entity that presents a user-friendly logical view of data. De-normalization of relationships is mandatory for a premium application.

For example, a database may define three separate tables to persist products, categories, and suppliers. The table of products would reference categories and suppliers via a numeric values instead of including the name of category or supplier information. Application generator will configure a data controller for products by “borrowing” fields from categories and suppliers.

The application generator has completed its work after the source code of the project has been generated.

The application developer needs to publish and deploy the source code to a web server to see the generated application in action. Microsoft IIS or IIS Express web server is required for an application to come alive.

End user must operate a web browser to access an application deployed to a Microsoft web server. All major web browsers are supported.

Non-human agents can also interact with the application data controllers via REST API if the software developer configures this type of interaction.

If the database has changed, then the application developer will have to update data controllers and produce a new source code for the application. The old application will have to be physically removed from the web server and replaced with the new published application.

Applications created with Code On Time are not able to detect changes in the database schema. Changes in the database schema will either render application inoperable or remain invisible, depending on the nature of database modifications.

An application created for one database is unique and will not work with a database that has a different schema.

Database metadata with information about tables, columns, and relationships is not included with the published application. Metadata about the database is not used by the application when serving requests from web browsers or external non-human agents.

Fundamentally our application generator is an automation tool for software developers that provides a service of writing the source code of custom line-of-business applications.

Microsoft Visual Studio can be used to customize generated source code.

Introducing Universal Database Browser

The claim of patent infringement against IronSpeed, Inc. mentioned above is based on the patent with the following abstract:

Computer software for, computer apparatus for, and a method of automatically generating a user interface for a relational database comprising extracting schema information from the relational database and automatically generating corresponding schema and user interface metadata, storing the metadata in a repository, and automatically developing from the metadata a user interface appropriate to the relational database.

The first reading of the abstract will certainly cause anyone familiar with software development to scratch their head. There are virtually no applications that do not rely on a database in some way. Databases can be found in computer gaming, accounting, word processing, anti-virus protection, health care, package delivery - you name it. There is virtually no application code that does not rely on user interface metadata generated by computer software in some shape or form. How could this generic idea be awarded a US patent?

The second reading of the abstract will show that the word “code” is not mentioned at all. You will not find the word “code” in the claims section of the patent either. So if it is not about code generation then what does “automatically developing from the metadata a user interface appropriate to the relational database” mean?

A thorough reading of the entire patent and review of 87 illustrations will reveal that it does introduce a rather neat invention in the form of a Universal Database Browser.

  1. The invention includes a utility that we shall call Metadata Extractor. The purpose of this utility is to convert information about tables, columns, and relationships between tables into user interface metadata.
  2. The main component of the invention is the utility that we shall call Universal Database Browser. This browser interprets user interface metadata and displays data input forms at runtime.  
  3. The invention also makes provisions for the possibility of enhancing user interface metadata with custom scripts containing business rules and triggers.

Database administrator will utilize Metadata Extractor to produce and refresh user interface metadata after each round of database schema changes. User interface metadata about the database is stored in a central location.

An instance of Universal Database Browser is deployed to a computer of each end user. Browsers are configured to access the central location of user interface metadata files.

End user starts her Universal Database Browser and chooses metadata retrieved from the central location by database name. The browser will display a menu of available entities. A list of data rows is displayed after entity selection has been made.

End user can activate a data entry form for any row. She we also see a collection of directly linked child records. For example, if an order is selected then a data input form is displayed for that row along with linked data tables.

Any child record or entity can be promoted to become a focus of Universal Database Browser. The browser is the sort of a looking glass that is being moved by end user from a data row to the row’s linked entities in various directions.

Universal Database Browser also supports an interesting concept of “search path”, whereby search operations are traveling connected data entities to help locating data.

Note that Universal Database Browser is a smart software capable of interpreting user interface metadata to provide all of these capabilities to the end user. Not a single line of code has to be written. The browser is the embodiment of the central idea expressed in the summary of invention:

“It is the primary object of the present invention to provide a method and system by which data entry forms for relational databases may be generated dynamically at run-time without the necessity of writing computer code to accomplish this task.”

The invention is certainly worthy of finding a venture capitalist willing to fund it or maybe having a “Kickstarter” project started.

We believe that it is not possible to provide a truly premium database application experience with such a literal interpretation of database information. End users do not see their data in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th normal forms. The real-world data is inherently de-normalized and shall be presented as such.

The invention will find traction among database administrators and software developers who need a “native” look at data in its fully normalized glory.

Code On Time vs. Universal Database Browser

Please note that the terms Metadata Extractor and Universal Database Browser are used in an attempt to simplify references to the ideas expressed in the patent.

It is our opinion that Code On Time code generator and Universal Database Browser are two different animals. Let’s compare the two.

Does Code On Time perform substantially the same function as the invention?

Code On Time is designed to assist developers in writing source code for their line-of-business application. The invention is intended to eliminate any need to write source code. The answer is a resounding “no”! Our very name, “Code On Time”, seeks to imply that code is in our DNA.

Does Code On Time function in substantially the same way?

Our code generation product does not serve the same function. Code On Time produces source code, while the invention eliminates source code. The answer is “no”.

Does Code On Time yield substantially the same result?

Code On Time produces source code for an application developer. This developer will compile and publish this code to a Microsoft web server. Any web browser or non-human agent can make requests to interact with the application. The invention produces user interface metadata, and interprets this metadata as data input forms to the user. Again, the answer is “no”.