Blog: Posts from March, 2021

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Posts from March, 2021
Tuesday, March 30, 2021PrintSubscribe
Grids, Label Icons, Collapsible Menus

 Code On Time release 8.9.16.0 introduces the significant enhancements to Touch UI.

Vertical grid lines are now displayed in the grid view style be default. Developers can selectively hide the vertical lines in the grids and the horizontal lines in both forms and grids.


Label icons are now supported. Tag the data field with the label-icon- tag and include the icon name in it. The icon will be displayed next to the field value instead of the text label. For example, the tag label-icon-work-outline will assign the material icon work_outline to the Title data field in the screenshot.


The vertical navigation menu rendered in the sidebar will display the icons assigned to the page. The vertical rendering of the navigation menu in the sidebar and sliding panels feature the collapse/expand buttons next to the menu items with the children. Only the node of the current page is expanded by default to conserve the vertical space. 


The app toolbar displays the text of the left most "icon" button if there is no button bar in the form. This provides a mode of presentation on small form factor found in modern mobile operating systems.


Command New Row is now implemented. It will activate the inline editing mode and scroll the view to the very bottom while placing the input focus on the "new row" template marked with the "plus" icon.


The 3rd party icon web fonts can be now configured in the app.


The following features are introduced along with the numerous bug fixes:

  • (Touch UI) Fully-functional animated main menu is displayed in the sidebar and context panels with the ability to expand/collapse items while maintaining the vertically scrolling of the panel.
  • (Touch UI) Option ui.menu.autoExpand controls the state of the navigation menu. The default value is current causing the current menu node to display in the expanded state while the remaining items with the children are collapsed. Set the value to "all" to force all items to expand. Set the value to false to prevent the current menu node from being expanded.
  • (Charts) Fetching of calendar data will not cause an exception when the data view has changed and is not available at the time of the attempt to fetch.
  • (Touch UI) Optimized the fitting of buttons in the form toolbar for speed and precision.
  • (Reading Pane) Button with the "Close" icon is displayed on the left side of the reading pane detail toolbar to allow quick closing to the detail pane.
  • (Touch UI) The toolbar of the sidebar is hidden if the settings button is disabled and the menu is positioned in the sidebar when it is fully expanded.
  • (Touch UI) Page name is displayed in the accent color on toolbar when the menu location is in the sidebar.  The color changes to neutral when the reading pane detail is visible.
  • (Touch UI) Menu items show the icons when the location of the menu is in the sidebar. Primary page icons are not displayed in the toolbar of the sidebar when the sidebar is fully expanded since the menu items are visible.
  • (Touch UI) Compact styling of the context values of the current master record when rendered in the sidebar.
  • (Calendar) Calendar events visually reflect the end time of the event instead of displaying the event with the fixed height.
  • (Framework) Client-side business rules returning a deferred object will not perform a duplicate invocation of the method. The flow of execution will continue if the deferred object is resolved.
  • (Touch UI) Fixed incorrect bottom border color of the app name in the context panel.
  • (Touch UI) The leading header text is now displayed in the sliding panels if header is the first item in the context.
  • (Touch UI) Field labels are now displayed with the font size of 12 in all display densities for a consistent presentation in grid/list/cards/panels/sidebars.
  • (Touch UI) Fixed incorrect position of "dropped" chevron in the lookups.
  • (Touch UI) Focused item outline remains visible in list box/radio button list, and checkbox list when the input is focused.
  • (Touch UI) Setting ui.form.lines.horizontal set to false and the tag form-lines-horizontal-none will hide the horizontal lines in the forms.
  • (Touch UI) Setting ui.form.lines.input set to true and the tag form-lines-input will show an solid outline around the text inputs.
  • (Touch UI) Frozen part of the grid row with the averages will display with the same background color as the rest of the grid.
  • (Touch UI) Fixed incorrect "new row" execution under certain conditions in the summary views.
  • (Touch UI) Eliminated the erratic horizontal scrolling when the item in the list box, radio button list, and check box list with the large number of items.
  • (Touch UI) Placeholder "Optional" is displayed in the nullable field values when the horizontal lines are hidden in the forms.
  • (Universal Input) Keyboard navigation in radio button list, list box, and check box list is handling the focus transition correctly when Left and Right buttons are pressed on the keyboard.
  • (Touch UI) Tag gird-lines-horzontal-none applied to a data view on the page will hide the horizonal lines in the grid presentation style.
  • (Touch UI) Option ui.grid.lines.horizontal will hide the horizontal lines in the data grids globally if set to false.
  • (Touch UI) Selection of the main menu item on the toolbar will switch the "selected" state to it while the selected URL is being loaded.
  • (Touch UI) Click on the app toolbar menu options will immediately switch the selection in the menu as the page loads to provide a faster selection feedback.
  • (Touch UI) Simplified the horizontal scrolling in the grid.
  • (Inline Editor) Refreshing of the data view will cause the editor frame to display if the item is in the view.
  • (Inline Editing) Command New Row works in infinite and summary data views. The last "Row Template" is selected in response to this command to enable inline input of the new row.
  • (Touch UI) Page header main icon is consistently aligned with the top of the header in any state of the page.
  • (Reading Pane) The reading pane detail is displayed with a fade-in animation if there is no content in the detail area.
  • (Touch UI) Tags h1-h6 used to present the field values in grid/list/cards have the font size of 1 element.
  • (Touch UI) Sort order icon in the grid header will toggle the sort order if clicked with a mouse pointer.
  • (Touch UI) Apps button will display the navigation menu panel on the left side of the screen if the reading pane is enabled.
  • (Touch UI) Grid views are resized on the legacy pages with multiple container/data views when the page is resized.
  • (Touch UI) The app toolbar will display the text of the left most "icon" button if there is no button bar in the form. This provides a mode of presentation on small form factor  found in modern mobile operating systems.
  • (Inline Edior) Notification bar is instantly hidden when the inline editor is activated on the field
  • (Touch UI) Aggregate values are displayed with the label in the grid.
  • (Touch UI) Aggerate bar uses the new cell separator between the values.
  • (Touch UI) Tap/click on the tab bar with the navigation icons will switch the focus to provide a fast visual response after navigation has been initiated.
  • (Inline Editor) The focus frame shows above the horizontal scrollbar when the new row is entered in the summary view.
  • (Touch UI) Collapsible container body hides the overflow content.
  • (Touch UI) External URLs are opened in the modal pages if the reading master or derail, or if another modal page is active.
  • (Touch UI) Zooming to fullscreen of a modal content page does not raise an exception.
  • (Rich Text) Does not create nested paragraphs when the cursor is positioned at the end of the paragraph. Instead a new sibling paragraph is created to ensure a clean document structure.
  • (Rich Text)  Consistently inserts BR element across all platforms when Shift+Enter is pressed.
  • (Touch UI) Enabled ability to configure multiple icon fonts in the app.
  • (Touch UI) Tab bar at the bottom of the app senses the notch on the iOS devices and displays the tabs with the padding above the swipe bar.
  • (Touch UI) Fixed incorrect positioning of checkbox slider with the footer text.
  • (Touch UI) Geolocation map displayed in the forms is rendered in the DPI of the device for the maximum qualify of presentation.
  • (Touch UI) Collapsed categories are not expanded when automatic form focus is set in the form.
  • (Touch UI) Input focus forces the collapsed category to initialize the layout when the field in the collapsed category needs to be activated.
  • (Touch UI ) Added more font size variations for the prompt to click/tap the blob for upload.
  • (Touch UI) The toggle for the categories is not selectable anymore.
Labels: Release Notes
Tuesday, March 30, 2021PrintSubscribe
Icons, Icons, Icons

 Material Icons and 3rd Party Icon Fonts

Touch UI gets its good looks from the Material Icons library designed by Google. Apps based on Touch UI feel at home on the Android devices and Chromebooks. They look crisp and professional on iOS, Mac, and Windows.

Touch UI apps support several build-in icon styles and can be extended to use the 3rd party icon collections. 

There are four different styles of icons that help your app to stand out - filled, outlined, rounded, and sharp. The default style filled can be changed by setting the value to ui.theme.icons property in ~/touch-settings.json configuration file. 


The built-in icons come from the web fonts stored under the ~/fonts folder of your application. 

Configuring 3rd Party Icon Fonts

Touch UI makes it easy to integrate additional icon libraries in the application. The following configuration in the ~/touch-settings.json file will set the built-in icon font to the outlined style and link the icon collections called Font Awesome and Material Design Icons. The former offers the popular set of free and commercial icons. The latter is the community-driven effort not affiliated with Google, but bearing a similar name.


Please note that the Font Awesome URL is provided for illustrative purposes only. The vendor requires registration via email. Sign up and you will receive an email with the JavaScript snippet that will hook the web font to your pages. Use the script filename in the ui.iconFonts.fa.url property but keep the “*.css” extension as shown above.

The prefixes “fa” and “mdi” are not accidental. Review the documentation of the web font provider and take a notice of the prefix used in the example. Use the same prefix when registering the font in your app. It is the industry standard to prefix the icon names with the same sequence of characters. The cascading style sheets linked to the app will have the corresponding definitions with the references to the icon font family. 

Touch UI will create dynamic CSS rules at runtime to make the 3rd party icons match the width and height of the built-in icons. Specify a numeric “size” property for the prefix defined in ui.theme.iconFonts if the icons appear to be larger or smaller than the standard icons of Touch UI. The default size of the icons is 24 pixels.

Using Icons in the Application


Let’s apply the standard icon shopping_cart  to the editForm1 view in the Products data controller. Open your app in the Project Designer, find the view, and enter material-icon-shopping-cart in the Tags property.


This will enhance your form with the corresponding icon in the header. The icon is over-imposed on the larger self visible partially in the background for an added artistic touch.


Clear the tag on the view editForm1 and enter the fa-shopping-basket to activate the shopping basket icon from the Font Awesome library.


Here is what happens if you tag the editForm1 view with the mdi-basket and engage the Material Design Icons library.


Assign icons to actions and pages by entering the icon name in their Icon / Custom Style property. For example, icons fa-truck and fa-coffee are assigned to the Shippers page and custom action Take a Break in the screenshots. The icons will show on the sidebar, in the navigation tabs, and in the menu options.


Embedding Icon Fonts in Apps

If you plan to run your app in the native mode or prefer not to have the external dependencies, then consider embedding the stylesheets and fonts directly in the app folders. 

Run the app in the web browser and bring up its Web Inspector. Disable caching on the Network tab and refresh the page. You will find the external references to the CSS stylesheets and the web fonts listed in the traffic. Save them in a dedicated folder under ~/css directory of your app. 

Next remove the “url” property from the prefix under ui.iconFonts in ~/touch-settings.json. Keep the prefix even if it is empty. Run the app and make sure that only the local references appear in the network traffic of the browser. The CSS files will be loaded automatically, but you may need to manipulate the relative references to the web fonts in the CSS files if icons do not show up.

Saturday, March 27, 2021PrintSubscribe
Navigation Menu

Apps created with Touch UI have three options for the placement for the navigation menu. By default the top-level items of the navigation hierarchy are displayed as tabs in the toolbar. Menu items with children will have a dropdown menu. The spill-over items are moved under “More” menu item created automatically as needed.


Developers may choose to move the menu to the sidebar displayed on the left side of the app. The space in the sidebar is at the premium and the complex menus will be collapsed with the current node expanded. The sublevels of the menu can be individually expanded and collapsed. The same collapsible menu is also displayed when the Apps button is pressed. It is also visible in the hamburger menu and on the small screens.


Enter the following in ~/touch-settings.json to move the menu to the sidebar and to relocate the Apps button next to the user profile icon on the toolbar. 


The Apps button is the icon represented with 3 x 3 solid squares or circles. You will find it in the sidebar, on the toolbar, or in the hamburger menu of your app. Its purpose is to provide quick access to the most important pages of the app and to the full navigation menu.

Assign a dedicated icon to a page by entering the icon name in the Icon / Custom Style property of the page in the Project Designer .The  extensive Material Icons library is included with the framework. The name of the icon can be entered with the material-icon- prefix (e.g. material-icon-emoji-people).The icons will be displayed in the sidebar, in the context menu options, and in the drop down menus of the app toolbar. The top-level items will not have the  icons in the menu with the default placement.

Up to five icons are visible in the mini sidebar and the full set is presented in the context panel activated with the Apps button. The More option in the context panel will show the complete navigation menu.


If at least two pages have a dedicated icon, then the app will display the tabs at the bottom of the screen when the sidebar is hidden. The spill-over icons will migrate to the More tab.


The hamburger menu will display the full navigation menu.


Developers may opt to hide the navigation menu from the toolbar and the sidebar by setting ui.menu.location to none in ~/touch-settings.json for a minimalist look and feel. The navigation menu will still be available through the Apps button and the hamburger menu.

The state of nodes in the navigation menu with the vertical layout is controlled by ui.menu.autoExpand property. The default value is current, which will expand one level of the menu node representing the current page. Setting this option to false will keep the current node collapsed. The all value will have all items fully expanded when the navigation menu is rendered vertically.

Touch UI completely automates the navigation menu presentation while letting the developer focus on what’s important.

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