Applications created with Code On Time are equipped with a Universal Mobile/Desktop Client. Application pages are rendered with a device-friendly user interface. Mobile smartphones and tablets display touch-enabled pages with lists and forms featuring a responsive design.
Multi-purpose pages behave as standalone units of a line-of-business application. This concept is known today as a Single Page Application. The concept is rapidly catching on with the mainstream development community. It has been an integral part of apps created with Code On Time for the past five years.
This year we will introduce amazing new forward-looking framework capabilities and a new product called http://cloudontime.com.
The initial release of Mobile Client does not fully match its desktop counterpart when it comes to a few features such as advanced search, filtering, dynamic calculations of field values, and conditional visibility. The gap will be closed by the end of March 2014.
Presently, the mobile client supports a single default theme. We will offer a large number of alternative themes and provide customization instructions in the coming months. Theme Roller for jQuery Mobile will be used to create the themes.
Our next goal for the Mobile Client is to provide Grid, Data Sheet, Hierarchy, Map, Calendar, and Chart views.
Release 22.214.171.124 features a Task Assistant displayed when users tap on the toolbar header text. Unlimited edition applications will also show History and Favorites tabs with lists of data cards representing master data records to facilitate business-related activities.
We are also working a on a few data input enhancements:
The current market trend in the desktop computing is the introduction of touch-enabled screens. Microsoft Windows 8 is touch-enabled. Most business users will end up having a touch-enabled computer in the near future.
The major difference between mobile and desktop presentation in a Code On Time app is the number of data views visible to a user at any moment:
Our development team is researching the possibility of creating multi-pane presentation with data views displayed each in its own pane on desktop devices. Additional panes will be revealed on the same screen when a user drills down to see related “detail” data. The responsive design of the mobile client scales perfectly for a multi-pane presentation. Panes will be independently scrollable.
We will introduce the multi-pane capability in the mobile client in the near future.
Based on your input we will consider if this will be a good approach to follow when building touch-enabled line-of-business applications for both mobile and desktop devices. What do you think?
Performance of line-of-business applications in HTML 5 web browsers can be greatly improved with client-side data caching. We will introduce ability to cache entire datasets exposed by data controller views on the client.
Data controller view will have a Tag property to control client-side caching. For example, tagging a data view as data-cache37 will cause the client library to look for data in the local storage of the browser before attempting to request data from the server. If the data is in the storage and it has been there less than 37 minutes, then the client library will not attempt to access the server and will use the cached data instead.
Cached data will be scoped to the user identity and page. We will make sure that cascading lookups work correctly with cached data.
This unique capability will be available in both Mobile and Desktop client.
The current implementation of client library does not cache data changes in the browser. If a transactional data input is required, then we generally recommend to rely on your database server and follow transaction implementation strategies that include “Status” field, log tables, or staging tables. The described strategies will work perfectly well with mobile and desktop devices.
If a network connection is lost or unavailable, then the server-side transaction processing is not going to work.
Modern web browsers can notify a web page if a network connectivity is lost and when the client device is back online.
Two new actions “Commit” and “Rollback” will be supported. Actions will be visible in their scope only if there are pending “offline” changes. If a network connection is available, then “Commit” action will send all pending requests as a single array to the server for execution. The server will perform all request in the same sequence that was recorded on the client to allow the database server to persist changes. Simulated client-side data modifications will be discarded if all operations were successfully executed. “Rollback” will simply remove pending changes and restore client-side data to its initial state.
The primary objective of this feature is to allow implementing apps that can capture data without a mandatory interaction with the server. Signature capturing will also work in this mode.
End users will be able to download the offline version of an app by simply entering the application web address followed by “offline” path. For example:
The contents of the manifest will be downloaded when the app is accessed for the first time from an HTML 5 browser. This is basically a process of application installation.
The subsequent visits will follow this script:
Note that the offline app is not a separate application. It is is simply a capability of an app created with Code On Time to expose some of its functionality to offline users.
Offline apps will be provided with the Mobile Client user interface
Offline apps do not require distribution through the app stores of mobile operating systems.
The app generator will support production of pre-packaged files for at least one of such tools that will be announced in the second half of this year.
Native apps will have to be distributed through an app store of the chosen mobile operating platform.
Current implementation of Desktop Client works best on high resolution screens with the mouse and keyboard.
The next generation of the desktop client will be based on the mobile client and will feature a slide-down ribbon with context actions and menu options at the top of each page. Multi-pane pages on the desktop client will display containers arranged in multiple columns and rows, which will turn a page into a collection of scrollable tiles.
The new version of desktop client will ensure efficient desktop keyboard data entry in the forms and data sheet view.
We will likely offer additional presentation enhancements to various view styles that will benefit desktop users.
Mobile user interface themes will be adapted for improved desktop presentation.
The details will become available in second half of 2014.
For the past few years we were building a collection of features under a moniker EASE (Enterprise Application Services Engine). Several key features have not been released to production as a part of Code On Time application framework. The key unreleased components are Workflow Register and Dynamic Access Control List. The initial implementations were complex and difficult to manage.
The latest iteration has been significantly streamlined.
DACL (Dynamic Access Control List) will not be a dedicated module in the generated apps as originally intended. Instead we have re-factored this into Workflow Register.
Workflow Register is based on a core set of 11 tables that will have to be hosted in the application database. There will be a set of built-in data controllers similar to Membership Manager that will allow managing configuration data in the tables.
Workflow Register allows associating "Workflows" with Users and User Groups controlled by optional schedules.
"Workflow" is a combination of Rules.
Rules are matched to registered objects. Objects represent "business entities" of your app.
A rule may define:
Application framework automatically "consults" rules of workflows matched to the current user when performing various life-cycle operations on controllers, pages, and data.
Installation of Workflow Register will include built-in business entities. Built-in entities include:
5) support ticket
The described entities are there to support built-in Atom-based publishing module of the Content Management System of the application framework. This is a new feature of EASE.
Installation of Workflow Register in the database will allow building a dynamic website similar to http://codeontime.com with built-in blogging, community forum, and ticket-based support system. All these features will run alongside your own data controllers if enabled.
There will be built-in rules to control access to blogs, content, images, comments, support tickets, and discussions. Workflow Register will allow browsing and changing these rules. We expect the built-in rules to be a "live" example of Dynamic Access Rules that developers can use to model restrictions for their own data.
New EASE features will be integrated in the application framework in April/May of 2014.
The new product called http://cloudontime.com will go online in April of 2014.
Cloud On Time allows creating custom cloud apps on top of dedicated databases hosted in Windows Azure. The apps include Universal Mobile/Desktop Client and all EASE features.
Users will be able to create “cloud” tables using a browser on mobile and desktop devices. A built-in Designer works in the cloud and is modeled after Project Designer available in Code On Time app generator. Multi-user development teams will be able to cooperatively work on their projects.
Monthly subscriptions with several levels and a free trial period will be available.
Subscribers can use a free standalone utility to download their entire cloud database from Cloud On Time to a local machine in a variety of formats.
The same utility will allow uploading an existing database to Cloud On Time.
The target audience of the product: