JVx with Java6

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JVx was based on Java5 and all releases, including 2.1, were built with JDK 1.5. We thought it could be the time for a change and Java5 is not popular nowadays. With JVx 2.2 we'll switch to Java6. It wasn't important for us because JVx has no specifics that need Java6, but some 3rd party libs like RESTlet need Java6. The client-side code of JVx will probably work with Java5 but we'll build our releases with target 1.6.

We made an update to RESTlet 2.2.3 because of some useful changes and also for the side-project JVx.mobile. So we had to switch to Java6 as well. Our repository is already based on Java6 and we started migration of dependent projects and build tasks.

Because of some changes in DBAccess regarding DataSource support, it was also a good idea to use new JDBC drivers and most new drivers are not available for Java5. So we hope you understand why Java6 was a good idea.

The current nightly build was created with Java6. Give it a try.

HANA support for VisionX

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What is HANA?

It's the In-Memory database system of SAP, developed in 2010 for, or togehter with some customers to handle big data. You'll find all details here.

The system should be super fast and brilliant... That was the reason why we thought it might be interesting for VisionX and of course, VisionX could be useful for HANA customers.

So what?

We have a lot of experience with most important database systems like Oracle, SQLServer, DB2, PostgreSQL and MySQL but we had absolutely no idea what HANA was. But it has a JDBC driver :) . We also have a lot of experience with JDBC drivers.

So we had the Know-How to do some cool things with HANA. Our simple idea was the integration into VisionX via JDBC driver like all other databases which are already supported. We tried to find out how we could start.

The starting point for HANA development is: http://hana.sap.com/abouthana/developers.html.

To be honest... We didn't read a lot of documentation because we are Researcher. Simply clicked on Try SAP HANA and... found more information.

The first thing we had to learn was, that it's not too easy to start and there's a lot of information about everything and nothing. We tried the "SAP HANA Cloud Platform Developer Edition" but got an error...

After Googling around, we found another starting point: http://scn.sap.com/docs/DOC-31722.

But what about development tools?

We love using Eclipse and SAP has HANA studio and Eclipse plugins. Sounds great, and we found a strange site. A really simple site with minimal information but we didn't find information about the JDBC driver. We read about HANA client which should contain the JDBC driver, but it also was available here. It was another place for downloading HANA software.

Did I tell you that we are Researcher? We love to solve complex and tricky software problems but why are there so many different download sites. All sites are different with more or less information.

Did I tell you that we're tough? You're right, we found the little pieces.

After we found the right path, we made progress because Plugin installation was as simple as it should be. The registration of a dev account was not big problem.

The next "problem" was using Eclipse because we didn't find a simple web site with configuration details. After some googling we had some stackoverflow hints but no complete guide. But it wasn't that hard to find out how it works. Oh I forgot to mention that we tried to get direct access to the DB and not to create a hello world example.

The SAP HANA Administration Console perspective was our friend and we tried to add a new System. After we saw that there's an option for Cloud system, we made some progress :) But don't think it's that easy. Don't forget to create a schema via online system, called Cockpit!

To shorten the story: It's NOT easy to start and too much documentation doesn't help if someone forgets to KIS.

After we had access to our HANA schema and understood how the cockpit worked, we tried to create our first application with VisionX. The next problem was that it's not allowed to connect to HANA instances directly via Internet, without tunneling (as usual). To create a standard JDBC connection via VisionX, we had to create a tunnel. What do you think: An easy task for about 5 minutes or a job for Google?

Long story short:

Learn using NEO (console client). It's part of the HANA SDK.

Working command:

neo open-db-tunnel -h hanatrial.ondemand.com -u p012345678 -a p012345678trial --id schemaID

(The URL is important! We found other URLs which didn't work)

Used the result of the command to create a JDBC connection and we were back in the game.

What was next?

Our dev environment was up and running and VisionX could connect to HANA but we had to do some laborious tasks because HANA had some specifics (not surprisingly). We solved most problems in HanaDBAccess which is now available in JVx.

One of the biggest problem was the JDBC driver. Especially if you try to find some answers in the HANA forum about getting generated keys. The driver developers should listen to their community! (Don't ignore defacto standards)

But ok, that was only one thing. A big problem was the performance of metadata operations. If you try to get a list of unique keys, a list of colum names for a table or foreign keys, be sure you have some extra time because such operations can take a minute or more. Not sure if trial accounts are the botleneck but we thought HANA is always super fast.

We're not sure if no one needs metadata or if we have special requirements, but especially metadata access should be fast in any case!

We learned to live with slow performance and we're pretty sure that SAP will solve this problem.

Did we reach our goals?

;-) What do you think about this:

HANA application with VisionX



This video demonstrates the creation of an application based on HANA. The application was developed with VisionX and deployed as JVx' Vaadin application. I'm not sure if there's a tool which can do it like VisionX but I don't think so because SAP doesn't have one :)

One hint

If you have problems with locked accounts because of invalid connection attempts. Use Eclipse, connect to your schema and execute:

alter user p012345678 drop connect attempts;

Our Eclipse was blocked with this command, but everything worked fine after restart.

Xmas cookies

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SIB cookies

SIB cookies

Christmas is coming and we have some presents for our customers :)

Tastes delicious and the cookies were baked with love.
Let yourself be surprised!

Many thanks to Roland and his cooking crew.

VisionX 2.1 is out

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It's done. We proudly present an awesome VisionX release. It has the version number 2.1.905 and has doubled its features.

Here are some of them:

  • Undo & Redo

    It's now possible to Undo and Redo Actions and Reports. Simply add an action to a button undo the creation if you want. The action will be removed from the screen. It's also possible to add the action again, via redo.

    In VisionX 2.0, only UI elements could be deleted but not actions or reports.

  • Eclipse integration

    It's a developer feature and allows bidirectional communication between Eclipse IDE and VisionX. Simply select an editor in VisionX and the source code in Eclipse will be selected. The integration allows faster development because you jump exactly to the source file and code line of your screen. Don't was time for searching properties and files. More...

  • Layout Assistant
    Designer

    The Layout assistant (designer) of VisionX 2.0 was column oriented and it wasn't possible to create free-form layouts without fixed positioning. The new layout assistant still is column oriented but you can use it free-form. You have all features of a layout manager (preferred size, automatic size calculation) but it's easy to create individual layouts which are not column oriented.
  • ActionEditor

    It's a small feature, but the action editor now allows Finish without explicite validating the action. It save so many unnecessary klicks.

  • PDF Reporting

    We have built-in support for toPDF in VisionX. With VisionX it's possible to create PDF reports as Document and Spreadsheet with Word and Excel. Create your report templates with Word or Excel and create PDF reports out-of-the-box. More...

  • Mobile and Web
    Settings

    VisionX got wizards for mobile und web settings. They allow styling of web and mobile applications like background color, background images, ...
    Simply define which image should be used in web or mobile applications instead of the original image, e.g. the mobile application should use flat images but the
    desktop shouldn't.
  • Developer features

    It's now possible to set the name/ID of components. This feature is a developer feature and useful for automated GUI tests or styling via CSS. More...

  • License options

    We offer subscription based VisionX usage. You can use and pay on a monthly base. We don't offer SaaS. VisionX will run in your environment.

    Also new is the support for SAP' Hana. If you work with Hana, you could use VisionX to create Hana based applications.

  • Popup menu

    It's very easy to create custom popup menus for a component. Simply use the new customizer and define the action.
    More...

  • Manual dropdown-list configuration

    We allow the creation of custom dropdown lists directly with VisionX. Create your own statements or storages and use the data wizard to configure the editors. More...

  • Solution store

    The solution store offers ready-made solutions. We offer free and demo applications for learning purposes and also commercial solutions. The solution store is also available for your environment. You can install the store for your intranet, if you need a distribution platform your your applications, addons or modules. More...

  • Responsive application

    Your new web applications will be responsive - out of the box. The styling of the application will be changed dependent of the browser size. We have an API for software developers to create responsive work screens. More...

  • Desktop application

    Create a desktop application per click. Use VisionX to create a desktop application package.

  • Other features

    Repeating frames
    QR Codes

Our customers should check their download area to get access to the new release.

JVx Update 2.1.1

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We had some problems with our JVx 2.1 release. It had a bug in server-side processing of BLOB columns because of #987. It was not a problem on client-side, but standard CRUD operations failed.

The other problem was the reopen mechanism of connections. It was an unused feature till 2.1 and wasn't well tested. It worked but not in all circumstances. We refactored the implementation and made tests.

Both fixes are included in JVx 2.1.1.

JVx 2.1 is in da house

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Happy birthday :) JVx is 2.1

It's another great release today and ~ 6 month after 2.0. We have soo many cool features for you and of course some bugfixes.
The complete changelog is available on our sourceforge project site.

I want to highlight some features for you

  • Configuration via JNDI or Classpath

    It's now possible to have custom configuration files without our recommended directory structure. We still recommend our structure for multi-application deployments, but it's not important for single deployments or complex enterprise deployments. Find more details about loading strategy in the corresponding ticket #1126.

  • Server-side plugin support

    We introduced IServerPlugin. It allows adding plugins and changing server handling on demand. It's easy to write custom protocol recorder or configure session management via plugin.

  • ServerContext and HttpContext

    We introduced HttpContext and ServerContext. The HttpContext allows live access to servlet request and response (if an application server is in use). It makes no difference if you use REST or standard communication. We set the right instances into the context and your application will work without specific technology checks. We also use HttpContext for JVx.mobile.

    The ServerContext is comparable with SessionContext, but it's earlier in the execution process, because it offers access to sessions directly after creation or detection. It's useful for e.g. plugins.

  • Tab/Focus Index

    We introduced set/getTabIndex in IComponent. This API change allows user-defined component navigation via tabulator or Enter key.

  • CommunicationException details

    It's now possible to find out the connection which throwed a CommunicationException.

  • Alignment for IEditor (API change)

    It's now possible to set the alignment on IEditors instead of the cell editors. Small but very useful API change.

  • Autolink with storages

    It's now possible to create automatic link references with other storage. We had this feature already in 2.0 but only for simple storages without conditions - only from clause was used. Now it's possible to configure custom storages with user-defined sort in the same LCO and set this storages as automatic link reference to other storages in the same LCO.

  • Server side bean processing boost

    We change and improved server side bean handling of our AbstractStorage. Here are some numbers for you:

    ....................... Before | After

    Insert Object[] ... Beans: 200 |   0
    Update Bean ....... Beans: 900 | 200
    Update T .......... Beans: 900 | 400
    Fetch Bean ........ Beans: 600 | 200
    Fetch Object[] .... Beans: 300 |   0
    Update Object[] ... Beans: 500 |   0
    Insert Bean ....... Beans: 400 | 100
    Delete Object[] ... Beans: 300 |   0
    Delete Bean ....... Beans: 600 | 200
    Delete T .......... Beans: 600 | 300
    Insert T .......... Beans: 400 | 200

    Created Beans after processing 100 records.
    The current solution is a performance boost and using Object[] is always faster than everything else.

  • Lazy blob loading

    We don't load Blobs immediate. We load it on request. This doesn't need any actions on client side but be aware of server-side handling because the value of a blob column will be RemoteFileHandle instead of byte[]. You should run your unit tests for your business logic. It's possible to disable lazy fetching, per storage with

    setLazyFetchEnabled(boolean);

    It's also possible to define the threshold for loading immediate or loading lazy. Check

    setLargeObjectLimit
    setDefaultLargeObjectLimit

    of DBAccess.

    This is an awesome new feature because is speeds up data transfer.

  • Custom UI properties

    UIResource got:

    public Object getObject(String pObjectName)
    public Object putObject(String pObjectName, Object pObject)

    It's possible to add custom objects per UI instance, e.g. save custom states.

  • REST services refactored

    We refactored our REST services. The implementation now works without problems and is easier to use becasue we don't need full qualified java names in the URL. We try to find the class via accesscontroller. The accesscontroller got a new method for this.

  • Unique component names

    For all lovers of automated UI tests. We have unique names for all our components. It's easy to create GUI tests with tools like Selenium (web tests) or FEST (swing tests) or whatever you use :)

We have about 107 tickets in this release and it's not possible to explain every change in this blog posting, but be sure - it's great!

The Maven archetype should be available in the next few days, because sonatype archetype listings are not live.

VaadinUI 1.2 released

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Our VaadinUI 1.2 is available!
It's a feature release with some bugfixes.

The biggest change was the update to vaadin 7.1.15 and we've already 7.3.3 in our development branch (welcome Valo theme).

What's new?

  • Download extension

    Download dynamic content on-demand or whenever you want via WebSockets. More information and an example project for this extension.

  • Configuration of preserveOnUIRefresh

    Simply use preserveOnRefresh as init-param (true | false) in your web.xml or as URL parameter to preserve the application on browser refresh.

  • Use external CSS

    Use an external CSS file to configure your application style. There's no need to change genereated styles.css for simple tasks. Simply configure the init-param externalCss, e.g.

    <init-param>
      <param-name>externalCss</param-name>
      <param-value>../demoapp.css</param-value>
    </init-param>

    Place the demoapp.css in the root directory of your application (not application server ROOT).

    The css will be placed at the end of the stylesheet links in the generated index.html page.

  • Mobile check

    We check if the UI is running on mobile browsers and set parameters for your application: Web.mobile (= VaadinUI.PROP_MOBILE) and Web.mobile.tablet(only for iPad at the moment) (= VaadinUI.PROP_TABLET). Simply check the parameter in your application.

  • Cache for dynamic images

    If you use images from your classpath, vaadin generates internal URLs for you. This URLs are different per image and the browser cache doesn't work. This handling produces unnecessary requests. We solved the problem with an image cache on server side and custom Image resources. With this changes, the browser cache works as expected.

  • IDs for menu items

    We have an experimental solution for setting IDs on menu items. It's experimental because it's possible that vaadin implements support for that. In that case we won't need our solution anymore. But till then, it works. More information...

  • Responsive support

    It's now possible to register a resize event on the application launcher. Use this event to change your application on-demand. We have some impressions for you.

  • Self-contained packages for Portlets

    We have built-in support for self-contained portlets. It's possible to toggle between global and self-contained mode. Simply set the init-param vaadin.shared (true | false) in your web.xml to use vaadin shared from your application server or the self-contained vaadin.

    General information about self-contained packages.

  • invokeLater and WebSockets

    We've completely changed our invokeLater mechanism because it didn't work in previous versions.

Please check the changelog for a complete list.

Toys for our Android dev team

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What a great day for our Android dev team. Our new test devices arrived today.

Nexus 5 with KitKat

Nexus 5 with KitKat

 
Nexus 9 with Lollipop

Nexus 9 with Lollipop

We're not sure if the dev team is making progress today :)

The Android Client will be available in Google Play as soon as possible. Currently only the iOS client is available in the App store. The Android client will be available as Preview version and as Pro version, same as the iOS client. The preview client could be used for tests together with VisionX. It will be limited to one screen.

Next VisionX and JVx releases

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The last official JVx release was in May and last VisionX version was released in July. We think it's time to update both and planned the release of JVx 2.1 and VisionX 2.1 for the end of November. Currently, we are in time and shouldn't have any delays.

There are some open tickets for JVx and VisionX, but the planned features are done. The open tickets are nice to have and favoured from the 2.2' release.

Especially VisionX 2.1 will be an awesome new release because it contains soo many new features. The new solution store, the styling of mobile and web applications, the new GUI designer, PDF reporting, IDE integration, subscription based licensing and many more. The release will be the first with full Oracle Forms migration support. It has all known features of Oracle Forms like Repeating Frames, Focus order, Popup Menu configuration.

The release will contain solutions for over 200 tickets.

And what's in JVx 2.1?

We've some cool changes, e.g. great support for automatic tests (unique component names), reduced metadata caching, JNDI support for configuration files, Replacement and StrictIsolation annotations, REST refactoring and many more.

Stay tuned :)

VisionX with support for PDF reports

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The upcoming release of VisionX will support PDF report creation. We didn't re-invent the wheel and used our existing reporting engine with our templating mechanism. You'll simply create a word or excel template as usual and the result will be a PDF file.

The new PDF options

PDF reports

PDF reports

Our solution is based on toPDF and we recommend the commercial SDK, but it's also possible to integrate an OpenSource alternative or your own product. We'll help you if you need support!

We think that an end-user should create reports with word and excel instead of custom reporting tools. Of course, a developer will love it :)
Don't waste time anymore!.

The big advantage of our solution is that the reports will look exactly as designed and you won't use new tools to create pixel perfect reports.