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.

toPDF update

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Some time ago, I wrote about toPDF. It’s a simple web application that allows office format to PDF conversion using PDFCreator. It’s open source and allows synchronuous conversion via http post requests or REST calls.

We made some changes in toPDF that makes it possible to use different converter tools/SDKs. It’s now possible to use PDFCreator or easyPDF SDK. The first solution is OpenSource and the last is commercial. I prefer the commercial SDK because it has a lot of useful features, offers a Java bridge and works super fast in server environments. The OpenSource solution also works, but needs some tinkering.

Anyway, the toPDF application supports both and it’s easy to integrate other converter. Simply implement the interface

public interface IPdfOperator
{
    public void convert(File pDocument, File pPdf, PdfSettings pSettings) throws Exception;
}

Set the context parameter: operatorClass in your web.xml, e.g.

<context-param>
  <description>PDF operator</description>
       
  <param-name>operatorClass</param-name>
  <param-value>com.sibvisions.topdf.operator.pdfforge.PdfCreatorOperator</param-value>
</context-param>

The default operator is com.sibvisions.topdf.operator.bcl.EasyPdfOperator.

Responsive Web Design

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Hurray, we have a new buzzword: Responsive.

It’s not brand new, but nowadays it’s important because we use applications on different devices and the same application should work on different screen sizes/resolutions.

What does responsive mean?

Wikipedia:

Responsive web design (RWD) is a web design approach aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from mobile phones to desktop computer monitors).

My opinion:

Don’t waste space for unnecessary information.

If you have big menus and toolbars in your application, you should reduce the used space dependent of the available space.

We did some experiments with our vaadin UI and have some impressions for you:

App full space

App full space

 
App with limited space

App with limited space

The application on the right has a small menu without additional text and with small padding. All gaps are smaller than in the orginal application on the left.

We used custom css and source code to change the UI because not everything was possible with CSS e.g. set tooltips instead of button text. A set of instructions was posted from Matti Tahvonen.

We made some smaller changes in our Vaadin UI to support technology independent handling of resize changes.

It will be possible to do following:

launcher.eventComponentResized().addListener(this, "doLauncherResized");

public void doLauncherResized(UIComponentEvent pEvent)
{
    IDimension dim = ((ILauncher)pEvent.getSource()).getSize();
   
    if (dim != null)
    {
        int iWidth = dim.getWidth();
       
        if (iWidth < 800)
        {
            layoutMode = LayoutMode.Small;
        }
        else
        {
            layoutMode = LayoutMode.Full;
        }

        resizeMenu();
    }
}

New “Report Demo” application

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We have a nice looking Reporting application in our solution store. It’s a standard JVx application with a styled table.

But it’s not a table demo! It demonstrates report creation for offline data manipulation. Simply create Excel sheets for your contacts, change the contact offline and update the online record with a simple upload. The Excel file has choice fields and allows same features as the online form.

Here it is

Reporting demo

Reporting demo

of course, it’s free :)

Simply open the solution store and install the application

Reporting application

SIB Visions in den Top 1001

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baukasten   Unser Produkt VisionX verhalf uns zu einem Artikel in der aktuellen Computerwelt, TOP 1001.

Darin erklärt der Autor auf eindrucksvolle Weise wie KMUs von VisionX profitieren können. Der Artikel bezieht sich auf die Zielgruppe kleine und mittelgroße Unternehmen, doch das Prinzip kann auch auf große Unternehmen übertragen werden.

Falls die aktuelle Ausgabe der Computerwelt nicht zur Hand ist, kann der Artikel auch hier nachgelesen werden.

One application, different styles

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Impressions

The first image shows the legacy mode of our standard application style (check last image). It turns a SDI application to MDI – without coding or re-deployment. Simply awesome :)

The second image doesn’t use a toolbar and the third one is without a menubar. Not all applications need multiple navigation elements, known from desktop applications.

The fourth image shows, what we prefer.

Legacy mode (MDI)

Legacy mode (MDI)

 
Legacy mode (no toolbar)

Legacy mode (no toolbar)

Legacy mode (no menubar)

Legacy mode (no menubar)

Modern mode (SDI with popups)

Modern mode (SDI with popups)

One more ;-)

Modern style (menu right)

Modern style (menu right)

[Update]

The same application with Swing UI

Swing UI

Swing UI

Add IDs to your Vaadin Menu items

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It’s a shame :) but Vaadin doesn’t have built-in support for setting an ID on menu items. There are several tickets about this problem: http://dev.vaadin.com/ticket/3873, http://dev.vaadin.com/ticket/11307, http://dev.vaadin.com/ticket/14294

BTW, the whole menu solution is a little bit tricky and wrapped.

There are no excuses – a web technology should fully support web concepts. We tried to touch menu items, by ID, during our UI test automation efforts. It wasn’t a problem to find an xpath for accessing menu items, but… it’s a principle thing.

It was a nice task to implement ID support for menu items. We found a “general” solution – it’s still a workaround, but as long as vaadin doesn’t support it, it might help you.

Summarized

Extend server-side MenuBar and add a map for menuitem ids. Send the map to the client and add the id to the matching menu item. The client-side needs an extended VMenuBar and an extended MenuBarConnector.

We’ve used MenuBar for caching ids because it wasn’t possible to extend menu item handling and MenuBar already has a connector.

An example

Menuitem IDs

Menuitem IDs

Details

The implementation is available in our Vaadin UI implementation. Simply use following classes:

MenuBar
VMenuBar
MenuBarConnector

And don’t forget the replacement mappings for your widgetset before you start the compiler:

Widgetset replacements

The solution was built with vaadin 7.1 but we checked the implementation in 7.3.0 and it didn’t change. So our workaround should work without problems.

We didn’t need a lot LoC to solve the problem and it should be easy for you to understand what we did. If you want to know more details – simply ask.

Usage

A short code snippet:

MenuBar bar = new MenuBar();

MenuItem miInsert = bar.addItem("Insert");
MenuItem miUpdate = bar.addItem("Update");

bar.setId(miInsert, "mi_insert");
bar.setId(miUpdate, "mi_update");

As written before, it’s not possible to set the ID on the item because of original implementation in vaadin. Don’t use getId of menu item because this will return the “internal” id.

Keep coding :)

Next big feature – Automate your GUI Tests

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It’s not a problem to automate GUI tests, nowadays. There are different approaches and tools. A nice tool overview is available on wikipedia.

The tools have different techniques to perform tests. On technique is sending/simulating mouse clicks to components. The problem is that the GUI shouldn’t be changed between tests and you should use a special test environment/system. Another technique is tricky but there’s a nice implementation from MIT. It works with image recognition. And finally there’s a solution based on unique component identifiers.

We like the last technique, based on unique component identifiers because it allows changing the UI without changing test cases – we love flexibility. The only problem with JVx was that we didn’t have unique identifiers and a developer won’t set an identifier for every component. We didn’t have a mechanism to create unique identifiers… BUT now… we have.

With upcoming JVx releases, it will be possible to test GUIs automatically based on unique identifiers. This identifiers will be available also for VaadinUI. Another advantage for VaadinUIs will be that the id could be used for styling via CSS.

There are still some todos for us but we’re happy to be able to show you some examples.

We made some test-cases with different test tools. To test our VaadinUI, we use Selenium together with PhantomJS.

The source code might look like this one:

public class TestCaseB
{
    private static final int TIMEOUT_IN_SECONDS = 10;
   
    private static final String TIMEOUT_IN_MILLISECONDS_AS_STRING =
                        Integer.toString(TIMEOUT_IN_SECONDS * 1000);

    private WebDriver driver;
    private Selenium selenium;
   
    @Before
    public void setUp()
    {
        driver = configureDriver(createPhantomJsDriver());
       
        String baseUrl = "http://localhost:8080/";
       
        selenium = new WebDriverBackedSelenium(driver, baseUrl);
        selenium.setTimeout(TIMEOUT_IN_MILLISECONDS_AS_STRING);
    }
   
    @Test
    public void testDemoerptest()
    {
        selenium.open("/VisionX.Server/app/web/ui/DemoERP/");
        waitForPage();
       
        selenium.type("id=UserName", "admin");
        selenium.type("id=Password", "admin");
        selenium.click("id=OK");
        waitForPage();
       
        selenium.click("id=DemoERP_P1_P1_P2_B1");
        waitForPage();
        selenium.click(
          "//div[@id='NavigationTable']/div[2]/div/table/tbody/tr[2]/td[2]/div");
        selenium.click(
          "//div[@id='NavigationTable']/div[2]/div/table/tbody/tr[3]/td[2]/div");
        selenium.click(
          "//div[@id='NavigationTable']/div[2]/div/table/tbody/tr[2]/td[2]/div");
        selenium.click(
          "//div[@id='NavigationTable']/div[2]/div/table/tbody/tr/td[2]/div");
       
        selenium.click("id=DemoERP_P1_P1_P2_B2");
        waitForPage();
        selenium.click(
          "//div[@id='NavigationTable']/div[2]/div/table/tbody/tr[2]/td/div");
        selenium.click(
          "//div[@id='NavigationTable']/div[2]/div/table/tbody/tr[3]/td/div");
        selenium.click(
          "//div[@id='NavigationTable']/div[2]/div/table/tbody/tr[4]/td/div");
       
        selenium.click("id=DemoERP_P1_P1_P2_B3");
        waitForPage();
       
        selenium.click("xpath=(//button[@type='button'])[7]");
        waitForPage();
    }
   
    @After
    public void tearDown()
    {
        driver.quit();
        selenium.stop();
    }
   
    private WebDriver configureDriver(WebDriver pWebDriver)
    {
        pWebDriver.manage().timeouts().implicitlyWait(TIMEOUT_IN_SECONDS,
                                                      TimeUnit.SECONDS);
        pWebDriver.manage().timeouts().pageLoadTimeout(TIMEOUT_IN_SECONDS,
                                                       TimeUnit.SECONDS);
        pWebDriver.manage().timeouts().setScriptTimeout(TIMEOUT_IN_SECONDS,
                                                        TimeUnit.SECONDS);
        pWebDriver.manage().window().setSize(new Dimension(1920, 1080));
       
        return pWebDriver;
    }
   
    @SuppressWarnings("unused")
    private WebDriver createChromeDriver()
    {
        ChromeOptions options = new ChromeOptions();
        options.addArguments("-incognito");
       
        return new ChromeDriver(options);
    }
   
    private WebDriver createPhantomJsDriver()
    {
        DesiredCapabilities capabilities = new DesiredCapabilities();
        capabilities.setCapability(
                 PhantomJSDriverService.PHANTOMJS_EXECUTABLE_PATH_PROPERTY,
                 "D:\\opt\\phantomjs\\phantomjs.exe");
       
        return new PhantomJSDriver(capabilities);
    }
   
    private void waitForPage()
    {
        selenium.waitForPageToLoad(TIMEOUT_IN_MILLISECONDS_AS_STRING);
    }
}

We use FEST (doc) for Swing UIs. The library is old (like Swing) but still works!

A very simple example with FEST:

public class TestUI extends FestSwingTestCaseTemplate
{
    private FrameFixture window;
   
    @After
    public void cleanItUp()
    {
        super.cleanUp();
    }
   
    @Before
    public void setUp()
    {
        super.setUpRobot();
       
        UIFactoryManager.getFactoryInstance(SwingFactory.class);
       
        WorkScreenCreatingGuiQuery query = new WorkScreenCreatingGuiQuery();
        Frame frame = GuiActionRunner.execute(query);
       
        window = new FrameFixture(robot(), frame);
        window.show();
       
        query.afterShow();
    }
   
    @Test
    public void testTheUIStuff()
    {
        // Check if the editor does have the correct value.
        // The WorkScreen does select the first line for us.
        Assert.assertEquals("John Smith",
                            window.textBox("UITWS_E_TESTDATABOOK_NAME").text());
       
        // Select the next line in the table.
        window.table("UITWS_T_TESTDATABOOK").selectRows(1);
        Assert.assertEquals("Ian McIrish",
                            window.textBox("UITWS_E_TESTDATABOOK_NAME").text());
       
        // Select the tab that has that TextField-Button-Label combo on it.
        window.tabbedPane("UITWS_TP1").selectTab(1);
        window.tabbedPane("UITWS_TP1_P2_TP1").selectTab(2);
       
        // Enter something into the textfield, press the button and the label
        // should now have the same text.
        window.textBox("UITWS_TP1_P2_TP1_P3_P1_TF1").setText("This is an automated test.");
        window.button("UITWS_TP1_P2_TP1_P3_P1_B1").click();
        Assert.assertEquals("This is an automated test.",
                            window.label("UITWS_TP1_P2_TP1_P3_P1_L2").text());
    }
   
    private static final class WorkScreenCreatingGuiQuery extends GuiQuery<Frame>
    {
        private UIFrame frame;
       
        private WorkScreen workscreen;
       
        void afterShow()
        {
            // Important so that everything gets a name.
            // There is a window constructed, but outside of the JVx scope.
            frame.addNotify();
            workscreen.notifyRepaint();
        }
       
        @Override
        protected Frame executeInEDT() throws Throwable
        {
            frame = new UIFrame();
            workscreen = new UITestingWorkScreen();
           
            frame.add(workscreen);
           
            return (Frame) frame.getResource();
        }
       
        private String dumpStructure()
        {
            return dumpStructure(frame, 1);
        }
    }
}

Die Vorteile von Oracle Forms und Java vereint

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Wer schon immer mal wissen wollte wie man den Spagath zwischen Oracle Forms und Java hin bekommt, dem sei der Artikel ‘Schnell entwickeln – die Vorteile von Forms und Java vereint‘ wärmstens empfohlen. Der Artikel wurde im Magazin JAVAaktuell, Ausgabe 04-2014, veröffentlicht.

Anhand der Oracle Forms Summit Application wird dargestellt wie eine Umsetzung mit Java möglich wäre. Es wird auch gezeigt wie Java in Forms eingebettet werden kann und wie die Java Applikation als HTML5 Lösung aussieht.


Das wichtigste ist jedoch das man Oracle Forms nicht von heute auf morgen ablösen muss, sondern eine sanfte Migration durchführen kann.

Der Artikel ist sowohl für Oracle Forms Entwickler als auch für Java Entwickler die mit Oracle in Berührung kommen interessant.

Wer das Magazin nicht zur Hand hat, kann den Artikel auch von hier laden und sofort lesen.