Posts tagged: VisionX

VisionX 2.4 News

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This is a short announcement of VisionX 2.4. We're near to the finishing line and will release VisionX 2.4 in December. It's an awesome release with a big number of changes and great new features.

VisionX 2.4 is not a real Feature Release but as always, we have great things on board. The focus was on "modularity". This has nothing to do with JDK 9 or Jigsaw! With VisionX 2.4 it'll be super easy to customize VisionX for your needs or to "create your own VisionX". We offer some great new Modules and AddOns.

Some impressions

HTML5 option

Create applications without HTML5

Super easy module installation

Super easy module installation

New components as Data Links

New components as Data Links

Module: User Filter

Module: User Filter

Standard Screen generator wizard

Standard Screen generator wizard

Customized screen generator wizard

Customized screen generator wizard

VisionX will be shipped with Vaadin 7.7 and latest versions of JVx and sub projects.
We offer some great Modules and AddOns like Maintenance management and User Profiles.

With User Profiles, it'll be possible to save the application state per User. This means that the position of screens can be saved as well as divider positions of split panels or it'll be possible to configure visible columns of grids.

This was a very short overview of VisionX 2.4, but I guess you'll like it!

HANA Express and VisionX

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HANA Express is available for some days. HANA is the In-Memory Database solution of SAP.

What is HANA Express?

SAP HANA, express edition is a streamlined version of SAP HANA that can run on laptops and other resource-constrained hosts, such as a cloud-hosted virtual machine, for free up to 32G of memory use.

reference: https://go.sap.com/developer/topics/sap-hana-express.html

We wrote an article about our HANA experiments in December 2014. We had a test account for the online HANA. Our tests were successful but we weren't convinced from the system because it was slow and had many JDBC driver problems. Our bug reports were never answered.

But we never give up and the Express edition was interesting for us. We thought it might be worth some hours for our R&D team. The result is awesome!

We think that VisionX is the best tool for application development with HANA databases. Your web application is ready in 1 minute without coding!

Some details?

The installation of the Express edition wasn't tricky. The documentation is straight forward. The database is up and running in some minutes.

We had some problems with JDBC driver because it wasn't available as separate download and we didn't find any documentation. But it was part of the HANA plugin for Eclipse. Not that easy, but it was part of a jar file: com.sap.ndb.studio.jdbc_2.3.8.jar.

The next tricky thing was the JDBC connect string: jdbc:sap://hxehost:30013/?currentschema=System. The username was SYSTEM.

With all this information, it was super easy to create an application with VisionX for HANA express. We guess it makes no difference if you use HANA or HANA express.

How it works? Check the video. It's from 2014 but still impressive.

The current JDBC driver works much better than in 2014 and the performance of the database is great - compared to 2014.

If you're interested in more details, write a comment ;-)

Quality check AddOn for VisionX

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We have a brand new AddOn for you! It's simply awesome.

Imagine you have a large application with many screens and life-cycle objects. The deployent date is tomorrow. All manual tests today were successful. You leave the office and your colleague updates the database and doesn't tell you something about the changes. The deployment could be a destroyment :) without retesting!

Sure, a manual test of application functionality is great and also automatic UI tests are helpful. But both tests need some time and a test tool for automatic UI tests. We had the simple idea that a great improvement would be an automatic screen and life-cycle object test by an ANT task.

You could reduce error sources if it's guaranteed that a screen can be opened at runtime! This means that the object in the life-cycle object will work as well. But it's also possible that you have some database access objects in the life-cycle object, without GUI references, e.g. for Reporting purposes. Such objects can't be found with simple screen open tests.

Our idea was that we could check all database objects from your life-cycle objects automatically and we could start the application in a headless mode to open/close your screens. Both checks could be executed as ANT task before war file creation. Sounds interesting?

We have an AddOn with above features for VisionX.

Here are some screenshots of the build results:

Project view with ANT results

Project view with ANT results

The life-cycle object MasterData contains the DBStorage errorData. The storage uses the write-back table ERRORDATA wich isn't available in the database. The quality check shows:

Found LCO: com.sibvisions.apps.example1.screens.MasterData
        -> masterdata [OK] => [ID, FIRSTNAME, LASTNAME, DOB]
        -> errorData [ERROR: Meta data couldn't load from database! - SELECT * FROM ERRORDATA
           WHERE 1=2]

Only the ANT output:

Quality checks ANT results

Quality checks ANT results

The life-cycle object had an error, but the MasterDataWorkScreen works because errorData wasn't used while opening the screen.

The screens SimpleErrorWorkScreen and ShowErrorWorkScreen can't be opened because initialization failed. The life-cycle objects work without problems!

The checks are fast and can be executed without GUI. The application will be started with headless UI and it acts like any other JVx application with all supported features.

The AddOn is a massive improvement for your quality requirements.

Monitoring AddOn for VisionX

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Our Monitoring tool for JVx applications is very useful for application maintenance but also for application development. It safes time, problems and costs. The tool itself is a standalone JVx application and it connects to another JVx application which was configured with the monitoring plugin. It's not a hard job to configure a JVx application for monitoring, but it's boring.

We now have a really great VisionX AddOn which does all the boring work for you. It configures your applications for monitoring and makes it possible to monitor your applications during development time. It's very helpful to find bottlenecks or to do tuning before deployment :)

The plugin comes with an additional awesome Feature, which isn't available without the AddOn. It's the maintenance module. This module allows you to switch your application(s) in maintenance mode. You could use the maintenance mode to do manual database updates, config updates or simple health checks.

We have a short demo video which shows how it works:

VisionX Monitoring AddOn

The AddOn will be available in our Solution store, but not for free. The monitoring tool needs a separate license.

VisionX 2.3 Update Release

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The current update release of VisionX 2.3.235 is available for our customers or as trial.
It's a smaller update release with some nice features:

  • VisionX listener

    It's now possible to get events of VisionX in you custom AddOns or Modules.

  • Guides

    VisionX got Guides (Read more...). The feature is still in a test phase.

  • Synonyms pointing to a view

    The Data Edit wizard supports synonyms pointing to a view. But be careful, because automatic metadata detection is limited in that case.

  • Lib update

    All libs (JVx, ProjX, VaadinApps, ...) were updated to their latest versions.

The rest are fixes for smaller bugs (most are only relevant for developers):

  • Support for BooleanDataType
  • Help creation works if you didn't set a group label
  • Designer view doesn't toggle the width while dragging
  • Better variable naming for DBStorage types

Have fun with VisionX 2.3.235.

Using Oracle JET with VisionX/JVx

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The shiny new technology from Oracle is JET (Javascript Extension Toolkit). It's a really interesting thing because it bundles relevant technologies like jQuery, jQuery UI, Knockout, Require, Hammer, ...

You don't need know-how for every used technology, only JET is enough. This is a nice and new approach in the JS world. A possible problem with such an approach could be the update of single libraries, but this isn't your problem because Oracle has to maintain the right versions and bugfixes in JET. So it's not our problem :)

I'm not a big fan of Javascript libraries/technologies but from time to time I like to play around with such things and proof the interaction with JVx. Some time ago my new friend was AngularJS.

This time, I tried to work with Oracle JET.

The use-case was trivial: I'd like to visualize a list of contacts as simple table. The contacts are available as REST service. The REST service needs basic authentication.

Foreword: JET has much documentation and some useful examples, but it's inconsistent because the documentation shows different solutions for the same problem and you don't know which is best or recommended. And the examples are sometimes too complex. The start with existing examples is simple but if you start coding, it's not so simple. But this is a documentation problem and has nothing to do with the product itself. I prefer source code to find out how things work and this procedure worked without problems for JET.

Foreword 2: I couldn't find a description for Basic authentication. Not in the forum, not in the documentation and not in different blog posts. But I found many questions regarding Basic authentication. I found a solution for the problem but if someone has a better solution, please add a comment. My solution is more or less not API compliant - but works with JET version 1.1.2 and hopefully with newer versions as well.

Conditions

I've used our VisionX tool and the Contacts demo application for this example because VisionX has an embedded tomcat and REST access is pre-configured. It's not tricky to use any other simple JVx application but it requires more work because you need an application server and a deployed application.

The Trial version of VisionX is a good start. Before I show you the source code, I'll show you the result:

Contacts table

Contacts table

You're right, this isn't rocket science. But it's not hard to add more columns and some css.

What about the source code?

We have one html page, index.html:

<!DOCTYPE html>

<html>
  <head>
    <title>JET with VisionX/JVx</title>
   
    <meta charset="UTF-8">
    <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1">
    <link rel="icon" href="css/images/favicon.ico" type="image/x-icon" />

    <link rel="stylesheet" href="css/libs/oj/v1.1.2/alta/oj-alta-min.css" type="text/css"/>
    <link rel="stylesheet" href="css/demo-alta-patterns-min.css"/>
    <link rel="stylesheet" href="css/override.css" type="text/css"/>

    <script data-main="js/main" src="js/libs/require/require.js"></script>
  </head>
 
  <body>
    <br/>
    <div id="mainContent" class="oj-md-12 oj-col page-padding">
      <div class="demo-page-content-area page-padding">  
        <h1>Contacts via VisionX</h1>
        <br/>
        <table id="table"
          data-bind="ojComponent: {component: 'ojTable',
                                   data: dataSource,
                                   columns: [{headerText: '#',
                                              field: 'ID', sortable: 'enabled'},
                                             {headerText: 'First name',
                                              field: 'FIRSTNAME', sortable: 'enabled'},
                                             {headerText: 'Last name',
                                              field: 'LASTNAME'}]}">

        </table>
      </div>
    </div>    
  </body>
</html>

We need two javascript files, main.js:

requirejs.config({
    paths: {
        'knockout': 'libs/knockout/knockout-3.3.0',
        'jquery': 'libs/jquery/jquery-2.1.3.min',
        'jqueryui-amd': 'libs/jquery/jqueryui-amd-1.11.4.min',
        'promise': 'libs/es6-promise/promise-1.0.0.min',
        'hammerjs': 'libs/hammer/hammer-2.0.4.min',
        'ojdnd': 'libs/dnd-polyfill/dnd-polyfill-1.0.0.min',
        'ojs': 'libs/oj/v1.1.2/min',
        'ojL10n': 'libs/oj/v1.1.2/ojL10n',
        'ojtranslations': 'libs/oj/v1.1.2/resources',
        'signals': 'libs/js-signals/signals.min',
        'text': 'libs/require/text'
    },
    shim: {
        'jquery': {
            exports: ['jQuery', '$']
        },
        'crossroads': {
            deps: ['signals'],
            exports: 'crossroads'
        }
    },
    config: {
        ojL10n: {
            merge: {
                //'ojtranslations/nls/ojtranslations': 'resources/nls/menu'
            }
        }
    }
});

require(['ojs/ojcore',
         'knockout',
         'jquery',
         'app',
         'ojs/ojknockout',
         'ojs/ojknockout-model',
         'ojs/ojdialog',
         'ojs/ojinputtext',
         'ojs/ojinputnumber',
         'ojs/ojbutton',
         'ojs/ojtable',
         'ojs/ojdatacollection-common'],
        function(oj, ko, $, app)
        {
            var vm = new app.contactsVM();
         
            $(document).ready(function()
            {
                ko.applyBindings(vm, document.getElementById('mainContent'));

                //Show the content div after the REST call is completed.
                $('#mainContent').show();
            });
        });

and app.js

define(['ojs/ojcore', 'knockout', 'ojs/ojmodel'],
       function(oj, ko)
       {
           function viewModel()
           {
                var self = this;
                self.serviceURL =
                   'http://localhost/services/rest/vxdemo/ContactsWorkScreen/data/contacts';
                self.dataSource = ko.observable();
                self.ContactsCollection = ko.observable();
               
                self.myBasicAuth = function() {};
                self.myBasicAuth.prototype.getHeader = function ()
                {
                    var headers = {};
                    headers['Authorization'] = 'Basic ' + btoa("admin:admin");
                   
                    return headers;
                };
               
                parseContact = function(response)
                {
                    return {ID: response['ID'],
                            FIRSTNAME: response['FIRSTNAME'],
                            LASTNAME:response['LASTNAME']};
                };

                var Contact = oj.Model.extend(
                {
                    urlRoot: self.serviceURL,
                    parse: parseContact,
                    idAttribute: 'ID'
                });
   
                var myContact = new Contact();
               
                var ContactsCollection = oj.Collection.extend(
                {
                    url: self.serviceURL,
                    model: myContact,
                    oauth: new self.myBasicAuth(),
                    comparator: "ID"
                });
               
                self.ContactsCollection(new ContactsCollection());
               
                //simple Request test
                //self.ContactsCollection().fetch({headers: {"Authorization": 'Basic ' + btoa("admin:admin")}});
               
                self.dataSource(new oj.CollectionTableDataSource(self.ContactsCollection()));      
           }

           return {'contactsVM': viewModel};
        }
    );

Above files are not enough to run the example because you need a full JET application. You can download a JET application from the official site (-> Getting started with Oracle JET -> Downloading Oracle JET). The QuickStart template works well. Unzip the application into the directory: <VisionX_folder>/rad/apps/visionx/WebContent/ojet (ojet must be created manually). Simply copy the example files in the ojet, ojet/js folder.
Open the browser and navigate to: http://localhost/ojet/

My source code is small and simple but I don't know if it could be optimized. The official CRUD example application has more features and doesn't connect to a real REST service.
It wasn't funny to use/read the example because it's much for such a simple use-case. I found a similar but inofficial example. This was nice but didn't solve the Basic authentication problem!

Long story, short:

I found no option for Basic authentication and no documentation, but found that OAuth is supported. Not the same as Basic authentication but something I could search in the source code. The Model file was the right place to search (-> oauth).

And my simple solution for Basic authentication was:

self.myBasicAuth = function() {};
self.myBasicAuth.prototype.getHeader = function ()
{
  var headers = {};
  headers['Authorization'] = 'Basic ' + btoa("admin:admin");
                   
  return headers;
};

Username and password are hardcoded, but it's easy to replace the code with a better solution.

The "authenticator" will be set as oauth property:

var ContactsCollection = oj.Collection.extend(
{
    url: self.serviceURL,
    model: myContact,
    oauth: new self.myBasicAuth(),
    comparator: "ID"
});

The problem with this API is that it's not guaranteed that the getHeader method will be used in future releases. And it's also not perfect to use oauth for Basic authentication, but whatever.

Our example runs with VisionX' embedded tomcat. If you want to test with your own application server, you should enable CORS for VisionX to use the REST services from an external server:

To enable CORS, change the web.xml in <VisionX_folder>/conf/ and add

<init-param>
  <param-name>cors.origin</param-name>
  <param-value>http://localhost:8080</param-value>
</init-param>

to RestletServlet definition.

Example Download

New VisionX Feature (maybe)

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We tried to improve the UX of our tool VisionX in the last weeks. The current concept is wizard based and all wizards are kept very simple. This concept works well but requires curiosity. It would be better go guide the user through the application and show the features.

Some software tools use strict guides and explain the application with step-by-step instructions. This is nice but also boring because you can't play around. We tried to add a sort of a guide but without restrictions.

The first preview of this new concept is available as YouTube video. We're not sure if this solution will be available in the next release but our testers love it. It fills the gap between wizards and the question: What should I do next?

Here's the screencast:

New Feature: app guides

VisionX 2.3 - Feb, 5th

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The next version of our flagship VisionX will be available tomorrow - Feb 5th, 2016. The version number is nice because 2 could be the month and 2+3 = 5 :)

We invest more time/resources/work than ever before in this version. It has many new features and great improvements. All included open source libraries were updated and offer additional features because not all available library features/APIs are covered by VisionX.

So what's new?

  • Vaadin 7.5.7

    The open source project JVx Vaadin UI was updated to Vaadin 7.5.7 and the UI implementation got many performance tunings. It's now significant faster than before - up to 5 times faster. The performance boost depends on your UIs because it makes no difference if you only have two input fields in your screen. But if you have large screens with Tabs and many input fields, it will rock. The API got support for FontAwesome and Vaadin font icons.

  • HTML5 Live Preview

    The live preview now supports an external CSS file. It's super easy to change the style of your application while creating it with VisionX.

  • HTML5 Live Reload

    This feature automatically reloads changed screens in the browser after you've changed it with VisionX. Simply use add URL Parameter liveReload=true. This features save click time and is great if you have multiple screens conntected to your workstation.

  • Responsive coporation layout

    Our corporation application layout is now responsive and fully customizable.

    full mode

    full mode

    small mode

    small mode

    mini mode

    mini mode

    mini mode (menu)

    mini mode (menu)

    Use the API to show/hide the menubar or the sidebar. Add custom or remove default buttons.

  • Support for custom code format rules

    It's possible to use your custom code formatting rules. The rules are based on Eclipse Code Formatter and all Eclipse (Luna) options will work with Eclipse.

  • Morph Panel improvements

    The Morph Panel is a one-for-all solution. It was introduced in VisionX 2.2. We improved the popup mode, e.g. if you double click the table, the popup will be opened if you don't use the navigation. We added more APIs for power users.

  • No more automatic database changes

    VisionX doesn't change the database objects automatically. It's your decision:

    Modify fields

    Modify fields

    Delete screen

    Delete screen

  • Java 8 u60

    VisionX runs with Java8 update 60.

  • Action editor automatic scrolling

    The action editor now automatically scrolls to the input field if it's not visible. It's not a big thing but creates great UX.

  • Automatic import organisation

    VisionX automatically removes unused imports from the source files. This is an optional feature and can be disabled.

  • Single line javadoc for fields

    The Javadoc for fields will be written in a single line (if possible). This feature is optional an can be disabled.

  • Better customizing support

    VisionX changed the class loading mechanism of customizers and controls. It'll be possible to use your custom controls without any tricks. It's possible to customize VisionX for your needs.

  • Mobile application creation (optional AddOn needed)

    This feature is awesome because it makes it be possible to create a mobile app from your application in under 5 minutes.

    JavaFX mobile LIVE CSS hacking

  • Additional licensing options

    User based, Subscription based, Floating, individual.

    Please contact our Sales Team for more details.

All customers will find the new version in their download area!

eTV in Action

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Some days ago, I wrote about our eTV project. The blog post had some pictures but no more details. I want to tell you some details about this project because it's simply awesome.

The project was a research project of our framework team and was started just for fun. The use-case was simple: Our room had 4 walls and 3 were full with pictures and world maps. Only one wall was empty. Why not using a flat TV for showing different content like livestreams, comic strips, images.

The idea was great and some days later, the last wall was full. A nice 43" flat TV was mounted.

We thought that a RaspberryPi could bring the content to the TV because it's a small device and fits behind the TV. Java works without problems on the Pi and JVx as well.

After all hardware pieces were ready, it was time to think about the software because a sort of control center was needed to implement some features. The plan was to write a simple server which has a set of commands like: open website, show image, play livestream, execute command, upload file, download file.

The server was implemented as simple socket server, with JVx. It executes pre-configured commands and has some important control features: take screenshot, next - previous window, get window list, close window. The server has no GUI and is more or less a window/process manager.

The server has no GUI, but we need a GUI to control the server. We wrote a simple JVx application as remote control. The remote control application was deployed on a Jetty application server (on the RasPi, with vaadin UI) and as mobile JavaFX application. Jetty runs fine on the RasPi and our vaadin UI as well.

The TV with RaspberryPi, streaming a Video from YouTube:

eTV YouTube Stream

eTV YouTube Stream

After we were ready with the server, we tried to create a simple JVx demo application to demonstrate JVx on embedded devices. It was funny to use eTV for live streams or to show images, but what about real-world use-cases?

The idea was about a JavaFX application, running on the RasPi. The application could be a monitoring app for a warehouse with a nice looking frontend and a backoffice view for administration. It's usual to have a nice looking frontend and a not so nice looking backoffice part.

We've implemented an application for a big assembly hall. The application is a styled JVx application but still 100% JVx. We've used VisionX to create the UI:

VisionX design mode

VisionX design mode

TV mode

TV mode

The application in VisionX is not 100% the same as on the TV because of the screen resolution, but it's the same source code and VisionX works with this application. The application on the TV hides the application frame and only shows the screen content, but this is a supported feature.

The UI technology is not JavaFX! We tried to use JavaFX but it wasn't possible because the RasPi had performance problems with the amount of nodes. It wasn't possible to reduce the amount of used nodes with standard JavaFX controls. Overclocking the Pi didn't solve the problem.

We simply switched to Swing and didn't have any performance problems. So, the UI technology is good old Swing. It works great in combination with the RasPi and we think the result is also nice!

The application is a monitoring application for different events, like performance, effort, pressure, temperature, aerodynamics, alerts. We did connect a temp sensor and two buzzers to get a better real-world experience and because it was easy to support with a RasPi. Initial setup:

Initial setup

Initial setup

The backoffice/backend was deployed as web application (Jetty on RaspberryPi, JVx vaadin UI) because it should be possible to use it on tablets or smartphones without native apps:

Backend view

Backend view

The same UI on mobile phones:

Mobile view

Mobile view

Mobile view (no menu)

Mobile view (no menu)

The application is a 100% JVx application with Swing UI and vaadin UI. Everything runs directly on the RaspberryPi.

We've used the whole eTV system as showcase application at DOAG conference in November:

eTV @ DOAG 2015

eTV @ DOAG 2015

The results of our "research project" are awesome and eTV is a ready-to-use product. We didn't code one line of code to support different UI technologies and didn't have problems with resolutions of tablets, smartphones or the TV (#responsive).

Thanks to JVx it was super easy to create an amazing application.

Our nice JavaFX mobile applications

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Our (research) projects with JavaFX are almost finished. We have awesome results and everything is production ready. The only drop of bitterness is the performance of JavaFX on desktops and mobile devices, but this can be improved by Oracle. It's not in our hands.

What do we have?

We have

  • a complete JavaFX UI for JVx
  • a custom application frame for mobile applications
  • Live CSS manipulation of installed apps (needs debug build)
  • Complete Project export for JavaFX mobile projects (JavaFXPorts based gradle project),
    integrated in upcoming VisionX 2.3
  • Remote Work-screen loading (via VisionX)
  • JVx server runs without limitations on mobile devices
  • JVx client runs on mobile devices (for network clients)

How does it look like?

I have some screenshots from two applications. The first one is a standalone JVx application. The whole JVx framework runs on the mobile device. The app is a remote control for our eTV project (it's a brand new side project of our research team).

The app was inspired by MS Metro style ... Windows8 style ... Modern ... Universal ... Windows Store ... Windows apps.

The main screen has some buttons to control our eTV and some buttons open a "popup" with additional options:

eTV Dashboard

eTV Dashboard

eTV Window view

eTV Window view

eTV Gallery

eTV Gallery

The second app will be shown as Video, because we want to demonstrate how we use VisionX to create backoffice apps in under 5 minutes! The app itself isn't complex and does "nothing special", but the same mechanism works for complex applications like our Demo ERP system (read our Code once. Run anywhere post).

Our JavaFX mobile project was based on the great work of Gluon and their JavaFXPorts OpenSource project and also on RoboVM.

JavaFX mobile LIVE CSS hacking



(The video lasts 05:19 but it should be 07:30 because the build process takes 02:50. We shortened the build process because it's boring to wait.)