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Sarah Mitchell
08-04-2015, 01:18 PM
Greetings Beta Users!

Alpha is super busy putting together training videos to help you learn how to use the new Tablet Optimized Form Capabilities! We will be providing videos covering the new tablet tools:


FormViews
Editors and Editor Sets
ViewBoxes
Ink Controls


In addition to these basic videos, Alpha would like to reach out to our Beta users for video suggestions. If you have specific customizations you want to build or there are tools that you feel need more documentation, let us know. We'd love to hear your ideas for what kind of videos you'd like to see.

If you're not familiar with the Sample Application yet, check out this video:

Tablet Sample Application Overview presented by Alpha Software CTO Dan Bricklin (http://www.alphasoftware.com/video-library/?v=4896)
//www.viddler.com/player/c0aeca71/
http://www.alphasoftware.com/video-library/?v=4896

You can learn more about the Tablet Beta and download the sample application at http://www.alphasoftware.com/tablet/

Post your video suggestions in this thread. We look forward to hearing from you!

Pat Bremkamp
08-05-2015, 10:11 AM
I'm interested in the capabilities of the tablet app, especially after watching the video with the inspection portion. First a little background.

My client does equipment inspections, ( about 5000 so far ) and we have a list of about 2000 questions that we can ask with about 14,000 possible answers. Each inspection uses between 200 and 400 of those questions and we build the question list by selecting groups of questions from the master list in advance, but we can also add questions during the inspection based on what we find.

The point is, we don't know in advance all the questions we are going to ask, so each question is a separate record in the results table. Questions are, of course, different types. We use
write_in_text = free form text answer
write_in_value = Write in a number and select the units
write_in_count = Write in only a number, no units
lookup_text = Select one option from a list of text values
lookup_size = Select from a list of size codes like drill gauge or wire gauge
lookup_count = Select from a list of numbers
lookup_value = Select from a list of numbers with units
multiple_lookup = Select several items from a list
logical = yes, no, unknown
date = a full date with day month year
phone = enter a phone number
calculated = value will be calculated from other values

Each of those types requires presentation of a different set of fields to fill in, or different types of lists. We handle that in our grids by making all of the different types available in every question and then using show hide, based on the type, to present the right configuration for the question.

Does the tablet app have that kind of capability? The video showed different types of editors for each question, so I'm very curious about how the questions and the data are structured.

Obviously, this structure is just what is needed for medical apps also, so I think it is a common need.

mbunds
08-05-2015, 01:19 PM
We're a little unclear about the installation of the tablet optimized forms beta package, given the four download links provided, since there are no clear instructions about which files to install under which circumstances.

We have:

a5v12_full_patch.exe, 179,785 KB, which seems to be an oxymoron; it's either full, or it's patched, or is it a full version that has the patch applied? Or is it a patch that should be applied to the full version?

a5v12_full_DL.exe, 224,268 KB, is the largest file containing, I assume, the full version of the Alpha Anywhere development software which may, or may not contain the features necessary to enable the Tablet Optimized forms as-is, but requires the patch above, or perhaps not; I can't tell without version information...

a5v12_appserver.exe, 197,908 KB, seems straightforward enough, so I am assuming I install this on the test server, and then apply the following?

a5v12_appserver_patch.exe, 140,492 KB, I assume should be applied to the appserver above?

As much as I relish the idea of installing software on my development systems without understanding the consequences of misapplying update patches, I find it to be more efficient to approach software installation with enough information to avoid mystery errors and the like.

While I'm fairly certain it's as simple as installing the "full" and "DL" versions, and then running the "patch" versions to bring them up to date, being "certain" yet uninformed has cost me days of troubleshooting in the past.

Thanks everyone!

mumfie
08-05-2015, 01:27 PM
I installed just the development version a5v12_full_DL.exe into a different install folder to the current release version.
I think a5v12_full_patch.exe will only work if you have previously installed a5v12_full_DL.exe into the same folder as some dlls etc are not included.

This is a note from from the A5 page PatchDownload.ASP
Alpha Anywhere Full Install
Note: Typically, if you have already done a full install, you can just install an Update. You do NOT need to download the Full Install. The Updates are quicker to download and install than a Full Install.

mbunds
08-05-2015, 01:57 PM
+mumfie - Thanks very kindly!

So, if I have this straight;

* The a5v12_full_DL.exe is the full, latest build of the beta, and does not require the patch...

* The a5v12_full_patch.exe could be used to add the Tablet Optimized Forms features to an installation of Alpha Anywhere that lacks them, including fully licensed ones...

The remaining confusion is that Alpha sent us four "Feature Keys." Naturally, we would install the beta in a different folder from our licensed installation, but sooner of later we should clarify the installation procedures, particularly since Alpha Anywhere is tailored to be used by beginners who may not be familiar with the specific steps. Or me, for that matter.

Are the four feature keys to be applied individually to each file from the beta download section, or are they all required in a single installation leveraging Tablet Optimized Forms (two of them for Alpha Development, and two for Alpha Server)?

Clarification from Alpha would be invaluable since we are somewhat reluctant to just launch software and "see what happens."

If I'm guessing correctly (and guessing ALWAYS makes me nervous), once the Tablet Optimized Forms add-in is out of beta, a user would install a basic version of Alpha Anywhere and license it the usual way, and then apply the patch to add and enable TOF features?

Upon running Alpha Anywhere, or upon attempting to access TOF features once it has launched, the program would prompt the user for the TOF feature key which then enables the additional functions?

Of course, once the TOF features are finalized, Alpha Software will probably streamline the installation procedure.

mumfie
08-05-2015, 02:16 PM
AFAIK


* The a5v12_full_DL.exe is the full, latest build of the beta, and does not require the patch...

Correct



* The a5v12_full_patch.exe could be used to add the Tablet Optimized Forms features to an installation of Alpha Anywhere that lacks them, including fully licensed ones...

The patch is used to update an existing beta installation. Not sure it will work with non beta version





Are the four feature keys to be applied individually to each file from the beta download section, or are they all required in a single installation leveraging Tablet Optimized Forms (two of them for Alpha Development, and two for Alpha Server)?

The feature keys enable the tablet feature. You need to run a5 IDE select the \Tools dropdown menu, feature Packs and install all 4 keys via the Add New Feature button

mbunds
08-05-2015, 02:41 PM
Thanks again, that clears things up a bit! I have the IDE installed, now on to the tutorials!

You've been a great help!

We're testing on Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 models. Once development is far enough along, we'll root these and lock-down the OS (KitKat 4.4) to run the Alpha Software exclusively, leveraging PhoneGAP to ease update deployment.

Sarah Mitchell
08-05-2015, 07:40 PM
We're a little unclear about the installation of the tablet optimized forms beta package, given the four download links provided, since there are no clear instructions about which files to install under which circumstances.

We have:

a5v12_full_patch.exe, 179,785 KB, which seems to be an oxymoron; it's either full, or it's patched, or is it a full version that has the patch applied? Or is it a patch that should be applied to the full version?

a5v12_full_DL.exe, 224,268 KB, is the largest file containing, I assume, the full version of the Alpha Anywhere development software which may, or may not contain the features necessary to enable the Tablet Optimized forms as-is, but requires the patch above, or perhaps not; I can't tell without version information...

a5v12_appserver.exe, 197,908 KB, seems straightforward enough, so I am assuming I install this on the test server, and then apply the following?

a5v12_appserver_patch.exe, 140,492 KB, I assume should be applied to the appserver above?

As much as I relish the idea of installing software on my development systems without understanding the consequences of misapplying update patches, I find it to be more efficient to approach software installation with enough information to avoid mystery errors and the like.

While I'm fairly certain it's as simple as installing the "full" and "DL" versions, and then running the "patch" versions to bring them up to date, being "certain" yet uninformed has cost me days of troubleshooting in the past.

Thanks everyone!

Thank you for pointing this out. I will see what we can do about updating the Installation Instructions.

mbunds
08-05-2015, 07:49 PM
Thank you!

The installation guide for enabling the features is quite clear and comprehensible, but I just didn't read that far until after I installed the pre-release.

User mumfie gave us a great head-start!

We are digging in now, and will be examining the possibilities of the new features at great length.

mbunds
08-05-2015, 08:01 PM
The feature keys enable the tablet feature. You need to run a5 IDE select the \Tools dropdown menu, feature Packs and install all 4 keys via the Add New Feature button

I found the feature key installation guide after I followed your instructions and got everything installed successfully; I should have read further down.

Thanks again!

Sarah Mitchell
08-05-2015, 10:29 PM
I'm interested in the capabilities of the tablet app, especially after watching the video with the inspection portion. First a little background.

My client does equipment inspections, ( about 5000 so far ) and we have a list of about 2000 questions that we can ask with about 14,000 possible answers. Each inspection uses between 200 and 400 of those questions and we build the question list by selecting groups of questions from the master list in advance, but we can also add questions during the inspection based on what we find.

The point is, we don't know in advance all the questions we are going to ask, so each question is a separate record in the results table. Questions are, of course, different types. We use
write_in_text = free form text answer
write_in_value = Write in a number and select the units
write_in_count = Write in only a number, no units
lookup_text = Select one option from a list of text values
lookup_size = Select from a list of size codes like drill gauge or wire gauge
lookup_count = Select from a list of numbers
lookup_value = Select from a list of numbers with units
multiple_lookup = Select several items from a list
logical = yes, no, unknown
date = a full date with day month year
phone = enter a phone number
calculated = value will be calculated from other values

Each of those types requires presentation of a different set of fields to fill in, or different types of lists. We handle that in our grids by making all of the different types available in every question and then using show hide, based on the type, to present the right configuration for the question.

Does the tablet app have that kind of capability? The video showed different types of editors for each question, so I'm very curious about how the questions and the data are structured.

Obviously, this structure is just what is needed for medical apps also, so I think it is a common need.

This is an excellent question! I will look into how you would do this and send a note along to our video team as well. The new tablet tools are meant to be bound to a data source. Whether you would do this as a list + editor combo or a dynamic editor, however, is a question I need to answer for you.

Thank you, Pat!

Sarah Mitchell
08-06-2015, 11:30 AM
Does the tablet app have that kind of capability? The video showed different types of editors for each question, so I'm very curious about how the questions and the data are structured.

Obviously, this structure is just what is needed for medical apps also, so I think it is a common need.

Hello Pat!

The new tablet form tools do have this capability and this is one of the use cases we had in mind. Since the questions live in a database, you can pull them into a list control, javascript, or JSON object. The FormView (see an introduction to the FormView here (http://www.alphasoftware.com/alphaforum/showthread.php?115121-Introduction-to-the-FormView-Control)) works from these data sources. Creating editors for the questions only requires creating an Editor for each type of editing you need - a considerably smaller payload when compared to a grid since you only need one HTML element for editing instead of one for every row of data! You would need to write some javascript and xbasic to accomplish what you want to do, but all of this is completely doable.

We'll put together an example that demonstrates this for you. I'll post back when that's available.

Thanks again!

CharlesParker
08-06-2015, 11:41 PM
I am watching the videos and I am so excited about how all of this will dramatically improve the user experience. What I would be interested in is an example of an absolute layout for an editor set, perhaps a really groovy background (maybe even an animated gif?)
Also would it be possible to provide a separate forum/thread to share some of our editor sets, not unlike the code archive?

mbunds
08-07-2015, 02:54 PM
It would be beneficial to have a resource that specifies the extra functionality that Tablet Optimized Forms brings (or will bring) in comparison to the basic Alpha Anywhere package.

So far, I see nothing that could not be replicated using basic Alpha Anywhere, albeit attaining some advanced functions would require "tweaking" of the code-behind, the integration of externally developed scripts, or both.

Being a .WPF developer, I am used to creating data views and dynamic, data-driven animations either from scratch, or by leveraging ready-made control templates like those offered by Telerik, Dundas, and others.

We purchased Alpha Anywhere shortly before the concept of "Tablet Optimized Forms" was introduced, and only after careful examination of the basic package revealed to us that it was more than suitable for creating "clipboard replacement" applications, which is what we wanted to develop all along.

The videos providing the overviews are excellent, but the value added to the basic package seems somewhat nebulous to me since I can't really tell if the TOF add-ons are going to be a collection of prefabricated controls which allow a developer to "drag, drop, and modify" by adjusting parameters, a collection of prefabricated forms, or a set of utilities exposing different API features.

Of course, being that Alpha's "Tablet Optimized Forms" features and functions are still under development, I realize that much of the functionality will crystallize as the Alpha team works through the functionality requested by its customers.

kctermite
08-07-2015, 04:32 PM
For my data source I am using a List on a UX, but instead of sample data I am getting my data from my database (MySQL) on the remote server. Using the older method with a detail view, I have been able to SYNC my edits back to the server just fine. I would like an example of how to SYNC data back to the server after using the new Form View. The editing and saving is straightforward, but the synchronization has not been covered yet, right? In the sample App it is not applicable since it is not using SQL as the data source, but static data.

(I would like to make a simple edit, saving to the List Control, which I can do now, but then see that change sync up with the MySQL database (I named my table "practice", having made a copy of a table I have been using all year for home inspections).

CharlesParker
08-07-2015, 08:19 PM
For my data source I am using a List on a UX, but instead of sample data I am getting my data from my database (MySQL) on the remote server. Using the older method with a detail view, I have been able to SYNC my edits back to the server just fine. I would like an example of how to SYNC data back to the server after using the new Form View. The editing and saving is straightforward, but the synchronization has not been covered yet, right? In the sample App it is not applicable since it is not using SQL as the data source, but static data.

(I would like to make a simple edit, saving to the List Control, which I can do now, but then see that change sync up with the MySQL database (I named my table "practice", having made a copy of a table I have been using all year for home inspections).

Can't you just add a button with dialog.object submit code attached to the on click event or similarly to a normal data bound list or UX, etc?

kctermite
08-11-2015, 04:44 PM
Once I let it sink in that the Form View IS the Detail View when dealing with the List now, I checked the box "Has Detail View", and then I could use the list control genie to create a "Synchronize" button for my UX...once I did that, I was back to what I am used to seeing in the list with the "Synchronize" button becomes enabled. It remains EZ to Sync the way I am used to. The Form View is fantastic and now that I see how EZ it is to synchronize my edits, and from Selwyn's demo of the switch control and styling, etc. being so easily used on the Form View where desired, well...I'm ready now to go ahead and re-vamp my inspection app for easier use on my tablet...I have previously had so much trouble with my view being pushed off the screen (partially), so that it was hard to use the keyboard...but now, with the editor overlays, this will be a piece of cake. I imagine I was not supposed to get hung up on how to sync changes to my databases, but I needed to see that in action, not merely using static data before I was willing re-invent the wheel, even though it was going to be a really, really better wheel in the end.

Sarah Mitchell
08-11-2015, 06:24 PM
I am watching the videos and I am so excited about how all of this will dramatically improve the user experience. What I would be interested in is an example of an absolute layout for an editor set, perhaps a really groovy background (maybe even an animated gif?)

Regarding animations - Do you have any examples or ideas in mind of what this would look like? Or are you looking to just use a gif as a background image?


Also would it be possible to provide a separate forum/thread to share some of our editor sets, not unlike the code archive?

Everyone is always encouraged to share what they create! We could start an Editor thread in the Beta forum. Do you have an editors you'd like to share?

CharlesParker
08-12-2015, 01:17 PM
In regards to an animation/gif I want to be able to incorporate velocity.js to build "harder, better, faster, stronger!" (daft punk reference) animations into things like loaders, and alert msg boxes. This is of course is as of this moment beyond my ability. see this URL for examples...
http://codepen.io/collection/tIjGb/



so it would be more than just an animated gif, although yes that would be nice to see a simple absolute layout container (editor set) with lets say a css close button that changes color onclick. Since I have not began to look at this yet, I assume this would be as per normal alpha methods - or at least similarly accomplished.
Keep in mind that I hope to be part of this BETA team as someone who is NOT an Alpha Expert and hope I can at least offer insight into the noob perspective.

Also I do not have an editor set to share but will absolutely share anything I have built and would encourage others to do the same.

CharlesParker
08-12-2015, 01:22 PM
http://codepen.io/fbrz/pen/mpiFE
example that would be awesome for a wait msg on submit...IMO

mbunds
08-12-2015, 04:11 PM
With the ability to drill-down into Alpha's code blocks for modifying and adding functionality, this probably isn't as far beyond your ability as you might think. I've got some serious groundwork on another project to do, but if I can get to this before you do, I'll provide an example.

Regardless, thanks for providing the link to codepen.io - I had no idea it existed!

CharlesParker
08-16-2015, 08:49 PM
I would like to see some photo filters that we can choose from as an automatic part of Alphas tablet optimized forms image upload editors or such.

Currently we can upload images, but often our images suck - the color is off and there is no better example than Instagram right now. You take a photo and you can apply some quick image filters before upload. As a developer, if I could offer say 12 different filters to be applied to the image prior to upload - or perhaps a focus point as in a tilt shift on the focus...BOY would that make us as developers stand out in the crowd and of course Alpha who provides the tools, right out of the box!

mbunds
08-17-2015, 09:26 AM
I would like to see some photo filters that we can choose from as an automatic part of Alphas tablet optimized forms image upload editors or such.


Or a video demonstrating how to use controls allowing the image resolution to be set programmatically on the mobile device, since not all inspection photos require full resolution shots. While this could certainly be accomplished after images are pushed to the server, presetting on the device would reduce server load, and allowing the selection of lower-resolution images (and video clips) would save a lot of server space.

Sarah Mitchell
08-17-2015, 06:25 PM
It would be beneficial to have a resource that specifies the extra functionality that Tablet Optimized Forms brings (or will bring) in comparison to the basic Alpha Anywhere package.

So far, I see nothing that could not be replicated using basic Alpha Anywhere, albeit attaining some advanced functions would require "tweaking" of the code-behind, the integration of externally developed scripts, or both.

Being a .WPF developer, I am used to creating data views and dynamic, data-driven animations either from scratch, or by leveraging ready-made control templates like those offered by Telerik, Dundas, and others.

We purchased Alpha Anywhere shortly before the concept of "Tablet Optimized Forms" was introduced, and only after careful examination of the basic package revealed to us that it was more than suitable for creating "clipboard replacement" applications, which is what we wanted to develop all along.

The videos providing the overviews are excellent, but the value added to the basic package seems somewhat nebulous to me since I can't really tell if the TOF add-ons are going to be a collection of prefabricated controls which allow a developer to "drag, drop, and modify" by adjusting parameters, a collection of prefabricated forms, or a set of utilities exposing different API features.

Of course, being that Alpha's "Tablet Optimized Forms" features and functions are still under development, I realize that much of the functionality will crystallize as the Alpha team works through the functionality requested by its customers.

Long-term, Alpha plans to add Genies and Builders to generate the interfaces users want to add to their tablets. For Example, Custom Keypads. Right now, there's a quite a bit of coding that you have to do to create a custom keypad with a corresponding ViewBox that displays the value in the field that is edited. Reducing this down to a drop-in component or a "Custom Keypad Genie" with a few parameters vastly improves usability.

This is one example. There are more - which is where you come in.

One of the reasons we are asking for feedback for what kind of training videos you want is so we can flush out use cases so we can focus on building the tools that people will actually need and use rather than guessing as to what you might do and hoping we hit the mark. This makes a better use of developer time since we'll be building what customers are going to be using. Since builders, genies, and tools will be built to support your needs, this in turn will make building applications significantly easier for you, allowing you to produce more applications in a shorter time frame.

The feedback everyone has been providing in this forum has been excellent! I want to reassure everyone that I have been passing requests on to the development team - even if I don't always reply. ;)

mbunds
08-31-2015, 05:25 PM
Drag and Drop...I need to build a scheduling screen and would like to use a control that allows "drag-drop-dock" functionality. I have located a freeware JavaScript library called "interact.js" containing the base functionality necessary (and I believe that the latest JQuery library may also have drag-drop-dock support), but it would be a nice addition to "Tablet Optimized Forms" to have containers with drag-drop capability built-in. I'm not sure, but I think Alpha Desktop applications support "tool bars" that might be used for this function. I don't know yet if there are any ways to make this work for mobile apps.

CharlesParker
09-01-2015, 11:14 AM
As far as training videos go, it would be great to watch a more in depth video of an application that integrates a stripe payment and sends (emails) the customer a PDF reciept THEN updates another sql table to record the order as paid based on the returned info from stripe.
Obviously this would require at least 3 videos - and an understanding of the API and thats where things get tricky for most ( at least in my mind) because we get how to build the UX and the databinding and putting in our stripe credentials and then comes the part where it gets fuzzy.
working with the API.
You see this type of thing in the forums all the time. I see even the long timers posting questions about these outside API's and how to return the calls - like Twilio for instance.
So to me a video showing how to process the return info from stripe would be extremely beneficial. Maybe even creating a subscription?

Thanks in advance!

Sarah Mitchell
09-01-2015, 12:30 PM
As far as training videos go, it would be great to watch a more in depth video of an application that integrates a stripe payment and sends (emails) the customer a PDF reciept THEN updates another sql table to record the order as paid based on the returned info from stripe.
Obviously this would require at least 3 videos - and an understanding of the API and thats where things get tricky for most ( at least in my mind) because we get how to build the UX and the databinding and putting in our stripe credentials and then comes the part where it gets fuzzy.
working with the API.
You see this type of thing in the forums all the time. I see even the long timers posting questions about these outside API's and how to return the calls - like Twilio for instance.
So to me a video showing how to process the return info from stripe would be extremely beneficial. Maybe even creating a subscription?

Thanks in advance!

Hi Charles!

Have you watched Stripe video in the library? http://www.alphasoftware.com/video-library/?v=4890&cat=Payment&search=stripe Towards the end of the video, there's some information about working with the data returned from Stripe, including a method in the {dialog.object} itself that can be used to get the API result. Is this the kind of thing you're looking for?

UPDATE:

I also wanted to make sure you saw the Stripe documentation in the Release Notes ( http://downloads.alphasoftware.com/A5V12Download/ReleaseNotes/releasenotes.html). You can download the component (http://www.ajaxvideotutorials.com/V12Videos/RocketMotors.a5wcmp) used in the video I previously mentioned.

ssmoore1
09-03-2015, 05:55 PM
Hi Charles,

To echo your point I completely agree about Stripe. The new feature that allows you to plugin your information is cool but it would be great to understand how to call the API in xBasic and get the values back and work with them, that is the true power!

Scott

dougeven
09-04-2015, 06:35 PM
I am interested in the example promised here that demonstrates how to build a form that has database-driven dynamic fields, as Pat described. Also, is any video or other documentation available regarding ViewBoxes? I'm confused about the use-case for them. How and when would one use a ViewBox (as opposed to a FormView, for example)?

Sarah Mitchell
09-08-2015, 02:35 PM
Also, is any video or other documentation available regarding ViewBoxes? I'm confused about the use-case for them. How and when would one use a ViewBox (as opposed to a FormView, for example)?

Hi Doug,

Check out our "Creating a 'Star Rating' Control using a ViewBox" (http://www.alphasoftware.com/alphaforum/showthread.php?115871-ViewBoxes-Build-a-Star-Rating) video. This video focuses on using the ViewBox to build a star rating control. It covers many aspects of working with the ViewBox.

Additionally, there are several samples in the ViewBox control that can be loaded from the Home tab in the ViewBox Builder. Check them out!

gregincolumbus
02-22-2018, 12:36 PM
Hi Charles,

I know this is an old thread....I was curious if you ever were able to accomplish what you described in your training video request.

As far as training videos go, it would be great to watch a more in depth video of an application that integrates a stripe payment and sends (emails) the customer a PDF reciept THEN updates another sql table to record the order as paid based on the returned info from stripe.
Obviously this would require at least 3 videos - and an understanding of the API and thats where things get tricky for most ( at least in my mind) because we get how to build the UX and the databinding and putting in our stripe credentials and then comes the part where it gets fuzzy.
working with the API.
You see this type of thing in the forums all the time. I see even the long timers posting questions about these outside API's and how to return the calls - like Twilio for instance.
So to me a video showing how to process the return info from stripe would be extremely beneficial. Maybe even creating a subscription?

Thanks in advance!