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The Complete Run-Your-App-On-Web-Components Thread !

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  • The Complete Run-Your-App-On-Web-Components Thread !

    That is what this thread should become, but obviously is not yet.....
    Because I feel that there is A LOT to be gained for ANY desktop application developer by implementing web components to the desktop.
    However, you will soon feel like Dr. Henry Stanley trying to find Dr. Livingstone.

    The upside is, that Alpha has REALLY done us (desktop programmers) a big favor by making this possible. If you do not yet understand why, and still are not using web components on the desktop I urge you to invest some time in that to see what force could be available to you. It won't cost you more then an hour or so and the benefits will most certainly not disappoint you.

    The downside is, that there really are not many people using web components on the desktop right now, and there is only little documentation available (if any.....). So, you would probably need to find out a lot of the good stuff yourself. If you invest enough time and efforts you will probably succeed, but why not make it a bit easier for all of us to share knowledge about using web components on the desktop in one, central, thread. Hence, me starting this thread for the benefit of all desktop freaks out there who are not yet on par with web components in desktop applications.
    If you have any knowledge or experience to share, please do chime in and in and place the subject of your post in the title or in bold in the post itself so it can easily be found.

    Web components can be used on the desktop since somewhere in v10 if I am right. The functionality exists throughout v11, but it is yet unsure whether it will be available in v12 or the farther future, since behavior of Alpha Five / Alpha Anywhere may change and the features might disappear if I understood Alpha Customer Service correctly that is. Upgrading from version v10 to v11 there has already some features changed in behavior significantly. As a result, some videos that were made to illuminate these features do not work anymore with v11. You can spend hours and hours before you find that out, because, unfortunately, Alpha has not been able to keep up with documentation whilst the software changed. That is very unfortunate, but on the other side: much has changed.......
    It might be a good idea to make a note of such changes in this thread for others to know.

    Furthermore, tips and tricks, pieces of code etc etc that is connected to using the web components on the desktop could go here. The added value of web components to the desktop is really awesome, and it would be extremely disappointing should these features go away into the oblivious simply because Alpha does not know that there are of us out there that actually use it, so even if you do not have to share anything in this subject but DO USE webcomponents on the desktop: please make yourself known.

    The first interesting question would be whether it is possible to create an application completely using web components and no forms, but without any control panel opening to the user and with an automated start up of the main menu of that application (tabbed UI builder?). Or, rephrased: to which extend exactly can the web component technology be used in desktop applications?

    I hope colleagues are prepared to chime in and share. I have some code and solutions available myself which I will put here as well since I expect others to meet the very same challenges.

  • #2
    What components can be used on the desktop?

    Here is an important quote from Selwyn dated 10-23-2011:

    The calendar component can not be used on the Desktop.

    Here is why: All of the web components that run on the desktop run in a mode called 'Working Preview'.
    The web component that can be used on the desktop are Grid, New Dialog, Tabbed UI, Page Layout, Custom Component, Google Map.

    The way in which Working Preview is implemented is that we wrote a new protocol handler for Internet Explorer. http, https are examples of protocol handlers. For working preview, we have 'a5res'.
    For reasons that only Microsoft understands, if you implement your own protocol handler there are restrictions about displaying content in an IFrame.

    Since the calendar component runs inside an IFrame, the restriction that Microsoft puts on our protocol handler, prevents the calendar from running on the Desktop.

    You can however, turn on the sever in your full version of a5 and then run the calendar as a web page. Since you are running in localhost mode then, there will be no charge for the 3rd partycomponent. (You will still need the feature pack from Alpha though).

    If you want a calendar on the desktop for free, then we have been bundling the codejock activex calendar with Alpha Five for years now. You could write an xdialog host for this control. Several Alpha Five users have done this.
    You can click here for the link to the quote.

    In addition to that, I am informed by Alpha Customer Service, that the "embedded calendar control for Dialog components" also will work. The "Calendar Component" however will NOT as you can read above.
    Last edited by mronck; 02-15-2013, 05:44 AM.

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    • #3
      Re: The Complete Run-Your-App-On-Web-Components Thread !

      Marcel,

      The first interesting question would be whether it is possible to create an application completely using web components and no forms

      Don't know, haven't tried.

      but without any control panel opening to the user and with an automated start up of the main menu of that application (tabbed UI builder?).

      I don't see why not. Hide the CP in your autoexec and open a form w. an embedded tabbed_ui.

      Here is an important quote from Selwyn dated 10-23-2011...

      That is useful information - thanks for sharing.
      Peter
      AlphaBase Solutions, LLC

      [email protected]
      https://www.alphabasesolutions.com


      Comment


      • #4
        Running web components without using a form

        Originally posted by Peter.Greulich View Post
        Marcel,

        The first interesting question would be whether it is possible to create an application completely using web components and no forms


        I don't see why not. Hide the CP in your autoexec and open a form w. an embedded tabbed_ui.
        Yeah... well.... that was not quite the question Peter as the bold underlined parts of the quote above may clearify....
        Obviously, using a form will work. But can it be done WITHOUT using a form....
        Last edited by mronck; 02-15-2013, 05:47 AM.

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        • #5
          Re: The Complete Run-Your-App-On-Web-Components Thread !

          Oh. Duhhh...

          Hhmm...???
          Peter
          AlphaBase Solutions, LLC

          [email protected]
          https://www.alphabasesolutions.com


          Comment


          • #6
            Re: The Complete Run-Your-App-On-Web-Components Thread !

            The first interesting question would be whether it is possible to create an application completely using web components and no forms

            Well you can do that. Just create a web only application - and run it internally on the network. I've done that. It's just a webapp, but it's internal to the LAN only. You access it through your browser by pointing it to the server.
            Peter
            AlphaBase Solutions, LLC

            [email protected]
            https://www.alphabasesolutions.com


            Comment


            • #7
              Re: The Complete Run-Your-App-On-Web-Components Thread !

              You can however, turn on the sever in your full version of a5 and then run the calendar as a web page.
              Marcel,

              This suggests, as per the other thread, that you won't be able to use the RT.
              Peter
              AlphaBase Solutions, LLC

              [email protected]
              https://www.alphabasesolutions.com


              Comment


              • #8
                "embedded calendar control for Dialog components"

                Hi Peter, well, you've got it right away, that was my first concern as well, so I specifically asked them in another follow-up e-mail whether it would work on the desktop using a RUNTIME environment, and the answer (after consulting "the tech guys" from customer service was: YES it WILL. So there you go. Another issue solved..... as it seems....

                Again: this is regarding the "embedded calendar control for Dialog components" NOT for the "Calendar Component".
                Last edited by mronck; 02-15-2013, 05:45 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Running web components without using a form

                  Originally posted by Peter.Greulich View Post
                  Oh. Duhhh...

                  Hhmm...???
                  I am asking this, because one of the problems you will encounter using forms to host your web components is, that the feature that makes this possible is not yet quite sophisticated: for one thing you can't make the web component window (that resides on the desktop form) flexible. It has a certain size (as it seems....) and that's it. And though you CAN maximize the form in itself (the window) you don't seem to be able to link the embedded web component window (which is a supercontrol) to it. So what you get then is, that the main form window WILL resize but the embedded web component window will NOT. This can be a problem, at least it is an annoying detail of an otherwise magnificent feature. Until now, I have not yet been able to find a workaround for that, but must say I also have not been able to put much time in that for now. So this will be a continuing search for a solution. If someone already knows the answer, as always, please chime in...
                  Last edited by mronck; 02-15-2013, 05:48 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Passing values - using Session variables

                    If you want to pass value by using session variables, that can't be done. Session variables won't work on the desktop. They do not function in working preview mode since there is no "page" and no application server in action. You need to find other ways, such as passing your values to xbasic variables server side.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: The Complete Run-Your-App-On-Web-Components Thread !

                      Marcel

                      I am curious have you done a test deployment of the app? I had included web components (grids) in my app. When I built an install and did a test install it failed. A couple of other forum members looked at the problem and had the same results. This was in 10.5 so it may have been fixed in 11. Anyway I am, or will be curious to learn how installs work with desktop apps using web components.
                      Regards,

                      John W.
                      www.CustomReportWriters.net

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: The Complete Run-Your-App-On-Web-Components Thread !

                        Originally posted by jkwrpc View Post
                        Marcel

                        I am curious have you done a test deployment of the app? I had included web components (grids) in my app. When I built an install and did a test install it failed. A couple of other forum members looked at the problem and had the same results. This was in 10.5 so it may have been fixed in 11. Anyway I am, or will be curious to learn how installs work with desktop apps using web components.
                        John,

                        Basically, you can't expect any v10 features, results, workarounds etc to work in v11 exactly as they did in v10. In v11, much behavior has been changed. Things that would work in v10 don't work in v11 anymore simply because the behavior of the feature has been changed. You should look at v11 as autonomous software in comparison to previous versions. And this may very well again change in Anywhere since on a lot of stuff Alpha still has to decide whether they will continue to feature it or not. So rather then building based on your v10.x experiences I would advise you to gather new v11 experiences.

                        Installs are always difficult and much more complex as most see it. Especially if you are building off shelve software you understand what will come your way in terms of problems with all those different situations where your software might end up in. My experience to that is, that although it can be done of shelve by installing through external installers Alpha likes it more that software is custom installed. So I simply do it myself and adjust whatever is necessary on a custom basis. And yes, that's where the customer pays extra, but that's also where the customer avoids frustration and problems for himself to solve. In the past you could do with a "hardware requirement list" and be done with it. Nowadays you can't since there is a LOT to consider with almost any install. Again, I am not at all saying you can't do it. I am just saying that (if you have that option) you could rather choose to install it custom wise for the client. My software mostly is operating business wide, and mostly rather complex in a way that you need to assist the customer in adjusting it to his business situation in terms of settings etc etc. So you need to be there anyway.

                        Back to your question: no, I have not yet installed a working solution embedding web components on the desktop on any third party system. I am still building on it (which looks very promising). But honestly, I do not see any obstacles yet that can't be overcome.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: The Complete Run-Your-App-On-Web-Components Thread !

                          My issue is that I really don't want the overhead of taking on installs as custom work. My hope is to simply have a reliable install for the customer to use. My project started life in v 10.5 and then because of assorted issues needed to be ported to v.11. In the course of working out install issues with 10.5 I found I could not reliably use web components. The A5 and other 3rd party installers failed. So I went back to a rebuilding the grid functionality into a form. I was disappointed since like you I felt being able to use the grid and other web components on desktops was a really nice feature.

                          At this point I probably wont go back to the grid in the current app; I hope the issue was resolved in v11 and perhaps other will be ahead of me and tell us their deployment experience.

                          I do believe that the A5 installer will need work if it is truly going to be able to support the 'Alpha Anywhere' concept. Its time...
                          Regards,

                          John W.
                          www.CustomReportWriters.net

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: The Complete Run-Your-App-On-Web-Components Thread !

                            The built in A5 installer is not, and has never been, intended as a full blown installation package.... that is not it's scope and if you are leaning on it to accomplish complex installations you are bound to get disappointed.
                            In my case, installing is not "overhead" but a necessary and valuable part of the solution. It is just a matter of what and for whom you are building I guess.
                            I am not sure what exactly your problems were as a result of which you find the use of web components on the desktop unreliable and where the installers exactly failed.
                            Point is, that where you in early days had to do "stand alone" installations of any type of software, nowadays software is more often part of a "software solution chain" and needs to connect to several other solutions in order to get to a point where it operates according to the clients wishes. That however more the once makes it a necessity to do the installation AND implementation yourself, or have it done by another Alpha specialist in your team. Turn-key-solutions is what customers want more and more, depending on in what business and for whom you work of course.
                            If it works on your desktop, I don't see any reason right now why it should not work on a comparable desktop somewhere else?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: The Complete Run-Your-App-On-Web-Components Thread !

                              I do agree the A5 installer is not the most robust package these days. I have tried several 3rd Party installers but all failed with the web component piece. The web component was there and it failed to set it up so that it worked. The RunTime cannot do that since it does not have the functionality needed for the fix. So, back to the form I went.

                              Concerning the whole installation matter; in my case I have a small app that I want to sell off the shelf (OTS). My scheme is try to generate a lower cost but make up with higher volume. The cost and the volume are reflective of my targeted market. So lets say I am able over the years to sell my $100 software to a 1000 customers. That represents a thousand or more installs. As a one man shop supporting and maintaining a 1000 installs through system upgrades and crashes, and whatever else comes along is not practical. I need to have a simple but reliable install for my users who are not IT types.

                              In that situation a reliable working installation package for the OTS software becomes exceedingly important to me.

                              Back to my original question which is whether web components used in the desktop can now be reliably deployed? In v.10.5 it could not, my hope remains in v.11 this has been resolved.
                              Regards,

                              John W.
                              www.CustomReportWriters.net

                              Comment

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