At the beginning of the year Andrea said that version 16.5 would include a new user interface rendering system. The time has come to reveal that this is the new “Ionic” theme for mobile applications.

It’s actually not just a new theme. It’s a new rendering system based on one of the most common frameworks for hybrid applications, Ionic.

This allows us to access features like:

  • Native scrolling.
  • Look and Feel that adapt automatically to the host operating system (iOS and Android).
  • A User Experience very similar to that of native applications.

The decision to create this new rendering system was made so we could optimize applications as well as possible in order to improve the user experience. And if the interface that you have created has followed the standards, moving to the new theme shouldn’t take much more than a parameter change.

At this point I’ll leave you with the preview application, and as always I’m interested in hearing what you think of it. If you have Caravel installed on your device, you can test it by entering the identifier progamma.mwindi in the URL box.

NB: The preview application may contain inaccuracies. If you notice any unexpected behaviors, report them so they can be verified.

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Anyone who follows trends in tech knows that one of the hottest right now is about IoT (Internet of Things) systems. An IoT system can detect data from a set of “smart” objects connected to the cloud. In certain cases they may also be controlled from the cloud.

But what are these smart objects? All domestic appliances will certainly become smart in upcoming years, and many of them already are, like smart watches, smart lamps, smart thermostatic valves, and so on.

One item that’s already available and easy to get your hands on is the AWS IoT Button, which lets you experiment with this new technology for a low price, and might even bring to mind some innovative ideas.

Once you have bought your AWS Button, you can configure it so that it connects to a WiFi network to send a message to the AWS cloud every time you press it. It recognizes three event types: single-click, double-click, and long-press.

The most complex part is creating a script within AWS that recognizes your Button and runs the code in the cloud. Fortunately, there’s a template that can send an email. I’ve modified it to make a call to a REST WebAPI implemented in an app developed with Instant Developer Cloud.

From here all you need to do is use the push characteristics of Instant Developer Cloud to get real-time updates on the events collected by your smart buttons. In the video below you can see how the experiment turned out.

Nice, right? All you need is to find the right idea, and Bob’s your uncle! Do you already have an idea on how to use it?

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Holiday homework

by Andrea Maioli on 07/27/2017

We’re into the hottest part of the summer and vacation is fast approaching. For many, vacation is a time for some well-earned rest and relaxation, but programming buffs often seize the chance to look into something new at their leisure.

To make things easier, we’ve put together a series of design patterns for Instant Developer Cloud. In addition to the mobile-design-patterns we presented two weeks ago, today we also have:

  • db-design-patterns: a series of examples for using a relational database in the cloud. It includes the design of a relational schema, the various ways to write queries, and retrieving results from JavaScript. Transaction management and modification of data in tables is also provided.
  • doc-design-patterns: shows how to manage the application using an ORM (Object Relational Mapping) approach. Using documents and collections, there is a strict structure for accessing and modifying data, and it’s much simpler to manage complex operations on the back end and on the device. Also, we didn’t overlook the interaction between documents and Web APIs that is so popular today.
  • datamap-design-patterns: this is one of the most interesting examples because it deals with displaying the application data. Between the infinite, virtual, nested, and recursive lists there was also time to make a digital wheel of fortune. You can click here to see a preview of the application.
  • sync-design-patterns: an actual work bench for testing the synchronization system between a local app and the cloud. You can explore the secrets behind exchanging messages, document synchronization, and remote calls.

I don’t know if you noticed, but the five design patterns we’ve provided cover the full development cycle for an application:

  1. Database design and access to data.
  2. Back end development with an ORM approach.
  3. Front end development using visual element libraries.
  4. Pairing front and back ends using datamaps.
  5. Syncing the local app and the cloud.

To get the most from the examples, we recommend opening them in the IDE, launching the application preview, and testing the various functionalities. Then return to the IDE and in the various views that interest you, have a look at the code that implements them.

As always, I look forward to your feedback, and if any interesting examples come to mind, send me an email and we will happily add it.

Enjoy your vacation!

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In recent months I’ve had the pleasure of helping create a number of mobile apps using Instant Developer Cloud. It has been an intense and satisfying period, and one of the best gifts was being able to understand how to improve the documentation system for the platform.

In fact, when people begin working with Instant Developer Cloud they immediately ask, “Where is the documentation? What can I look at to learn how to use it?”

There are already a number of options available:

  1. The introductory tutorials based on chatbots: these are helpful for understanding the fundamental concepts for the IDE and the framework.
  2. A few complete example applications that show functioning apps.
  3. Online documentation of the libraries with examples of code so you can learn detailed information about the various methods available.

What else do we need? What I’ve seen is that the complete example applications are too complicated to be analyzed quickly and adapted to one’s personal needs. That’s why I decided to create a new series of example projects that contain the most common design patterns.

We made the first one in June to show the basic structures of the user interface for responsive mobile apps. Starting today, you can open the mobile-design-patterns project that contains the most common cases in very simple form.

What will you find there? Here are a few examples:

  1. The basic elements of a page.
  2. Navigating among pages including sending bidirectional parameters.
  3. How to create pages based on tabs.
  4. A model of a responsive grid.
  5. Lots of different list types.
  6. The most common widgets and popups.

Scattered here and there in the code you can also find examples of using REST Web APIs, how to read a file from disk, how to download resources from the internet, and more.

To use a pattern, just open the example project, select the view that interests you, open it in HTML view with F4, and then copy the code to your project using the same procedure. If you’d rather see the application working directly in the browser, just click here.

I’d like to hear what you think of this kind of documentation. And if you like it, I have in mind five or six other groups of design patterns to publish over the next few weeks.

Let us know!

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The utility of social media in analyzing an app

23.06.2017

In one of my recent articles, I shared with you an experience I had involving the publication and testing of the mobile app Who’s Next?. Since the results of that experiment were very interesting, I decided to conduct another one, which I’m presenting to you today to spark a new discussion. The context here is […]

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Experiment: spreading apps on social networks

26.05.2017

Today I’m writing to share an interesting experience I had with the publication and testing of a mobile app. It’s a utility for people who, like me, are passionate about Role Playing Games. It all started when a friend asked me to create an Excel spreadsheet for him to simplify management of a rule, a […]

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Presenting Instant Developer Foundation 16.0

06.04.2017

Easter is nearly here, and as Andrea announced a few weeks ago, the new release Instant Developer Foundation 16.0 is ready for you. We’ve introduced many new features and important improvements, and I have to say that I’m really pleased with the work done in this version. Regarding the User Interface for apps made with […]

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Drag & Drop Interactions

24.03.2017

In the user experience in web and mobile applications, drag&drop is used frequently to interact with a given object, to create relationships between one object and another, or to upload a file. Basically, drag&drop has become part of the user experience that we all expect. That’s why recently Andrea suggested to me that we integrate […]

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Instant Developer Cloud triples the speed on iOS

16.03.2017

The advantages of hybrid mobile applications are well known: they’re cross-platform, pretty simple to program if you know the Web technologies, and have lots of plugins for accessing the native part of the device. However, there’s also a weak point: performance. It’s not so much for calculations as for managing the user interface. Achieving a […]

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Instant Developer? Child’s play

09.03.2017

Is it really so simple to use? Is it really worth using it? Can you really get enviable results with little effort? These are some of the questions that someone who hasn’t yet used Instant Developer Cloud might legitimately ask. To answer them, I want to tell you briefly about my experience. My name’s Davide, […]

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