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Showing posts with label Alpha Five Version 11 Feature Peeks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Alpha Five Version 11 Feature Peeks. Show all posts

Friday, January 06, 2012

Alpha Five Version 11 Feature Peek #33: Eliminate vacant values by calling a dialogue component from a grid

In this video, Selwyn talks about calling a dialogue component from a grid, and then passing that information from the dialogue back to the grid. This is a design patent that's common in Alpha Five Version 11, so we're happy to be giving it a feature peek debut.

Selwyn has constructed a simple example grid to get us started. It consists of a list of customers, showing their first and last names, as well as a customer ID number. By pressing the open dialogue button to the right of each name, you'll be able to open a dialogue in a drop-down window and enter a specified value. Then, clicking the set value in grid button will allow the value to be automatically entered into the current row of the grid.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Alpha Five Version 11 Feature Peek #32: How to change the look and feel of your entire app with just a few clicks

I might not know which patterns to mix or what shoes to wear, but I do know how to dress up my apps with Alpha Five Version 11's project styles.

We've designed 12 different styles specifically for Version 11, but the options don't stop there. The new style builder also allows you to roll your own styles into your apps. Of course, that's not including all of the styles that were designed for Version 10 and earlier, which are still available.

But with today's feature peek, we're going to show you how we've taken project styles to the next level by making it easy for you to transform the look and feel of your application in just a few clicks, and all in one place. At the end of the day, we've made using project styles more comprehensive, faster, and simpler.

This video debuts a new feature in Version 11 that allows you to set the style of the components used in a project, all in one convenient place. This is helpful because when you normally create a component, Tabbed UI, etc., you would have to specify the style name for each.

But Version 11 supports the ability to set the style name to project style. By doing this in all your components, you can head to the project style option in the project properties dialogue window and set it to whatever you'd like. In Selwyn's example, he enters "GrGray," a cosmetic change that will set the table to gray. You'll get to see that in working preview.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Alpha Five Version 11 Feature Peek #32 Part 2: Where in the world is ... ?

In part one of this feature peek, Selwyn talked us through how to build a table that automatically updates geography fields in Version 11. In part two, we're going to continue and conclude the discussion by conducting a search with Google Maps to demonstrate that.

First, Selwyn enables the search component by activating the component type window, where he checks the box that will allow the grid to have a search field. The map will search on the location field that is actually a special geography data type, along with two other fields he selects.

In working preview, you'll get to see the result of the work done in this video and in part one. To test it out, Selwyn will do a test search for all records in Massachusetts that have an elevation of above 1,000 feet. When the results turn up, you'll see they're clearly marked with the familiar design of the Google Maps component that we incorporated in Version 11.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Alpha Five Version 11 Feature Peek #32 Part 1: Where in the world is ... ?

No matter what it is you're looking for, you'll have a better shot at finding it if you build a table that can organize your locations by storing latitude and longitude in a records field. In this two-part video series, Selwyn's going to be letting you in on the advanced features of grids based on SQL tables that support the geography data type.

Let's kick things off with the first video. The sample table that Selwyn has set up is a table listing airports from different parts of the world. It includes fields for latitude and longitude, along with the field for location. The location field, (shown on the far left of the screen) is a special type of binary field that's only possible using databases that support the geography data type. In other words, this table is perfect for our demonstration.

Selwyn will start in design mode by heading to edit the fields in the grid builder window. When he highlights that location field, he needs to make sure "location" is selected and checked in the middle window, which is marked "selected" (you'll see in the the video that even Selwyn gets confused here, so make sure to note that specification). When everything its correctly selected, we know that we're working in the location field, and Selwyn will start the customization in the properties window.

The property he's looking for is the geography field info option, which will allow him to enter whatever he specifies in that location field. For example, Selwyn keeps latitude and longitude marked, which you saw earlier when you saw those two fields in the example table.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Alpha Five Version 11 Feature Peek #31: Super secret sample scripts

OK, they're not really super secret. But you do need Selwyn to show you where to find these sample scripts for charting in Xdialog.

Alpha Five Version 11 includes plenty of good samples for charting in Xdialog. And in this new video from Selwyn, we're going to show you how to get your hands on those sample scripts no matter what database you're currently using.

Selwyn gets things moving by opening a new database under "Database Tasks" in the "Select Database" window. When he opens it, you'll see that it's starting out as a completely empty database. To get the scripts in there, Selwyn will head into his code editor and click on his "Task List" drop-drown menu. In that menu, you have lots of options, such as turning on your code library (which you can look for on the right-hand side of the screen while watching); entering the XBasic, Database, or Function Explorers; or looking at other options under the "Scripts/Function" selection.

Now, he'll go into the activated code library and chose from his existing HTML character entries. At Alpha, we try to make things as clear as possible, so it's no surprise that Selwyn can easily find what he's looking for -- it's labeled "Create Learning Xdialog Library."

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Alpha Five Version 11 Feature Peek #30: Making reports pop with a pie chart

Alpha Five Version 11 has been officially released, but in case you haven't picked it up yet, or want some extra tutorials showing what it can do, we are going to keep posting Selwyn's helpful feature peeks here on the blog.

We left off with the image gallery component, so let's start with a different way to add visual pop to your apps: embedding charts into a report.

This video from Selwyn shows you how to embed a chart into an Alpha Five report. Selwyn has a simple report set up to get us started. The numbers have been pulled from a standard invoice and will serve as the information used in the sample chart he's about to create.

Selwyn goes with a pie chart that will display a breakdown of the items on the invoice. To give you the best look, he'll head into design mode and increase the size of the detail section. Once he's there, he'll select "embedded chart." Now he's all set up to create the pie chart.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Alpha Five Version 11 Feature Peek #29: Image gallery component

When you get your copy of Alpha Five Version 11, you'll notice something you haven't seen before -- our brand new image gallery component.  

Image galleries are an important part of many mobile and web applications, but they're also a royal pain to code. At least they used to be. We designed this new component to make it easy for you to provide image galleries in your apps that look and feel the same way on any desktop, laptop, and mobile device. 

For example, imagine a real estate app that displays a series of homes as you swipe through images on a tablet, smartphone, or any other device. When you find a home you like, you tap it and suddenly a GPS map pinpointing the home's location appears, along with pricing and other information. 

Now imagine you're on a desktop. The same exact experience is available to you using your mouse or any other pointing device (mouse, trackball, multi-gesture touchpad, etc.). You built the app once, but people can experience it consistently on any device.

That's just one of myriad ways the image gallery component can make your applications more visual, more interactive, and frankly, more fun to use. It can add visual value to almost any business-related app.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Alpha Five Version 11 Feature Peek #28: To show or not to show, that is the expression

In this next feature peek video, Selwyn will show how you can add animation to your client-side show/hide expressions in Alpha Five Version 11. This functionality was introduced in Version 10, and we've stepped it up a bit in Version 11.

Selwyn will show you an example grid with several fields that are held in a container within design mode. For the purpose of the animation, Selwyn has set them up so that they hide unless "Massachusetts" is entered into the field where the state name belongs.

He'll define a button in "field properties" with a show/hide expression, so this container will only be shown if the state entered into the field is Massachusetts. Notice also under "field properties" that in addition to the show/hide expression in the syntax, you'll find the animation command.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Form layouts, repeating sections, and automatic fields -- these are a few of my favorite things! When the dog bites ...

Don't worry, I haven't taken up singing. I'm just excited about all the new features included in Alpha Five Version 11. The dialogue component is a feature that we spent a little extra time on, and even though we've done a few feature peeks on it in the past, I wanted to provide an overview with the highlights.

The dialogue builder allows you to build a form layout to collect values from the user. When the user submits the data, you're free to use it in any way. For example, you might store the data in a table, or include it in an email.

The dialogue builder allows you to create something that we call "repeating sections." These are ideal when you are creating forms that have one-to-many (i.e. master-detail) relationships.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Alpha Five Version 11 Feature Peek #27: All in the family with parent-child grids

New feature in Alpha Five Version 11 -- the grid family tree! Just kidding, I haven't actually mapped out a family tree for the grids. Read on to see what I mean.

In these next two videos, Selwyn talks about how you can use a server-side event and some JavaScript to lay out the position of linked content sections in a grid with precision.

Video one opens in working preview where Selwyn has set up a simple example grid that has faux customers' state of residence, and two additional grids showing city and last name. So when a state is selected, the second grid automatically displays all cities in the state, and the third grid has all the customers in that city.

Each grid has an embedded grid within it, and you can see that by going into design mode and looking under "linked content definition."

We call these parent-child grids because the state grid has the city grid inside of it, and the city grid has the last name grid inside of it, and so on, right down the line of the family tree.

You can display these sequentially, vertically, or horizontally -- it just takes a little JavaScript. Selwyn will walk you though the process.

The second video completes the method of JavaScript coding in design mode by using a server-side event called "on after existing rows rendered." He heads into that code and adds the remaining JavaScript.

Watch these two videos to see how you can precisely locate your grid's linked content!

Video One

Video Two

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Alpha Five Version 11 Feature Peek #26: Lights, camera, action ... buttons!

Whenever the word action is involved, you can be pretty sure that something exciting is about to happen. That's why we only include it in the titles of features that are going to have a lot of impact, like this one.

In this video, Selwyn will discuss the technique of activating action buttons. It starts out as simple as it gets -- with a standard grid. As an example, he's set up two action buttons, one is a hyperlink and the other is just a sample button.

Now, Selwyn's clicking on these buttons with his mouse, but he's about to get into how to invoke those buttons using JavaScript. Hands, or mouse, free!

To learn how to get this on your application, you're going to need to know what's going on in the browser while this component is running. Selwyn goes into the DOM mode of his Firefox browser and points out the three JavaScript functions that make this possible.

From here, you'll create these functions after you get into design mode. Most of this is done after selecting "toolbar action items," which will display the "custom toolbar buttons" window.

Selwyn will finish up the video by showing you how to name and specify the actions of your buttons. But I'll save the best for last! Click on the video at the end of this post to learn how to bring action to your buttons! 


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Feature Peek #25: Save the date, pick the time

No, you haven't been invited to a party, but you have been invited to this three-part feature peek on the new date and time picker in Alpha Five Version 11!

In the first video, the demonstration is inside the dialogue component, but everything Selwyn will show you can also be done in the grid component. When Selwyn hits the first drop down menu, you'll see that it will prompt you to enter a date on the calendar and a time on the clock.

There's one main internal component that allows this feature to work, and that's the format string that you enter. This determines whether you want to display the date and the time, or just one, as in previous versions of this feature. Selwyn will show you both examples of the format string.

In design mode, under controls, you'll see Selwyn configure this feature by specifying the properties. He can chose between entering his own code or staying with the global default that's been predetermined. Towards the end of this video, Selwyn gets into some more advanced options, such as showing and hiding the days of the week.

In in the second video, Selwyn continues to explore the properties and gives you some advanced options for your date and time picker. These tips include allowing users to set whether it's a date, time, or date and time picker; high and low dates; disabled dates; OK and cancel buttons; and customized masks. All of these will be shown as Selwyn explains them while alternating between working preview and design mode. 

The final video wraps things up with JavaScript functions, particularly when specifying a high date or low date in the builder. In design mode, you can select either the start or end date, and then go into the properties window for specifications. For example, Selwyn targets the low date, and selects "function get Low Date," which will bring him into the builder displaying the JavaScript function.

Hit play to see that there's no slim pickens in the Version 11 date and time picker!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Alpha Five Version 11 Feature Peek # 24: Toggle Visibility

Some words are just fun to say, and "toggle" is one of them. But I swear -- I didn't decide to share this new feature in Alpha Five Version 11 just so I could use the word "toggle." OK, maybe I did. But stay tuned anyway.

In this new video, Selwyn discusses how to use action JavaScript to add toggle animation to any arbitrary container or div in a component in Version 11. This will work for both a dialogue and grid component, but Selwyn's going to use a dialogue component for his example.

The video starts in working preview, where he's got a button and div already set up, along with a container towards the bottom of the screen. Right away, he'll use the buttons to toggle the visibility of both, so you can see what your finished product will look like.

After switching from working preview to design mode, you'll need to pull up the list of controls to get to your list of buttons. Clicking on any button from that list will generate a corresponding JavaScript window, where you'll find the brand new option labeled, "toggle visibility of a container or div with animation."

After selecting that, Selwyn will click on "edit action," which will bring him to a window labeled "toggle visibility." This window is where you'll chose the speed and style of the hide/show animation.

Selwyn will take you through all of these customization options. Hit play on the video below to make sure you are able to pick the exact animation that you want!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Alpha Five Verison 11 Feature Peek #23: To err is human, to replace divine

Everyone makes mistakes, but in Alpha Five Version 11, you can search for and replace them! This next video will show you how to build a search and replace feature into your grid with Version 11.

When the video starts, Selwyn's example grid is already set up, complete with a button labeled "search and replace," which he previously defined. Clicking that button opens up a search and replace area, showing you exactly where to type in what you want to search for and what you want to replace it with. F.Y.I -- All of the buttons that Selwyn is working with have been set up with action JavaScript.

Personally, I was a big fan of Selwyn's example of this in working preview, but I'm a little biased. He searched for "Microsoft" and replaced it with "Alpha Five."

Anyway, you're going to need to know how to enable this feature, so Selwyn takes you into design mode to the "free form edit region," where most of this development takes place. Once you're there, you'll find a simple HTML table containing the input control. Here's where you'll make both the search and replace features functional. You'll also use that code to make some changes to the animation, and to specify the rules of your search and replace.

We are excited about this feature because it is so easy to customize. You'll be able to choose your own prompts and alter the appearances of your buttons. But I don't want to give it all away here! Dive into the video to hear the rest.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Alpha Five Version 11 Feature Peek #22: Just because it ain't broke doesn't mean you can't fix it

There's an old saying that claims, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." Well, we heard that right before we started to work on Alpha Five Version 11 ... and completely ignored it. When it came to our auto-suggest and edit combo, we broke it, fixed it, and made it better. Let me show you what I mean.

First up is auto-suggest. The new feature here is adding multiple values to a field. You might recognize this from Gmail. When you begin to type a contact's name in the "to" line of your message, you are provided with a list of matching suggestions. Google also provides the comma that separates each address, so you can enter more than one.

Selwyn starts this video with instructions on how to enable this feature. In design mode, you'll see a small dialogue box that says "send to," which identifies the function of the dialogue. But if you switch over to working preview, you'll see that it doesn't allow for multiple values. Going into the auto-suggest builder will reveal that there are other properties that can make it happen.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Alpha Five Version 11 Feature Peek #21: Alpha Five's improved auto-suggest control can read your mind

We've just added a new trick to the old auto-suggest feature within the grid and dialog components of Alpha Five Version 11. But before I show you more, I want to warn you that things might start to get a little eerie.

Version 11 is now able to finish your inquiry in a search field by displaying the results you were looking for before you've even finished typing. But there's no crystal ball involved here, it's just Version 11 pulling from the server. It might not be magic, but the accuracy of this auto-suggest feature is hard to believe.

Selwyn gets right down to business in this short and to-the-point video, which begins in working preview. His example is a common, first-name search. He types a letter into the search field, and Alpha Five retrieves suggestions from the server.

But it's not just the first letter of each word that you'll see suggestions for. You can enable a "contains" search, in which Alpha Five produces matches containing whatever you typed in somewhere in the full word.

So, say you can't remember if a person's last name is "Jackson" or "Johnson." (Don't you hate when that happens?) Well, with Version 11, you can just type in "son," and let the software jog your memory.
Selwyn will run you through a quick how-to, which includes getting into design mode, designating which field you want searched, and specifying the "look up definition" in the auto-suggest builder window.

In fact, I think it might be the easiest configuration of any new feature we've posted. The whole thing makes for a pretty neat trick, so from now on, you can start calling Selwyn and I, "The Ringling Bros.!"


Monday, August 15, 2011

Alpha Five Version 11 Feature Peek #20: Let's play hide and seek

No, I'm not talking about the children's game, I'm talking about a client-side show/hide expression! And we know that this will be useful, because it was generated in response to an Alpha developer who wanted to design this exact grid.

So forget about searching through rows and rows of data -- we're going to show you how to create a grid that only shows data in the current row. There's two ways to do this, and Selwyn has a video to explain each method.

Video one will start you in design mode by choosing an option under "fields." This is where you'll be selecting the only field that you want to be displayed. In display settings, Selwyn will show you how to define your client-side show/hide expression. Here, you want to enter a JavaScript function created by Alpha Five called "is current row."

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Alpha Five Version 11 Feature Peek #18: What can you do with fifteen minutes and one line of JavaScript? Build a location finder on the web - something that would take days or even weeks with other web development platforms!

Developers, tell me if this sounds helpful: An application with a map showing the user important geographical points within their current location. This type of application is useful and convenient, but would take days of coding and weeks of learning multiple languages to create.

Until the September release of Alpha Five Version 11, that is. With the feature we are about to debut, you'll be able to create an application just like that in fifteen minutes, using only one line of JavaScript. It's just another way that the new grid component in Version 11 will provide practical solutions to everyday problems.

In the first video, Selwyn sets the scene with a simple scenario of a search for the closest ATM branches in the his area. As he types in his location, the map re-centers on it and the closest ATMs appear in the sidebar. This is how it will look to users of your applications.

But to get there, he must first head to the design mode of a pre-existing grid to select that there will be a search component, and that the search will be for locations. He clicks to select both these settings, as well as the choice of "map" under control type. As he starts out, the grid won't look like a Store Finder app that you see in the beginning of the video, but if you prefer it, that layout is available in design mode under the template settings.

The second video picks up with Selwyn in working preview making sure that the design has complete functionality. He changes the prompts to be as specific as possible. By making the changes that Selwyn demonstrates in this video, you'll be able to center the map on your location, keep the prompt open, and execute a search. Everything here is done in search properties under the design mode.

Video three opens with more customization options for your grid, starting with choosing the location of the toolbar. This video works a lot in the map properties window, and it's a great way to familiarize yourself with the different choices that you'll have for your grid.You'll also get a peek at the builder window to see all the properties that you'll be able to customize, including search type, search results, map customization, and more. For example, Selwyn is building a grid that will return his search results in radius, so he needs to enter that he wants the results to be within a 10-mile radius of the starting location.

The final video is a post script to the series, and wraps everything up by addressing how to style the sidebar that will display your search results. To do this, you'll head back into design mode, but this time you'll need to work in "fields." Here you'll be able to choose the settings that will help you get the style that you're looking for.

With a series of four videos, it's impossible for me to tell you everything that you need to know about this new feature here, so make sure to take a look at them yourself. And while you're watching, keep in mind that it takes the same amount of time to watch the videos as it will to actually create this grid in Version 11!

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