** Hot News **
Appeon Mobile Beta3
First 48 Hours
The excitement keeps building for Web and Mobile users as Appeon Corporation has just released the Beta3
version of their Appeon Mobile
product for every PB enthusiast to test! This is the last beta
before the highly anticipated production release currently scheduled for April 30, 2013. For a comprehensive list of all the changes in Beta3 (also known as Release Candidate1), please follow this link (click here
In the initial two days that I have been testing Appeon Mobile Beta3, I have explored some of the improved and new features of this release. Here are some of the items that have impressed me thus far in Beta3 ....
Application Server Monitor
Just as important as being able to deliver web and mobile applications is the ability to monitor the health of the Appeon Server (or what I like to call the Web Server "helper") which is a key part of the Appeon Mobile solution. The great news is that the PB developer nor the IT shop needs to buy 3rd party tools or build a custom application to perform this task. Instead, Appeon provides a key piece of software just for this task named the Application Server Monitor (ASM).
|Actual ASM running while testing the various Appeon Mobile Beta3 applications I wrote.|
From the above screen capture, you can see that you can easily monitor the health of any Appeon Server from CPU and Memory perspective. Plus, the ASM allows you to drill down on each active session as well for individual details while AEM is performing, backup, heartbeat, restore, fail-over, etc activity. Along with the ability to customize the monitoring aspects - another great feature is to also set the ASM to automatically recycle the Appeon Server at a predetermined time each day. This allows system administrators to recycle the server in off-hours to free up O/S resources, complete patch maintenance, etc. For Sybase's application server called EAServer, I wrote my own monitor and recycle manager in PowerBuilder. Its nice to see that Appeon already provided administrators with this as a built-in feature.
|AM Device Test Application|
For the Notification
feature support, Appeon Mobile provides an NVUO that brokers the interface between the Apple based application and the actual iOS feature itself. The NVUO also provides easy to use methods that easily controls the functionality and allows the AM application to pass message context information. An example Device Test application is available on my SourceForge project
website and can be downloaded for free to help you test and investigate this extensive
Appeon Mobile API feature set.
|Actual Notification on my iPhone's blind|
When activated for a message, the Notification NVUO will deliver the application's message text to the iOS Window Blind that can be seen when the iOS user swipes the device from top to bottom of the smartphone or tablet. At this point, the blind will contain a notification area that now includes the AM application's message text for the user to read.
This is a great feature that your mobile PB application can take advantage of to deliver key information about the condition of the application, remind the user to complete a task, return to the application to review data now available, detail a problematic error that has occurred, etc. I am sure that you can think of other uses for this feature as well. Its nice to know that this type of advanced feature will already be available to the Appeon Mobile developer right from the release of version 1.0!
Bar Code Reader
|Actual test bar code I used!|
Many mobile devices now have sophisticated built-in camera's capable of high resolution and automatic focus control. Appeon Mobile enables the PB application to take advantage of the iOS system's native bar code support by providing an NVUO that brokers the applications interface to the bar code sub-system. The NVUO provides simple methods to activate the camera, get the bar code from the iOS and finally analyze the bar code actual data and type detected. An actual working example of the Bar Code reader feature is now included in the "AM Device Test" application for Beta3 that can be downloaded from my SourceForge Project link listed above.
|Actual bar code data returned to PB|
When the bar code reader feature is activated by the NVUO, the iOS sub-system automatically launches the devices camera. All the mobile user needs to do is now point the camera to any bar code symbol and wait for the iOS bar code sub-system to scan and decode the bars into actual data. When this part of the process is completed, the acutal datum is returned to the PB application through the Appeon supplied bar coder NVUO inteface object. Now the PB application could use the data which may be a product code, serial number, form id, etc that can be now used as a database key to retrieve actual information from your coporate DBMS for further processing in the mobile application.
TIP: Even if you have tried the low-level device features in Appeon Mobile beta2, I would strongly advise the PB developer to retest these again in Beta3 as new/enhanced functionality has been added in the areas of Media, Camera, Notification, Barcode, and Device introspection and use.
|"of_SetAssistantTouchBtn_Visible" command's effect|
feature enables your iOS based PB application to display a mouse icon on the AWS title bar. This icon will allow the iOS application user to switch touch modes between tap (left-mouse), drag and right-mouse interpretation like on a real MS-Windows based device. Appeon Mobile has also made it easy to control the TouchPad feature by providing an Appeon Work Space NVUO that the PB appliation can utilize to interface to this AWS feature. A new "of_SetAssistantTouchBtn_Visible ( ) method has been aded to visually control the TouchPad's icon.
Once the TouchPad icon is visible, the application user can tap it to change the input mode. This most important mode I found to use was the right-click so that PB applications that utilize the PopMenu ( ) method feature on the RHMB of MS-Windows can now also use this on the smartphone and tablet devices!
From the above TouchPad feature support in AWS, the PB developer is ready to allow the iOS mobile user to interact with pop-up menus. This is super news for developers already using my STD Foundation Classes (FC) for PB Win32 and Web as you already know that the framework allows any
window dialogue's contents to be zoomed! Developing this feature initially in 1993 for version 1.0 of the FC's was so that users could zoom any dialog to see the information better on poor quality CRT
monitors. In the 3rd generation of the FC's for PocketBuilder, the zoom feature was an instant hit on the small WinCE device screens for readability. With Appeon web and now just deprecated Webforms, the zoom feature also allowed the browser user to control the readability as well. So extending this feature to the mobile world for the smartphone and tablet user will hopefully give them the same readability boost that poor conditions like strong sunlight, night light glare, small screen or human visual acuity problems can easily
be overcome to make the users experience more positive & the PB iOS application easier to use!
|Actual Zoom (182%) feature working on my iPhone in AM beta3!|
ASE Native Driver
In poking around the new Appeon 2013 beta3 version I came across a new "gem" of a database feature for ASE! The nice surprise was the discovery of a new native ASE driver
for the Sybase DBMS that can now deliver much higher performance and DML functionality for those more demanding production applications. This last DBMS upgrade in Appeon 2013 completes all new database support for HANA and MySQL - plus the native driver for ASE places this DBMS on the same playing field as Oracle and MS-SQLServer which already had native driver support in Appeon (Zoom, Zoom!).
|Actual AEM in Beta3 showing the native ASE driver option!|
Production - April 30th
HOT ... For a limited time, Appeon Corporation is also now accepting pre-orders
for Appeon Mobile and they will allow the buyer a special early-adopter 30% discount on your Appeon Mobile purchase! These great savings will even make your transition to Mobile PB applications a great ROI argument to your IT purchasing department.
PS: personally ... I can't wait to show off to my PB clients the Appeon Web improvements and the mobility applications I know they want!
regards ... Chris