In Version 6, we’ve changed a couple of error messages. One you saw too often, and the other you never saw at all. Both these changes will make you more productive.
New Version Warning
How many times have you seen this message when testing an AppStudio 5 app?
It warns you that you are about to overwrite the current version of your app. There isn’t any need to get this message every time your change your app when you’re developing. In AppStudio 6, there is a new setting in Project Properties called ‘newVersionWarning’. If set to false (the default!), this message will not show.
When your app goes into production, you might want your user to be warned if a new version is available, and give them the choice not to update. In that case, change ‘newVersionWarning’ to true and it will work just as it did in AppStudio 5.
Stop on Error
In AppStudio 5, the only way to find out if your app had a runtime error was to open the Chrome Debugger and look at the console. In AppStudio 6, errors are reported in a message box which appears over your app:
It will tell you the filename of the error (code.js), the line number and even the position in the line.
This catches most runtime errors. It doesn’t catch syntax errors, where the code is not properly formed. You’ll still need to use the Chrome Debugger for that. With this feature, I’ve found errors in code which I thought was working properly – it’s very handy.
You can turn off this feature in Project Properties by setting ‘stopOnError’ to False.
If you’ve deployed an app to Volt, you have probably wondered at the odd name your app was given.
It takes the actual name of your app and adds a couple of random words to make it unique. That makes sure your ‘project1’ does not get mixed up with someone else’s ‘project1’. Just for fun, it uses a verb and adverb.
You don’t have to keep using this name. Continue reading
Posted in deploy, tips, Volt
AppStudio 6 features an improved way of writing out your files when they are deployed.
Earlier versions of AppStudio tried to minimize the number of output files. The idea was that it would be quicker to load one large file than a number of smaller files which added up to the same size. This made debugging harder, since all the parts of your app were merged together.
Modern browsers do a great job of caching. Any file you have loaded recently (and maybe not so recently) is saved in the browser’s internal memory, so apps can load more quickly. A great example is jquery.js: since almost every web page uses it, it hardly ever needs to loaded. If your app uses caching (it’s on by default), all your files are automatically cached. That takes away the speed advantage of one large file.
In AppStudio 6, the generated HTML, CSS and boilerplate code all go into index.html. All your code goes into code.js. External code files are put into .js files of their own.
It makes your app much easier to debug. When an error comes up, you’ll see just your actual code. You won’t have to dig through screenfuls of HTML, CSS and other stuff you didn’t write.
Chances are, your app will reload faster too.
We’re thrilled to announce that AppStudio 6 is finally available. With over 100 enhancements, AppStudio 6 lets you do more. We’ve also worked hard to make the new features easier to use than ever.
Here are some of the major new features:
- Volt, our new hosting and web services solution. It replaces the AppStudio Server and adds powerful new features.
- Bootstrap framework added. Bootstrap is the most popular HTML, CSS, and JS framework for developing responsive, mobile first projects on the web. It’s well thought through and is easy to use with AppStudio. For more information, see Introduction to Bootstrap. Bootstrap adds 24 attractive and easy to use controls.
- Design Screen: Containers can now be nested several layers deep, and the Design Screen will let you drag and drop to them.
- Google Drive API. Now you can access files on your Google Drive from AppStudio. For example, use a Google Spreadsheet as a database for your app. You can add, delete and update rows in the spreadsheet from AppStudio.
- Stripe Payments: Now you can accept credit cards in your app.
- Subscriptions: AppStudio is now distributed using a subscription, rather than a flat license charge.
The full list what is new is here: https://wiki.nsbasic.com/Version_6
You can get AppStudio 6 here: https://www.nsbasic.com/i/Subscription
If you have an earlier version of AppStudio, we have an upgrade offer which includes a trial free subscription to Volt, plus a discount after that.
Stay tuned – we will be posting information about many of the new features in the coming days.
Special thanks to the beta testers who patiently helped us get it right!
Volt is a cloud service which provides additional functionality for AppStudio 6. It’s designed as a platform, so new features can be added.
It replaces the AppStudio Server, but does much more. Some of the initial features are:
- App Hosting: Apps uploaded to Volt can be accessed by users anywhere in the world. Permanent hosting is available.
- Custom Domains: Use the Volt assigned domain, or an existing domain that you own.
- App Management: The Dashboard lets you display and configure the apps you have on the Volt server.
- User Management: Allow your users to sign into your app with usernames and passwords.
Volt App Hosting
Volt’s App Hosting feature will do a lot to make life easier for AppStudio developers. One you have completed your app, you need a place to host it, so people can download it to their devices. With Volt, you no longer have to set up your own server.
Here are some of the problems it solves:
- Server Setup: It’s a lot of work to set up a server. The whole LAMP stack has to be installed and configured. Don’t forget to get the MIME types right!
- Server Maintenance: We take care of making sure all the latest patches and security updates are installed.
- DropBox: Until October 3, 2016, many of you used DropBox to host your apps. Due to changes at DropBox, that no longer works.
- Use your own URL: Soon, you’ll be able to specify the URL you want your customers to see.
AppStudio Registered Users
If you are a licensed AppStudio user, Volt replaces the AppStudio Server you were probably using before. Deploy works the same way. We encourage you to get your free Volt account: it will help you manage your apps.
If you do not want to use any of the additional features (such as Users, Email, etc.) don’t worry about them. There is no need to know more at this point.
AppStudio and our other products have always been sold with a flat license fee. Pay it once and you can use it forever. Starting with AppStudio 6, this changes.
We think we can improve your experience with subscription billing. It will let us provide more updates, more features and better support. Rather than an upfront fee, you’ll pay monthly for the service level you actually need.
We also think Volt will be revolutionary for our users. It provides services we never could have before. Subscriptions give us flexibility to keep our customer’s costs low during the development cycle, while allowing for high usage from apps which have gone live.
It’s good for both our customers and for us. Our customers can now get access to high volume servers to host their apps after they have been released. Rather than an up front cost, AppStudio is available for a low cost per month.
We also benefit. A lot more of our expenses are now monthly – we have to pay for the servers and bandwidth, as well as support them. Having a steady revenue stream will also help us deliver enhancements and new versions on a continuous basis.
We’re looking after our existing users during the transition. While the AppStudio 6 Upgrade cost is the same as it was for previous releases ($49.95), we bundle 4 months of Volt Essential in with it (a $60 value), plus we offer a discounted monthly rate thereafter. If it turns out you don’t need the monthly services, you can discontinue them. AppStudio will still work.
Let us know if you have questions!
The upgrade to AppStudio 6 is priced at $49.95, just as with our previous upgrades.
There are two ways to order the upgrade:
- From the AppStudio 6 splash screen, click on the “Get It Now” button. The order form will open with your serial number filled in.
- Go directly to the order form. Enter your serial number for a special upgrade offer. If you don’t have it, contact us. We’ll send it to you.
With the change to Subscription Billing, we want to provide a smooth transition to our existing users. We’re including 4 months of Essential Monthly support on Volt with the upgrade (a $60.00 value). After the 4 months are done, you will continue to get Essential Monthly for a reduced price of $9.95/month.
If you are not making use of the new Volt features, you can downgrade your Volt plan to a free account, which is more or less the same as the current AppStudio Server. AppStudio 6 will continue to work.
We will be sending free upgrades to AppStudio 6 for all recent purchasers of AppStudio.
We’re pleased to announce the results of our 2016 programming contest.
We had three categories: Business, Fun and Education. All registered NSB/AppStudio users were welcome to participate in the contest. Prizes were $100 USD in each category.
Judging was by NSB’s experts. All judging was arbitrary and final. We looked for quality, performance, ease of use, sophistication and overall coolness. Apps could be anything: Enterprise, business, commercial, education, games or even something whimsical.
Without further ado, here are our winners: (full results are here)
Our fifth NSB/AppStudio Programming Contest is underway! We’re looking forward to cool entries which take advantage of the capabilities of mobile devices and AppStudio.
We have three categories:
- Business – apps for business, government or non profit organizations
- Fun – Games, hobbies, entertainment or whimsical creations.
- Education – Apps written by students or teachers (or for them to use)
All registered AppStudio users are welcome to participate. Prizes are $100 USD in each category.
You may enter more than one program. Judging will be by our experts. All judging is arbitrary and final. We will be looking for quality, performance, ease of use, sophistication and overall coolness. Apps can be whatever you like: Enterprise, business, commercial, education, games or even something whimsical.
All programs must be written using NSB/AppStudio. Entries may be commercial, shareware or freeware, and for iPhone, iPad, Android or multiple platforms. Please indicate with your entry whether we can share your program or screenshots with the public.
Send your questions and entries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The deadline for entries has been updated to Monday, June 20, 2016 at 12:00 midnite EST.
If you’ve created a PhoneGap version of your project, the top of your screen might look like this on iOS:
See how the title of the screen (“Volt”) is crowded into the status bar?
It’s easy to fix this. Add the following lines into configxml in Project Properties (PhoneGap section):
<plugin name="cordova-plugin-statusbar" source="npm" />
<preference name="StatusBarOverlaysWebView" value="false" />
<preference name="StatusBarBackgroundColor" value="#000000" />
<preference name="StatusBarStyle" value="lightcontent" />
Your app will now look like this:
With the StatusBar plugin installed, you have a bunch of additional options for managing the status bar. See the full documentation here.