Some thoughts on hosting services…

This is a guest post by long term NS BASIC user, Lee Church. He nails the reality of hosting services. When you are ready to deploy your app to the world, you’ll need one.

Some thoughts about hosting services and errors:

  1. The barrier to entry to create a new business and call it a hosting service is under $100.
  2. With the proliferation of services like AWS (Amazon Web Services) you need only one PC on your desk to manage the hosting.
  3. You can hire some guy in India to “manage” the “service” for $10 per hour.
  4. Web hosting is like so much in the computer business: 99% of the “stuff” is automatic and handled by software, but the remaining 1% is where experience and knowledge pay off. You don’t get much experience and knowledge from the $10 per hour guy.
  5. The best defense is always “It’s the other guy’s fault”.

This is not a recipe for quality and good service.

If you’re new to this environment, understand that the hosting site is a critical part of the process and your app. The best app in the world will fail miserably on a hosting site not set up properly. If you are not familiar with Web issues and servers, find a friend or consultant to help. You cannot take the hosting site’s response to problems at face value.

Got a hosting service that has worked well for you? Let us know, and we’ll set up a list here.

Hosting Services

http://www.lunarpages.com: “They are reasonable and very helpful whenever I have had a problem.” — Helen Sandoz

Pair.com: Provides fully configured servers starting at $5.95/month.

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Responsive Design: Centering a button vertically

Vertical and horizontal centering is hard. Here, from CommitStrip.com:

Here’s a good resource with suggestions on vertical and horizontal centering:
https://css-tricks.com/centering-css-complete-guide/

Let’s work through an example. Continue reading

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AppStudio 5.0.13 released.

AppStudio 5.0.13 is now available. It includes a number of fixes and new stuff.

  1. Controls: Style and Class properties should work for all controls.
  2. Controls: Containers cannot be nested.
  3. Controls: Grid.addRows(), addCols() add one each if no arg.
  4. Code Window: Do not capitalize style.
  5. Setup: Get Info for Windows now shows all data.
  6. Sample: Fixes to Background, Sprite, LabRotation
  7. IDE: Problem opening projects with code files fixed. (like upload.nsx)
  8. IDE: Projects cannot be saved with illegal file names.
  9. MakeEXE: New windowStyle property.
  10. MakeEXE: New EXE.execPython() function.
  11. MakeEXE: new execPython sample.
  12. Properties Windows: return takes you to the next property.
  13. Docs: Locale files updated.

Tip: It’s worthwhile to uninstall the previous version. If you’re on Windows, delete c:\Program Files\NSB AppStudio to get a completely clean install.

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Responsive Design: Rotating Your Device

When designing an app for mobile devices, you need to consider what happens if the device is rotated. You can just put up a message asked the user to rotate back, or you can design your app so it looks good in both portrait and landscape modes.

AppStudio 5 introduced Responsive Web Design as a way to layout your forms. RWD is a design approach for making apps size themselves to varying sizes of screens.

In this blog post, we’ll use Responsive Design to handle rotation in a simple layout with three buttons. The techniques can be used for much more complex layouts, of course.
Continue reading

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AppStudio 5.0.12 released

AppStudio 5.0.12 is now available. It includes a number of fixes and new stuff.

  1. Samples: All samples now have BASIC and JavaScript versions.
  2. Samples: new jPlayer streaming video sample (Thanks, Adrian!)
  3. Samples: new ResponsiveRotation sample.
  4. Build: Fix Mac OS ‘Get Info’ data.
  5. Controls: Don’t set button margin to 0 if position is relative.
  6. StyleHeaders: Process last, so its rules have precedence.
  7. StyleHeaders: Update Design Screen on close.
  8. Translater: Fix ‘else’ embedded in variable name.
  9. Translator: Fix regular expression error in array/function.
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AppStudio 5.0.11 released.

AppStudio 5.0.11 is now available. It includes a number of fixes and new stuff.

  1. Controls: Add min, max values to Date Pickers – speeds up Android.
  2. Controls: Allow vh, yw sizes (viewport height, viewport width)
  3. Controls: Fix error in jqWidgets Tabs control.
  4. Controls: NavBar, FooterBar: All spaces are now converted to underscores for event argument.
  5. Controls: NavBar, FooterBar: Design time style now used at runtime.
  6. Deploy: Get project path to jqWidgets correctly.
  7. Form: Default form height is now 100vh.
  8. Make EXE: Unicode characters are now allowed.
  9. PhoneGap Build Status: Improve iOS message.

The current Android Chrome DatePicker has a number of problems. The most significant one is that it can take 4-5 seconds to load. It’s figuring out how to format many months ahead and behind in advance. You can speed this up by specifying an min and max for the date value, so it doesn’t do as much work. There are a couple of other bugs here and here. We expect Google will fix these soon. (Thanks to Doug Allrich for tracking this down!)

As always, we’re fixing bugs as fast as we find them. If you see any, let us know.

We’re always listening, so please send comments, suggestions and words of encouragement to support@nsbasic.com.

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AppStudio 5: Using a local copy of jqWidgets

If you use any of the jqWidgets samples, you’ll notice the files for jqWidgets get loaded directly from jqwidgets.com. This makes sure that our samples are always using the latest versions of the files, and means we don’t have to include the entire jqWidgets library in the AppStudio distribution.

However, in the apps you create, it may be more convenient or efficient to have the files on your own system and served from your own server.

In AppStudio 5.0.10, we made this easier to do. Here’s how:
Continue reading

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Make your own Windows apps!

AppStudio 5 lets you create native Windows apps from your projects. It’s dead simple: Choose ‘Make Windows Executable (exe)’ from the Run menu, and your Project.exe file is ready a few seconds later.

Now you can distribute your apps to Windows users easily. All your project files are included, and it’s simple for your users to install.
Continue reading

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AppStudio 5.0.10 released.

AppStudio 5.0.10 is now available. It includes a number of fixes and new stuff.

  1. Design Screen: Error when deleting control in a Container fixed.
  2. Samples: New sample using Chartjs library.
  3. Controls: Grid cellstyle property used when adding new rows.
  4. Controls: Make a number of controls behave better when using Responsive Design.
  5. jqWidgets: The path to the jqWidgets controls is now a Project Property.
  6. Controls: Formatting of NSB.MsgBox improved.
  7. Script Window: Allow other windows to be edited.

There is one breaking change. If you are using a local copy of jqWidgets, you need to set pathTo_jqWidgets in Project Properties, instead of each of the controls. Much easier and a lot less work in the future!

We’re fixing bugs as fast as we find them. If you see any, let us know.

We’re always listening, so please send comments, suggestions and words of encouragement to support@nsbasic.com.

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Speed, Speed, Speed!

Premature optimization is the root of all evil. – Donald Knuth

You’re probably aware by now that we made a lot of improvements in AppStudio 5. One thing we did not do right away was optimize everything. It’s safer to make sure the code is solid and stable before looking for all the ways to make it fast.

In 5.0.8 and 5.0.9, having identified the bottlenecks, we got to work on making the IDE fast. Some of these date back to very early versions of AppStudio: some from new features added since. It is quite possible that AppStudio 5 is now the fastest version we have shipped.

Here are some of the things we did:
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