The manifestFile property and online apps

In Project Properties, there is a property named ‘manifestFile’. The setting of this property can have a big effect on how your app works, online and offline.

The default setting is appcache. This causes AppStudio to collect the names of the files in your project and put them in a special file called OfflineApp.appcache. When your app is downloaded to a device, this file is checked by the browser. The files named are stored in the browser’s persistent storage on the device. This allows your app to run even without an internet connection, since all the files needed are present.

Each time a cached app is started, the browser checks to see if the OfflineApp.appcache file has been updated on the server: if so, the new version of the app is downloaded. If it can’t reach the server (perhaps because the device is offline), it does nothing and runs normally.

If the OfflineApp.appcache file has been deleted on the server, the app is deleted from the device.

The manifestFile property can also be set to no caching. The OfflineApp.appcache file won’t be created, and the app will not work in offline mode. It’s worth doing if your app will only work if the device is online: for example, if it has a lot of Ajax calls which are necessary for operation. A side benefit is that you won’t get any “Cache Error” messages.

If you change an app from appcache to no caching, be sure to clear your browser’s cache. Otherwise, it will still think it’s a cached app.

The final choice for this setting is manifest. It’s an obsolete setting. When the standard was first set, it specified .manifest as the ending for the file. Microsoft pointed out that it already was using .manifest for something else. Oops. The standard was revised to call it .appcache instead. Some early AppStudio projects were created in the .manifest days – changing the file suffix now could cause cache errors.

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AppStudio 6.0.5 released!

We’re pleased to announce AppStudio 6.0.5 is ready. New and improved stuff includes:

  1. Bootstrap: Input control icon now part of the input element.
  2. Bootstrap: Input control made more responsive.
  3. Bootstrap: Input control now has leftText option.
  4. Bootstrap: Input control now works with password savers.
  5. Bootstrap: Input control now has color type. Not supported on all browsers.
  6. Controls: Automatically update old hidden properties.
  7. Controls: Problem with Grid style fixed.
  8. IDE: Open Project CSS added to the Project menu.
  9. jQM: TextBox control now has color type. Not supported on all browsers.
  10. jQM: Select control’s hidden property fixed.
  11. Library: AddToHomeScreen updated for iOS 10.
  12. Library: jQuery Modal updated to 0.8.
  13. Volt: SignOn sample updated.

A couple of these are of special interest – watch for blog posts soon!

Download the latest version from ‘Check for Updates’ under then AppStudio Help menu. It is a free upgrade for AppStudio 6 users.

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AppStudio 6: Positioning Controls (II)

In our last post on positioning, we discussed the different ways of arranging controls on a form. This time, we’re going to have a closer look at static positioning and how you can get your controls to the proper place on your form.

You might want to open a new project in AppStudio and play along. Start a new form with position set to static. Add three Bootstrap buttons:

screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-9-38-39-am

Notice how they position themselves? They automatically go to the left side of the screen, below the previous button. Let’s see what ways we have to put them on the same line.
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AppStudio 6.0.4 released!

We’re pleased to announce AppStudio 6.0.4 is ready. New and improved stuff includes:

  1. Bootstrap: .resize, .Top, .Left, .Width, .Height added to all controls.
  2. Bootstrap: Dropdown select area drawn better in Design Screen.
  3. Bootstrap: Fliptoggle (Bootstrap) – new control.
  4. Bootstrap: Input now has .files property for inputType file.
  5. Bootstrap: Panel – allow HTML in fields
  6. Code Window: Commit code changes before translation.
  7. Code Window: Override toolbox default language when needed.
  8. Controls: Label select area drawn better in Design Screen.
  9. Controls: hidden property is now a style, not an attribute. Some hidden settings may need to be refreshed.
  10. IDE: Bootstrap Theme Customizer added to Tools menu.
  11. IDE: Open Project CSS added to the Project menu.
  12. iScroll: Zoom functions restored
  13. Project Properties: ‘styleheaders’ renamed ‘projectCSS’.
  14. jQM: Improvements to List styling.
  15. jQW: hidden and style attributes now work for all controls.

A couple of these are of special interest – watch for blog posts soon!

Download the latest version from ‘Check for Updates’ under then AppStudio Help menu. It is a free upgrade for AppStudio 6 users.

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Using Adsense with Volt

search-1Adsense is Google’s web ad service. If you agree to display Google’s ads on your site, you’ll collect money each time someone clicks on an add.

To do so, add the AdSense control to your app. Choose the size (320×50 up to 300×250) and position it. AdSense will automatically display ads in the space. You’ll need to set Client number and Adsense slot number.

Get the Client and slot numbers from Google Adsense when you sign up. Follow Google’s instructions for the rest: they are pretty good.

One of the requirements is to list the name of the site your app is hosted on. If you don’t have a site, no problem. You can use Volt. Simply supply the URL to your app on Volt:

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-3-52-32-pm

Here’s an ad in an app:

screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-5-10-10-am

And here’s a link you can try yourself: https://adsense-wets-correctly.volt.live/

Now tell people about your app and watch the money roll in!

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Make your own Bootstrap Theme

AppStudio lets you manipulate many of the features of the Bootstrap controls. Essential to their appearance, however, is the theme they use. By changing the theme, you can affect the color and appearance of all your Bootstrap controls. AppStudio includes 18 Bootstrap themes: bootstrap, bootstrap-enhanced, cerulean, cosmo, cyborg, darkly, flatly, journal, lumin, paper, readable, sandstone, simplex, slate, spacelab, superhero, united and yeti.

But what if you want to make your own theme? It’s surprisingly easy to do using the Bootstrap Theme Customizer. You start it from http://getbootstrap.com/customize/ or AppStudio’s Tools menu. It includes full documentation – we just present an overview here.

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AppStudio 6: Positioning Controls

Web design is constantly evolving. Each year, new features are introduced to HTML, CSS and JavaScript. New page design trends emerge along with new style guides. AppStudio 6 has a number of changes to bring AppStudio development up to date with current best practices.

Responsive Web Design allows your apps to change how they display depending on screen size. Most new web development is based on RWD. AppStudio 6 has enhancements to better use RWD.

The position property, in Form Properties, is key to this. Its setting determines how controls are positioned on a form.

There are three useful settings: absolute, static and relative. (fixed is included for completeness, but not currently used by AppStudio).

Let’s discuss the differences and advantages of each.

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AppStudio 6: Accessing Google Drive

searchGoogle Drive is a convenient way to store documents in the cloud and access them on any of your devices. It’s also an easy way to share documents. Millions of people use Google Drive – recent statistics show Google Docs to be as much as 5 times more popular than Microsoft Word.

The great news is that you can access the data in Google Drive from your AppStudio app. For example, you can read the data in a Google Sheet, modify it, and write it out again. This effectively turns the spreadsheet into a database for your app.

Volt makes this possible for everyone to use. To use Google Drive, your app needs to be deployed to a server. For security purposes, you have to give Google Drive the name of the server before it will authorize it to access your files. You can set up your own server for this or simply use Volt. After you deploy your app to Volt, enter the path which Volt gives you (something like “https://googlespreadsheet-signs-smoothly.volt.live”) and update the credentials.
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AppStudio 6.0.3 released!

We’re pleased to announce AppStudio 6.0.3 is ready. New and improved stuff includes:

  1. Design Screen: Positioning logic improved for relative and static. (Blog post coming!)
  2. Libraries: Google Drive added to Libraries – makes Google Drive easier to use. (Blog post coming!)
  3. Controls: Bootstrap Dropdown selectable in Design Screen with static positioning.
  4. Controls: Bootstrap Slider: Use .control.value=x instead of .setValue(x)
  5. Controls: Common Grid style attribute fixed.
  6. Controls: jqWidgets DataTimeInput requires fastclick = false.

A couple of these are of special interest – watch for blog posts soon!

Download the latest version from ‘Check for Updates’ under then AppStudio Help menu. It is a free upgrade for AppStudio 6 users.

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AppStudio 6.0.2 released!

We’re pleased to announce AppStudio 6.0.2 is ready. New and improved stuff includes:

  1. Bootstrap: New Slider control.
  2. Controls: Camera control rewritten so it will work with Bootstrap. Delete and re-add the control.
  3. Design Screen: Responsive forms now use static positioning.
  4. Design Screen: jQM Checkbox and RadioButton samples render properly on Mac.
  5. Design Screen: Show warning if Bootstrap and jQuery Mobile controls used in same project.

Download the latest version from ‘Check for Updates’ under then AppStudio Help menu. It is a free upgrade for AppStudio 6 users.

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