Ever wished you could save and test your front-end development work locally, on your own PC or laptop, then push it to your IBM i only when it's ready for user testing or production? Turns out this is indeed something you can do! Using this process, the changes you make during development are completely local to your PC, thereby not affecting any deployed Valence app in the interim.
The 2015 SenchaCon conference took place last week in Silicon Valley, with a host of exciting announcements about what's in the pipeline for web and mobile app development. As assessed by the CNX staff in attendance, here are the top five most interesting tid-bits for the Valence community to come out of the show:
Old UI habits die hard! You may have developed some of the most beautifully functional and user-friendly Valence apps for your company, but the green screen legacy can still be hard to overcome. So long as your company's operations require at least some 5250 programs to be used -- as is typical for IBM i sites that have been around for a while -- then persuading users to flip from Client Access over to their web browser to do, say, a quick inventory or order look-up in Valence may pose a challenge.
As your repository of Valence apps grows, you may soon find occasion where you'd like to “spawn” one app from another in the Valence Portal. For example, you may have a simple inventory lookup app that you could launch whenever someone clicks on a line on a customer order, passing in the corresponding product number so the user doesn’t have to re-enter it manually. That same inventory lookup app could also be launched when clicking on an item in, say, a purchase order app. And so on. This kind of functionality inter-app functionality can serve as a great convenience your users.
Features native portal app for iOS devices and updated user interface components CHICAGO, IL. CNX announced today the general availability of version 4.1 of the Valence Framework for IBM i. Valence 4.1 introduces new options for developing and running IBM i applications on iOS devices (iPad/iPhone), as well as support for a new set of front-end components for regular desktop apps. Back-end support for IBM i OS 7.2 is also included with this release.
Imagine this scenario: You've developed and deployed a beautiful Valence-based customer order entry app to replace your company's former green screen program. Your customer service users can now easily launch the app to initiate new orders, quickly fill out the mandatory header fields and enter item details for the order. All is well! But then one day, while in the middle of entering an exceptionally large order, one of your users gets distracted and inadvertently closes the order entry app before hitting Save. Poof! All their data entry work is gone and they have to start over.
Just about every employee has access to a smartphone or wifi-enabled tablet with a built-in camera these days. The ubiquity of these image-taking devices -- coupled with HTML5 methods that allow access to the photos -- presents a unique opportunity for IBM i developers to create apps that can pull in images and store them on the IFS. So whether you're looking to incorporate a photo of a shipment to show proof of packing, store a picture of a damaged item for an insurance claim/RMA, or simply add an employee image to your personnel master, Valence Framework makes it possible.
As you develop and deploy new web or mobile apps for your Valence users on IBM i, inevitably you will run into situations where you're tempted to hard-code global values into your program to control the behavior of your app. For instance, perhaps you have a situation where you want to default a date field value out by 10 days, so you place code in your program to take the current date and add 10, knowing that someday some user will inevitably be asking you to change the default to 14 or 7...
Note to Valence 5.* developers: Please reference the Valence 5 User Guide for more recent information on customizing your Valence 5 portal instance. Out of the box, the web portal included with Valence Framework 4.0 provides a great foundation for building up your repository of IBM i-based web and mobile apps. But many developers quickly find they want to take things a step further and give the portal a look and feel that is more reflective of their corporate identity.
It goes without saying that most established IBM i sites have lots of active users. For companies in the process of moving their green screen users into the Valence Portal, setting up appropriately configured Valence profiles for each IBM i user can be an added burden to implementation. Fortunately, with Valence 4.0 it's no longer necessary to pre-configure a Valence profile for every user logging in to the Valence Portal.
We're happy to report that the latest build of Valence Framework 4.0 includes a fully functional Beta version of the much-anticipated Nitro AutoCode app. This latest addition to the Nitro family allows developers to quickly generate Valence apps using a wizard-like interface. You can literally produce a completely functional app -- including both the RPG and the user interface -- from scratch in less than a minute! You can then call up the resulting app in Sencha Architect to quickly make additional adjustments to the user interface.
New tool allows IBM i developers to create inquiry and file maintenance apps in seconds
May 6, 2014 ORLANDO, FL. CNX announced today at the COMMON User Group Annual Meeting and Exposition the Beta release of Nitro AutoCode, a web application generation tool included now as part of Valence Framework 4.0 for IBM i. This new tool allows developers to create high-quality inquiry and file maintenance apps on IBM i in a matter of seconds using a simple wizard-like interface.
Valence Enterprise users, and developers using Enterprise features on a trial basis, often remark to us at IBM i trade shows how much value they find in Nitro File Editor. Indeed, when developing new apps, being able to quickly review the data your RPG programs are writing to physical files can be instrumental to your productivity. The File Editor app was thus included with Valence so developers and power users alike can quickly call up the data in any IBM i physical or logical file in the browser and peruse or edit its contents.
Ever since the first release of Valence in 2008, the biggest issue for IBM i developers working with the framework has been learning how to manually code the user interface of an app with Ext JS (and later Sencha Touch for mobile apps). Over the years, as CNX released new and improved versions of the Valence Framework, simple tools to help developers with front-end app development were added.
Features Reengineered Portal and New Tools for Rapid App Development CHICAGO, IL. CNX announced today the general availability of version 4.0 of the Valence Framework for IBM i. Valence Framework 4.0 features a completely reengineered desktop browser portal as well as new tools for rapid web and mobile app development on IBM i. “This is without a doubt the biggest release of Valence Framework since version 1.0 was first announced nearly six years ago,” said Richard Milone, CNX Chief Technical Officer.
If you've been trialing Valence 3.2's Enterprise features, or using the Valence Framework under the free Community Developer license but considering upgrading to Valence Enterprise, here's one factor to keep in mind: In conjunction with the Valence 4.0 release and its myriad new features, the price for Valence Enterprise will essentially double, with additional costs for installing Valence Enterprise on multiple partitions.
We're just two weeks away from the official release of Valence 4.0 and we're super excited to introduce this new framework to the IBM i community! Many thanks to the handful of Beta testers we've been working with over the past month to help ensure the installation and operation of Valence 4.0 is as smooth as it can possibly be. With the sizeable investment we've made in streamlining the user interface for this release, we believe you'll find Valence 4.0 to be a huge hit with your IBM i users as you roll it out.