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App in 60 Minutes – Using Apex Repository

Fine-tuning the details…

In previous videos in the “App in 60 Minutes” series, we set up a tabbed interface, added a list of products to the tab, and connected the list to an Apex Repository table. In this video, we’ll walk through, step-by-step, how to use Apex Repository to connect to an existing database table, external to the Repository’s database. We’ll also look at another Repository Coach View – Read Object – to read and display the store name in the page’s header.

Up next, in Video #5, we’ll add another table to the repository and use a repository service to populate it’s data… stay tuned!

erikafulkApp in 60 Minutes – Using Apex Repository
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App in 60 Minutes – Creating a Business Object

Getting into the thick of things…

Previously, in video #2, we created the layout of the Order Guide Tab and populated it with static data. In this video, we’ll address creating a business object, using Apex Repository to create a database table for that object, and bulk load test data to that table. Additionally, we use an Apex Repository coach view to retrieve data from the database and display it in the Dynamic Table (which previously had hard-coded data). This coach view eliminates the need for developing a new integration service, and you’ll be able to display data on your coach with a few simple steps!

In Video #4 we’ll take our process app one step further and connect a business object to an existing external database table using Apex Repository.

erikafulkApp in 60 Minutes – Creating a Business Object
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App in 60 Minutes – Order Guide Tab

Layouts don’t get much simpler than this…

In video #1, we added a tabbed layout on our page; now, we’ll look at how to build out the Order Guide Tab. In this video, we’ll add a Dynamic Section to our tab in order to display our list of products. For now, the data displayed will be static, however, in a future video, we’ll show you how to bind the list to a dynamic data source. Additionally, you’ll see how simple it is to style your application specifically to your company’s look and feel.

Coming soon in video #3, we’ll take a first look at Apex Repository and how it is used to easily create a table for a new business object.

erikafulkApp in 60 Minutes – Order Guide Tab
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App in 60 Minutes – Layout Main Page

Getting started is as easy as 1, 2, 3…

This is the first of seven videos in our series – Build a Process App in 60 Minutes.  In it, we will use Apex Coach Views to layout the main page of our Store Order Application.  This page will contain a header, footer, and set of tabs.  Using the config options of the coach views, you will see how easily and quickly you can set up your page layout.

Stay tuned for video #2 in our series, where we will take a look at building out the layout of the Order Guide tab.

erikafulkApp in 60 Minutes – Layout Main Page
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Apex Repository 3.0

Apex Process Consultants is pleased to announce the general availability of Apex Repository 3.0.  This release expands on the success of the original Apex Repository and offers new functionality designed to make the implementation and maintenance of a system of record faster and more efficient.  The goal of any agile development project is keep moving forward efficiently thorough each iteration. Maintaining the system of record and keeping it in sync with changing business objects can lead to delays, especially when specialized tools and skills are required.  The team at Apex Process Consultants understands this and Repository 3.0 will help your team stay agile and deliver more business value.

Repository_diagram

(click image for larger view)

This release of Apex Repository introduces a new configuration wizard that allows you to:

  • Map business objects to tables using rules-based defaults with manual overrides
  • Easily identify database updates based on changes to your business objects (and apply those changes to your database)
  • Implement primary and foreign keys
  • Bulk load and manage data using Excel

With this release, Apex Repository includes a full set of ready-to-use integration services (no development required!), as well as, a set of integration coach views that retrieve and manage data directly from the client (no Ajax services to build!).  You’ll be able to quickly define and maintain the relationship between business objects and the system of record database whether you have an existing database schema or need to create a new one from scratch.

For more details, please visit the Apex Repository page.

Contact Apex Process Consultants with any questions or to set-up a demo!

erikafulkApex Repository 3.0
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Announcing Apex Firebase Integration

Apex Process Consultants is pleased to announce our newest product – Apex Firebase Integration.  Available now, the Beta Release includes a set of coach views and services (packaged as an IBM BPM Toolkit) to help you to build realtime applications with Firebase.

Check out this video to see Firebase in action:

The key features of the Firebase Integration Toolkit include:

  • Realtime Apps:  Data updates in Firebase are automatically pushed to your coach (within milliseconds) ensuring your users are always looking at the most up-to-date data!
  • Minimal Time to Get Started:  No need to install a database – import the toolkit, connect your coaches, and you’ll be up and running in minutes!
  • Client Side & Server Side Support:  Whether your app requires client side or server side data, the toolkit has coach views and services that easily integrate!

The Firebase Integration Toolkit enables:

  • Aggregation of Data Sources:  Firebase allows you to easily set up an aggregated view of data (populated via different sources) that can be displayed on a coach and updated via integration services.
  • Collaboration:  With data always being in sync, users can easily collaborate on any given task!

For more details, please visit the Apex Firebase Integration page.

Contact Apex Process Consultants with any questions or to set-up a demo!

lgerhardAnnouncing Apex Firebase Integration
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Gearing up for #IBMImpact 2014

Every December we have our holiday party. We all get together reflect a little on the past year. Mostly we just catch up with the people who live out of state or who have just been traveling and we don’t see very often.

Every January we start focusing on what’s up-and-coming in the technology world.

Every February we have our Annual Kickoff Meeting. We all get together to talk about the business side of things. In December it’s all fun and games, but February is all business. We discuss what we did in the past year. And we talk about what goals we want to accomplish in the next 30, 60 and 90 days. We plan out how to make the current year more successful for us and our clients. We figure out how to use new technology in what we’re doing. The rest of February is spent implementing and planning the rest of the year, as well as working on all the client projects we have going on.

Since January we’ve been upgrading old products and adding new products and toolkits that will knock your socks off, and also streamline your business.

Have you checked out our Apex Coach Views 1.5 update?

Have you seen our Apex Repository page? There isn’t much there right now, but in the next few weeks we’ll be unveiling our new Apex Repository, with so many cool new features you’ll do anything to get it!

We’re also working on an amazing new product that we can’t tell you much about, yet… But we’ll be launching this new toolkit before IBM Impact. We’ll be at Impact in case you want to stop by and chat with us about this or any of our products/toolkits.

erikafulkGearing up for #IBMImpact 2014
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Evolution, Aliens and Agile

“A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work. You have to start over with a working simple system.” -John Gall

I first encountered that opening quote from John Gall’s Systemantics back in 2000.  At the time I thought it was an amusing, albeit cynical, assessment of how systems work.  By systems Gall was not referring to computer programs – it was 1975 and the complex, networked, firewalled, data-based systems of today were only hinted at.  But business processes and methodologies were in place and Gall’s book railed against both bad system design and the futility of trying to design complex working systems.

During the past 15 years or so, my opinion of Gall’s quote (which in systems studies is known as Gall’s Law) has changed.  It’s not cynical – it is brilliant.  Gall’s insight is a deeply important one that has ramifications; not just for corporate processes, but also for engineering, politics and biology.

When one encounters a complex working system it is often natural to assume that some clever person or persons created the system out of thin air.  Of course, this is absurd if you think about it – we all build on the knowledge of our predecessors.  And systems evolve.  Smart phones didn’t spring from Steve Jobs’s skull like Athena from Zeus.  Before the iPhone, there was an evolutionary tree from the radio car phone to the brick to the flip phone to feature phones with apps – and what about Blackberry and the Palm Treo?  These predecessors are quickly forgotten in the wake of a more successful working system, but it is the nature of the human mind to marvel at the momentary and not reflect on the complex history that led up to the present.

Gall’s insight is true for many “mysteries” of human history, such as the Antikythera mechanism.  This mysterious device is an ancient mechanical computer.  It may be two millennia old; yet, it contains precise gears that simulate complex astronomical behavior to allow date calculations to be performed.  When faced with the complexity of this ancient device, many people come to the conclusion that it was either built with the help of aliens or was the product of some amazing savant.   Using Gall’s law as guidance, the more reasonable conclusion is that before this device was built there were simpler devices.  Earlier machines used gears and earlier designers worked with mathematicians and astronomers to turn their knowledge of the solar system into machines to simulate their understanding.   There would not have been a single device such as this.  There would have been prototypes, and more primitive predecessors that worked, that were not as complex, and which have been lost to history.  But they certainly must have existed.

One of the more recent developments in software design is the adoption of a methodology known as Agile Software Development. In compliance with Gall’s law, the Agile methodology itself evolved from other software development methods – taking those parts that worked and rejecting those parts which did not.  Agile has several characteristics – more than are within the scope of this article – but the one I find most constructive is that throughout the lifecycle of the project you develop working systems first, and then elaborate on them.   Agile Software Development is Gall’s Law in action.  A software project is broken up into development segments called “sprints” during which working prototypes are built.  Developers work with users to ensure that requirements are captured.  As the project develops, clients and developers share insights into how the software can work better.  New requirements emerge. Through continuous collaboration, the project evolves and there is a much greater chance that the end product will work properly, give the customers what they need and hopefully, be the kind of complex working system that leads people to wonder, how did they come up with this?

 

Questions or comments? Contact Blake at Blake.Smith@ApexBPM.com

 

erikafulkEvolution, Aliens and Agile
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What’s New in 1.5 – Grid Complex Row

Apex Grid Complex Rows give you a new way to present data in a grid. Developers run into this question all the time: “How do I best present my data without it looking like an overwhelming spreadsheet to my users?”

With our Grid Complex Row tools we give IBM BPM developers a new, simple and powerful way to show extended grid data to users. The Grid Complex Row allows you to show the core data you need for each row of data, and then – when certain conditions are met – additional rows of data can be made to appear that are tied to the immediately preceding row. For example, what if you were looking at your team’s expense reports and wanted to see the descriptions on any items that cost over $500? You could include the description notes for every item in the grid – or with Grid Complex Row you would see those details neatly displayed, but only when the record meets your rules. It’s a powerful tool that helps you keep your IBM BPM grids smaller and easier to read. This is a very useful tool for mobile development.

erikafulkWhat’s New in 1.5 – Grid Complex Row
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What’s New in 1.5 – Grid Row Section

When it comes to editing data in a Grid, the classic solution is to pop-up an interface in front of the grid and let the user edit one record at a time. But there are problems with this approach. It doesn’t work well on mobile, it doesn’t let you easily cut and paste from one record to another, it only allows you to edit one record at a time, and so on.

Our solution to this is the Apex Grid Row Section. It empowers your IBM BPM grids with a new interface that lets you edit multiple records at once without limiting your options. With Grid Row Sections, new editable areas replace the grid row and let you edit right in the same screen. It’s a wonderful user experience and works great on mobile devices.

erikafulkWhat’s New in 1.5 – Grid Row Section
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