There's a new sample builder just posted on the wiki called “Application Page”. It lets you create a page that implements one of several common UI design patterns including data view and data entry pages. It automates and simplifies the multiple steps that would otherwise be required, for example to import a page, apply the Data Page builder, and add “submit” button support. I'm hoping that people find this builder useful, and I'm also hoping to get feedback on it, since we're considering something like this for a potential future product release. The article and sample includes a description of the builder with screenshots, the complete builder source, and a set of example models that implement various UI design patterns.
Background and motivation
To build a UI (portlet) model in Web Experience Factor (WEF), the key initial steps/builders we generally recommend are:
- Use the Service Consumer builder to access data services. For this you'll need to have a data service provider model, but if you don't yet have a back end data service model implemented you can mock up simple data sets using the XML File Data Access builder recently posted on the wiki.
- Use a high-level page builder such as View & Form to create your initial display. Other high-level builders you can use are Data Services User Interface and Input Form.
- Use the Data Field Settings builder to control data field behavior. (This step isn't required, and there are other ways to control field behavior, but it's what I recommend.)
- Use the Portlet Adapter builder to allow your model to run as a portlet.
- Add other builders to enhance and customize the application. This would include builders that create additional pages as well as builders that enhance and customize existing pages.
For step #2 (creating the initial display), this is a place where we'd like to provide more options and better guidance. Currently if you can't use a high-level page builder for this step, you have to drop down into a more complex level of WEF development requiring more builders and more configuration steps.
The Application Page builder is designed to help address this. With this builder you can fill out a few inputs to create a page that implements one of several common UI patterns. Then you can proceed with steps 3-5 above. You can also use this builder to add pages to any model.
With this builder you'll still (of course) need other builders to create a complete application. In terms of how much automation it provides, it sits at a level midway between the current high-level builders such as View & Form and the lower-level builders such as Imported Page and Data Page.
I'd love to hear your feedback on this builder. You can leave comments to this blog or on the wiki page.
Here's a link to the sample and article: Application Page Sample Builder