Maintaining Low Code Apps


Low code software tools can speed mobile application development by freeing developers from routine coding tasks and encouraging focus on high level app requirements. However, some developers, project managers, and even entire enterprises remain wary of low code tools. These stakeholders are afraid testing and maintaining low-code apps will be more difficult and costly over time.

But not all low code or RMAD (Rapid Mobile App Development) tools are alike. A low code tool that is simply a user interface to a code generator and builds apps from a set of templates could be attractive to an inexperienced developer. When an issue arises, a highly skilled programmer might need to diagnose and modify the generated code for each mobile OS to create a solution.

MobileTogether is a cross-platform RMAD tool that works differently. MobileTogether uses a combination of drag-and-drop UI design, a powerful Action Tree visual language for event handling, and standardized functional programming for data selection and processing. MobileTogether includes a built-in Simulator window to instantly execute the app to test logic, view the UI as it will appear on a variety of iOS, Android, Windows, and other devices, and examine changes in workflow data during execution. MobileTogether also includes sophisticated automated testing features and a built-in debugger to test and debug apps with precision and examine app behavior directly in the design environment.

Let’s look at how some real-world app maintenance requirements are simplified in MobileTogether.

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Tools for JSON Comments and JSON Lines


Altova XMLSpy and MapForce JSON tools have long supported JSON and JSON5 for editing as well as data mapping and conversion. As new JSON formats arise in response to real-world usage, the support in these tools is expanding.

This article will help explain the advantages of two newer formats –  JSON Comments and JSON Lines – and show how to use them in XMLSpy and MapForce.

Tools for JSON Comments and JSON Lines
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Generating a Schema from Multiple XML Instances


I was recently talking with one of our Support Engineers about common questions he receives from customers. One that comes up a lot is schema generation, specifically, “How can I generate an XSD from XML?” The answer, of course, is to use your favorite XML editor. XMLSpy will generate a valid XSD from a DTD, a relational database structure, a JSON Schema, and of course, an XML instance.

But what many customers are surprised to learn is that the XML editor will also create an XML Schema based on a group of related XML files – and this is a common requirement. Let’s take a look at how it works.

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API Data Mapping


Web service data integration with MapForce is a popular and proven strategy to capture timely information for analysis or generation of user-friendly reports. In an earlier post we demonstrated API data mapping in 5-day weather forecasts for busy cargo shipping ports by reading Web service data in JSON format and mapping to richly formatted Excel spreadsheets. The weather API we used  is hosted by OpenWeather, a provider of historical, current, and weather forecast data.

But integrating data from any API is not a set-it-and-forget-it task. When you build a solution based on external data, you have to react quickly when the data structure changes. Since our original integration project OpenWeather revised the data delivered by their API. The API now includes wind gust predictions in a JSON property separate from wind speed. Since wind gusts are suspected as a cause of the recent Suez Canal blockage the new data is very relevant to our application! Fortunately, both the MapForce data mapping and the Excel spreadsheet are easily revised to add new data.

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Developing and Debugging User Functions in Mobile Apps


Recently I came across this note in a senior developer’s code review of a colleague’s work: “Slightly revised the user function to work correctly when languages other than English are used.” This was a surprising comment–the code is the code and it shouldn’t make a difference what language the developer or the end user speaks! A user function is simply an expression that may accept input parameters and returns a result.

Altova MobileTogether supports user functions in a cross-platform mobile development framework that combines drag-and-drop UI design and standardized functional programming for data selection and processing. Several MobileTogether demo applications are highly dependent on user functions and the MobileTogether Designer includes features that greatly assist creating and validating user functions.

Let’s take a look at user functions in mobile apps by examining one of these demo apps.

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New XML Grid and More in v2021r2


In the latest release of Altova desktop developer tools and server software products, we’re introducing a completely rebuilt XML Grid View, support for XSLT3 for XML data mapping, statistics and charts for monitoring FlowForce Server, and much more. Let’s take a look at the highlights of Altova Software Version 2021 Release 2. 

New features in Altova v2021r2
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Automatically Convert EDI to XML


Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) has proven to be a durable business-to-business communication technology in use today with history dating to the 1960s and even earlier. Efficient EDI data encoding reduced transaction payload size and improved data transfer speeds at a time when messages were sent over teletype at speeds equivalent to a 300 baud modem. EDI standards bodies promote wide acceptance among enterprises, and systematic evolution of new EDI formats extends support across industries. EDI improves profitability and is a dominant format for e-commerce data exchange.

But EDI files are barely human readable and need to be translated and mapped for compatibility with other business technologies. Altova MapForce is a graphical EDI mapping tool with native support for all major business data formats in use today, including XML, JSON, databases, flat files, Excel, and Web services, as well as the EDIFACT, X12, HL7, NCPDP SCRIPT, IDoc, PADIS, and SWIFT EDI transaction sets. MapForce can even automatically convert EDI to XML without the need to specify a target XML Schema or perform any manual mapping.

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