Mobile App Development: A User Story


Ahh spring! Birds singing, flowers blooming, and the sun rises earlier and sets later. All that extra daylight gives solar power generation systems more hours to make electricity. As the summer solstice approaches, solar generation systems enter their most productive time of year.

Owners of rooftop solar systems can be passionate about tracking their productivity. The actor and comedian John Hodgman even moderated a disagreement over obsessive monitoring of solar production. My friend Kasey is also enthusiastic about solar power. Whenever I see Kasey, she reports her latest kilowatt-hours stats. Kasey’s home is in a warm, sunny climate where air conditioning is her biggest electricity demand. She installed solar panels on the roof of her house at the end of last June and her system raced to generate enough power during long summer days to offset her air conditioning.

After receiving the electric bill for August, Kasey called her solar installer to report success – her home’s electricity consumption for the month was zero. “I have to confess, I read my meters every single day to see how the system is doing,” Kasey told the installer.

“Everybody does it,” the installer replied. “Some users even tell me they check the meters three times a day!”

Kasey asked me if a mobile phone application built with MobileTogether might make a good reporting tool for her solar power system. “I could enter the meter readings into my phone,” she said. “I can do it every day when I take the dog out before breakfast.”

That’s how our mobile app development collaboration began. The result is the MobileTogether app we call Solar Power Tool.

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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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How to View Workflow Automation Reports on FlowForce Server


Altova FlowForce Server is a high-performance workflow engine for automating enterprise-level data processing, data integration, and ETL jobs.

FlowForce Server includes a helpful web interface for managing and monitoring all aspects of data processing jobs, including in-depth logging functionality and a complete visual dashboard. Let’s take a look at how you can take advantage of FlowForce charts and statistics to monitor the progress of FlowForce Server jobs, as well as performance of the server itself, in great detail.

Article about FlowForce Server
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Data Mapping with XSLT3 Math Functions


XSLT3 adds trigonometry and other advanced math functions, new formatting functions, functions to collect environment variables, and more, extending XSLT and XSLT2 XML transformation standards. Data analysts and other data professionals can apply XSLT3 functions to solve XML data mapping and integration challenges that require complex mathematical computations. Let’s look at some MapForce examples of data mapping with XSLT3 math functions using trigonometry and other complex math expressions.

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The fastest way to replace expiring licenses on Altova LicenseServer


Have you ever struggled with replacing an expiring software license because production in your organization runs 24/7? Maybe your biggest fear is that the application will stop running?  Fear not – I will walk you through the replacement process so you can avoid any interruptions in service. 

Though using the Altova LicenseServer is straightforward, there are a couple of tricks and tips that will make your life easier. For this post, my goal is to walk you through the process of replacing an expiring license.  Be it a standalone or centralized license server, replacement is fast and easy.  And we will complete the replacement of the license without any downtime to the application(s) being served.

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XML Grid Gets a Makeover


If you’ve worked with XML in XMLSpy you’ve likely utilized XML Grid View to get a graphical representation of your XML document’s structure. This visual representation of the document’s hierarchical structure makes it immediately easier to understand and edit the content.

In the latest version of the XML editor, XML Grid looks a little different – in fact, it’s been completely rebuilt from scratch to offer even more unique functionality for editing, querying, calculating, and sharing XML data.

Learn about XML Grid in XMLSpy
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