What’s New in MobileTogether?
MobileTogether Version 3.0
Version 3.0 provides important functionality requested by developers, such as the ability to scan barcodes and open files on mobile clients. You’ll also find powerful new tools for automated testing in both the design environment and on mobile devices that is unique to MobileTogether. Finally, for the ultimate in flexibility and versatility, it’s now possible to define and assign style sheets on numerous levels per app and print to files directly from mobile apps.
It's free to update your MobileTogether software to Version 3.0. Read more about all the new features below.
New in MobileTogether 3.0
|Support for scanning barcodes|
|Multi-level style sheets - for flexible style application on multiple levels|
|Automated testing facility - to record and re-run tests in Designer and on clients|
|A new control to embed video within an app|
|New action: print to PDF, Word, or RTF from client|
|Ability to open files (e.g., PDF) on client|
|Significant speed increase for Windows and Windows Phone client|
|Completely re-written browser client|
Support for Scanning Barcodes
Greatly expanding the power of MobileTogether for industrial applications is support for scanning barcodes in Version 3.0. This action will be immediately familiar to end users, who can now use the camera function of their mobile device to scan a barcode and retrieve the information stored therein.
When the scan is completed, MobileTogether automatically enters the barcode and the corresponding barcode format into two separate XML nodes. For example, if an ISBN barcode is scanned, then the ISBN number and the ISBN barcode format (which is EAN-13) is saved to the two nodes specified in the definition of the action. This barcode information is then available to the design as XML data.
Barcode support is one of the most frequently requested features and immediately makes MobileTogether apps more versatile for a variety of vertical industries.
Supported Barcode Standards
MobileTogether supports numerous popular linear and 2D barcode standards, including:
- Code 39
- Code 93
- Code 128
- Data Matrix
- PDF 417
- QR Code
Multi-level Style Sheets
App developers now have the option to define global styles that can be applied at the project, page, table, and control level. This provides a one-stop repository of styles that can be used on multiple levels across the project.
Style sheets are created using the Style Sheets dialog, shown below.
There are two types of style sheets. The first is the Project style sheet, which is used if you want to make project-wide changes to the look & feel of all buttons, define the font size for all text items, or control background colors project-wide.
The second type is user-created style sheets, which can be applied as needed to individual pages, tables, and controls.
When defining styles in the right-hand pane of the Style Sheets dialog, you can select or enter a static property value, or you can enter an XPath expression that evaluates to a property value. An example of a dynamic assignment would be to make a property value conditional on some criterion, such as the screen width of the end-user mobile device, or a user-preferences, such as letting the user adjust the font-size with one settings page in your app, and having that font-size applied to all text items.
During app development, applying a user-created style sheet to a design component is as easy as selecting the name of the style sheet in the Styles & Properties window, shown in the right-hand screenshot below.
This functionality not only saves a tremendous amount of time, but it also provides unmatched flexibility for customizing the look and feel of apps across all platforms. For instance, if you need to make all app buttons look the same across iOS, Android, and Windows (i.e., instead of using the native button-looks), you can now define that once per project (or at any granular level, as required).
Automated Testing Facility
MobileTogether 3.0 includes features that greatly enhance the ability to test and debug mobile apps. In the Simulator portion of MobileTogether Designer, it is now possible to record a sequence of user actions, save the sequence in a file, and replay saved user action sets later when the app is modified.
The Designer toolbar now includes convenient buttons to record user actions, play back a set of actions, and manage files containing saved user actions.
Unlike other products, actions may be replayed either in the Simulator window itself, or on a client device that is connected to the Designer for a trial run!
Developers and testers will be able to save entire suites of test scripts to validate apps as they evolve over time.
The Manage Test Cases and Runs dialog lets users manage libraries of test cases for each app, control playback speed, and collect snapshots of client views and page sources after each step.
Users can also select any two cases or test runs and compare results during test runs to identify differences after a change has been made to the app. In the comparison below the value of a page source element changed in a subsequent test run after the actions assigned to a user control were revised.
Execution of saved test scripts allows app developers to:
- Validate app behavior if underlying data changes, such as the result of database queries or REST web service requests
- Verify bug fixes by replaying the set of actions that caused the error in a new version of the app that incorporates the fix
- Ensure no unexpected behaviors are accidentally introduced in new versions of the app
- Preview how the same sets of user actions look on different mobile client devices
Automated testing in MobileTogether makes it possible to deploy apps to end-users on multiple mobile platforms much more rapidly than other mobile development app tools. Other tools require that modified versions of the app be compiled individually for each mobile operating system, then deployed and tested separately.
New Action: Print to PDF, Word, or RTF from Client
Document or report generation directly from a mobile app? It’s now possible with MobileTogether 3.0. This support is enabled through rich synergy with Altova StyleVision for designing multichannel reports and StyleVision Server (version 2017sp1 or later) for generating them on the fly, based on end user data.
StyleVision Server uses a report design created in StyleVision to print the end user's data to PDF, Word, or RTF.
Once a document is generated, it will be saved on the client for further processing. For instance, a PDF file could be emailed as a file attachment. The ability to print to documents in predefined, standardized formats greatly enhances potential applications for MobileTogether in enterprise environments and has been frequently requested by existing users.
Ability to Open Files on Client
Now MobileTogether developers can give end users the ability to open files such as PDFs, image files, text files, etc., that are stored on the client device. The file path can be defined in the app design directly or via XPath.
Or, the developer can let the end-user select the file on his/her device, for instance, in a Windows 8 or 10 app. An optional file extension filter lets the developer specify the types of files that are allowed to be opened.
The file will be opened in the device’s default application for that file-type.
Completely Re-written Browser Client
In addition to native apps for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Windows 8/10, MobileTogether generates an HTML5 browser-based client for devices running any other operating system.
For Version 3.0, we have completely re-written the MobileTogether browser client to deliver higher performance. The new version transfers significantly less data between server and browser, which reduces data traffic, and apps running in the browser are generally smoother and faster.
Internal tests, especially via the 3G network, result in page rendering speeds up to 10 times* faster.
Significant Speed Increase for Windows Devices
Page rendering speeds on Windows Phone and Windows 8 and 10 apps built in MobileTogether are now up to 5 times* faster.
*Based on internal tests. Your results may vary.
New in MobileTogether 2.2
|New in Version 2.2:|
|New action for recording audio|
|New action to play audio|
|New action to play video|
|A new control to embed video within an app|
|Audio and video XQuery extension functions|
|A new Simulator feature for LAN connections|
|End-user file dialog|
|Enhanced context menu for tables|
The record audio action lets developers embed sound recording functionality into a mobile app. You can specify the audio file format (encoding) and sampling rate, which determine the quality of the recording, or limit the duration by time or recorded file size.
A button in an app can be defined to start recording when clicked, as shown in the screenshot to the right. The dropdown menu in the image displays sound encoding formats available for iOS devices.
The new Play Audio action includes start, stop, and pause features that users expect to manage audio playback.
The Play Audio action can play sound from recorded audio files or from the mobile device built-in soundbank. Developers can specify that playback start any time in seconds (Play from) after the beginning of the file, and can also limit the duration of playback (Play until) in seconds.
Multiple sounds can be played simultaneously in different channels, for instance an app could play continuous background music and periodic foreground sounds based on user actions.
Video Control and Play Video Action
A new control in MobileTogether 2.2 lets developers embed video directly in MobileTogether apps. The video source can be a file or URL, or the video location can be assigned by an XPath expression. This means one video control in the app could display video from many sources. Additionally, the developer can specify the height and width of the video window or let the device use defaults based on the user’s screen size and the dimensions of the video data frame.
Video controls can be included automatically as an overlay on the playback, or the new Play Video action can define user management of video playback. The Play Video action includes the same options as Play Audio: Start, Pause, Resume, Stop, and Seek to.
New MobileTogether XQuery Extension Functions
MobileTogether 2.2 includes new XQuery extension functions to support fine-grained monitoring and control of the app during execution of audio and video actions. For instance, the developer might want to display the length of an audio file in minutes and seconds for user reference, or check the frame dimensions of a video before playing it on a device with a very small screen.
The image below combines two parts of the list of all extension functions in the MobileTogether Expression Builder to show the new audio and video functions in version 2.2.
Simulate LAN Connection
The MobileTogether Simulator can be set to simulate the availability of a LAN connection. This adds to the number of connection types that can be simulated, which now are: mobile network, WiFi, and LAN. A related MobileTogether extension function has been introduced: (i) mt-connected-via-lan to allow developers to test whether a LAN connection is available to the end user when the app is running.
End-User File Dialog
MobileTogether already includes actions to load and save files in mobile apps. For version 2.2, these actions are enhanced to allow the end user to select a file when the app is running, greatly expanding file import/export functionality.
Enhanced Context Menu for Tables
Table headers and footers can now be added to dynamic tables via the context menus. This is a small feature that makes it easier for developers to modify dynamic tables after the initial design.
- Windows 8, Windows 10
- Windows Phone 8
- HTML-5 Browser Based Client
MobileTogether has broken most of the barriers to mobile development, making it easier and faster than ever before to develop great apps for all platforms. Now, we're breaking down the final roadblock: cost. With the MobileTogether 2.1 launch, we're rolling out a simplified pricing plan designed to get you up and running at light speed.
As always, the MobileTogether Designer app development environment is free-of-charge, so you can roll it out to an unlimited number of developers in your company. Now, we've drastically reduced the costs for the app server, as well. MobileTogether Server is now available with per server core prices starting at $1000 per year. That's right: $1000 annually for an unlimited number of apps, and an unlimited number of users.
While there's no limit to the number of users or number of apps that you can run on the mobile app server, you may, of course need to scale the server machine depending on actual load, to provide optimal performance for larger numbers of users. But the starting price is perfect for most initial deployments.
In addition to new pricing, MobileTogether 2.1 introduces over 30 new features, which can be grouped as follows:
|Enhancements to Tables|
|Scrollable tables: set max height and width to allow horizontal and vertical scrolling|
|New property: table row/column background color|
|Option to align nested tables|
When displaying data in tables, developers — and end users – can be frustrated by the small screen sizes of many mobile devices. Now MobileTogether 2.1 lets developers set the maximum visible size of a table, or set it to fit the rest of the screen, with horizontal or vertical scrolling enabled to view the rest. It is also possible to lock table headers and footers to help users identify data as scrolling occurs.
Scrollable tables can be used for more than expanded displays of data, for instance, when a table is used to layout other controls. The scrollable table feature makes it possible to define elements such as navigation bars or other tools that always stay locked at the bottom of the screen as the user scrolls through a larger view.
An example of a scrollable table is shown to the right, as seen in the Simulator window of MobileTogether Designer.
Support for scrollable tables, along with a new property for setting row/column background color and the option to align nested tables, lets developers design complex tables for large datasets but still make the viewing experience pleasant and productive for the end user.
|New Controls and Enhancements to Existing Controls|
|New control: Slider|
|New control: Vertical line|
|New button looks: Share and Email|
Slider, Vertical Line, and Share/Email Buttons
New controls in MobileTogether v 2.1 allow developers to add familiar visual elements to their sophisticated UIs, making apps even easier for users to understand and operate. The slider control is typically used to permit end users to select any value between a predefined minimum and maximum. The position of the pointer gives a general indication of the user setting, even without a scale of values.
The new vertical line control complements the existing horizontal line and can be used in tables to emphasize column separation and alignment. The screenshot to the left shows a partial view of a table with vertical lines as displayed on an Android device.
MobileTogether 2.1 also adds new buttons with icons for sharing and email in two different button styles that will be immediately familiar to end users.
|New action: Share. Familiar option for sharing via Facebook, Email, Messaging, etc. apps|
|New action: DB Bulk Insert Into. For quickly inserting multiple rows into a database at once – speeds up to 100x faster *|
|New action: Let. Allows definition of temporary variables in action trees|
|New action: Return. Allows an action group to return a result of any complexity; action group can act as a programming subroutine|
|Subpages: possibility to return result on close (in conjunction with Let action)|
|Action groups: possibility to pass parameters (and even other action groups) to an action group|
|New action: Try/Catch. For sophisticated error handling and recovery|
|New action: Throw. As part of the Try/Catch action, Throw allows definition of exception conditions|
|New action: Cancel Action Execution. For example, at a validation error in user-entered data|
|New action: Scroll to Table Bottom. For example, when adding new rows to a scrollable table|
|New action: Load Image. Load an image for further processing, for instance to transfer to a database|
|New action: Show Route. Adds to geolocation functionality; show a route between two points|
|New Action: Loading/saving files on client devices. Users can save files / share between apps on device|
|Creating folders automatically when saving files on client or server. When saving to a folder that doesn't exist, it can be created|
|New action: Delete Files/Folders. As permitted by the client operating system or server administrator|
|New action: Restart/Stop Page Timer. Interrupt the page timer and even reset the timer interval|
|New action: User Cancel Behavior. More flexibility for letting user cancel at predefined safe locations|
Listed above, the new actions included in MobileTogether 2.1 allow developers to easily apply sophisticated programming techniques in MobileTogether apps. These include extensive error handling through the new Try/Catch, Cancel Action Execution, and related actions.
It’s now possible to save files to a client device, which users often do with photos, for instance. This is also useful for sharing files between different apps. When something is saved to a specified folder that doesn’t exist, MobileTogether will now create that folder for a seamless experience.
The ability to pass parameters and return results in action groups lets action groups perform like true programming subroutines.
*Performance results based on Altova internal tests. Your results may vary.
|New XPath Functions, Properties, and Options|
|Flexibility to set some existing properties via XPath|
|New property: text size in pixels|
|New XPath function: mt-connected-via-wifi|
|New XPath function: mt-font-height|
|New XPath function: mt-control-width|
|New XPath function: mt-user-tried-to-cancel-actions|
|Quick search in XPath function dialog|
|New option to hide page title bar|
New XPath functions and Properties
New XPath extension functions help developers allow for various scenarios, such as whether the device is connected via Wi-Fi or not, and what the standard font height is on a particular client platform.
The option to hide the page title bar gives the app a larger active area, which can be especially helpful on smaller devices.
All these new features came from direct developer feedback and add to the extensive functionality already available.
|New Features to Improve End User Experience|
|Customizable login/index page for browser client|
|Speed up of app starts when connection is slow|
|New keyboard style: Visible Password|
More Features to Improve End User Experience
A great user experience is the first goal of any data-centric app, and we’re constantly striving to add features aimed directly at helping the end user.
Now, even when a connection is slow, MobileTogether apps will start much faster. The “Show Password” option is now available for password entry, and the developer can customize the login or index page for an app accessed in the Browser Client. Now more flexibility is allowed for not requiring a user to authenticate if it’s not required by the app. The developer can also specify a more user-friendly introductory page for the MobileTogether Server when an app first starts and the end-user is required to log in.
MyCollections Demo App
Simultaneously with the launch of MobileTogether 2.1 we are releasing a new app to demonstrate the rich functionality developers can incorporate in cross-platform mobile apps that delight end users.
MyCollections is a highly flexible and expandable mobile personal database application users can apply to manage personal collections of any objects. MyCollections includes built-in templates for audio CDs, books, and wine that can be used as-is, customized with new enhancements, or viewed as merely a starting point for any other collection. Users can add photographs, create and format new descriptive fields, and customize MyCollections to suit the collection of their dreams.
MyCollections even enables social sharing. Each user can create accounts to let friends log in from their own mobile devices to see the contents of the collection.
Build the mobile app you've been dreaming about with MobileTogether!
MobileTogether Version 2.0
New Features added in MobileTogether Version 2.0
Launched on November 10, 2015, Version 2.0 opened doors to a whole new market of developers who need to build customer-facing, cross platform native apps that mobilize essential business and data-centric processes. In versions 2.0 and higher, you can build your own apps and submit them to the app stores yourself!
Read more about all the new features added in MobileTogether Version 2.0 below.
|New Features Include:|
|Build your own AppStore Apps|
|New server licensing option: per server core|
|Support for REST and SOAP Web services|
|Support for JSON data|
|Support for Firebird databases|
|Other supported databases updated to include newest versions|
|Parallel processing of multiple solutions|
|Signature / simple drawing control|
|Load/save files with filename calculated via XPath|
|Simulate missing Server access|
|Support for Windows 10|
|Support for Windows 10 Edge Browser|
|New XPath functions for color handling|
|Support for multiple languages: English, German, French, Japanese, Spanish|
|New flag for source trees: Keep data on client|
|New page action: OnServerConnectionError|
Build Your Own AppStore Apps
MobileTogether remains the fastest way to develop sophisticated, data-centric apps for iOS, Android, Windows, and other platforms. Now, in addition to Instant Deployment using the MobileTogether Apps, you can go a step further and compile the code auto-generated by MobileTogether Designer for each platform to submit a custom app to the app stores yourself.
The new App Store Deployment option is ideal for customer facing apps or apps where strong brand recognition is desired. If a you prefer to deploy a single app with a custom name, splash screen, and home screen logo, simply compile the code generated by MobileTogether (for one or all platforms) and submit it to the app store(s).
This option still saves an incredible amount of time, because you only need to create one app design in MobileTogether Designer!
New Per Core Server Licensing Option
To allow customers to select the server licensing option best suited for their app deployment scenario, Altova offers per-core licensing for MobileTogether Server. This is a great option for App Store Deployment of public-facing apps, because developers aren't likely to know how many devices will need to connect.
The per-device licensing option is still available, with very affordable entry-level pricing. This option will be more relevant for Instant Deployment of enterprise or in-house apps, where the number of connecting devices can be estimated more easily.
Support for REST and SOAP Web Services
MobileTogether 2.0 support for REST and SOAP Web services provides mobile app developers with access to the widest range of online data possible.
A MobileTogether app can be configured to build a URL with RESTful API parameters to request data in XML, HTML, or JSON formats.
SOAP interactions are completely XML-based, using WSDL files to define messages between clients and servers. When a client requests data from a SOAP-based Web service, the result is always supplied as XML.
Support for JSON Data
MobileTogether can directly load or save JSON data from files, over the Web via HTTP or FTP, or from Web services. MobileTogether automatically converts JSON to XML for use internally, so XPath and XQuery functions can be used manipulate JSON data inside a MobileTogether app.
New and Enhanced Database Support
Firebird 2.5 databases are now supported as data sources in MobileTogether 2.0. In addition, existing support for databases has been updated to include the newest versions: IBM DB2 10.5, SQL Server 2014, PostgreSQL 9.4, MySQL 5.6, and Oracle 12C.
Supported Relational Databases
- Firebird 2.5
- IBM DB2 for iSeries® v6.1, 7.1
- IBM DB2® 8, 9.1, 9.5, 9.7, 10.1, 10.5
- Informix® 11.70
- Microsoft Access™ 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013
- Microsoft® Azure SQL
- Microsoft® SQL Server® 2005, 2008, 2012, 2014, 2016
- MySQL® 5, 5.1, 5.5, 5.6
- Oracle® 9i, 10g, 11g, 12c
- PostgreSQL 8, 9.0.10, 9.1.6, 9.2.1, 9.4
- Progress OpenEdge 11.6
- SQLite 3.x
- Sybase® ASE 15
Parallel Processing of Multiple Solutions
MobileTogether clients can now run multiple apps simultaneously and users can switch back and forth between them and continue working where they left off. This improvement in functionality applies to apps running on mobile devices or multiple browser windows in the MobileTogether Web client.
Calculate Filenames via XPath
This MobileTogether 2.0 enhancement allows developers to use files with names that are generated when the app is run, and would not necessarily be known during development of the app. For example, an HR form app could collect input from users and save data based on the user name or some other user-provided data.
New Signature / Simple Drawing Control
A new Signature control has been added to the MobileTogether Designer Controls palette. This is a graphic control that allows the developer to capture a user signature, a simple drawing, or a quick hand-written note. Developers can choose to save user input as an image.
One obvious application would be to record a signature in an app like the Parcel Delivery example included with MobileTogether.
For mobile devices, the signature is created by drawing on the screen of a touch-based phone or tablet. When the signature control is used in the Web client, the signature could be captured using a touch-based laptop screen if one is available, or a mouse or trackpad.
New XPath Functions for Color Handling
Two new built-in XPath functions have been added to allow users to control image colors. These will be especially useful for the new Signature control to easily convert captured signatures across platforms that use different color schemes.
Support for Windows 10 and Windows 10 Edge Browser
Both MobileTogether Designer and MobileTogether Server 2.0 are fully compatible with Windows 10. MobileTogether apps can be run in the Edge Browser, which replaces Internet Explorer as the native browser for Windows 10.
Simulate Missing Server Access
Users of mobile applications can experience temporary interruptions in access to wireless internet connections, and these interruptions can disrupt communication between a MobileTogether app and the MobileTogether server.
A new feature in the simulator built into the MobileTogether Designer allows developers to simulate no server access. This allows the developer to test functionality of the app under accurate real-world conditions and build-in functionality to warn users or even to compensate for intermittent connectivity.
New Page Action: OnServerConnectionError
This page action corresponds to the Simulate Missing Server Access feature and allows the developer to define what happens if server access is lost during execution. For instance, a message box can be displayed.
New Option to Keep Data on Client
A new flag for source data trees, combined with the existing Persistent flag, allows developers to specify that data is stored solely on the client device instead of on the server. This can minimize network traffic for large, complex data structures and greatly improve the end-user’s app responsiveness.
Enhanced Support for Multiple Languages
All components of the MobileTogether mobile development platform are now fully localized, with the Designer, Server, and Mobile App available in English, German, French, Spanish, and Japanese.