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Creating a RAD Web Application with Iron Speed Designer

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					    Creating a RAD Web Application with Iron
                Speed Designer
    If you have ever built database driven web applications, you are aware of the
    time and effort involved in getting your app not only to function properly, but to
    look nice as well. Even something as simple as an online store can quickly get
    convoluted and have you bogged down in the trenches with hours of code. In
    this tutorial, I am going to show you how to change all of that with the use of a
    simple tool known as the Iron Speed Designer.
                                  RAD Tutorials for .Net Topics

          - Creating a RAD Web Application
          - Customizing Web Applications Quickly
          - CASE RAD Tools For ASP.Net
          - Using Relational Databases And Custom Queries .NET CASE Tools
    Download the full project file in a .rar Creating IronSpeed Applications Sample
    Code
    Iron Speed is a great tool that saves you time and money, easing developer
    fees that could run in the thousands of dollars. It connects to your existing
    database and uses that data to launch a web platform in literally less than five
    minutes (depending upon your configuration options).
    From there, you can go on to customize every page of your site by changing
    one of the 29 built-in themes to better suit your needs. You can add your own
    logos, headers, menu items, and even custom .Net code, all without having to
    know any programming language.
    Getting Started
    For this project, I will be using a Windows computer with XP installed and a
    copy of Iron Speed Designer, which you can find here . You will need to fill out
    a form with some basic information before downloading begins and to receive
    a trial registration number.
    For the database engine, we will be utilizing Microsoft Access' sample
    Northwinds.mdb, which comes as part of the standard Iron Speed Designer
    package (it is also included in MS Access as well). For those of you not familiar
    with the database, Northwinds.mdb is a fictional db that stores customer and
    product information.
    If you want to add some custom images to your sample database, you can
    have those on hand as well, as I will be showing how to implement them
    through the course of this tutorial series.
    I will assume you have a working knowledge of database terminology (ie; what
    the phrases: row, column, primary/foreign key, relationship, etc mean) and
    understand the way basic web pages work, even if you cannot program them.
    Setting Up the App
    My original intent for this article was to create a code sample, then re-create it
    using Iron Speed Designer. After a few days of initially setting this product up
however, it became clear that it would take up too much space for a single
article, and so in this first part, we will be focusing on how to configure Iron
Speed Designer; we will follow it up with a second article showing how to
customize your pages and reports. At the end of these two articles, it will be
painfully clear that Iron Speed Designer saves you an incredible amount of
effort.
To begin, install the application that I had you download in the beginning of this
article. Simply follow the on-screen prompts, accepting the default values and
waiting for the install to complete.
Configuring the App
Now that Iron Speed Designer is installed and configured, we can get down to
business and create our first app!
Go ahead and open the program. Once you do, you will be confronted with two
buttons and a table of some upcoming news and feature from Iron Speed. You
will want to click on the button, "Create An Application Now!" to begin:




Editor's Note: You can also choose New App from the menu bar to achieve the
same effect.
This launches the Application Wizard. To kick things off, click on the Next
button, which will load the Page Style tab. As you might suspect, this is where
you can choose one of the 29 pre-built templates Iron Speed Designer offers.
Depending upon your license, you will be able to choose from Enterprise
Edition, Professional Edition, or Trial Edition. Since we are using the Trial
Edition in this article, go ahead and click on the Trial Edition option and choose
the style, Shasta.
After you click Next, the Database Server tab opens and you will be able to
choose and configure the type of/which database you wish to use to base the
application off of. You have the option of choosing from one of these database
types by default:




As I stated before, Iron Speed comes with two sample databases -
Northwinds.mdb and Jobapplication.mdb (both for Microsoft Access), so for
ease of use, stick with the default choice of Microsoft Access, shown above.
To the right of the Database Server Type box you will find the Database
Connection Information - Microsoft Access box. Under Database File, choose
Southwind.mdb from the pull-down menu. Under authentication, leave the
None radio tab ticked. When working with your own database, you will always
want to require a database password of some sort, but since we are working
from Microsoft's sample database (which has no protection), go ahead and
skip the password for now...




To verify that everything is configured and working properly, go ahead and
click on the Test Connection button. If all is well, you will get the following
pop-up:




Click OK, then click the Next button to move on to the next tab - Pages.
The Pages tab is where you will define which pages you wish to include in your
application. You start off by choosing which tables from the Southwind.mdb
database you want to create pages from. For simplicities sake, un-check the
Categories box and select the Products table:




To the right of the Table Selection box, you can choose which pages to create
from Products. The types of pages you can create include:
       Data Entry Forms - For adding/editing records and editing tables.
       Reports - A wide variety of reports.
       Workflow - These pages give the user the ability to search, edit, show,
          and select a given record(s).
Let's stick with the default choices and click Next to continue.




Here you have the Keys page, which automatically detects any tables that
have Primary/Foreign Keys, and offers to create separate pages for them.
Since the Northwinds.db Products table does not have a primary or foreign key
set, none are detected. If we wanted to, we could create a VPK (virtual private
key) or VFK (virtual foreign key) by clicking the appropriate button. However,
since this is just a product table, we will skip that option and click Next to move
on to the Languages section.
As the name suggests, the Language tab is where you select the different
languages you want to offer support for in your web application. There are
quite a few options, including the most common of English, French, and
Chinese, as well as some not-so-common, such as Uzbek and Zulu. You also
have the option to choose text-direction: left to right for most languages, right
to left if you intend to use Hebrew, Arabic, and so forth. Finally, you can also
choose the format of your dates and currency, which logically should match
whatever your primary language is going to be.
Pick a few languages if you like, leaving English as the default (you can
choose another language as your default later on by highlighting the language,
then clicking the Set Default button).




Clicking Next will take you to the Applications Settings tab, the final page
before Iron Speed creates your application. You can set the following
information on this page. I suggest using the defaults I have listed below:
      Application Name: SampleApp
      Application Folder: C:\Documents and
         Settings\James\Desktop\SampleApp\
      Application Type: Web Site for .Net
      Code Language: C#
      .Net Framework: 3.5
      SQL Statement Generation: Stored procedures
      Application Namespace: SampleAppi
      Virtual Directory Name: SampleApp
Once you choose these settings, click Next once more to get a preview of what
your app will look like. If you followed this article, you will see that Iron Speed is
going to create at least 8 pages for you.




Before you click Finish however, I would like to point out one final button - the
Options button. You may have noticed this button at the bottom of your screen
the entire time. With it, you can define even more settings within your
application. There are too many to get into at this point in the article, but feel
free to click on the button and take a look at all of the options you can change.
After you are finished looking at the different options and once you are ready to
actually create your application, go ahead and click Finish. Iron Speed
Designer will now build your application, creating project files, ASPX pages
and ASCX controls, code files, and any stored procedures. It will also give you
an estimate of how many hours you saved by using their product, and how
much money you could have saved (assuming a base development fee of $40
per hour).
If there are any errors or warning, you will see them here as well.
And that is all there is to creating your own database-driven web application
with Iron Speed Designer!
Summary
In this article we installed and configured a web application based off of
Microsoft Access' sample Northwinds.mdb database. The app can be used as
part of the back-end for a store front, allowing users to edit and add data to a
product database.
This is a very simple type of web application, and only part of a larger
application that would include many other pages, database tables, and code.
Still, even with such a small sample - what really equates to 8 pages that draw
upon data from a database - you can see the enormous amount of time and
effort Iron Speed Designer saves you.
Having dealt with similar, full-scale products myself, I can tell you that many
man hours go into creating this type of project. Why waste money and energy
setting up the framework for such an app, when a product like Iron Speed
Designer can handle all of the work for you, freeing you up to concentrate on
other important tasks, such as tweaking the UI and adding custom code?
Speaking of which - we have only just touched on the surface of what Iron
Speed is capable of achieving. As promised, in the next article, we will begin
customizing the design and layout of our sample web application so that it
incorporates our own branding and style.




               Gallery: Iron Speed Designer in Preview Mode
Gallery: Iron Speed Designer in Design Mode

				
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posted:7/24/2012
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