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Juan Fernández
Application Builder
2009年11月24日 上午7:52
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Juan Fernández

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Hi liferayers!

I spend my days writing Liferay portlets and there are a lot of tasks that are common to almost every portlet I have to do.
It is very usual that the customers ask for a portlet that manage something, for example "Enterprise Resources" (like pcs, phones, cars...) or "Schools".

But what do they have in common? You may ask.

Well, the basic portlet has the following parts:

edit/detail view form
search container with all the items and the action menu
search form
advanced search form

After you create all these "screens" you can create, delete, update, search these objetcs... and it's ALWAYS the same.
Wouldn't it be great to do this automatically?

I know there's something called OpenXava that aims to achive this, but it's a developer approach. I want a PORTLET in Liferay that creates PORTLETS.

In SugarCRM you have a module builder that do exactly this, you can define the fields of the new object, and you create the forms, so that with a few mouse clicks you have a custom new module ready to use. It creates the database tables too...

This will reduce the ammount of work hours needed to create a simple portlet and every user could create a custom portlet without developing...

Let me know you oppinion and if there's already a similar suggestion...or wether if you find it useful or not.
Regards
Juan Fernández
Jorge Ferrer
RE: Portlet Creator
2009年11月17日 上午2:03
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Jorge Ferrer

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Hi Juan,

It's a very good idea, and in fact we've been moving towards making that possible in the last few releases. In particular there are two technologies that should serve as a foundation for it:

  • Expandos
  • Scripting: in fact there is a plugin in svn called Application Builder that allows doing exactly what you want, except that you have to do it by hand using an scriping language, there is no UI builder.


The next step would probably be to create the UI builder. I've talked about this with Nate before, and it should be much easier after version 5.3 once the migration to Alloy UI (and YUI 3) has been finished. In fact we'll probably be able to reuse part of the new web content structure editor.

In any case, I'm pretty sure there are many more features we could add so it's good to know that another product does something similar to get some inspiration. Could you describe or provide some screenshots so that we can get a better understanding on how this works in SugarCRM.
Juan Fernández
RE: Portlet Creator
2009年11月17日 上午8:15
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Juan Fernández

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Hi Jorge:

Jorge Ferrer:

In any case, I'm pretty sure there are many more features we could add so it's good to know that another product does something similar to get some inspiration. Could you describe or provide some screenshots so that we can get a better understanding on how this works in SugarCRM.


In SugarCRM you have the ModuleBuilder. There you can create a new module (we would call it portlet) in a few steps:

1.- You select the fields of your object and their types
2.- You say if it's related with any other system object
3.- You define the forms (View, edit, search container, search and advanced search) with a drag and drop system
4.- You publish it directly into the system

Here you can download a developer manual where you can see some screenshots of this. (Page 106)

And that's all.
When I first used SugarCRM, the first thing I thougt was: "I wish Liferay had something like this!"

Regards
Juan Fernández
Jorge Ferrer
RE: Portlet Creator
2009年11月17日 上午10:37
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Jorge Ferrer

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Hi Juan,

Thanks for the details. Can you copy and paste that information and paste it into a new wiki article within "Proposals" named "Application Builder"?

It would be very useful if you could provide links to find more information about this from articles or docs about SugarCRM.

BTW, we have the web form portlet which allows to create forms dinamically, but of course it seems much more limited.

Jorge
Juan Fernández
RE: Portlet Creator
2009年11月17日 下午11:44
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Juan Fernández

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Hi Jorge:

Jorge Ferrer:

Can you copy and paste that information and paste it into a new wiki article within "Proposals" named "Application Builder"?


I have already created a wiki article with this post's information.

In the following days I'll document it more to describe where this portlet may go (requirements, use cases...)

Are you already working in an "Application Builder" portlet? I think I have read something about this in the forum, but I'm not sure. If that's the case, can you redirect me to any related documentation to merge it with mine?

Jorge Ferrer:

BTW, we have the web form portlet which allows to create forms dinamically, but of course it seems much more limited.


I know this portlet, and it's a good start to create the "visual" parts of the applications in the "Application Builder", but this is much more complex than that, as you said.

Regards
Juan Fernández
Jorge Ferrer
RE: Portlet Creator
2009年11月18日 上午12:45
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Jorge Ferrer

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Thanks Juan.

There is already a plugin called Application Builder, but it just allows the administrator to enter a Ruby/Python/Javascript/... script through the portlet configuration which then gets executed when the portlet is run in the view mode. This portlet should probably be the base for what we want to build.

Besides this, if you checkout the sources from trunk and create or edit a web content you'll see that it's possible to edit its structure in-line with a very nice UI based on Drag & Drop. What I'm thinking is that we should reuse this UI for the Application Builder too and tie it to expandos so that we have all the pieces to build something similar to what SugarCRM has.
Juan Fernández
RE: Portlet Creator
2009年11月24日 上午5:22
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Juan Fernández

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Hi!

I have gone on thinking in this idea and I have discovered something really interesting.

There's a framework called OpenXava that allows a developer to create a JSR portlet just writing anotations in Java clases that define the main objects of the portlet, and it creates all the other necessary files (the database tables and even the GUI!!!) automatically.

I think the Application Builder may be the faccade that uses all this technology, generating the anotations in java classes, compiling them and deploying it in the application server to register it in Liferay portal to be ready to use... this would be GREAT!

Any comments?
Quick Application Suite
RE: Portlet Creator
2009年11月30日 下午2:53
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Quick Application Suite

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Hi everybody,

as long as I can see, the features of the application you are thinking about in more or less the ones of our Quick Application Builder.
With Quick application Builder you can create powerful dataentry application without writing a single line of code. You only need to know SQL syntax.
You can find free community edition for Mysql and PostgreSQL here:

www.datawarestudio.com

In the next weeks we will pubblish community edition also for Oracle and SqlServer.

At the present Quick Application Builder creates his own input and output form, but we are developing a web designer that will allow user to create their own layout.
You can find a proof of concept here:

Web_designer

We'll appreciate your feedbaks.

The datawarestudio team
Juan Fernández
RE: Portlet Creator
2009年12月2日 上午12:00
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Juan Fernández

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Hi!
Thanks for your reply.

Your system is quite interesting, I'll give it a try later emoticon

The main idea is nice, but it is a bit incompatible with what I have in mind.

I'll explain you:
I want the final user to create their own portlets, just with drags and drops and some writing and it has to be completely easy.
The SQL queries are not that simple, even if it's useful for a techy guy! emoticon

Anyway, I'll take your system into account in the future and I'll let you know if I'm using it for this purpose

Regards
Juan Fernández
Juan Fernández
RE: Portlet Creator
2009年12月2日 上午2:00
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Juan Fernández

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Update about this issue:

I have been reading about Domain Driven Design and it's the theoretical background for this idea.

Currently Alberto Montero from Liferay Spain is researching in this direction, being part of the Romulus project.

I'll go on researching this way
Regards
Juan Fernández