Background Stories, Interesting Facts and Announcements

Protogrid is alive and kicking. In this blog, our innovative engineers and creative graphic designers share their stories, anecdotes as well as useful tipps and tricks.

Discover the JSON-API with Postman

Sonja Blum on 2017-10-06
With Protogrid, a simple, useful App can be created without any programming skills. As soon as you want to add some customized comfort functionalities with JavaScript, it can be neccessary to access the database of the application through the JSON-API. There exists a documentation of the JSON-API, which explains requests and responses. Nevertheless it can be helpful to test the requests and see, what the responses look like, without running code to discover the API.

Postman

Our Developers use Postman to do this. Postman allows to make different requests and look at the responses. Thanks to the included authorization it is easy to imitate the behaviour of the script library.
Authentication with Postman

Under the tab "Authorization" you can choose the option BasicAuth and log in with your Protogrid Login data.
Now you can start different requests. I show you the basics of GET and POST, since those are the most frequent request types.
GET-Request with Postman

To perform a request of type GET, first choose the option GET at the top and enter the desired API request. By clicking on Send your request gets sent and you get the response below the "Authorization". Now you can see, how the returned JSON-object response looks like and where you find your desired information.
Post-Request witht Postman

To perform a reqest of type POST, choose the option POST and enter the address. Now you need to add the data you want to send with the request. Do so by choosing "Body" in the top tab bar, where you also find the "Authorization" tab. As type, choose "raw" and in the appearing drop down menu select "JSON(application/json)". Now you can enter your data. After sending the request, you find the response in the same text field as before.

By performing this operations, you come to know better the API and you are able to test your requests. Please be aware, that your requests get tested on the real data and therefore will be visible in your Environment.
For additional questions, our protogrid support team is happy to help you.

iOS Rollout of a Protogrid App

Raphael Grob on 2017-09-15
You have finished your very first Protogrid App and you would like to publish it on your iOS devices? This blog will take you through the necessary steps, to export your App on iOS devices. Due to Apple's very restrictive app verification, you can't just install a Protogrid Client to access all your Protogrid Apps. For each Protogrid App you must generate a native iOS App to access it on Apple's mobile devices. Before we explain how to generate such native iOS App, we should take a closer look at the requirement first.

Requirements

To generate an iOS App, you need a computer from Apple (MacBook, iMac or a similar device). On this machine, you must install the latest version of Xcode and you should have an Apple Developer Account to publish your app after its generation.
The first step of your App generation is to download the Xcode project directly from your Protogrid App under the menu point "Export/Import". The following screenshot shows you the location of the Xcode project.
Screenshot of the Xcode project download

Generate the iOS-App

Now you should decompress the project and rename the folder to "Protogrid-Build". In the decompressed folder, you will find the "readme.md" file, it contains very detailed instructions of the steps presented in this blog. Please have a look at these instructions, if you struggle with your App generation.
Open the file "Protogrid.xcodeproj" with Xcode. Then you navigate to the file "Protogrid/General/PGridInfo.plist", open it and edit the 4 entries marked on the next screenshot.
Screenshot of the Xcode project
The subsequent list states all the entries you must change and where you can find the corresponding information.
  • First you have to adjust the "Application Database ID". You will find this ID in your Protogrid App by clicking on "This Card" and afterwards on "Show Properties" on an arbitrary card of your App. The following screenshot shows you the "Card Property" window.
    Screenshot of the Card Properties
    You need to enter the marked entry "Application ID" in Xcode.
  • Then you should fill in the URL of your Protogrid Environment in the field "Protogrid Host". An example would be "ategra.protogrid.com".
  • The next entry we edit is the "Bundle Identifier", which is used by Apple to identify your iOS App. The Identifier should have a structure like this: "com.your-organization.your-department.your-app-name". It is important, that all your Apps have an unique name.
  • And finally you can give your app a display name by changing the entry "Bundle display name". You can choose whatever name you like.
After you entered the information, you should be able start your App for the first time in the simulator to initialize it. Click on the "Play Button" at the top left corner of the Xcode window to perform this action. Then you are asked to login with your Protogrid Login. Your app will now be initialized and the subsequent message will be displayed if the initialization was successful:
Screenshot of the success message
Your App should now run on the simulator and all your iOS devices. Publish your App as usual on the Appstore or company-internally by using the Apple Developer Enterprise Program.
The "readme.md" file contains additional information such as tips for your advanced iOS App preferences or a step-by-step instruction on how to update your iOS App.
Please contact our Protogrid Support Team, if you have any further questions or problems.

Powerful Protogrid Apps due to Javascript

Max Kellermeier on 2017-08-06

JavaScript is established as an integral part of the modern web. While static web pages were very usual in the early days of the World Wide Web and a long time after that, it's not possible to imagine pages without dynamic content nowadays. Due to its wide spread, there are many platforms and web services offering a JavaScript API. Hereby, a Protogrid App can easily be extended with external services. For example, to make automatic storage of searchable content from photos or scans in Protorid available, ocr.space's JQuery/Ajax API easily can be implemented. As shown in the screenshots, the scanned text is stored in less than no time and sent by mail to the user.

OCR App Screenshots

Google also offers a API for its map services. Using this API the location of an address can be determined and afterwards shown on an embedded map. In Protogrid, there only has to be a corresponding field in which the map will be displayed. Via ScriptLibrary, a listener for the address field is defined which queries the API and updates the embedded map when the address changes ("onchange" event).
Address on Google Maps
Of course, this functionality is not limited to Google Maps. Bing Maps and Openstreetmaps offer similar APIs, to name at least two alternatives.

Due to Javscript's popularity and its libraries, Protogrid can simply be extended by data and services from external sources. Whether you want to request stock prices live or whether you want to archive your Social Media messages, there are many possiblities to make use of Javscript within Protogrid.