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The Flying Start Genie allows you to get a quick start on a new Web Application by automatically creating a Grid component for every table and view in your Database. The Genie also creates a Tabbed UI component which serves as your 'home page' for your auto-generated application. The Flying Start Genie can be used against both SQL databases and native Alpha Five databases (.dbf tables).
Once the Flying Start Genie has created the Grid components, you can edit any of the components in the Grid Component editor and customize any of their properties.
By default, the Grids that are automatically created for you have a Search Part and a Detail View Part. The Grids are editable and the edits are made in the Detail View part which is set to display in a pop-up, modal window.
You can easily change these defaults for all of the Grids that are created, or for individual Grids.
Watch Video - Part 1
Watch Video - Part 2
To get started with the Flying Start Genie open the Web Applications Control Panel and then click the New button:
Then select the Flying Start Genie from the list:
The Flying Start Genie appears.
On the first tab you specify if you are using native Alpha Five tables, or a SQL database. In the case of a SQL database you will specify the connection string to connect to your database.
Once you have connected to your database you can go to step 2 where you select which tables you want to include in the Flying Start.
In the case of a SQL database, the default list of available objects shows tables and views. You can filter this list to include or exclude views, aliases and synonyms.
When you select a table, the 'Use default settings for this Grid component' checkbox is checked and the property sheet is therefore hidden.
In most cases you can accept the default settings so you will leave this checkbox checked.
When you select a Table that does not have a primary key, the Genie will prompt for a surrogate primary key (one or more fields that uniquely identify a record). It is necessary to define a surrogate primary key if you want the Grid component to be editable and also if you want the Grid component to have a Detail View.
When you are prompted for a surrogate primary key, you have the option of specifying that the Grid will not be editable. If you do this, then the 'Use default settings' checkbox is automatically unchecked, and the 'Editable' property is set to 'No'.
As you can see in the Property Sheet below, many of the properties for each Grid are set to 'Use Global Setting'. This means that the value for this property is inherited from the Global Properties that you can set in step 3. So, for example, if the 'Has Search part' property is set to 'Use Global Setting' and the 'Has Search Part' property on the Global Properties tab is set to false, then this Grid will not have a Search Part. On the other hand, if you set the 'Has Search Part' property here to 'Yes' then the Grid will have a Search Part regardless of the setting of the 'Has Search Part' property on the Global Properties tab.
The Global Properties tab allows you to set global properties for each Grid that is created. It also allows you to set properties for the Tabbed UI component that is created.
Some of the interesting properties shown below are:
'Grid part fields' is set to 'Count:5'. This means that each Grid component that is created will contains the first 5 fields in the table in the Grid Part. You can change the global setting here if you want the Grid part to show more fields. For example Count:10 will show all fields. You can also set this to <AllFields> and each Grid that is created will have all of the fields in the Grid Part. (This might be a bad idea if some of your tables have a large number of fields!).
The 'Detail View part' property, on the other hand is set to <AllFields>.
For each individual Grid you can override these properties and explicitly set which columns to show in the Grid, Search or Detail View parts.
You will notice that the Search Part is set to only show on demand and that its initial state is hidden.
The Detail View part is set to show in a pop-up modal window.
The properties for the Tabbed UI component that is created include the component name and style. All of the Grids that are shown in the Tabbed UI component will be shown using this style.
You can control the spacing between buttons on the Tabbed UI here and also the width of each button on the Tabbed UI. The Tabbed UI will have one button for each Grid that was created.
When you are ready to start creating the components, go to the step 4 and click the Finish button.
The Genie will prompt if you want to save your settings so that if you need to run the Genie again in the future you can just load your saved settings. When you save your settings, you give the settings a unique name. You can use the toolbar at the top of the screen to save and load settings.
If the Publish checkbox is checked, then after the Genie builds all of the Grids (which might take some time, depending on how many tables you selected), the components will all be published to your LivePreview folder and the Tabbed UI will open.