Introduction to BrightBuilder

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This section contains a detailed description of each step involved in creating an application using BrightBuilder. It describes BrightBuilder's underlying concepts, specific functions, and interface.

What is BrightBuilder?

Mobile applications can be thought of as being divided into three parts, the data model, the data exchange, and the user interface. The data model comprises of the database tables and the queries that can be run against these tables. The user interface consists of the forms and form controls. And the data exchange describes the synchronisation engine that passes data between the server and client.

Bright Software's BrightBuilder is the tool that makes this mobile application possible without too much cost on application development and the need for custom source code.

Forms for end user applications can be visually constructed by using the drag and drop method in a fraction of the development time necessarily used in traditional coding methods.

The built-in Import Database Tables feature can be used to obtain table definitions from the server and reuse it in other projects. With this feature, tables that already exists in the server database do not need to be recreated.

Another useful feature of Bright Applications is the use of Online Queries. Snapshots of larger server tables can be taken by means of Online Queries without saving the result set to the local database and minimising data transfer time.

Working with the fundamental database building blocks such as forms, tables, queries sync-rules and reports, the user can quickly and easily test applications with BrightForms.

BrightBuilder has a built-in application distribution feature to allow the deployment of applications to the remote users.

Mobile applications are created using BrightBuilder by first creating a project that defines application elements such as Forms, Tables, Queries, Sync Rules, Reports, Languages and Globals.

A BrightBuilder project is an application definition file with a BSP extension that stands for Bright Software Project. It contains all the information necessary to define an application, including the bitmap images used in the application. It contains the definitions for tables, queries, forms, sync rules, reports and global elements.

Starting BrightBuilder

To run BrightBuilder, do any of the following:

Upon opening BrightBuilder, the Take a Tour dialog will appear, showing a series of slides demonstrating how to get started with BrightBuilder and how it is used with the BrightXpress Mobility Suite. Tapping the Next/Previous buttons will navigate through the slides, while tapping Cancel or Finish on the last slide will close the dialog.

The Welcome Page will also appear, providing quick shortcuts to create and open new projects, and providing links to BrightBuilder and BrightXpress documentation for additional information to get started.

To show/not show these screens on startup, the 'Show On Startup' button may be toggled on either layout before closing. During a BrightBuilder session, the screen may be accessed at any time via the Help > Take a Tour or Help > Welcome Page options in BrightBuilder's menu.

Configuring BrightBuilder

BrightBuilder settings may be configured via accessing the Tools > Options dialog in BrightBuilder. This will open the options dialog to edit the display and behaviour of BrightBuilder when creating BSP, BEP or BXP projects.

BrightBuilder by default is configured to design and deploy to BrightServer Xpress Edition servers, as configured by the selection of 'Xpress Edition' in the Options panel. If the non-Xpress edition of BrightServer is used, to have BrightBuilder reflect the full functionality of this product, please locate this tab in the options, and select 'Enterprise Edition Mode'. For more information on the editions of BrightServer, please refer to the BrightServer > BrightServer Xpress Edition chapter of this document.

Additionally, BrightBuilder may be set in 'Business Application Designer Mode' which also be set when BrightBuilder is installed. This mode will have BrightBuilder operate in a mode limited to Business Application Designer projects. As with other modes, it may be changed using the options dialog.

For more information on the other settings in this dialog, please refer to the BrightBuilder Option Menu chapter of this document.

Exiting BrightBuilder

BrightBuilder can be closed by selecting the File>Exit menu or by clicking on the Close button in the upper-right-hand corner of the main window. This will automatically close the program unless there are unsaved projects. If this is the case, BrightBuilder will display the Save dialog as shown below before closing the program.

From this dialog, the user can select a particular project to save, save all projects or discard any changes made to the projects in the list, ask for help or cancel BrightBuilder program closing.