# AT Solution Tutorial

In this tutorial you will learn how to use the AsTeRICS Solution Template Repository (opens new window) to create your own AT-related software project.

# Introduction

The AsTeRICS Packaging Environment (APE) provides the possibility to maintain an AsTeRICS based solution as a dedicated software project, that can be versioned as a git repository. As an AsTeRICS solution not always consists of just one model file but also of config files, images, or web applications, APE provides a template repository, which acts as a starting point for a solution. The repository can be downloaded, cloned or forked as any other git repository. There are also other AsTeRICS solution examples (opens new window) derived from that repository.

Before starting the tutorial, have a look at the folder structure (opens new window) of the template repository.

# Prerequisites

You need at least

  1. Java Development Kit 8 (opens new window).
  • Ensure to set JAVA_HOME to the folder where you installed the Java JDK and add the JDK bin path to the Environment Variable Path
  1. apache ant build framework (version >= 1.9.1) (opens new window)
  • Ensure to set ANT_HOME to the folder where you installed ant and add the ant bin path to the Environment Variable Path
  1. AsTeRICS 3.0.1 (opens new window) installed or a snapshot of AsTeRICS (opens new window) cloned to a parallel folder of the project.
  2. A copy of the template repository (see Download / Clone template repository

You can use an IDE for Java and Web Developers, e.g. Eclipse for Java EE developers (opens new window). See Eclipse installation and setup for details.

# Download / Clone template repository

You can either clone the template repository (opens new window) or download it as a zipped file.

You might also want to start based on an existing AsTeRICS solution example (opens new window) by downloading or forking it, if your application is similar to one of them.

# Example 1 - Run project

The template repository already contains a default autostart model at custom/bin/ARE/models/autostart.acs, which opens the ARE webserver startpage with the system default browser.

ant run

For subsequent runs use the targets APE-copy and run-quick to speed up the starting.

If you want use Eclipse, please read the Eclipse installation and setup instructions.

# Example 2 - Edit and test model

To edit and test the modifications immediately

  1. Run project (see Example 1)
  2. Double click onto model file. The ACS program should be started with the model file opened.
  3. Connect to ARE
  4. Modify model
  5. Click onto TextArea.1 and set caption to Hello World
  6. Upload and run model
  7. To permanently save the modification, you must save the file with the ACS again, otherwise the modifications will be lost with the next run of the project.

# AsTeRICS model + web application

In many cases you want to provide a better user interface or allow the user to parametrize your asterics solution without the need to edit the model in the ACS program. As the end user or relatives of end users might not be very technically skilled, you should provide easy configuration pages with high usability. This can be very easily achieved with web technologies.

The AsTeRICS webserver document root specification (opens new window) defines the folder structure and paths on the webserver. The document root is set to the ARE/web sub folder and the default start page is expected at ARE/web/webapps/startpage.

The default start page will be opened, if you start the ARE and open the URL http://localhost:8081/. The file ARE/web/webapps/startpage/index.html contains the top and side menus and opens ARE/web/webapps/startpage/start.html as default iframe in the contens area.

You can override these pages by simply providing your own versions in the custom/bin/ARE/web/webapps/startpage/ folder of your project repository. It is recommended to provide the actual web application in a parallel folder (ARE/web/webapps/<asterics-solution-name>) named as your project folder and redirect from within start.html to ../<asterics-solution-name>/index.html.

# Example 3 - Model parametrization through web page

As mentioned above, a model should be made configurable in an intuitive way, not forcing the user to edit the model in the ACS program. To achieve this you can use HTML input widgets and bind them to associated model properties. This way the value between both will be automatically synchronized during page load and model start.

The folder ARE/web/webapps/<asterics-solution-name>/ should be used to store all web application specific files like .html files and associated model files. This way the web application folder can also be put onto a webserver online and the web application be deployed to a running ARE instance from there.

  1. Save this ButtonGrid model file (opens new window) to ARE/web/webapps/<asterics-solution-name>/models/.
  2. Edit ARE/web/webapps/<asterics-solution-name>/index.html and add/edit the following lines in the head section of the file:
<!-- provided from AsTeRICS 3.0 -->
<script type="text/javascript" src="../startpage/lib/jquery-3.2.1.min.js"></script>
<script src="../startpage/clientExample/javascript/JSmap.js"></script>
<script src="../startpage/clientExample/javascript/areCommunicator.js"></script>
<!-- provided by this repository, should be part of the framework later -->
<script src="../startpage/lib/webAppUtils.js"></script>
<script src="../startpage/lib/modelManipulation.js"></script>

<script type="text/javascript">
	//Set the base URI of the running ARE instance.     
	//You could also make this configurable by the user.

	//Define path of model file on the webserver.
	var modelFilePathOnWebserver='webapps/asterics-solution-template/models/ButtonGrid_test.acs';
	//Init window.onload function to automatically update all widgets with a model binding with the values of the currently deployed model.

You must include jquery as the only third party dependency, then JSmap.js and areCommunicator.js (the REST API lib) (opens new window). Additionally, you need webAppUtils.js and modelManipulation.js (see API documentation (opens new window)) for the automatic model binding and synchronization functionality.

In the script section you only need 3 lines for initialization. The first one (setAREBaseURI) defines the address of the ARE. The second one defines the path to the model file which should be deployed when clicking onto the Start model button. Finally, the third line sets the window.onload function to a function which automatically loads all property values which are defined with a model binding and updates the corresponding HTML widgets automatically.

  1. Add two input widgets to parametrize the text of button1 and the background color of the Buttongrid:
<!-- provide your input widgets here -->
<h3>ButtonGrid parametrization</h3>
<label for="background-color">Select background color: </label>
<select id="background-color" data-asterics-model-binding-1='{"componentKey": "ButtonGrid.1","propertyKey": "backgroundColor"}'>
  <option value="0">black</option>
  <option selected="selected" value="1">blue</option>
  <option value="2">cyan</option>
  <option value="3">darkgrey</option>
<label for="button1-text">Set text of button 1: </label>
<input title="Button1 text" type="text" id="button1-text" placeholder="Text Button1" value="Hello World" data-asterics-model-binding-1='{"componentKey": "ButtonGrid.1","propertyKey": "buttonCaption1"}'>

Note the data-asterics-model-binding-1 attribute, it defines the binding to the plugin property of the corresponding model. So the combobox with id background-color will change the background color of the plugin instance ButtonGrid.1.

Finally, there is a Start Model button which calls the javascript function applySettingsInXMLModelAndStart(modelFilePathOnWebserver) with a variable as parameter holding the path to the model file on the webserver hosting this page. This automatically downloads the model file from the webserver, update the plugin properties within the model file with the current values of the HTML widgets and deploys and starts the modified model.

<button onclick="applySettingsInXMLModelAndStart(modelFilePathOnWebserver)" title="Description: Applies all settings and starts the model" class="button"> Start Model </button>

# Example 4 - Rename web application folder and title

The template repository already contains a template folder for a web application. You should rename it and change the redirection to the new folder.

  1. Rename template folder (ARE/web/webapps/asterics-solution-template ) to the name of your project folder.
  2. Open ARE/web/webapps/startpage/start.html and change path to redirection to the name of your project folder.
	<meta charset='utf-8' http-equiv="refresh" content="0; URL=../<asterics-solution-name>/"/>
  1. Edit ARE/web/webapps/<asterics-solution-name>/index.html and change the title and first heading (h1) to
    <title>AsTeRICS Solution Hello World</title>
      <div class="inner">
        <h1>AsTeRICS Solution Hello World</h1>
  1. Save files and run project

# Eclipse installation and setup

As APE uses the ant build framework, the repository can also be used with your preferred IDE. Subsequently some recommendations of how to install and setup Eclipse for an asterics solution repository.

  1. Install Eclipse for Java EE developers (opens new window) (Select same bitness as your JDK!! (x86 <-> x86 or x86_64 <-> x86_64))

# Eclipse project setup

  1. Click on File/New/Project
  2. Then click on Next, uncheck Use default location and browse to your asterics solution folder.
  3. Set a Project name
  4. Click onto Finish

Now you have an eclipse project with ant support.

# Configure editor for model files (.acs)

  1. Right click on model file, select Open with/Other
  2. Check External programs and browse to C:\Program Files (x86)\AsTeRICS\ACS\ACS.bat (Note: ACS.bat)
  3. Check Use it for all `*.acs file
  4. Click onto Ok

# Using ant within eclipse

# Run default target

This is synonymous to ant on the command line:

  1. Right click onto file build.xml
  2. Select Run As/Ant Build (first entry)

# Run selected targets

  1. Right click onto file build.xml
  2. Select Run As/Ant Build (second entry)
  3. Click onto targets to run
  4. Select order of execution at the bottom
  5. Click onto Apply and Run

From now on, the selected targets are the default ones for subsequent calls.

# References