Create Custom Apps for Use in Soley Desk

Custom apps

With Soley Studio you can create custom apps for modeling or carrying out analysis tasks in Soley Desk. Read about the basics of Soley Desk apps here. To create an app you need Soley Studio with a license that allows for the assembly of apps. Three basic steps are then required to create an app:

  1. Create an error-free Soley Studio project
  2. Prepare the project to be assembled as app
  3. Assemble the project as app

Create an error-free Soley Studio project

The first step to creating custom apps is an error-free Soley Studio project. The minimum for such a project is the creation of a metamodel, as described in these articles. All classes defined in the metamodel will be available for manual modeling in Soley Desk when using the app. Further, you can create workflows in the Soley Studio project that will then also be available in the app. The workflows can carry out arbitrarily complex analytic tasks at the push of a button in Soley Desk. The underlying Soley Studio code is compiled and not accessible or changeable in Soley Desk.

To assemble a Soley Studio project as an app the project needs to compile without any errors. You can test this in Soley Studio by clicking on “Build and Load the Startup Project” (top menu or green arrow button). If no error messages occur you can assemble the project as an app. However, some additional preparatory steps might be needed.

Prepare Soley Studio projects to create custom apps

Include data files in app

If the app should contain any of the data files you use in the Soley Studio project, for example, if you require the data in a workflow, you need to include these data files in the app. To do so, select the data file in the Solution Explorer. In the Properties pad, you will now see the data properties of this file. For the property “Copy to output directory” you need to select either “Always” or “Preserve newest” from the drop-down menu to include the data file in the app.

Properties pad for data file with Copy to output directory dropdown menu highlighted
Properties pad for data file with “Copy to output directory” dropdown menu

Set metadata for app (optional) – name, version number, etc.

You can define the name of an app, give the app a version number and add a description if you want to. This information is stored in the Mainfest.slmd file that is automatically created for every Soley Studio project by default. The file contains default values so this is optional. To edit this file open it using the Solution Explorer.

Manifest.slmd file containing the apps' metadata and relation to app display in Soley Desk.
Manifest.slmd file containing the apps’ metadata and relation to app display in Soley Desk.

In the file, you can edit several properties that all have default values.

  • Property Name: Defines the default name of app file.
  • Property DisplayName: Defines app’s name that will appear in Soley Desk.
  • Property Version: Defines the app’s version number. When using automatic app updates the system uses the version number to identify the latest version. It also affects the Compatibility.
  • Property Compatibility: Defines the compatibility of this app version with any previous versions. This controls if the app opens graph files created with an earlier version. Assume we have version 1, 2 and 3 of an app. If the Compatibility of version 3 is set to 2 the app only opens graph files created with version 2 or 3 but not the ones created with version 1.
  • Property Author: Let’s you define an author of the app.
  • Property Description: Allows for a description of the app. This description is shown Soley Desk when a user clicks on the Learn more button (small triangle) in the list of apps. You must write the description in text encoded XML and can also add Base64 encoded images.

Assemble a Soley Studio project to create a custom app

To create an app in Soley Studio you need a working, error-free project and a license that allows for the assembly of apps. Click on “Build and Load the Startup Project” (top menu or green arrow button) to compile and check the project as a final step before assembling the app. The metamodel and all available workflows of the project will be part of the app, meaning that you cannot exclude existing workflows. If you would like to do that, create a copy of your project and delete the workflows that should not be included in the app. You can then right-click on the project name in the Solution Explorer and select “Assemble Soley App” from the right-click menu. A dialog will appear asking you where to save the *.sla file (Soley App file). Store the file at any location.

Create custom apps using the function Assemble Soley App from the right-click menu in the Solution Explorer
Right-click menu in the Solution Explorer with “Assemble Soley App” highlighted

Once you saved the *.sla app file you and other users can add it to Soley Desk and use it, as explained in detail in this article.

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