In the beginning of June, we launched our v11.3.2 wave of products. This includes new builds of CorasWorks for SharePoint 2010 and 2013 with a bunch of new features – somewhat unusual for a minor (x.x.x) release. In addition, we also released two key add-ons that make it easier for power users to build business applications with CorasWorks. I’ll focus on the latter in this article. They are free to CorasWorks customers.
The objective of these two add-ons to v11.3.2 is to make it easier for power users/builders to create finished business applications. It takes too much knowledge, too much skill, and too much time to try and use native SharePoint to deliver finished business applications. With these tools and the CorasWorks platform it is much easier, more straight forward, and much more re-useable.
Application Designer v4.0
The core add-on is Application Designer (version 4.0). I introduced v2.0 of this visual design and build tool in a previous article. This v4.0 release has a host of new features for the builder/power user. A key changeup is how we have changed the “widget” toolset of the Design Canvas to follow the logical order that people go through to “build up” a business application. These are shown on the left in the screenshot below.
So, what is logical as you build any business application:
- Create your content (lists and libraries)
- Lay out your navigation tabs, buttons, and pages
- Drop your displays on pages of different types
- Add your users forms
- Add your user actions and business rules
- Create your reports and add them to dashboards
- Set your role-based security.
Accordingly, this is now how we’ve organized the features.
Of all the new features, I believe the most powerful is the ability to make your application role-based using the Design Canvas. You can apply roles for users or Groups to any tabs and buttons. This removes the need to go down into the messy SharePoint content-based permissions to apply security.
You also now have a great new simple Report Designer with automatic two- level drill downs (chart sections to item listing and item details) along with drag and drop to add reports to dashboards.
Six pack of Apps
With the v11.3.2 wave, we have released a set of 6 sample applications. These were all built using Application Designer v4.0. They are easy to modify, enhance, and reuse leveraging the Design Canvas that is part of each. The applications are:
- Knowledge Base
- Help Desk
- Expense Management
- Job & Interview Management
- Time Clock Management
- Work Order Approval.
You can leverage these applications as follows:
- Use them as-is out of the box
- Customize them and enhance them to meet specific needs using the Design Canvas
- Re-purpose them to similar but different applications, again leveraging the Design Canvas
- Use them to learn how a business application is designed using CorasWorks and then go off and create completely new applications.
Unlike sample apps of old like CorasWorks apps or the Fab 40 from Microsoft, the on-board Design Canvas makes it easy to a) visually understand how the applications are laid out, and b) customize and enhance using the wizards of the Design Canvas.
These add-ons are free to CorasWorks customers on Premier Support. They are available for download, by your administrator, via the CorasWorks Customer Center (http://help.corasworks.net).