What does the Betty Blocks platform consist of?


After reading this article you will know:

  • What the platform mainly consists of
  • What the purposes of all objects are
  • Some sample uses for each kind

With the Betty Blocks platform you can build the three application types by using the following objects: Data model, Module Switcher, UI Builder, Actions, Tools, Settings, and Logging. Every object has his own purpose and together they form a broad pallete of instruments to build your app with.

1. Data model


A data model is the visual and simplified representation of all the information stored in the application and underlying database. You build your data model just by drag and drop. You don’t have to create tables and write queries into the database by yourself. The intuitive data model takes care of that. A data model consists of models (the visual design for real-world objects), properties (type of information) and relations (associations between objects).

Some examples of models are Customer, Employee, Order, and Product. Some examples of properties are First Name and Order Number. Learn more about the data model ».

2. Module Switcher


As a developer, you want to switch easily between different parts of the application. We call these parts 'modules'. The module switcher is made for that. Switch between your back office and web module to make developments.

3. User Interface (UI) Builder


It’s used for building the user interface for all modules of a Betty Blocks applications. Whether you want to change the interface of the back office or web for mobile devices, you are developing that certain interface with the UI Builder. After the user interface has been developed, you run the application by clicking the play button on the top at the left.

Back office UI

The back office interface is already built and designed largely by us. Take advantage of that, and see how quick you can build views and forms with components directly from your data model. Just pick up your model and see the visual object as a grid and the forms for every single record. Drag and drop columns and components to customize the view to your own needs. No coding is needed!

Every app type you can build on the Betty Blocks platform needs a back office module (and interface) to administer your data. Use default features in the back office, like filtering, ordering, show/hide functionalities, searching, calculating multiple records or triggering actions to start workflows. Learn more about the Back office module.

Web or Mobile UI

With the same UI Builder object, you are now developing your web pages (endpoints) in the web module of your application. Contrary to the back office, this module enables more freedom to make any web page you like. Use your customized HTML, CSS, and favorite JavaScript framework to work with. To speed up developments, we made a WYSIWYG editor with a default set of web components. Drag and drop components to create your first login page for public use. Make any web page you like and collect data from the back office module and render it on your web pages.

4. Actions (workflows)


Actions allow you to express the logic of your application. Sending an email when a user clicks a button for example. An action is a visual workflow which requires a sequence of events to execute. Actions are built with a visual editor. Designing an action in a visual way instead of traditionally programming provides you with an increased speed of development and allows you to process easily complex logic into your application. Actions always start because of a certain trigger, automatically (after create) or manually (buttons).

Actions are created at two places in your application: in the back office and web module. Actions in your back office are called 'model actions', because they always involve a specific model, like Order. Actions in the web module are called 'endpoint actions' because they are always created in a post endpoint. Actions always have variables to execute the action events with. Variables could be objects or collections from your stored data.

5. Tools


We have folded all tools to build your application further with. Under tools you will find the following objects: web services, mailboxes, templates, variables, public files, and changes.

Web services

This instrument is used as an interface for communication between existing systems and your Betty Blocks app. The Betty Blocks platform supports all common ways of integration, like REST and SOAP. This tool is mainly focused on reusability. Create a web service once and use it multiple times. As an example, you can create a web service to collect an active product list from one of your distributors to update your internal product list with. Another usage is to request data from your ERP system to show and process it into your customized mobile Betty Blocks app.

Mailboxes

This tool can be used to integrate your existing mailboxes into your app. The benefits of using mailboxes are that you can process incoming mail automatically by adding scenarios to it. As an example, you receive a customer's email with Order as a subject. Those emails are passed directly through to your order department.

Templates

A template always holds standard text and variables. The advantage of this property is that you can build templates for dynamic content. Templates are used for several purposes in your app, like endpoint, e-mail, javascript, pdf, stylesheet, and SOAP templates. The variables in a certain template are replaced with real data out of the data model (dynamic content). For instance, when a customer placed an order you will send a confirmation email with standardized text and replaced variables with the customer’s information. Another usage of templates is the bootstrap CSS-framework layout used to make your web pages responsive and functional on the web.

Variables

This tool is used to create ‘global’ variables in your application. Define to most common variables you want to use throughout the application, like a static or calculated value. As an example, you can define tax variables, like TaxLow and TaxHigh and give these a 6% and 21% value. 

Public files

Store any file format with this tool and use them publicly. After you have stored a public file the record creates a liquid filename that is used on your web pages and in other templates. As an example, you can store your business logo as a public file to be displayed in the confirmation e-mail that is sent to your customers. 

Changes

Get informed about all developments and changes made in your application. This view provides you with who, when, which object, what type, and what kind of change has been made. As an example, one of your developers changes the property type ‘Order Number’ in the model ‘Order’. You can now see who did what and to which object.

6. Settings


Settings are used to create the right conditions for building and using your application. At Configurations, you can configure and manage settings for API connections to external services. We centralized it, so you can reuse one configuration to multiple services. Examples of services are web services, mailboxes, and authentication services like OAuth. Take advantage of our standardized configurations, as the one for Exact Online and Twinfield. At General, My-BB, and Users you are directly forwarded to the MY Betty Blocks environment.
At General, you are forwarded to manage your application on the highest level in the platform. You are able to change general settings, create sandboxes, delete the complete application or change the app name and URL. At My-BB the overall dashboard with all your applications is shown. Under Users you are able to manage your application users and decide who are developers and who are not. 


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