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$LIST string format and %DynamicArray and %DynamicObject classes

IRIS, and previously Cache, contain several different ways to create a sequence containing a mixture of data values.  A data sequence that has been available for many years is the $LIST string.  Another more recent data sequence is the %DynamicArray class, which along with the %DynamicObject class, is part of the IRIS support for JSON string representation.  These two sequences involve very different tradeoffs.

$LIST String Format

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Published 2018-05-11 Last edit -

Hi All

I this article I detail some strategic issues that a new development UI will need to address - these are the ones that I can think of now - others may come to light during this journey.

See the webinar by Eduard Lebedyuk here from the last Global Summit describing  modern web development and Caché

And, as always, if I have missed something please comment....

Last comment 6 days ago
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How can you allow computers to trust one another in your absence while maintaining security and privacy?

“A Dry Martini”, he said. “One. In a deep champagne goblet.”
“Oui, monsieur.”
“Just a moment. Three measures of Gordons, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?”
"Certainly, monsieur." The barman seemed pleased with the idea.
Casino Royale, Ian Fleming, 1953


OAuth helps to separate services with user credentials from “working” databases, both physically and geographically. It thereby strengthens the protection of identification data and, if necessary, helps you comply with the requirements of countries' data protection laws.

With OAuth, you can provide the user with the ability to work safely from multiple devices at once, while "exposing" personal data to various services and applications as little as possible. You can also avoid taking on "excess" data about users of your services (i.e. you can process data in a depersonalized form).

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InterSystems IRIS 2019.1 has been out for a while and I would like to cover some enhancements for handling JSON which might have gone unnoticed. Dealing with JSON as a serialization format is an important part of building modern applications, especially when you interact with REST endpoints.

Last comment 1 October 2019
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Some time ago, InterSystems introduced the concept of %DynamicObjects.
This feature is a powerful tool that makes it very easy to convert any string of JSON text to objects and vice versa.
However, in the work that J2 Interactive is doing for our customers, there are a couple of things that "need some tweaking".

Last comment 30 August 2019
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Cogs Library

Over the next few months I will be releasing a number of open source libraries and tools to the Caché community.

Most of the code has evolved from previous production grade solutions over the years and I am collating it together under a single overarching library package that I am calling Cogs.

Last comment 3 August 2019
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In this article I'll describe how to set up web services and/or REST services using EWD 3.

Since EWD 3 is designed to be modular, you can construct the environment that exactly meets your needs, but for much of the time you'll probably find that the pre-built EWD 3 ewd-xpress super-module does most of what you need because it hooks together all the core EWD 3 and other building-blocks you'll need:

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There are several options how to deliver user interface(UI) for DeepSee BI solutions. The most common approaches are:

  • use native DeepSee Dashboards, get web UI in Zen and deliver it in your web apps.
  • use DeepSee REST API, get and build your own UI widgets and dashboards.

The 1st approach is good because of the possibility to build BI dashboards without coding relatively fast, but you are limited with preset widgets library which is expandable but with a lot of development efforts.

The 2nd provides you the way to use any comprehensive js framework (D3, Highcharts, etc) to visualize your DeepSee data, but you need to code widgets and dashboards on your own.

Today I want to tell you about yet another approach which combines both listed above and provides Angular based web UI for DeepSee Dashboards -  DeepSee Web library.

Last comment 28 May 2019
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Index to Articles

Hi All

It's been 6 weeks since my original article sad
- - - - -but I have been busy on this project smiley

I have been looking at/thinking about a replacement for ZEN for around 12 months but only really started in depth 4 months ago.
Also been in IT for long enough that I can "get a feel" for a product/technology and make decisions accordingly without going into great detail. 
Any new technology has a learning curve and I don't want to waste time and effort on something that won't fly. 
And, as always, I am looking to minimise the learning curve as I want to concentrate on delivering business benefit. 

Last comment 11 April 2019
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Hi All
This is the index to a series of articles I hope to create over the coming months.

ZEN and ZEN Mojo are no longer being actively developed by Intesystems - this is a great shame as it is a fine product that works so well for business applications.
However ZEN is a 15 year old product and I need a path forward to replace the ZEN UI with a supported development framework.

This article is an index of the other articles I have, or plan to write. - the articles will be subject to change as I develop my thoughts and climb the learning curve.

Last comment 5 April 2019
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This post is intended to guide you through the new JSON capabilities that we introduced in Caché 2016.1. JSON has emerged to a serialization format used in many places. The web started it, but nowadays it is utilized everywhere. We've got plenty to cover, so let's get started.

Last comment 11 January 2019
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Developing a Full-Stack JavaScript web app with Caché requires you to bring together the right building blocks. In the previous part, we created a basic front-end React application. In the second part of this article series I will show how to choose the right back-end technology for your application. You will see Caché allows you to use many different approaches to link your front-end to your Caché server, depending on your application's needs. In this part we will set up a back-end with Node.js/QEWD and CSP/REST. In the next part we will enhance our basic web app and connect it to Caché using these technologies.

Last comment 14 December 2018
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So, one day you're working away at WidgetsDirect, the leading supplier of widget and widget accessories, when your boss asks you to develop the new customer facing portal to allow the client base to access the next generation of Widgets..... and he wants you to use Angular 1.x to read into the department's Caché server.   

There's only one problem:  You've never used Angular, and don't know how to make it talk to Caché.

This guide is going to walk through the process of setting up a full Angular stack which communicates with a Caché backend using JSON over REST.  

Last comment 13 December 2018
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Full-Stack JavaScript development allows you to create state-of-the-art applications with Caché. With any (web) app you build nowadays, one has to make a lot of architectural decisions and you want to make the right ones. With the Node.js connector available for Caché, you can create a very powerful server side application server, allowing you to use the latest JavaScript technology and frameworks client- and server-side.

With all these new technologies, the most important is to integrate them in the most efficient way and to create a very productive development experience. This article willl get you started step-by-step with Node.js technology.

Last comment 21 October 2018
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Recently, a partner company started to develop an Angular client for their Cache application. Together, we decided to leverage the power of Caché dynamic objects to exchange JSON encoded data between client and server parts. However, we realized that currently there is a gap in Cache JSON implementation that prevents simple use of traditional registered and persistent classes to exposed their data with the same ease as with XML. I wrote a small JSON adapter, that does the job and bridgers the gap. It's purpose is simple expose data described by a regular Cache class in a one-to-one fashion to a %DynamicObject. On the other hand, when a serialized JSON data comes in, it can be easily deserialized into dynamic object and subsequently bound to regular class by the newly created adapter.

Last comment 18 October 2018
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Generally speaking, InterSystems products supported dynamic objects and JSON for a long while, but version 2016.2 came with a completely new implementation of these features, and the corresponding code was moved from the ObjectScript level to the kernel/C level, which made for a substantial performance boost in these areas. This article is about innovations in the new version and the migration process (including the ways of preserving backward compatibility).

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or "Didn't you say you would cover Persistent Objects in Part 5, Chris?"

Yes, that was the plan.  This is a pretty important topic, so it get's its own Article

Up until now, we've display widget JSON that has been created by a basic loop.  Clearly this isn't of much value.  Now we have our stack connected together, and we can see that the data is flowing to the Welcome page, it's time to complete the stack and start feeding our service from "real" data.

Last comment 4 July 2018
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What if you could serialize/deserialize objects in whatever format: JSON, XML, CSV,...; attending different criteria: export/import some properties and not others, transform values in this or that way before exporting/importing,...; and all of this without having to change the class definition? Wouldn't that be great??

Well, perhaps it's a goal too ambitious to reach 100% but, exploring this idea, I've developed a bunch of classes that I thought it was good to share. If you want to test, change, modify or improve the code, or just take a look at it, you can do it here. There you'll find a more detailed explanation (see Readme.md)

Be aware, this is a proof of concept for myself done in spare times, sure it's not robust enough or it can be done much better... but, I was just playing...ok, I could just wait to the new JSON Adaptor (coming soon!) that sure is going to resolve much more scenarios in a cleaner way, but... meanwhile... :-) ...

Last comment 26 April 2018
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This series of articles aims to address the following topics:

  • Creation of a web application based on REST pages;
  • Overview of some tools for tracing (debugging) HTTP requests;
  • Switching from hyperevents to... hyperevents;
  • Integration with jQuery File Upload;
  • Conversion of JSON from the {id:1,parentId:1} format to the {id:1,children:[{}]} format for tree visualization;
  • Integration with jQuery EasyUI (using datagrid and tree as examples);
  • Other topics.

Last comment 8 March 2018
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With the release of Cache 2016.1, JSON support was re-architected and made part of the core object model with the creation of %Object and %Array classes, which allow you to create dynamic JSON enabled objects and arrays.

On a recent demonstration I was working on, I had the need to create a REST web service that returned a JSON representation of a persistent object.  After searching for methods that would allow me to accomplish this, ultimately I found none, until now.

Last comment 22 December 2017
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If you want to dynamically serve images as a property of JSON then there is no perfect encoding solution. One method used frequently is to Base64 encode the image. Whilst there are some negatives to doing this, such as data inflation, there are some positives to working with Base64 images inside the browser.

Let's say you have an image placeholder on a web page...

Last comment 7 November 2017
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One of the most important features during application development is the ability to debug your code easily. Because of the asynchrnous nature, a standard Node.js application server works single-threaded by default. When you are developing applications using an IDE like Visual Studio Code, you can very easily debug your Node.js process:

First, download the free Visual Studio Code IDE (@code) and install it on your development machine.

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I've mentioned the QEWD project in this group before: it's a Node.js-based platform for web, Native and REST applications which tightly integrates with Cache.  It uses a somewhat different philosophy to the use of Node.js than the norm, and I've now published an article that explains this approach and the unique benefits that arise as a result.

It turns out that, integrated via QEWD, Cache is an ideal bed-fellow for Node.js.  QEWD makes the integration of Cache and Node.js exceptionally fast, simple and intuitive to use, but also extremely powerful.

Read the article here: 

Last comment 25 September 2017
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