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  1. #1

    Default Something I can't wrap my mind around yet

    Hey Thomas and all of you, great people!


    After using quite a lot the old TSB, I have to confess I never sat down to put the time to understand and use the new ESB.

    Well, this changed today when I put my ass on the chair for several hours, went through the whole help section, watched videos and started playing with the soft (I've got the Expert edition).


    But there are still a few things I don't get.

    In this thread I'll try to describe the main one:


    I see the power of automation and scrapping to create awesome software, and I kind of understand how those scripts are created...


    HOWEVER...


    I cannot find a way to build a clean interface for such software and link it to the automation scripts!


    I mean, let's say that I want to create a software that scrapes the first 10 results of google for a specific keyword and save the results to the database...

    I know that this can be easily accomplished with automation, but...


    How do I create a simple form where someone can enter the keyword to search for and click a button to search??

    It's kind of crazy for me that you cannot -as far as I know- add a simple button to a form and make the click of that button trigger a script.

    I see SOOO much power on the back-end... but no way to connect it to a simple interface on the front-end, which is such a shame, because that leaves so many options off the table.

    Or am I missing something here? (I'd love to!)
    Last edited by leonardos; 09-14-2019 at 02:58 PM. Reason: Typos for writing too fast ;-)

  2. #2

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    btw, I tried to edit the thread's tittle here a couple times (it should say: "Something I can't wrap my mind around yet") but for some reason the changes are not reflected in the forum.

    I guess I'll have write slower and double check before posting next time around... ( easier said than done ;-) )

  3. #3
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    Hi Leonardos. I am glad to see you posting more.

    The current version doesn't have the immediate response from a script. You would need to schedule the script to run and refresh the grid. You're definitely right that it doesn't allow us to tap into the power of the automation from the user interface. Robbie was also having a difficult time with this approach. He wanted the exact same thing you're talking about.

    That is why I was excited about finally figuring out how to add the Rest Api feature that is coming in new version. I expect it to be ready next week.

    You can see an older demo here: I made some changes but the way it works is the same.

    http://profittigersystems.com/vbforu...-Services-Demo


    How it works is you create the forms like you normally do but in the Rest Api model. Then you create a script for the Get, Create, Update and Delete functions for that form. I will also have a button with a drop down selection of other scripts the end user can run when they have a row or rows selected. For instance, you could select a transaction and run a refund script to call the Paypal refund api.

    The kicker is you can also incorporate scraping instead of a Rest Api call. We talk more about it on that link above. This allows the end user to run your scripts and get immediate responses unlike the current version.

    I also incorporated what I call WebApi projects. They work the same as WebKonect where you create the forms and your users enter in their website/database details, click a button, in ESB, and it uploads a php api script to their website. Then ESB can interact with your webserver databases (mysql) through the api.

    That means you can move data from your own websites to other webservices, like Google, all through ESB. A lot of possibilities with this newer version which is why I lost all my hair from the excitement. haha



    Thomas


    P.S. I changed your title.

  4. #4

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    Thanks Thomas, it really sounds exciting!

    I still have a hard time understanding the process though. It's a completely different approach comparing it with the event-driven one I'm used to.

    Not saying that it's better or worse, just different, and maybe there are a lot of things you can do this way that i'm just having a hard time visualizing.


    Let me try to speak my mind to see if you can help me make "the click".


    The way I see it, ESB is data-driven, in opposition to event-driven.

    So I see incredible powerful tools for data analysis and data visualization ... most of which are way over my head.

    I'm totally sure that there is a huge market for these kind of tools, and I really want to leverage them because I've never seem anything like it.

    But unfortunately, I'm not familiarized with any market/industry that uses these kind of tools to run their business.

    On this department, I think I'd benefit a lot from seeing a couple examples of already made software that leverage this data-heavy functionality (they don't have to be built with ESB to be valuable examples, of course).


    Now, I knew that ESB was data-driven since I bought TSB.

    You probably don't remember, but I was one of the first asking for automation to be added, and you told me to go away, that that wasn't going to happen.

    So I got a dev licence of ubot for that kind of stuff, but I stuck around here and put my bet on ESB (or better said, on you), and I'm SO glad I did.


    So today we do have automation -one of the best automation engine I've seen- but forget me if I tell you that I still see both sides pretty much disconnected from each other.

    I've seen good video tutorials on how to implement automation scripts and scraping, but nothing end-to-end, showing how to connect the interface to the automations in a way that makes sense to the end user.

    So I feel a little lost... like I can see all that can be done... but s far it looks more like a science project, or an internal tool I can use to do my own automation... but I'm not so confident that I can make it into a saleable product.

    For what I got, automation has been incorporated into ESB on the premise of being triggered by changes in any data field.

    Makes sense, since we're still on the data-driven paradigm....

    Again, I'd love to see examples of how this can be implemented in practice in a project that includes both sides, the data-driven front-end and the automation back-end, in a way that makes sense to the final user.

    I've got an intuition that this paradigm can be super-powerful for the right kind of clients, and these are probably corporate or government clients that make heavy use of data. I just would need to see a few examples of how these kind of software applications are implemented.


    That being said, there are many other scenarios I'm more familiar with, in which we would greatly benefit from:

    1) Having an event-driven model we can use as an alternative (like in, being able to setup GUI buttons and other interface elements the user can act on to launch scripts in the background).

    2) Having the possibility to fully control the user interface from the UX standpoint. There are for instance many buttons and options that kind of make sense for a data manager to have, but are distracting and confusing for most "normal" users in many situations.

    3) Automation should be totally invisible for the end user in most cases (unless you're specifically creating a software program for power users, like most of yours are).


    Let me try to illustrate these points with a fictitious example that includes automation:

    Let's say that we want to build a software that performs some kind of competition analysis. It could be SEO competition, Amazon product research, anything along these lines.

    In an ideal world, this is what I'd expect from a software like that:

    1) To have a really clean interface, free of pretty much all buttons we have in the software now. like save, save and new, and that kind of thing, since users won't be actually entering data into the DB by themselves (the data will be scrapped or acquired through APIs, or a combination of both).

    2) A single form where the use can enter a search term (similar to a singleton form) with a field to introduce the search terms, plus a button to click to launch the search.

    3) Ideally, that button will launch the script/series of scripts that will populate a full grid form with the results (after scraping/API requests + processing)

    4) Once pressed, the button will not only launch the scripts in the background, but it would either redirect the user to the grid view where the results are being populated... or present the user with a message saying that his request has been added to the queue, and that he will find the results in a few minutes on this or that section of the software (a message to the user when the process is complete would be a great touch too).

    5) The scripts should run in the background without the user never knowing of their existence

    I've seen some examples here where there is a button or option for the user to select scripts to run right from the interface.

    First, I don't think this is a good idea for most user cases. I like to think of the scrips like the "algorithms" powering the program; they should be totally transparent to the user and make their magic on the background.

    Second, it makes the interface look not that professional, kind of an "under-the-hood" view, instead a proper user interface (except, again, for power-users).


    I hope the example helped a bit to convey better where I'm having difficulty understanding how to implement all the functionality included in ESB in a coherent way.

    So far, I find myself in this strange position where I love what I see and I feel there is so much you can do with it... But it has not direct application for me right now. I'm kind of leaving it for later, just because I have no idea of how to use it in a practical way.

    But I don't want this to be the case, I want to start leveraging ESB to create software NOW, not later.

    But I'm felling mentally stuck... and that's why I'm posting here.


    Sorry for the long post, and sorry id something of what I said makes absolutely no sense.

    As I said before, I just wanted to speak my mind aloud to see if maybe Thomas or any other member of the community can help me understand this new paradigm and hoe to use it more effectively.

    No need to say that any comments or enlightenment are more than welcome!


    Leonardo

    PS: Thomas, I know you have a lot in your plate, but as you've been asking for suggestions for tutorials for quite some time...

    I see that you went right into explaining the features of the software, which is always needed, and the features are great....

    But as you can see from my confusion -and I'm not new to programming, btw- it might be really useful to create a few videos detailing not how to use the software per-se, but the design philosophy behind ESB, how it works, why is better and for what kind of projects it' better, the more efficient way to think about and structure an ESB project... and that kind of thing.

    I, for one, would greatly benefit from such a tutorial!

  5. #5
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    Unfortunately, there won't be a way for you to have complete control over the interface. At that point you might as well develop a program from scratch. I'm trying to make this easier to use and the more options like that would make it much more difficult. Honestly, it isn't something I would do, but I appreciate the feedback.

    ESB is data driven. You can get data from all sorts of sources now. You can get data from your website and add it to a webservice api. Save/Retrieve data from the built in database and add it to your website mysql database or webservice. All of it is data.

    ESB with automation is actually two programs. The data driven program that the end user interacts with and a server program that runs the automation scripts. Now the new version won't need the server to run the Rest API scripts since there is a need for immediate response. Outside of the Rest Forms, the automation will be done using the server. So much of the automation won't affect the end user working with the program. All of it done in the background (besides the Rest Forms).

    You can set up automation scripts to run when something changes within a record. Whether it be someone setting a drop down button to a particular item or creating a new record. That is something you and your end users can set up. Your end user can even schedule when scripts can run. They won't be able to add or edit existing scripts, but they do have some control over when they run. A example would be setting up a script to create a report and email it to a customer when the end user closes a project.

    As for how to use it or what to build... How would you use a program like Zapier? You can do the same things with the new version of ESB. How would you use a program like WinAutomation? You can do the same things with the new version of ESB.

    I'm not sure why you think the interface doesn't look professional. That is the first time I have heard anyone say that. lol


    Thomas

  6. #6

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    For the record... the interface looks more than professional. In fact, it's the slickest interface I've seen... when you work with data (which is, obviously, what ESB had been designed for).

    What I was referring to was that I tend to think that offering something like a button to click to do certain tasks looks better imo than giving the user the option to pick a script to run. But that's probably because I'm not used to this paradigm, so don't worry too much about it.

    Again, the interface looks great, and the power of the data analysis and visualization tools are out of this world!

    Thanks for the Zapier and Winautomation examples. I used winautomation for some of my programs back in the day and they had the opposite problem: no much of an interface!

    Zapier I used it a lot too so that's interesting! I'm going to start thinking on those lines to see what I come out with.

    I also see a lot of potential is triggering automations with a simple change in a data field.... will have to put some thought on it.


    Thanks a lot for the help Thomas, and enjoy your weekend!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by leonardos View Post
    For the record... the interface looks more than professional. In fact, it's the slickest interface I've seen... when you work with data (which is, obviously, what ESB had been designed for).

    What I was referring to was that I tend to think that offering something like a button to click to do certain tasks looks better imo than giving the user the option to pick a script to run. But that's probably because I'm not used to this paradigm, so don't worry too much about it.

    Again, the interface looks great, and the power of the data analysis and visualization tools are out of this world!

    Thanks for the Zapier and Winautomation examples. I used winautomation for some of my programs back in the day and they had the opposite problem: no much of an interface!

    Zapier I used it a lot too so that's interesting! I'm going to start thinking on those lines to see what I come out with.

    I also see a lot of potential is triggering automations with a simple change in a data field.... will have to put some thought on it.


    Thanks a lot for the help Thomas, and enjoy your weekend!
    Thanks Leonardos. I appreciate the questions and feedback. No doubt others will get ideas from your questions. Working together we will build a better program. Unfortunately I can't say yes all the time. haha

    I thought I had some of the better interfaces out there so you had me worried.

    The new version will have a better look for higher resolution monitors. Svg images and a sleaker, more modern set of skins.

    I plan on having a drop down button called actions that will be populated with your script names. They just click the drop down and select the name of the script and it runs.

    Like this...

    media_1501148314743.png

    Have a great weekend yourself and I am really happy you're posting again.

    Edited to add: I will definitely be putting together some videos showing how all it works together.



    Thomas

  8. #8
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    I would also keep in mind a service oriented approach where you do custom solutions for businesses. They tell you what they need to do and you should be able to automate a lot of it. And pay you a fee for development and a monthly fee for maintenance/support.


    Also don't forget we are going this way soon.

    http://profittigersystems.com/vbforu...-SAAS-business




    Thomas

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by TigerSoftware View Post

    I plan on having a drop down button called actions that will be populated with your script names. They just click the drop down and select the name of the script and it runs.

    Like this...

    media_1501148314743.png
    That will be useful for sure!

    I don't think the software interface is just for power users, Leonardos. People have different comprehension levels and most people need simple directions is all. If they are told to ignore this or that, and then do this or that, most people get the hang of things and do what is needed without much fuss. There are of course some people who are clueless, and almost helpless, and we've had to let those type of people go, but it's a very small percentage overall who have trouble following even simple directions and get confused by anything and everything.

    Me and my sister DO make sales now and WILL make sales with this software and the automation feature, no problemo! LOL. Lots and lots of practical applications you can make and sell with this software, Leonardos, and for both businesses and mass scale consumers.

    I've always taken to heart something Thomas said a long time ago about if you can find something someone is using a spreadsheet for, you can make something that will be better and replace it with TSB - and now we're at ESB and automation (and the coming API feature), so what Thomas said extends into more than just spreadsheet replacement software now.

    Mel

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mel Bel View Post
    That will be useful for sure!
    I've always taken to heart something Thomas said a long time ago about if you can find something someone is using a spreadsheet for, you can make something that will be better and replace it with TSB - and now we're at ESB and automation (and the coming API feature), so what Thomas said extends into more than just spreadsheet replacement software now.

    Mel
    haha That was a long time ago. We blew past those spreadsheets with this new version. We are going full blow SaaS in the next 6 months or so.

    I am amazed at the amount of work people put into spreadsheets trying to make them into a software program like ESB. The build forms within the spreadsheets. Crazy.

    That is still a good way of generating ideas. I also like to think of how people are using multiple webservices, for their work, and how I can automate the process.

    Say someone logs into Google spreadsheets to update a spreadsheet and then they log into Trello to update a task that informs others they updated the spreadsheet. I can automate that workflow by updating the spreadsheet, through automation, and within the same script automate the Trello task update. So the end user will only need to worry about running the script and everything else is done for them.


    Thomas

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