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New products coming out soon

In Pro Tools, we always try to look on what our community does and figure out what some of the time consuming parts are. Our mantra is 'productivity' – build solutions that save the developers' time and thus save money for the company. Our two following projects are very much like that and I'd like to give you a sneak peek on what we are building.

Vaadin Board

It is very common for the end users of business applications built with Vaadin to see a common thing after they log in to their application. Some kind of dashboard giving the user an overview of all the data in the application in one glance. You can see this in our own Quicktickets demo, and looking at our most recent Success stories, 5 out of 8 have a dashboard as an intro screen, at the time of writing this.

We have started to build a responsive layout meant for layouting these dashboards, dubbed Vaadin Board. The main purposes of the initial release are to give an easy API for you to very quickly lay out your widgets, as well as give a responsive behaviour that looks very good on all screen sizes and devices.

Instead of building a lot of additional features upfront, we are going to push this out to you as soon as possible. We want to keep our options open and let you voice your opinions about which direction it should take from the initial release onwards, be it themes, captions, gutters, alignments, resizing, reordering, bundled widgets, maximizing widgets, edit panels, saving configurations, or something completely different.

I'm eager to get this product to you and hear your feedback on it! Here is a sneak peek of a very (very) early version.

Vaadin Board tech preview

Application kickstarter stubs

The majority of Vaadin's business comes from building a free, open source framework and offering tools and services to build full business applications with Vaadin Framework. This is how we have financed the development of the free framework for the last 15 years and thousands of full blown business applications have seen production during that time. With all that app-building, we have a lot of in-house knowledge on what are the best practices in building business applications. We want to share this knowledge with you.

We are building something that we call Pro Kickstarter to help you get started with your projects, enabling you to skip the setup phase and jump directly into focusing on your business needs.

It is a fully functional end-to-end business application showing the best practices on how to implement each layer of your application, including view management, business logic, and database calls. Additionally, some of the most common needed business features are premade, such as login and user management, an example master–detail view and a dashboard view with charts.

Feedback is welcome

We will try to release an initial release of our upcoming products as early as possible, to show them to you in the coming months.

I’m very excited to show you the things that we are building. Please share your thoughts on them. If you have any fancy ideas for the new Pro Tools, I’d be happy to hear them in the comments below.

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Sounds great. For the dashboard, I would recommend some sort of lazy loading of the panels, meaning don't load all the panels at once especially if the user has a lot and the queries for each takes longer than normal. Also, some way for the end user to pick and choose which panels they want to see, and persist it for next time they log in...
Posted on 3/14/17 5:51 PM.
Oh, lazy loading was something that I haven't given thought of yet. As it is stand alone components that are added to the board, the components themselves could handle doing asynchronous loading, but I will ponder if there is some opportunity for us to build something in.

Drag'n'drop, saving/loading, adding and removing widgets and configuring widgets were all things that were in the original plan. We however decided that we want to do the base right and ask for feedback before we start piling on features, the base here being a great looking layout that works awesomely on all screen sizes. We will definitely want to look into addding end user interaction in 1.X releases.
Posted on 3/14/17 7:30 PM in reply to Wessel Oosthuizen.
Great idea.
I can think of few features as follows. Not necessarily to be implemented in the first version.
(1) Widgets should be minimizable (may show only title bar when minimized).
(2) Widgets should be movable (drag it around to re-layout)
(3) Layout configuration should be loadable/savable (possible to load/save from/to a stream)
(4) The menu panel on the left should be minimizable. This will help to view widget with a lot of data in near-full-screen mode.
Posted on 3/16/17 4:55 AM.
Thanks for your feedback Syam! I have noted your feature requests into the backlog.
Posted on 3/16/17 5:57 AM in reply to Syam Pillai.
Please check Dashbuilder:
http://dashbuilder.org/ufdashbuilder.html
They have a downloadable demo.
Basically this is the feature-set that I would be very happy with emoticon

They have an admin mode ('root' user in the demo), where the dashboard can be edited, as well as an end-user mode ('demo' user) with more limited configuration options.
Data sources can be defined and all the charts and tables can be configured interactively by the admin user.
Filters can be added and the language can be changed on-the-fly by the end users.
Tables can be exported to Excel or csv with one click.
Posted on 3/16/17 1:00 PM.
Nice find! I have to check it out. Board is not there yet in the feature set, but I see that something like this could be built on top of Board. Goes back to the same features that are repeated here: Drag and drop support, moving aruond widgets, having a panel where you can choose new widgets from, configuring widgets.I have to take a look how the configurations are limited depending on the role. At some point I might have to restrict the features as we would be going to far towards an ready-made application instead of keeping us in the tools-for-developers domain.

We just have to take it one iteration at a time. When I get this product to your hands, I want to hear your thoughts one what the next iteration should be. For me it now looks like first added features would be gutter support (automatic space between widgets in a row, so that you don't have to build it yourself) and having more than four widgets per row (We restricted rows to 1-4 slots to be able to build superb responsive support)

Language support is maybe another product that we could build which would work globally in Vaadin applications.

About excel support, I've already seen a customer do a really cool custom dashboard where each chart or table in the dashboard had an excel button. When you clicked it, the chart or table was replaced with Vaadin Spreadsheet showing the raw data between the widget. Then there was also a download button so that you could get the .xlsx file of the data.

Thanks for sharing! I went on to ramble a bit here while thinking out loud. emoticon
Posted on 3/17/17 6:37 AM in reply to Robert Mikes.