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Frequently Asked Questions

Many of our FAQ's are user submitted. Please help expand our frequently asked questions: Submit a Question.

Pre-Sales Questions

General Questions

Why the name Blue Ink?
Is Blue Ink Secure?

Definitions

What is a base entity?
What is a web application?
What does enterprise-level mean?
What is a code generator?
What is JAG?
What are functional mockups?
What is the Blue Ink Net?

Technical

How does Blue Ink work?
Can I still use Microsoft Visual Studio?
Does Blue Ink support source control?
What types of database relationships does Blue Ink support?
Does Blue Ink support Object Oriented Design?

Technical Questions

Blue Ink Application

Can I export/save my meta data answers?
The .cs files for the typed datasets in the Common\Entities\BaseXsd\ folder are missing. What do I do?
How do I upgrade templates?

Generated Application

I'm getting the wrong fields in my dropdown list. How can I change it?
My web server is on a different machine than my development machine, what do I do?
How do I hard code users and passwords in my application?
After generation I get: "Source file ... _InsertInputDataSet_BaseXsd.cs' could not be opened ('The system cannot find the file specified. ')"

Software Development

Writing stored procedures manually is tedious and error prone, is there a better way?


Pre-Sales Questions

General Questions

Why the name Blue Ink?

In architecture the plans for a building are written with blueprints, which provide a repeatable process for engineers. Building applications should be just as rigorous and repeatable. These are only a few of the benefits of writing your application using Automated Architecture's Blue Ink program.

Is Blue Ink Secure?

Absolutely, Blue Ink uses the latest security technologies at every opportunity. Specifically Blue Ink uses Web Services Enhancements 2.0 to encrypt and digitally sign all communication between it and the Blue Ink Net.

Definitions

What is a base entity?

Base entities (from the hours per base entity metric for example) are central to Automated Architecture's method of measuring productivity in development of web applications. A base entity is a non-lookup (e.g. Employee Type), non-associative table in a database that generally represents an entity in real life such as an employee, customer or sale. More information is available at the Time Savings page.

What is a web application?

A web application is a software program that is accessed through a web interface. For Blue Ink's purposes a web application is also a data driven, which means there is a database that stores data (such as customers, products, sales, etc).

What does enterprise-level mean?

Blue Ink generates enterprise-level applications. Throughout the industry this is a somewhat hazy term, but we mean our applications are n-tier and loosly coupled and designed for maximum throughput. See Application Architecture for more information.

What is a code generator?

Blue Ink is essentially a code generator. This means that Blue Ink generates programming code that a developer can use in building an application. According to Code Generation.net Blue Ink is in the tier generator sub-category of code generators because it outputs more than just bits and pieces of useful code. At Automated Architecture we refer to Blue Ink as an application generator because it was designed with the goal of outputting all of the source code to make a fully functional application.

What is JAG?

JAG stands for Just-In-Time Application Generation and is a new software development methodology proposed by Automated Architecture that takes advantage of application generation technology. For more information go to The JAG Methodology.

What are functional mockups?

Functional mockups are a concept introduced by the JAG Methodology where a functional prototype application is generated by Blue Ink and non-functional mockups representing custom business functionality are added. The resulting nearly complete application can be reviewed with a client in order to increase client-implementer communication and deliver an application that more accurately fits a client's needs.

What is the Blue Ink Net?

The Blue Ink Net provides services such as template sharing and message boards to the Blue Ink user community. The Blue Ink Net is enabled by our centralized server and is accessable either through the web or through Blue Ink.

Technical

How does Blue Ink work?

At a high level Blue Ink reads information from a project's database and uses that as a base to ask questions about how to build the application. A high level overview is available on the Blue Ink Overview page, while the Blue Ink Technical Details article provides the details.

Can I still use Microsoft Visual Studio?

Blue Ink was designed to work with Microsoft Visual Studio. Blue Ink's default set of templates output .sln and .proj files so you can immediately open and work with a generated solution using Microsoft Visual Studio.

Does Blue Ink support source control?

Yes, in most respects Blue Ink generated solutions are no different than manually coded solutions. Blue Ink generated solutions integrate fully with source control applications such as Microsoft SourceSafe either through Microsoft Visual Studio or externally. The use of source control is a best practice with any code generation technology.

What types of database relationships does Blue Ink support?

Blue Ink supports one-to-one, one-to-many, and many-to-many relationships. To see an example go to the Northwind demo on this site and add a new sale.

Does Blue Ink support Object Oriented Design?

Absolutely. Blue Ink takes advantage of .Net's object oriented features in order to keep Blue Ink from overwriting user code upon re-generation. For more information see the application architecture page.

Technical Questions

Blue Ink Application

Can I export/save my meta data answers?

Yes you can export your answers to an xml file (with the extension .bimd). Furthermore meta-data import operations use answer and column names rather than internal id's. Thus if you tend to implement the same types of solutions with the same table and column names you can import the same meta-data file for every project. This FAQ was contributed by dmittakarin8.

The .cs files for the typed datasets in the Common\Entities\BaseXsd\ folder are missing. What do I do?

One of the generated files is PostInstallationInstructions.html. It is located in the root solution directory along with the .sln file. This document contains detailed instructions on how to install the generated application including how to compile all strongly typed datasets using the CompileDataSets.bat file. This FAQ was contributed by tonis.

How do I upgrade templates?

If a later version of a template solution becomes available and you would like to upgrade you may use the following process. 1. Back up your Blue Ink Project (.bip) file. 2. Export Meta-Data to a .bimd file by selecting Project -> Meta-Data -> Export Meta Data from the menu. 3. Right click the Solution in the Solution Explorer, select Delete Solution, confirm the dialog. 4. Download the new templates by selecting "Select Templates" on the Project Home page. 5. Re-import your exported meta-data by selecting Project -> Meta Data -> Import Meta-Data. Answering No to the import dialog will ensure the new generated application is as close to the old set of templates as possible.

Generated Application

I'm getting the wrong fields in my dropdown list. How can I change it?

Open the meta-data screen in Blue Ink and make sure that only one field is set as "identifying", and that this is the field to be displayed in the dropdown. This FAQ was contributed by dmittakarin8.

My web server is on a different machine than my development machine, what do I do?

Edit the project file manually in a text editor and change the http://localhost/ to http://servername/ before opening it in Visual Studio.

How do I hard code users and passwords in my application?

Modify the Security_br.cs file under the Business Components project. Add a case statement within the Authenticate() function that returns true if the strUserName and strPassword parameters match your hard coded values. You will also need to modify the GetPermittedUserActions() function. For simplicity you could have it always return "SiteWide_Write" to grant all authenticated users admin rights. This FAQ was contributed by dmittakarin8.

After generation I get: "Source file ... _InsertInputDataSet_BaseXsd.cs' could not be opened ('The system cannot find the file specified. ')"

This is most frequently caused by not running CompileDataSets.bat. The PostInstallationInstructions.html contains more information on how to compile the strongly typed datasets. HOWEVER: if CompileDataSets.bat was run and a small group of strongly typed dataset .cs files are missing, this is caused by a failed xsd.exe command. To find the root cause of the error first determine which command in the compiledatasets.bat failed (one xsd.exe command compiles all datasets for a table) and run that command from the command line by itself. The resulting error message should provide more information. It is possible a database column or table contains odd characters, starts with a number, or uses a reserved word. In general Blue Ink checks for and attempts to work around these issues, but can not anticipate all potential conflicts.

Software Development

Writing stored procedures manually is tedious and error prone, is there a better way?

A hard to find Visual Studio feature allows building stored procedures visually. Through the the Server Explorer pane navigate to servers and then to your database. Right click on Stored Procedures and select "New Stored Procedure" or double click on an existing one. When it opens you can right click and select "Design SQL Block". The interface is just like Queries in Microsoft Access. As you add tables to the design tab Visual Studio automatically add's relationships between them. You can right click on the relationship to perform inner vs outer joins. This FAQ was contributed by dmittakarin8.


























































































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