Running an app on the web

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mismel8
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Running an app on the web

Post by mismel8 » Mon Apr 26, 2021 3:23 pm

Hi everyone, I have a relatively simple Livecode app which provides chapter reviews for students. To distribute it to students, I am wondering if a web version might be the way to go; however, I know nothing about this, and I can't seem to find a basic explanation for what I can do with livecode on the web and how.

It would be a simple app which uses and stores some text files. I would need it to work on Mac/PC and iPad. A student would open the website, enter their student number, then receive a series of chapter reviews, which consists of questions and answers. I would need to save their answers, along with their progress, so that they can complete one chapter review at a time, and come back later to complete another. Their responses would be saved in a text file, which would get updated each time they log on.

So my questions are:
1) Is this possible to do with a web app?
2) Is there a way to do this for less than around $60 for year? I don't have funding for this, so I would be paying out of pocket. I found Livecode web hosting, but it's out of my budget (and I'm not sure if that's even what I need for this purpose).
3) Any suggestions for basic reading on how to do this? I know how to write a Livecode app but I don't know anything at all about running something on the web.

Thanks for any info!

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Re: Running an app on the web

Post by mtalluto » Mon Apr 26, 2021 4:38 pm

LiveCloud.io has a free tier where you could store your app data both locally and on the cloud. If you are comfortable making the app, the data side of things is easy.

Our forums are there to help you with any questions.
Mark Talluto
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mismel8
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Re: Running an app on the web

Post by mismel8 » Mon Apr 26, 2021 4:54 pm

Thanks, I looked at the LiveCloud website and it looks like that would be a way to store the data, but could I actually “host” the app there? I’m not even sure if I’m using the right language. Can my app exist on a website, so that the student can do the activities via the web (and not through an app on their device)?

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Re: Running an app on the web

Post by mtalluto » Mon Apr 26, 2021 5:18 pm

LiveCloud is designed for app data originally. That said, you can store data that could be used to run your full app. We are working on such a project. We call it Appli. Appli is still under development.

The app UI as well as the client data is stored as a database. We have a database player for iOS, android, Mac, and Windows. The player downloads the data and reconstructs the full app.

Creating this yourself using LiveCode and LiveCloud is possible. But, it is a fair amount of work to build. We have been at it for some time.

If you are interested to see how Appli works I can post a short demo video.

LiveCode has an HTML 5 engine that will do web apps using a different method. You might want to give that a try.

Other tools like flutter can do web apps as well.
Mark Talluto
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Canela
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https://www.livecloud.io
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mismel8
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Re: Running an app on the web

Post by mismel8 » Mon Apr 26, 2021 6:20 pm

Thanks for your reply! At this point, I'm looking for something that could be done fairly easily with my basic Livecode knowledge (I have an app written, so I was hoping to find an easy way to make it available to my students and have access to the data).

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Re: Running an app on the web

Post by mtalluto » Mon Apr 26, 2021 7:33 pm

Since you are comfortable with LiveCode, have a look at their info on HTML 5.
https://livecode.com/products/html5-edition/
Mark Talluto
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mismel8
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Re: Running an app on the web

Post by mismel8 » Mon Apr 26, 2021 9:18 pm

Thanks, I read through there and it sounds like that might work, though from reading the guide in the Livecode dictionary, I am not sure if I could read and write to a file stored on a server somewhere, as it says you can "read and write temporary files in a special virtual filesystem (which is erased when the user navigates away from the page)." I'm not sure if a web app can communicate with permanently stored files?

I read through the lesson on putting an app on the web, and while I don't completely get it, I could probably follow along once I had a webspace to put my app on. It says you need a hosting account to upload your app to, which is where my second question comes in: is there a way to do this for less than around $60 per year? When I google web hosting, everything I find seems to be around $10 per month plus the cost of domain registration, but I am totally new to this, so I don't know if there is a cheaper way.

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Re: Running an app on the web

Post by mtalluto » Tue Apr 27, 2021 4:07 am

I have many Digital Ocean droplets. They can be as affordable as $5 per month. You can have them built up preconfigured with some popular options.
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stam
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Re: Running an app on the web

Post by stam » Tue Apr 27, 2021 9:11 am

mtalluto wrote:
Tue Apr 27, 2021 4:07 am
I have many Digital Ocean droplets. They can be as affordable as $5 per month. You can have them built up preconfigured with some popular options.
Hi Mark, that's really interesting - do you use Digital Ocean droplets with LiveCode and LiveCloud? Or standard web technologies?

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Re: Running an app on the web

Post by mtalluto » Wed Apr 28, 2021 8:48 pm

Hi Stam,

We use Digital Ocean droplets and Microsoft Azure VMs to power LiveCloud. Our tech stack with those technologies is the same. Apache/PHP/LiveCode processes work together to make LiveCloud.

DO droplets are incredible. They are affordable, easy to set up/destroy/and try again. It begs for experimentation.

Azure is more like AWS and Google in that you are charged using many more metrics. It can get complicated real fast. The short of it is that you will spend more there than with DO.

For $5 a month, you get full shell access to your VM. You can install and uninstall what you want. They have some great setups to get you started. Their documentation is second to none.
Mark Talluto
--
Canela
https://www.canelasoftware.com
https://www.livecloud.io
https://www.nursenotes.net

mismel8
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Re: Running an app on the web

Post by mismel8 » Wed Apr 28, 2021 9:32 pm

Ok, $5 a month is in my budget, so I read through their website, and I'm trying to figure out exactly what a droplet is. (I think) I understand the concept of a virtual machine... but going that route, would I be able to have a Livecode app on the droplet that could be run via a url? And have text files to read/write to? Sorry, I am completely new to this (I tried searching for Digital Ocean in the Livecode forums and Livecode in the Digital Ocean forums and didn't find anything).

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Re: Running an app on the web

Post by mtalluto » Wed Apr 28, 2021 10:15 pm

Your $5/month will provide you a virtual machine with its IP number. It is your internet-connected computer. It will be the place where you will host your app.

In LiveCode, you can export your project to HTML 5. I only tinkered with it a little when it first came out. Someone with experience with the HTML 5 export may need to step in and provide more detail.

I remember that the export in LiveCode would provide you all the files you need. You would place those in your www/ folder in your DO VM. Your users would use a standard browser to access your app with a link you provide. These details should be readily available from the LiveCode export.

If you are using the open-source version of LiveCode, the HTML 5 export is free.

Your DO VM has SQL available. I am not sure how to connect to SQL through the H5 export. Someone else may be more helpful here. If your app works with static text files as a data store, I would think that your web app should do that too. I am sorry that I do not know the answers to your H5 export details. I know there are people here that fully understand it.
Mark Talluto
--
Canela
https://www.canelasoftware.com
https://www.livecloud.io
https://www.nursenotes.net

stam
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Re: Running an app on the web

Post by stam » Thu Apr 29, 2021 12:02 pm

Thanks Mark, that's really helpful and does raise some very interesting prospects - will definitely check that out when i get some time... for now other priorities ;)

mismel8
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Re: Running an app on the web

Post by mismel8 » Thu Apr 29, 2021 4:11 pm

Thank you, Mark, That is a helpful start for sure! I'm going to do some investigating, and I can always create a new post with more specific questions about some of those aspects you weren't sure about as they come up.

garmeister
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Re: Running an app on the web

Post by garmeister » Tue May 04, 2021 11:21 pm

Very cool service (LiveCloud) you've created there Mark! The NurseNotes in the apps Showcase really left an impression on me since I'm health professional myself.

Cheers,

Gary

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