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Please note that these practical sessions are designed to be completed in sequential order. This tutorial should take approximately 1.5 hours.
The following tutorial involves five sessions, each with many straightforward steps. Below is a summary of the sessions:
An Author uses the EASAP Builder to create an EASA application without writing any code. The Builder interface consists of a Tree of EASAP objects on the left and their parameters on the right. In this tutorial we will build a fully functioning application by applying iterations of EASA's simple design process:
There will be no coding involved.
For the rest of this tutorial we recommend the EASA Help Pages be opened in a browser alongside the EASAP Builder; resize both windows so each occupies either the lefthand or righthand side of the screen. This will enable accuracy in completing each tutorial step.
Let’s assume an organization uses analysis tools, which may include in-house codes and/or models created using commercial applications such as Excel® or MATLAB®. Let’s also assume there is a requirement to deploy some of these tools, in an easy-to-use form, to end-users who may not be expert at using these tools in their “native” form.
This tutorial is a guide through the creation of a custom web application called an EASAP to simplify and automate the use of an analysis tool. We create an intuitive interface to enable error-free usage with a minimal learning curve for end-users. In addition, we would like end-users to be able to store results in a central repository and to share results with colleagues.
Any batch mode software, either in-house or commercial, can be driven by an EASAP. Here we use a batch mode program that performs a simple structural analysis of a rectangular plate. This application was written by Herbert Whitman (firstname.lastname@example.org) and is freely available at http://www.fseas.info/
This application is an example of a simple DOS program that does not have a graphical user interface—it is ‘command-line driven code’. To run this program as intended in its original form, open a DOS command prompt, change to the directory containing the program, and type in the name of the main executable femrctpl.exe. The user is prompted for a series of inputs, as shown in the figures below.
As can be seen in the above popup window, the program prompts for the name of an input data file that must be created with a text editor prior to running the program. An example of the expected form for this input data file is shown in the figure below.
The program produces lines of text and tabular data output. A portion is shown in the figure below.
The results computed by the program include:
Clearly, this is not a process that you would expect a new user to be able to execute in its current form without some training. More generally—while many commercial applications offer capable GUIs—they are usually designed to allow expert users to solve many different types of problems, rather than enabling a non-expert to quickly and intuitively execute a specific process.
In this tutorial, we will take a difficult, “expert-only” process, and “wrap” the process into an intuitive web application, enabling error-free usage by non- experts.
This tutorial is designed for use with an EASA Server that is running Windows. For an EASA Server running Linux please contact our support personnel at email@example.com to receive a Linux-compatible version of the tutorial.
For this tutorial, both the planning of the EASAP and the generation of batch files for the underlying software application have been completed previously. Additionally the report template has been already created to focus on learning to Author an EASAP.
Download a .zip archive containing files we will need to complete the tutorial:
We will upload these files to the EASA Server in the next session.
Below are brief summaries,
|femrctpl.exe||Main executable of rectangular plate analysis program|
|input.txt||File containing inputs for rectangular plate analysis program|
|plate.txt||Data file for rectangular plate analysis program|
|EASAlogo.jpg||Image file of EASA logo|
|plate.gif||Image file for a selection image in the EASAP Library|
|report.html||Template HTML file for report of results|
|PLATE.OUT||Template file for extracting output|
Let's continue to Session 1.