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Corona for Business Apps
Started by russcampbell Nov 27 2018 08:23 AM

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#1

russcampbell

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A few years back - or more - there was some talk of making this powerful dev platform a platform for regular business apps, also. Looking around the forum, I'm not seeing a place for that like I think there was in the past. Has that idea just fallen apart? It would take good database access tools for storing local and remote data in back ends like SQL Server, Postgres, MySQL, etc., but I loved the potential that the system had for ease-of-development and cross-platform compatibility. Did that idea just die on the vine?



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#2

roaminggamer

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I'm not clear what your're asking.

 

Can you make business apps with Corona?  Yes.

 

Do people make non-game apps with Corona?  Yes. 

 

Can you remote access SQL servers, ... Yes.

 

Is all kinds of high-level task specific functionality rolled into core Corona?  No.  Corona is an SDK.  It provides you the tools you need to write task specific functionality on your own.

 

Are there many ready-made solutions already available that do the things you mentioned?  Yes.  Search Google, Github, etc.  You'll find all kinds of solutions to the tasks you mentioned above.  Remember to search for Lua as part of those searches since most of what you mentioned has nothing to do with Corona, but rather Lua and networking calls.

 

PS  - I do agree that for a long time, most active forums users have been focused on game making, but you can still make business apps with Corona.



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#3

russcampbell

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Thanks. Seems like there was a push within Corona Labs to make the product more business-app-friendly. I'm thinking that never really gained traction. I like (or liked) many of the features of Corona, but when there are other tools designed for business apps that offer lots of features already built-in, it's hard to justify working in a tool that seems mostly geared at games and business apps are the red-headed step child, even if I like the language and other aspects of Corona. The "ready-made" solutions you mention might be a help, but when I use open source tools - and I assume many of the things you mention are open source - the tech support, updates, documentation, etc. are lacking and it's tough to create mission critical apps with such tools. It sounds similar to what was going on few years back . . . lots of DIY . . .



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#4

XeduR @Spyric

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What development software are you specifically talking about and what are those built-in features that they have?



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#5

russcampbell

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Nothing in particular, but there are tools - from Visual Studio with Xamarin to Apple's tools to Appcelerator to PhoneGap and others - that have good tools available for business app developers. With what I understood back when and with what I understand now, Corona is not keeping up in that area, but that's fine. If they want to concentrate on games, that's fine. I just thought it'd be cool if they had a push to do more things for business app developers, but that's their choice. I might lament it, but that's just me.



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#6

roaminggamer

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That's cool.  That sounds more like an app engine than an SDK.

 

In my experience, the more specialized a feature is, the less likely an integrated version of that feature will be useful to you.  

 

Your vision of a specific business feature might be wildly different that another person and again different from a Corona engineer's view.

 

This is why I prefer Corona stay an SDK.  Then, I can search for ready-made solutions.  If I don't find one that is perfect for my needs, I can write my own or have it made for me.

 

TL;DR - SDKs are better than engines.  Engines lock you into their interpretation of a task/problem and its solution.  SDKs give you full freedom to interpret both.


Edited by roaminggamer, 27 November 2018 - 11:11 AM.


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#7

russcampbell

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No, I don't think you'd call those "app engines." Those are full-fledged development environments. Anyway, it doesn't matter much. I'm not feeling like Corona is what I'd want to develop business apps with, but if I were writing a game, I'd be all over it.



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#8

Rob Miracle

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Xamarin and PhoneGap are cross-platform frameworks like Corona but are based on using web technologies to build hybrid mobile apps. They take advantage of existing HTML/CSS/JavaScript elements (and the large contingent of web developers) to build apps. I don't have much in the way of experience with them, but they likely include tools that let you construct user interfaces easier.

 

This last part, UI creation tools might be what you're referring too when you talk about Apple's tools. Xcode gives you a pallet of widgets that you can drag and drop onto your storyboard, setup constraints to help support multiple screens and so on. 

 

Corona does not have a drag and drop system. We can have a long discussion about this on another thread, but we are not planning on adding it.

 

Back in the 2014/15 time frame, we did make a push to raise awareness about using Corona as a business app. Again in 2016 we produced additional samples for business style and utility apps, but we tend to cater to where most of our usage is which is games. Business apps lean toward native apps and hybrid mobile/html apps. Games tend towards frameworks with high-speed graphic and sprite manipulation.

 

So while we have created widgets that mimic some of the native widgets, like buttons, switches and sliders, we don't have everything you might want, like a navigation controller. You can certainly create them, but they are not there to be a simple drag and drop or one statement creation of them. Those controls have to live in OpenGL space while your textField and textBox inputs occupy native space and that in itself creates some friction between trying to use them together.

 

I love Corona. It's the platform I found and fell in love with back in 2011. I'm willing to put in the effort to create the widgets I need for business apps and deal with the quirks of native vs. OpenGL. Most business/utility style apps don't need the OpenGL speed and texture manipulation and something made up of just native or HTML widgets works well for them.

 

That said, you might want to look at https://github.com/coronalabs-samples 

 

There are several Corona-based non-game examples there.

 

Rob



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#9

Rob Miracle

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I forgot to add, with regards to database access, our network.request() API works really well with web-based RESTful APIs. You can, of course, create your own with PHP and MySQL on a typical web host. If you have more of a virtual host, you can use NodeJS or other technologies to create your own REST-like APIs. Node, of course, prefers to work with NOSQL databases, but you can get NodeJS to work with MySQL. For a fun exercise, I took the web-hosted trivia database and API's that I had done with PHP and MySQL and converted it to NodeJS talking to MySQL. If you output JSON from your web host, then it's pretty straightforward to convert that response into a Lua table with the json.decode() API.

 

You're probably not going to want to make direct database queries for security reasons, so most people are going to go through some web scripting system.

 

Rob



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#10

russcampbell

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Thanks, Rob. I believe Corona is great for what it focuses on. I wish I had the time to explore game development. Thanks for all the info.



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#11

XeduR @Spyric

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Based on your initial post and responses, it sounds to me like you didn't come to ask anyone's opinions on if Corona is good for developing business apps, but to rather state that it isn't. :D 



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#12

russcampbell

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Based on your reply, XeduR, it sounds to me like you are simply wanting to slam me instead of contributing, since you imply my question was dishonest. What I did was call it a powerful platform geared towards gaming that was maybe going to start getting more features related to developing standard business apps. I asked if that idea had died on the vine, since I was not seeing any forum devoted to that type of development. What I believe I heard is that the idea never really gained traction. I'm hearing there's certainly a lot of DIY still involved. That's fine for some people, but I'm looking for a tool that does a lot of the standard stuff for me and gives me access to the native controls so that I can concentrate on what's truly unique to my apps and not reinvent the wheel. I wish Corona had that, but it just doesn't, so that's that. It seems like a great choice for game development. I asked an honest question and got honest answers and found out that Conona's focus is still gaming. Nothing wrong with that.



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#13

XeduR @Spyric

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That's quite hyperbole. :D

To slam someone is to put proper weight behind a hit that is intended to hurt. I merely poked fun at you, and I seem to have hit a sore spot, which was not my intention.

In written communication especially, we all know exactly what we want to say, but it doesn't always come out like that to everyone else. I poked fun at your original post and replies because you asked if Corona can be "a platform for regular business apps" and you listed several features, to which roaminggamer replied that all those features exist, but most of them require setting up via programming instead of just activating some built-in feature, to which you replied that you weren't interested in the DIY part.

In your head, your responses may have sounded more open or welcoming discussion, but to me they really just came across as: "If I can't just plug n' play features XYZ, then I'm not interested." then shrugging off the rest of the comments as "Corona is a good game engine, but requires DIY and won't work for business apps." This time, I used hyperbole, I might add. :P

So, I simply didn't believe that there was anything for me to contribute to the discussion as I didn't perceive that there was a discussion being had. I agree in not needing to reinvent the wheel. That's why I use Corona for my projects, games & non-games alike. :P



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#14

russcampbell

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You accused me of a dishonest question. I tried to show that it wasn't. Beyond that, I don't really care what you think.



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#15

Rob Miracle

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Let's try to keep things constructive, please!

 

Thanks

Rob



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#16

yosu

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Well, i have been using Corona for the past few years to mainly build business-apps, where it will communicate with the server. So, it is mainly scroll-views and network.* functions for me all the time. It is great as it is fast and easy, and with the transitions, you can spice up the app a little bit.

 

The only thing lacking is a smooth-native feel map view feature. The current map view feature is a bit laggy. To make it smooth, you need the corona-native.



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#17

russcampbell

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Thanks for the reply, Yosu. I have no doubt Corona can be used for business apps, but when I came back to the Corona Labs site to see what was up, I wasn't seeing anything dedicated to business development, nor any forums here dedicated to discussions on that. Though I've been falsely accused of somehow coming here to beat up on Corona, that's not the case. I was hoping that in the time since I last checked on it, a business development push would have occurred. It seems it hasn't. Like many other developers, I'd like a tool where the developers of the tool are focusing on my needs. What Corona is doing is focusing on game development and that's 100% fine. Those developers are getting the attention they need and deserve. What Corona Labs decides to focus on is their business, but I just want a tool that either focuses on both, like I was hoping Corona Labs had started doing, or focuses on business development. Since business development is an afterthought for Corona Labs - again, that's their right - I guess I'll keep using other tools. But more power to you regarding your decision. I would be interested in seeing the apps you and others have built.



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#18

carloscosta

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I'm programming only business apps with Corona for the past 3 years. So I'm comfortable to say that Corona for business apps sucks. I love the language (lua) and I love the SDK (Corona) for it's freedom and easy to learn, but Corona didn't put 1 day of effort to make life easy to business apps makers. Well, to be fair, it's a 2D game engine, right? Why should they help us, business apps developers.

I passed 3 months making my own version of material design elements to accelerate the apps development. Corona core elements for business, just sucks or simple don't exist. I started to look elsewhere, seeking new languages if there are one that fulfill what I wanted, 1 language, iOS/Android support with 100% support of hardware(sensors/background running/not having the webview on top of everything, same problem with textfields, better integration of maps, and not telling me all the time to build native code to fulfill what I want). I found Flutter ticked most boxes so I gave it a shot. 1.0 just arrived 2 days ago, and I can say that it's miles ahead of Corona already in respect of business apps. They have all elements of Material/Cupertino. Making scrolls are smooth, while in Corona I always had problems with that. I can make a business app in less than 1/4 time in Flutter, since 100% of business logic objects are already made by google team, and third party plugins are very good also. It's to bad Corona stopped in time and only focused on games. I really love the SDK and language, but it's outdated SDK. Making flutter code is a breeze using IntelliJ IDEA/Android Studio. It's almost impossible to make an mistake since it gives warnings in real time while you are typing.

Comparing Corona vs Flutter are not even in the same league to be compared. The only advantage in Corona I can think of, its way easier to learn Lua, if you are not a programmer and don't have java/javascript background. Corona API documentation is far better also than Flutter. But I guess my last app in Corona is about to happen, I'm converting and starting new projects all in Flutter. If I was a game developer I would choose Corona in a heartbeat.

 

*I forgot to say that I love the Corona community and the help they provide to all. I love also the Corona team support and the prompt response they provide. I really appreciate all of you.


Edited by carloscosta, 06 December 2018 - 02:01 AM.


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#19

russcampbell

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Thanks for the input, Carlos. As I think everyone agrees, Corona is great for game development, but they've not chosen to extend it for business app development. That's a bummer, since I also like Lua and the coolness of the product, but that's just the way it is.

 

Thanks for the info on Flutter. I was looking at Delphi today and they say you can develop for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android using the same code base. That's interesting to me, especially since I know Pascal (though it's been awhile). After seeing your post, I'll also be checking into Flutter, also.

 

Thanks again.



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#20

fixr

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Hi, I have developed a Business App with corona. It's hard work, but working. If you want to view this app visit:

 

https://itunes.apple.com/it/app/visitapp-visite-mediche/id1382693797?mt=8

 

 



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#21

russcampbell

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Thanks, fixr. Your app looks very well designed from an aesthetic viewpoint. That would be an advantage of the Corona SDK, I'd say.



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#22

fixr

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Thank you. But Flutter it's very interesting project! I try It
 

Thanks, fixr. Your app looks very well designed from an aesthetic viewpoint. That would be an advantage of the Corona SDK, I'd say.



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#23

Rob Miracle

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Very nice!



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#24

jose.coimbras

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I try to develop other apps that are not games. Its hard. I´m not pro in programming, people can use some things already done, but for me its more hard to understand and use... i usually made all from srcatch... its hard, for example make menus its a mightmare.

But i understand that Corona is a focus on games.

Advantage, very easy, lua, and make a app without background of Android Studio (sucks).

For a non professional programer, and a not great computer it is very good.

 

 



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#25

Abdo23

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Corona does not have a drag and drop system. We can have a long discussion about this on another thread, but we are not planning on adding it.

 

 

 

Could you please clarify more on why you would not consider adding something like a visual editor to corona? I think it might be of a huge benefit on so many levels.




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