The App Platform

The innovaphone App Platform is a Linux based system, which may run on a innovaphone gateway or in a virtualized PC environment. An App Platform manager allows to install, start, stop and update innovaphone App Services.
For an App Service an abstract operating environment is provided, so that App Services can be implemented completely operating system independet. For developing an innovaphone App no Linux knowlege is needed.

Table of content

The App Platform Manager

The manager is responsible for managing the App services and instances (see below). There is the place where each service and instance can be stopped or started, Apps can be installed and removed, backups can be created and restored, the logs of the apps cen be shows, the app itself can be configured (Webserver path, database name, ...) and so on. The manager is the place to go also to access the innovaphone App Store to download and install new apps. The manager also creates a sandbox environment for each app for security reasons. So an app can only access and modify their own data.

The App Platform Webserver

The webserver is the entrance to the world for each app. An app will register itself to the webserver buy using an plugin system of the SDK. When registering, the app will use a path which can be accessed by a HTTP client. (The path will be defined in the App instance setting inside the Manager). There are three types of access the app can register: HTTP, Websocket and Passthrough. HTTP means, that under the path to register an client can access HTTP files. This files can be static files (statically linked to the app) or dynamic files, the app will build up on runtime. Registering as websocket means, that the app will receivie incomming websocket connections. And Passthrough gives the full responsibility of the access to the app. So the App needs to know what to to with the HTTP protocol, so it is recommended to use passthrough only, if you have to!

The App Platform Database

Even if the SDK supports two database systems (mySQL and PostgreSQL), PostgreSQL is the database used for the apps. So it is recommended to use it for your application, too. The database is not only used for application related data, also the configuration as well as files (only when created using the IDbFiles interface) are stored inside the database. Each App instance has it's own database and database connection, which will be shared between all of the instances session (see below). When creating a backup of an instance, the complete database for that instance will be saved and restored, if you're going to restore the backup. This makes creating a Backup of the apps data easy.

The App Service

The App Service ia an in C++ written application running on the App Platform. The SDK provides a set of interfaces for everything needed to created an app for the innovaphone App Platform. This includes database access, include the app into the webserver like a plugin, a HTTP client, sockets, file storage and so on.

It will be managed by the app manager, where an instance of that application will be set up. Other instances can be created, too. Because of that mechanism, each App Service must have a subclass of AppService. There, the AppService::CreateInstance() must be implemented to return a new instance SubClass of AppInstance, each time the CreateInstance() function will be called. And the AppInstance itself needs to create an instance of subclass of AppSession each time an incomming websocket request from a new UI session comes in. The procedure is as follows:

So finally, each app has only one AppService instance, which is the part of the app that communicates with the Manager. It also is responsible to create the AppInstance, the manager calls to create (depending how many app instances had been configured). The AppInstance itself is responsible for listening to incomming websocket requests and create a AppSession for each websocekt connection that comes from an Apps JavaScript UI. That AppSession is the core of the application, because it handles the user input, sent from the UI to the session, returns results, reads and writes from and to the database, etc.

The App Platform Manager can start multiple instances within an App Service, to support different configurations or even different customers. The different Instances run within the same process context.

The App

The App is the component, which runs in the myApps client. It is written in Javascript. Of course an App typically needs an backend service to provide useful functionality, so the App is mostly just the User Interface.

To create the UI, the SDK provides some JavaScript files that handles all of the App Service / App communcation. This communication happens over the websocket connection, sending JSON messages back an forth. So the AppSession needs to implement the messages it will receive from and send to the UI, while the UI must handle the same messages, too. The SDK also provides some base and extended JavaScript UI controls, as well as everything needed to localize the app and use the themes of the innovaphone App Client. But the developer still needs knowledge of JavaScript and HTML to create the UI.

The files for that UI will be linked as static files into the binary of the App Service. Each request to one of those files will be handled automatically by the IWebserverPlugin, so the App Service itself do't need to handled that by itself. The good side effect of this is, that no one can change the files because there are not sotred seperatly on an hard disk.


Assynchrounse programming environment
The innovaphone SDK is designed to completly work in an asynchronous, non-blocking way. Each IO operation is asynchronous. Same for timers and exec callbacks, used to to call a function asynchronous. All of that is controlled by the IIoMux instance of an AppInstance. Because of this, the IIoMux instance must be passed to nearly all interfaces on creation. The interface will take care of registering and unregistering itself to the IIoMux instance.
So each apps needs to be design with the same manner, too. That means, that the app must implement good flowcontrol to not loose control of what is going on. Because of this, each nearly Interface has also a User class (generally with the same name as the interface, only starts with 'U' instead of 'I' - e. G. ISocket and USocket). The app must provide classes that will be subclasses of an user class and pass an instance of that user to the Interface when creating. So for example, if an application creates an instance of IHTTPClient, it must pass an instance of a subclass of UHTTPClient. That subclass needs to implement all callback functions that are of interest for the app. More informations of what functions must be overwritten and what functions having default implementation, can be found at the description of the interfaces.
Generally, each asynchronous function will lead in an result callback function (e. G. Send() -> SendResult()). If an app calls Send() of an interface that provides a Send() function, the app should wait until the SendResult() callback had been called before sending the nexxt part. Doing this helps to have non blockng operations. The same is for Recv(), wich will call a RecvResult() callback function if data had been received. While waiting for data to receive, the application can still handled other stuff (e. g. Recive a Websocket message). Each application instance has an IIoMux instance, wich finally will handle each type of connection, inform each interface of data that is available, handles timers and Execute-Callbacks, which can be used to call a function asynchronous.