Over the past few weeks our xAP forum has been a hot bed of activity as the application formerly known as ‘xAP Joggler’ has been updated to ‘xAP Flash’, reflecting its ability to run on other hardware (and indeed any Flash capable browser). So if you’re looking for a Flash based front end to control many different home automation sub-systems then read on for a summary of the new features and changes from Kevin and the beta testers (good name for a band?)…
I welcome Martyn Wendon who has made considerable code, features and time contribution to this beta and should be able to assist with any questions on any aspects of the beta testing. Beta 5 is the first release that I hope addresses almost all the key features required for such an application, although there are still many things we intend to add.
Getting beta 5 out the door has taken a while, indeed a lot longer than I had hoped, and so it’s our intention to now release small incremental fixes as needed for beta 5 – in a timely fashion and addressing any issues you uncover , whilst in the longer term we consider beta 6. New feature requests would likely await beta 6. Beta 5 has over 10000 lines of code – that’s more than double the size of beta 4. So is it twice as good ?
Here’s a quick summary of the changes:
- Updated version of iServer with automatic passing of targeted messages, and bug fixes for dropped messages.
- There are now two XML config files, one specific to each xAPFlash client and a second holding essentially the layout design. This allows sharing of your layout designs between multiple xAP Flash clients and automatic updates when changed files become available. One config file can override the visual elements within another to customise the screen displays.
- Text defaults have been created for visual elements and the default font is now Verdana
- Improved config screen supporting more elements and more useful messages at startup for any file loading issues.
- Better implementation of hierarchical pages using <parent> tags
- Text boxes added as a new element type. These can be static text, or linked to xAP devices and support plain or html text. Arbitrary on page placement including overlapping.
- Text boxes can also display image files and can load local or remote Internet content. They can even load Flash content for animations , gauges etc.
- On screen elements now report visibility and status via xAP BSC and can be controlled via xAP too. Various internal aspects of the Joggler eg screensaver, brightness and volume are exposed too. This allows you to drive the screen remotely similar to the way Crestron/AMX screens are architected.
- Transparency now supported for pages, backgrounds, buttons and text boxes.
- Press and hold to dim function on buttons.
- Sliders , both permanent on screen versions and press to popup supported.
- OSD /Caller ID messages are now displayed via your own pop up page designs. The inbuilt fixed design (deprecated) is no longer the only option.
- There is generic xAP schema support allowing you to extract parameters from any xAP message – not just BSC.
- xAP BSC device status can be remembered by the Joggler across restarts of the application (persistance).
- Many Joggler API functions have been integrated for example volume , screensaver and brightness control, and tidier exiting of the application.
- Password protected pages
- Multiple secure buttons separate and local to each page.
- Audible and on screen notifications via xAP
- A host of bug fixes and improvements to existing features…and lots of code reworks as we learn more about Flash and the Joggler… and prepare for future bits.