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Creating a RhoMobile project

You can create a RhoMobile project either from RhoStudio or from the command line. Under the hood, RhoStudio invokes the command-line tool, so both approaches are equivalent.

Prerequisites

In order to build a Native Application, you will need to have the SDK environments setup on your machine for each targeted mobile platform that you wish to support. In order for RhoStudio to build the final application, these environments must be setup properly and then RhoStudio will need need to know the paths to the build components.

1) Setup Mobile Development Environments

iPhone/iPad

Android

Windows Mobile

Windows Phone 8

2) Java Development Kit

In the RhoMobile Suite installation instructions, review the Java Development Kit instructions for your operating system.

3) Install RhoMobile Suite

Follow operating specific instructions for your development machine:

Mac OS

Windows 32-bit

Windows 64-bit

4) Setup RhoStudio Mobile SDK Paths

Once you have Rhodes, you will need the SDKs for the platform you want to build your app on.

C:\> rhodes-setup

This will prompt you for where you installed the SDKs for the various platforms. The installation script will display its best guess as to where the SDK is. You can then enter a new location, or leave it blank to use the suggestion. If you are not building for a specific platform (for example, you can’t build for the iPhone on Windows), you can leave that SDK location blank. You can find prerequisites for each platform here.

5) Sign Up For a Subscription Plan at rhomobile.com

Building any app using Rhodes or RhoElements requires a license, even if it’s a free license. Refer to our licensing doc for more information on which plan is right for you.

Creating a project with RhoStudio

To create your first Rhodes project using RhoStudio, select File –> New –> Project

The New Project window opens. Select the Rhodes application wizard and click the Next button.

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Enter the name of your new application in Project name; in this example, we will use “storemanager”. If you need to save the project in a particular location on your computer, uncheck “Create application in default workspace” and specify where you want the new files to be stored, otherwise you can accept the defaults and click “Finish”.

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Creating a project from the command line

If you prefer to use the command line or another development environment instead of RhoStudio, the rhodes tool can be invoked manually.

Usage: rhodes generator_name [options] [args]

Generate rhodes application

Available generators
    api                              Generate API sources from XML API file
    api_test                         Generate megatest XML for API generator
    app                              Generates a new rhodes application.
    extension                        Adds native extension to Rhodes based application.
    model                            Generates a new model for a rhodes application.
    spec                             Adds spec framework to rhodes application.

General options:
    -p, --pretend                    Run, but do not make any changes.
    -f, --force                      Overwrite files that already exist.
    -s, --skip                       Skip files that already exist.
    -d, --delete                     Delete files that have previously been generated with this generator.
    --no-color                       Don't colorize the output
    -h, --help                       Show this message
    --debug                          Do not catch errors
    --norhoconnect                   Don't include rhoconnect-client in application

To create a new application called storemanager, switch to the directory where you want it to be saved and run:

$ rhodes app storemanager

Project structure

The generated application has the following structure:

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Here is an overview of what each file and folder contains.

Root application folder

  • build.yml

This file controls compile-time settings such as the name of the application, which extensions to include, which version of the Rhodes SDK to use for compiling, etc.

  • rhoconfig.txt

Runtime settings of the application are configured here, such as which page to load when the application starts, the URL of the synchronization server, how much logging output to keep, etc.

  • Rakefile

A standard Ruby rakefile, designed to find the appropriate Rhodes SDK and compile your application with it.

app

app contains all the Ruby code for your application, as well as its views. In a newly-created application, there are two other folders inside:

  • app/helpers contains view helpers, used to extract common functionality into reusable functions. Rhodes generates application_helper.rb and browser_helper.rb automatically, and you can add your own as needed.
  • app/Settings is the default controller that is invoked when the user taps the “Settings” icon in the application. It shows the current status of the data synchronization process and allows the user to log in or out of the sync server, as well as perform some maintenance tasks such as clearing the database.

Apart from these folders, there are several other files in app:

  • application.rb is the entry point of your application. Any startup initialization code should be place here.
  • index.erb is the first page that will load when the application starts (unless changed in build.yml).
  • layout.erb contains elements present in all or most pages. Because normally all the pages of an applications have a similar structure and layout, it is recommended to extract common elements into a single file to make maintenance easier. Rhodes acknowledges this best practice and provides you with a default template so that your pages (views) do not need to contain duplicated HTML code. Instead, each view will only contain the code specific to that view, which will be merged with the layout when the page is rendered.
  • loading*.png – these are splashscreen images for several device orientations and platforms. You will swap these files with your own at some point before deployment
  • models / controllers – when you add a model to your application, each model will be created in its own folder within app. For example, a model called Product will produce app/Product

framework

This folder does not exist within your application, but RhoStudio shows it for reference. This is a link to the implementation of the Rhodes framework itself, you should never modify any files in this folder unless you are contributing to Rhodes

icon

The icon for your application in different formats, as required for each platform (iOS, Android, Windows Mobile, etc).

public

Any file linked from a view (or that must be reachable by the embedded web browser for any reason) belongs here. Rhodes organizes the files it generates in several sub-directories:

  • css – stylesheets
  • images – image files for toolbars, lists, ok and back buttons, etc.
  • jqmobileJQuery Mobile, a JavaScript library that helps you build touch-optimized HTML applications for mobile devices
  • jqueryJQuery, a JavaScript library to manipulate HTML with an easy to use, cross browser syntax
  • js – general JavaScript files. Your application-specific JavaScript code should be stored in this folder

You can create any other folders and organize your files following any structure you prefer, but it is recommended to stay as close as possible to the default, as this will make things easier when working with a team or asking for help.

Running your application

Running from RhoStudio

Note: If you have yet to apply your license to your instance of Rhodes / RhoElements, you will be prompted when attempting to build to enter your login credentials to rhomobile.com before you can continue. Refer to our licensing guide to learn how to apply your license.

To start your application for the first time, right click your project, then click Run As –> Run Configurations…

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Select “RhoMobile Application” and click the “New” button, then click “Run”

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After a brief compilation period, the application will start in RhoSimulator

Running from the command line

Note: If you have yet to apply your license to your instance of Rhodes / RhoElements, you will be prompted when attempting to build to enter your login credentials to rhomobile.com before you can continue. Refer to our licensing guide to learn how to apply your license.

To start a Rhodes application from the command line, switch to the folder that contains the application and run

rake run:<platform to be simulated>:rhosimulator

where <platform to be simulated> can be one of

  • android
  • bb
  • iphone
  • win32 for desktop Windows
  • wm for Windows Mobile 6
  • wp8 for Windows Phone 8

Note: Windows Mobile and Windows CE apps that use the webkit will not be able to run in the RhoSimulator because of the limitations of the memory in the simulator.

The application will start inside RhoSimulator with a different look depending on the selected platform

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Related reading

Now that your first application is ready to run, there are some other topics you should become familiar with:

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