Interface Asset - General Concepts

Table of Contents

    Introduction

    Interface Assets (IA) enable IntuiFace experiences to access, in real time,

    • external data
    • external business logic
    • external devices

    For business logic and devices, the properties (e.g. variables and values), actions (e.g. methods and functions), and triggers (e.g.. events and signals) associated with them are exposed as well.

    These services can be public or private. Examples of public services include Twitter and Flickr. Examples of business logic include database searches and back office systems. Examples of devices include bar code scanners, printers, or even gadgets in the connected home or among the Internet of Things.

    The bottom third of the following architecture diagram shows how IAs extend the IntuiFace platform. In IntuiFace, the underlying protocols supported for interface assets are: REST Web Services, Excel, .NET DLLs and JavaScript. You can click on the diagram to zoom in:


    Use of Interface Assets in Composer

    The following sections detail how to work with Interface Assets in your IntuiFace experiences. The approach is the same for all supported protocols - i.e. for Excel, REST, .Net and JavaScript) and is the same for both the off-the-shelf IAs delivered with IntuiFace and the interfaces you create yourself.

    Accessing Interface Assets

    All available Interface Assets can be found by opening the Interface Assets panel using the associated button in the blue ribbon at the top of Composer.

    IA-1.jpg

    Clicking on Add an Interface Asset will display the Select an Interface Asset panel (picture below) which combines both off-the-shelf IAs shipped with IntuiFace and user-defined IAs you create for your own work.

    Adding Interface Assets Into an Experience

    • Click on an Interface Asset in the Select an Interface Asset panel
    • Click the "Add" button to insert the selected Interface Asset into your experience

    addIAtoProject.png

    You can add multiple instances of the same IA into a project. For example, you could insert two Clock interfaces, one for the EST timezone and the other for GMT.

    Once you have added an IA, it will appear in the Interface Assets panel on the left side of Composer. This list will include all of the IAs you have added to your project.

    IA_Panel_withIAs.png

    You can rename/copy/paste/delete these IA instances. In addition, through use of the X-Ray panel you can:

    • change an IA's properties
    • add a trigger to your experience (if the IA has triggers)
    • call an action for any trigger (if the IA has actions)

    Specifying the scope of interface asset triggers

    By default, each interface asset instance has a global scope, meaning its triggers can be activated regardless of the active scene. In some cases this may be appropriate, but in others it may be better to limit IA triggers to particular scenes.

    To limit IA triggers to specific scenes:

    • When inserting an IA trigger into your experience, note the "Happens in" section within the "Trigger parameters" column of the Triggers view in the Triggers & Actions panel.

    • Choose the "Happens in" option that best applies to this particular trigger instance.
      • Any Scene
        Use if the trigger should be accesible across all scenes
      • Any Scene except
        Use if the trigger will be on most scenes but to the exclusion of a few
      • Selected Scenes
        Use if the trigger will only be available on a small subset of the scenes.

    Location of interface assets

    The physical location of IntuiFace's out-of-the-box interfaces is different from the location in which custom interfaces are stored:

    • IntuiFace off-the-shelf IAs are located in
      • C:\Program Files (x86)\IntuiLab\IntuiFace5\Composer\Resources\Interface Assets for IntuiFace 32bits
      • C:\Program Files\IntuiLab\IntuiFace5\Composer\Resources\Interface Assets for IntuiFace 64bits

    This folder should not be used to add custom interfaces as it is overwritten upon each Composer update.

    • User defined IAs are located in
      • C:\Users\{UserName}\Documents\IntuiFace\Interface Assets

    Custom interface assets should be placed here to ensure they will not be affected by the installation of IntuiFace updates.

    Once you have added an instance of a custom Interface Asset into your project, the files associated with that IA are copied into your project folder, below Files\InterfaceAssets sub-folder.

    • As a result, changes to this custom IA in the folder C:\Users\{UserName}\Documents\IntuiFace\Interface Assets will NOT be detected in your project.

    To update an IA already added into your project you must either:

    1. Modify the local version of the IA located in your project sub-folder,
      or
    2. Manually delete the IA sub-folder and its reference(s) in your experience, modify the original IA located outside of your project, then re-add that IA into your experience

    Off-the-Shelf Interface Assets


    See this article for a list of the prebuilt interface assets that ship with IntuiFace.

    Visual Representation of Off-the-Shelf Interface Assets

    All off-the-shelf IAs come with a pre-designed visual representation. For example, there is a default clock design for the Clock interface asset. It is NOT necessary to add these visual representations to an experience; the properties, triggers and actions associated with an IA are available regardless. However, many IAs are intended to be visual so we've created a default design for you.

    To add this visual representation to an experience, drag & drop any IA instance from the Interface Asset panel into the scene, creating its default visual representation - aka data template. This visual representation is just a representative example and does not have to be used. You can also have several visual representations of the same Interface Asset in the same scene or in different scenes.

    Feel free to break this representation and add/remove/rearrange at will. For example, for Weather IA, keep only the current day weather icon and temperature.

    If you want to create a visual representation for your custom Interface Asset, read this article.

    Create Your Own Interface Asset

    If you want to create your own Interface Assets, read this article.

    Don't forget you will have to put your IA in the following folder to make them available in Composer: C:\Users\{UserName}\Documents\IntuiFace\Interface Assets

    IMPORTANT NOTES

    • Even when deleted from within Composer, IAs are not cleaned up inside the project folder on your file system. They remain under Files/InterfaceAssets.
    • No default error management is available.