CPanel – Setting up an additional FTP Account

As previously stated there are a lot of hosted services that come with CPANEL installed. We have already indicated how it is possible to create a subdomain that can be used to host php based sites.
If you are using a design environment you will want to set up an FTP account that can be used to upload your applications too. It is worth just making sure that you are familiar with this.

Firstly log into your account at your host cpanel.

Once configured it should appear in your FTP Accounts section here

If you want to see the FTP parameters for upload hit the related Configure FTP Client

CPANEL only allows you to create against domains and subdomains that already exist so this should be you ready to install software.

Installation of Nubuilder through CPANEL

Background – I wrote sometime ago about an open source low code project called nubuilder originally started by a Steven Copely – it has been steadily and consistently developed over the years and Steven has since shared development with some other talented individuals. I took another look at it recently to see whether  I could find a way of installing and playing about with it on my existing web hosting provider…

and…

If you have a webhost that allows you access to a CPANEL client to configure your hosting environment then it is highly likely that you can set up a nubuilder low code environment. If you have a webhost that allows access to a CPANEL account AND allows you unlimited sub domains and unlimited storage then it is highly likely that you will be able to create a nubuilder low code environment for zero cost!!! 

A quick search online found that the following offer CPANEL / unlimited subdomains / unlimited MYSQL

A2Hosting

WebhostingHub (which are a subsidiary of InMotion)

SiteGround

There is usually a limit on the size of an individual MYSQL database but it is so high as to not be an issue.

Configuration Instructions:

This post was adapted from Steven Copleys video which can be found here..

Installing on Bluehost

First below I have blanked out my cpanel username variable with either a grey circular box or in code I’ve replaced it with an X. This variable is implemented by CPANEL software to allow resellers to ensure that thousands of users on the same servers do not accidentally duplicate directory and filenames. The username can only be accessed with an additional password but it is not generally available to anyone but the host admin and as such is additional security. It will be used in many of the default settings when creating things like databases and directory names.

Firstly Log into your providers CPANEL

Look to the Domains section and within it there should be a Subdomains icon.

and select the Subdomains icon

Create a new subdomain

Here is the Subdomain field I have typed nbexample – the document root will automatically be completed

Hit the Create button

Next we create a database

go to MySQLDatabases within the Databases menu

Now we create a New User

Here I do the same

username will be X_nb4exampledbuser

password

BlueSkyIsEverywhereToday2020

Hit the create user and Go Back and add the user to the database

On hitting add you will be asked to select the privileges that the user has over the database just indicate that you would like to allow them all privileges

Then hit the make changes button and you can if you want then check the MySQL databases and check that the database exists and that the user is there.

Next we go to the Nbuilder Github site and download the master file but zipped

Nubuilder 4.5 on GitHub

And select the Dowload ZIP option from the Code drop down list.

This will download a master file to your dowload folder – In your browser window in the bottom left you will see the file like this

You now need to go back to the main CPANEL hub and look for section marked Files and look for the File Manager option. In my CPANEL it looks it is a red icon.

The subdomain will be created as a directory within your root home directory and in my example looks like this. You will be transferring the master zip file into this directory so you want to select it.

Next hit the Upload button and navigate to find

nubuilder-4.5-master.zip

And load it into your base directory. It should look something like this now

Next you want to extract it..

It will then ask where you wish to extract it to

I will normally not put anything in here as it creates its own directory.

There will be a short delay after which you will be presented with a dialog that shows the outcome of the extraction process.

You should now see a new directory in which in my case is called nuBuilder-4.5-master.

I don’t like hypens dots and capitals or special characters in directory names. So

  • I rename it to nubuilder45
  • Convert to all lower case
  • Delete the old zip file

Next we want to go into the nuBuilder45 file and open up the nuconfig.php file.

This is where we will link allow the nubuilder php  to link to the created mysql database.

Right mouse click and select edit.

And find the following lines

Now remember from the start our database name / user and password are as follows.

  • Database : X_nb4exampledb
  • Username : X_nb4exampledbuser
  • Password : BlueSkyIsEverywhereToday2020

And hit the changes..

Next we want to create a very simple index.php file – alter the path to suit your subdomain / domain and directory where you extracted the nubuilder master file to.

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<body>
<script type="text/javascript">
window.location.replace("https://nbexample.cloudydatablog.net/nubuilder45")
</script>
</body>
</html>
</body>
</html>

It may well look like this

This simple index.php file is placed in the root of the new subdomain you created

Now you should be able to go to the new subdomain in any browser on the planet and …

 

Congratulations you have successfully configured a default instance of nubuilder – your journey to creating low code online databases can now begin..

PS the default credentials are

Username : globeadmin

Password : nu

Please change these immediately in the nuconfig.php file when you get a chance.

For more information on starting to design and develop with nubuilder please follow the link below

link

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Proof of Negative for database design : Put simply – Try to keep data in one easily searchable place!

Its always satisfying when you are able to conceptualise a problem that then seems to be appear widely. Invariably when I do this it is something that others reasoned on long before nonetheless it is still satisfying to arrive at the table albeit late.

I have done a lot of work in the public sector and many of the legal requirements constantly change and are not always logical. This can lead to contradictory requirements which software designers and particularly vendors can’t or won’t keep up with. Inevitably we end up with satellite procedures to catch edge cases. This is causing quite a lot of friction because of something I have started thinking about as Proof of Negative.

To prove a negative you have to access all information that has ever been – often to prove a positive you just need to find the one instance and then you can stop looking. Therefore it is on average harder to prove a negative than it is to prove a positive.

It was highlighted to me the other day when looking at a map. We were looking for a planning application and we were certain it existed. We had no reason to presume it didn’t exist however we were unable to find it. I eventually went to the map and looked at every planning application in an area none existed and so the conclusion was that it had never existed – time consuming but highlighted to me the importance of having all the information in one format that was easily comparable. Quite often switching between systems there are reconciliation issues either gaps or overlaps or the search options are wildly different which leaves you needing then to reconcile between searches additional difficulty and additional time.

So something to keep in mind when moving data about (Try and keep it in one easily searchable place ) Still nice to discover or should I say re-discover a fundamental truth .. It is sometimes referred to as the philosophic burden of proof and has been debated and thought about extensively.

Wikipedia Proof of Negative

MS Access like development environments for the Web – 3 alternatives

So you would like to construct simple applications that you can at the moment create in MS Access but you want to do it on the web. By that I mean you would like to create a data driven application with somewhat complicated forms that can be accessed by anyone through either IE or Chrome anywhere in the world with a simple login screen at the front to prevent simply anyone accessing the applications collecting the information into a database. What are your options for programs that will assist you in a MS Access like environment rather than going the full IDE deep dive – Visual Studio route – for what I consider to be a reasonable fee?

From my experience the unicorn of access on the web is slowly coming to fruition BUT for the vast majority of people with a budget similar to that for MS Access – lets say £200 ($250) a year for unlimited applications there is simply nothing which is quite as easy and powerful as MS Access. Some are pretty close but simply not as stable and require typically several magnitudes greater amount of configuration. WYSIWYG design isn’t quite as WYSIWYG and stability is a few orders lower than the desktop.

What you are probably looking at can typically be described as either RAD tools for the Web, a Low Coding Platform or something called a Code Generator any of those phrases can be useful for Google.

Assuming you don’t have your own servers whatever you do you will need to spend money on a web host.

The minimum this is likely to cost you is in the region of $15 a month. If you don’t want to spend the next 6 months learning about the insides and outsides of frameworks then I would suggest you go to one of the below three providers who all provide complete environments set up and ready to go with their particular generators pre-installed. This is good value it is extremely difficult to beat these guys on cloud hosting costs and unless you are very advanced and have very particular requirements its a waste of time to try. All three of the below providers will allow you to create limitless number of applications albeit you are limited by the space you hire on your web server. Similarly distribution will be limited by the quality of web server you sign up for. In all likelihood if you have few users it is unlikely that the coding front ends of your applications will be a limit to the number you create more likely the size of databases you are attaching them to and the shear time you have available to create applications.

For a period I was paying a monthly amount for a Nubuilder Pro hosted platform. This performed well and I could create an unlimited number of applications. As it was so hosted I skipped the step of learning some of the deeper parts of the initial configuration. I hope at some point to go back to this. It is open source and seems well maintained with a very dedicated developer. The developer re-wrote much of it and at March 2019 it latest re-incarnation is Nubuilder Forte.

Be warned n-tier web applications do not play as friendly as the desktop you WILL be slower to construct applications than you are on the desktop, getting into it WILL take time and a bit of commitment, you WILL have far less flexibility regards coding, there WILL be less people about to ask questions and there is far far less WYSIWYG design capabilities, error trapping is poor and errors are far more likely to be fatal and the really big warning is that on release of new web frameworks you may not necessarily be able to update without a full site re-design (A fact that comes as a nasty surprise to many CIOs and Project Managers when they realise that they are locked into front end system replacements every 4 or 5 years ) Know how to get data to your local environment out of the back end and accept that the front end is ephemeral and not likely to last in the same way as your desktop applications. (Your database will last but don’t expect to be running it through the same front end ten years from now). Accept that you will now have monthly or annual rental fees for cloud provision.

That said the design of these items is significantly faster than its ever been.

Scriptcase and ASP Runner dot net (Xlinesoft also produces a PHP equivalent generator) have free downloads that are good for getting started.

Commit to one and go for it. – I’ve got both PHP and ASP.NET solutions.. Nubuilder only connects to MySQL whereas Scriptcase and ASPRunner.NET connect to pretty much any database. I started with Nubuilder and am using ASPRunner.net as well because importantly it connects to SQL Server and it was easy to get up and running in MS Azure. Scriptcase is php based and I believe the applications it build require some kind of security program to sit on the web server this put me off – they do however have hosting that you can sign up for which is pre-configured. Their IDE is web based which could be a winning advantage. One of the great advantages of ASP runner dot net is that the program produces an open web application that should run on all stock servers. I found Nubuilder Pro (now Nubuilder Forte) really conceptually elegant which despite its rather drab looks is incredibly flexible the applications it produces are however limited to MySQL and non responsive (But being non responsive you get get more detailed forms!). I would probably be able to change it’s look if I was prepared to get my own server and install everything on it myself. That is not something I have time to do at present.
Nubuilder hosts its IDE in the browser which again is an advantage. ASPRunner.net is more traditional in that you have a program running on a desktop that creates the plumbing of your application which you then need to push to a server for publication  this has the advantage that you get to see the plumbing in the background which makes backup of the site easier but publishing slightly harder.

You may have heard of other generators / design applications out there for example – Zoho Creator / Alpha 5 / Outsystems these hold your hand even more but as a result are even more proprietary and won’t fit in that budget of £200 per year ( by quite a long way!)

Some further information on costs – nubuilder being open source in theory could scale for very little money espectially if you have your own servers already. Scriptcase and Xlinesoft ASP Runner product have an initial fee followed by annual subscription – you may be able to configure it so that you can create unlimited applications for that one fee (if you have good access to web servers ) but it is likely that initially there will be some kind of variable cost per additional application you wish to build. I am using MS Azure with ASP Runner dot net and a developer database costs me about £5 a month with each application being hosted in a web application service which again costs £5. With both Scriptcase and ASP Runner if you stop paying the annual fees your applications will continue to work you will just not get version upgrades. You will be able to step back into version upgrades but you may need to restart your subscription with an additional fee.

Nubuilder Forte Link

Scriptcase Link

ASP Runner – PHPRunner and ASPRunner.Net Link

Good luck

VBA Function Collection for converting Eastings and Northings to Latitude and Longitude

Some years back we hired a young lad by the name of Iain Brodie on a temporary contract – The week before I had been at an ESRI conference which had extensively discussed Web Mapping and  a speaker had demonstrated showing points in Google Maps. It was clear to me that the Google Maps url would accept and zoom to coordinates if those coordinates passed to it were Longitude and Latitude. Where I work there are significant numbers of datasets that use old Ordnance Survey UK specific Eastings and Northings coordinate system. Ordnance Survey actually set out the mathematics of conversion to Lat and Long on this page even detailing coded functions albeit in Javascript.

http://www.movable-type.co.uk/scripts/latlong-gridref.html

I specifically wanted to dynamically convert using Visual Basic for applications (specifically from MS Access). When Iain arrived it was clear that he was useful with computers and so I tasked him with finding VBA code from the internet. Between us we managed to get it working and I still regularly use the function set today to give users of applications a map in Google Maps. It really is a very nice quick tool that gives users quick access to maps for – you bet zero cost. My favourite price. We originally had it working with Google Earth but I only use it with Google Maps now.

Function PHId(North1, N0, aFo, PHI0, n, bFo)
PHI1 = ((North1 - N0) / aFo) + PHI0
M = Marc(bFo, n, PHI0, PHI1)
PHI2 = ((North1 - N0 - M) / aFo) + PHI1
Do While Abs(North1 - N0 - M) &gt; 0.00001
PHI2 = ((North1 - N0 - M) / aFo) + PHI1
M = Marc(bFo, n, PHI0, PHI2)
PHI1 = PHI2
Loop
PHId = PHI2
End Function

Function Marc(bFo, n, P1, P2)
Marc = bFo * (((1 + n + ((5 / 4) * (n ^ 2)) + ((5 / 4) * (n ^ 3))) * (P2 - P1)) - (((3 * n) + (3 * (n ^ 2)) + ((21 / 8) * (n ^ 3))) * (Sin(P2 - P1)) * (Cos(P2 + P1))) + ((((15 / 8) * (n ^ 2)) + ((15 / 8) * (n ^ 3))) * (Sin(2 * (P2 - P1))) * (Cos(2 * (P2 + P1)))) - (((35 / 24) * (n ^ 3)) * (Sin(3 * (P2 - P1))) * (Cos(3 * (P2 + P1)))))
End Function

Function lon(East1, North1)
a = 6377563.396
b = 6356256.91
F0 = 0.9996012717
E0 = 400000
N0 = -100000
PHI0 = 0.855211333
LAM0 = -0.034906585
aFo = a * F0
bFo = b * F0
e2 = (aFo ^ 2 - bFo ^ 2) / aFo ^ 2
n = (aFo - bFo) / (aFo + bFo)
InitPHI = PHId(North1, N0, aFo, PHI0, n, bFo)
nuPL = aFo / ((1 - (e2 * (Sin(InitPHI)) ^ 2)) ^ 0.5)
rhoPL = (nuPL * (1 - e2)) / (1 - (e2 * (Sin(InitPHI)) ^ 2))
eta2PL = (nuPL / rhoPL) - 1
M = Marc(bFo, n, PHI0, InitPHI)
Et = East1 - E0
X = ((Cos(InitPHI)) ^ -1) / nuPL
XI = (((Cos(InitPHI)) ^ -1) / (6 * nuPL ^ 3)) * ((nuPL / rhoPL) + (2 * ((Tan(InitPHI)) ^ 2)))
XII = (((Cos(InitPHI)) ^ -1) / (120 * nuPL ^ 5)) * (5 + (28 * ((Tan(InitPHI)) ^ 2)) + (24 * ((Tan(InitPHI)) ^ 4)))
XIIA = (((Cos(InitPHI)) ^ -1) / (5040 * nuPL ^ 7)) * (61 + (662 * ((Tan(InitPHI)) ^ 2)) + (1320 * ((Tan(InitPHI)) ^ 4)) + (720 * ((Tan(InitPHI)) ^ 6)))
lon = (LAM0 + (Et * X) - ((Et ^ 3) * XI) + ((Et ^ 5) * XII) - ((Et ^ 7) * XIIA))
End Function

Function lat(East1, North1)
a = 6377563.396
b = 6356256.91
F0 = 0.9996012717
E0 = 400000
N0 = -100000
PHI0 = 0.855211333
LAM0 = -0.034906585
aFo = a * F0
bFo = b * F0
e2 = (aFo ^ 2 - bFo ^ 2) / aFo ^ 2
n = (aFo - bFo) / (aFo + bFo)
InitPHI = PHId(North1, N0, aFo, PHI0, n, bFo)
nuPL = aFo / ((1 - (e2 * (Sin(InitPHI)) ^ 2)) ^ 0.5)
rhoPL = (nuPL * (1 - e2)) / (1 - (e2 * (Sin(InitPHI)) ^ 2))
eta2PL = (nuPL / rhoPL) - 1
M = Marc(bFo, n, PHI0, InitPHI)
Et = East1 - E0
VII = (Tan(InitPHI)) / (2 * nuPL * rhoPL)
VIII = ((Tan(InitPHI)) / (24 * rhoPL * nuPL ^ 3)) * (5 + (3 * ((Tan(InitPHI)) ^ 2)) + eta2PL - (9 * ((Tan(InitPHI)) ^ 2) * eta2PL))
IX = ((Tan(InitPHI)) / (720 * rhoPL * nuPL ^ 5)) * (61 + (90 * ((Tan(InitPHI)) ^ 2)) + (45 * ((Tan(InitPHI)) ^ 4)))
lat = (InitPHI - ((Et ^ 2) * VII) + ((Et ^ 4) * VIII) - ((Et ^ 6) * IX))
End Function

Function degrees(radians)
degrees = 180 * radians / 3.14159265358979
End Function

Function trunc(value)
If value &gt; 0 Then
trunc = Int(value)
Else
trunc = Int(value + 1)
End If
End Function

And here is the code the onclick function of a button called Command01 and it pulls from a screen that has an eastings and northings field on it and which has a Sitename field.

Dim Llatitude As Double
Dim Llongitude As Double
Dim strSitename As String

Llatitude = degrees(lat([Eastings], [Northings]))
Llongitude = degrees(lon([Eastings], [Northings])) - 0.0015
strSitename = Me.Sitename
    
Dim strlatlong As String
strlatlong = Llatitude & ",+" & Llongitude

‘Here I have two options – the first places a marker on the map – as far as I can tell – the marker is only available within google with the side panel displayed as well. The second shows the map centered on the requested location but without any markers. Choose one

Command01.HyperlinkAddress = "https://maps.google.com/maps?q=" & strlatlong & "+(" & strSitename & ")&z=18&iwloc=near&hl=en&ll=" & strlatlong

Command01.HyperlinkAddress ="https://www.google.com/maps/@" & Llatitude & "," & Llongitude & ",18z?hl=en"

And for Developers wanting to get into more detail here is the url for more information on passing parameters to the google maps url.

Google Map URLs