In this article, you will learn:
- The different parts of the Tulip App Builder
- Basic visual elements that you can add to an app (also called Widgets)
- How to add basic logic using Buttons
- How to complete your app to log data
Note: This topic is featured in the "Introduction to App Building" course in Tulip University.
If you are still getting familiar with the Tulip App Builder, this article is for you. We’ll use an example of a visual work instructions app to walk through all the major tools in the App Builder.
Before we get started, here's a quick reminder: The App Builder allows you to build apps for operators without writing any code.
Here's what it looks like:
The App Builder allows you to create a series of Steps, or screens that the operators can use within an app.
A Quick Overview of the Tulip App Builder
The Steps List on the left shows the list of steps including the Master Layout.
Any formatting or layout edits you make to the Master Layout will automatically apply to each individual Step in the app.
You can alter the Master Layout within each Step by "unlocking" individual elements in the Context Pane on the right.
The Toolbar at the top of the screen includes visual elements that can be added to the app. These are elements like shapes, photos, text, timers, videos and buttons. To add a new visual element to the app, simply click and drag it to the desired location.
On the right side of the Toolbar there are additional tools you can use to cut, copy, paste and layer the objects in the Tulip App Builder.
The Context Pane on the right side of the screen is where you handle all of the formatting and logic in the app.
There are three tabs:
The Step Tab shows you:
- Formatting options for the whole Step
- Allows you specify the target cycle time for this step
- Allows you to reset to the layout specified on the Master Layout
- Allows you to delete the current step
- Gives you the ability to build logic that will be executed whenever this step is opened or closed - we’ll talk more about Triggers a bit later.
The Apps Tab:
- Allows you to print out the steps in the app
- Allows you to adjust the cycle timer for the entire app
- Shows you a list of all variables associated with this app
- Allows you to specify the app resolution to fit your intended interface.
- Allows you to add comments if multiple administrators are reviewing changes
The View tab:
- Allows you to pan and reset the view.
Clicking an element in the app will expose another tab in the context pane called Widget. This is where you go to adjust the format of the various visual elements of the app.
Adding Steps to your App
To create a new step in a Tulip App, click the Add Step option on the left side of the App Builder. The design of the new step will reflect the Master Layout.
Pro-tip: you can also copy an existing step if you want to reuse design or logic on your new step by clicking the "Copy" button on the Step tab within the Context Pane.
Adding Logic to Your App
Now that we’ve covered how to add new Steps, we need to give the operators a way to move from step to step. We can create this logic in Tulip using Triggers. To start, let’s use a simple button to navigate from step to step.
You can add a custom button by selecting “Button” from the Toolbar along the top of the App Builder. Drag the button to the desired location.
Add a label for the button and adjust the format/coloring options using the Context Pane along the right.
To add logic to the button, click the "+" sign next to Triggers in the Context Pane.
Triggers let you add logic to your applications without having to use any code using a simple when, if, then, else sequence. This is the Trigger Editor that opens after you click the "+" sign.
An Action is a change that will happen in the app when the Trigger fires.
There are many actions that you can take when the button in pressed.
This trigger is simple:
When: Button is pressed
Then: Go to Step → Next.
This button lets you move to the next step. You would typically want to add a button allowing users to navigate to the previous step as well.
Once you’ve built out the basic logic of the application, you can click the Run option from the top right of the App Builder. This will launch your application in the Tulip Player and let you test the app on your computer in real-time.
Completing your App to log the data
You need to add a Complete button so that Tulip will log all the data from the operator's use of the app.
In this example, we are going to add another button on the last Step of the app to log a completion.
Click the "Buttons" option in the Toolbar, and choose the Complete button. Drag it onto the last step in your app.
Congratulations! That’s all you need to know to build a simple work instruction application.
Use these step-by-step guides to build a full app using these concepts.