Will Alloy Do This?

Let’s say I have about 1,500 names of various animals, to each of which I want to assign very short snippets of biological alphanumeric information. Each entry also has longer associated information texts, 99.9% of which are going to be about 75-125 words long. There will also be a “Run” button for each entry which talks to another piece of associated software.

My first idea was to use CSV tables, but limits on the number of rows force the use of separate containers, and that raises search and other questions. I thought Alloy was an attractive possibility, so I bought it to explore. After watching all the tutorials, I think it shows promise for our application, but I’m still not sure.

I want to use Foundry to build a visually pleasing local website to control this “edutainment” system. The Home/Intro page will have explanatory text and a “Launch” button which starts up another related program. This software will feature a CSV table containing a special different type of scientific information about the 1,500 website organisms. Plus other stuff I can’t talk about.

To make use of this system, the user opens the local website, then clicks the Launch button. The user then picks a program, clicks its Run button, sits back, and enjoys the show.

I am not the genius behind this. I’m an ideas man, so I devised the concept initially, then when the code and hardware was almost finished I was asked to build the website for it. I suggested the idea of using an additional local website to educate the user and control the system.

So, is this local website feasible using Alloy? I’m not asking Alloy to jump through any hoops, merely to make a local site that can handle 1,500 short “blog posts” without falling over. All the other necessary software has been developed and is almost halfway through beta testing.

Alloy wasn’t really designed around doing what you’re after. The blogging engine is meant for just that – blogs. It isn’t a database, which it sounds like that might be what you’re wanting to use it for.

If you want to use Alloy you will need Foundry as Alloy uses Foundry for its structural components.

Additionally to run Alloy locally you’d need your own PHP server, as Alloy is PHP-based and relies on your server to have PHP installed and working properly.

I have Foundry, Potion Pack, and Thunder Pack. Can you recommend a PHP server?

How many people are going to use this front end website? Are they all technically savvy? While not particularly difficult, people are not going to want to deal with setting up a web server on their computer. It also means that whenever you update anything on the front-end website, you need to be able to push updated files to every user’s computer. In the long run, I don’ think you’ll want to be supporting such a system either.

Can this not be done from an actual website (not hosted on the user’s computer)?

To answer your PHP server question, I would look at MAMP.

I would not recommend Alloy for the use you’re outlining. As I mentioned above it is not designed for your use case.

Its blog engine is designed around blogging.

I built a local website before. Like this one, it was not intended to acceprt any input from end-users, merely to deliver information as a kind of user guide. The project was built in RW and published to a folder. I made an alias of its index.html file and placed it outside the folder, then zipped it and sent it out.

When people double clicked the alias, the “site” opened in their browser and could be navgated through using its links. The only difference that I can see is that my original exported the home page as “index.html” and the Alloy trial exported it as “index.php.”

Double-clicking that file opens it in a code editor, not a browser. Perhaps if I can get RW to create a HTML index file for the Home Page, the files published to the folder will take care of the navigation and loading from there on?

At any rate, I’ve distributed a HTML local site before, and was very successful.

Maybe I wasn’t clear enough - there WILL be end-user input required, but NOT via the local website. Once the “Launch” and “Run” commands have been sent from the local website, the other software takes over operations.

The website’s only function is to list the choices and allow the user to launch, then initiate the choice. After this, the website plays no further part. Once I’ve built the local site, I send it to the code team, and one of them connects the website button clicks with their software.

PHP is a server side language that is executed on the web server.
With that in mind…

In order to use php on a pc/Mac a web server needs to running on that machine. Apache web server is usually the best one for Linux based computer. That folder you send to your client needs to reside in the Apache web server on that client machine for Alloy to work properly.

Thanks, Steve. I’ve been in touch with the team and they’ve worked up the solution already.