Online Designer Overview
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The 3P Online Designer is an exact functional copy of the 3P Desktop Publisher, except that it runs inside an HTML5 capable browser and needs no installation on the user side. The user can thus work on his project in multiple locations.
It runs with the same templates, layouts and product definitions as the desktop version, is easy to install and requires no extra server database. You can connect it to your existing backend through the Upload Connector, or run it together with the 3P Shop & Backoffice products. It comes with a Project Manager and an Image Uploader, which allows the user to upload large amounts of images in the background while working on his project. Since the 3P Online Designer shares all code with the 3P Desktop Publisher, it is equally feature rich and stable. It combines the product design flexibility and editing speed of the desktop version with the convenience of online editing. Furthermore, due to the code sharing of both applications, updates of the desktop version will immediately lead to an update of the online version.
Naturally, no such amount of advantages comes without a disadvantage: the 3P Online Designer is not specifically built to run online, using typical large-scale HTML5 controls. It is therefore not suitable for tablets or smartphones with a small screen. We advise to use it in browsers running on PCs only.
With the 3P Online Designer we have found a better way. Through clever combination of HTML5 and Windows server technology we've managed to keep most of the business logic on the server only, avoiding redundant data and heavy Ajax communication. All code is identical to the desktop version, leading to 100 % feature parity on all platforms (Mac, Windows, tablets). Whenever we enhance the desktop edition, the changes are immediately available on all other platforms. Data is stored on the server only, and database requirements are limited to a few hundred MBs for the whole user base. Every project is stored in a well designed, transactional file storage on the server, and can be moved easily to another server if space limitation or load balancing requires it. No user can lock down the database or cause data loss across projects, and since data is not replicated across the internet it cannot get corrupted, avoiding user frustration and high support expenses. Product designs, templates and layouts can be fully reused, and installation of the OE is a matter of hours, not weeks. Trough combination of the best web technologies available today, the 3P Online Designer has grown to become an equal counterpart of the 3P Desktop Publisher. Ease of maintenance, stability and flexibility are the main advantages of the 3P Online Designer.
At least one virtual, root or dedicated Windows Server. Here are 2 example prices in 2017 from Strato.de and Contabo.de. We don't recommend "United Hoster" in Stuttgart anymore, as they have shown to be a bit on the shady side. If you already have a server there and plan to upgrade, we highly advise to switch to an alternative provider. We advise the following minimal requirements:
Optional: additional disks for backups, additional storage servers or cloud storage, and further servers for load balancing (balancing software available in 3P)
The SSD disk will run much faster than conventional hard drives. However, if the number of concurrent users is limited by RAM, you will cause a lot of data swapping, which kills the speed advantage. If you need both, speed and 20+ concurrent users, you may have to rent a dedicated server or build your own.
Before you choose a server or cloud plan for your business model and product portfolio, please perform realistic field tests. The Online Designer is a good alternative for customers ONLY if you have a powerful server! A simple approximation would be 2 concurrent users per 1 GB memory. We tested with the following HTML5 capable browsers on a 4 GB Windows 2012 Server with 8 concurrent users:
The Resources and Facebook Download features are not available in the Online Designer. Opening an outside web page on your server poses a high security risk. Also, no File Open dialogs are displayed in any of the other features. All file operations are encapsulated in the Project Wizard.