Getting Started

Cloud Apps are applications which run inside of the Ex Libris platform. Common use cases for Cloud Apps might include integrating with external systems or data sources, workflow shortcuts or productivity enhancements, and adding brand new functionality not currently supported by the product.

This guide is for developers who are interested in building Cloud Apps. End-users and administrators who would like to use Cloud Apps in their institution should refer to the online help and the list of available Cloud Apps.

Cloud Apps are written in Angular using HTML and JavaScript. They can take advantage of the Cloud Apps API which provides interaction with Alma including access to all of the REST APIs. The Cloud Apps CLI provides a local environment in which you can develop your app.  Once your app is developed, you can deploy it so that it can be discovered and used by others.

The instructions below show how to get started with Ex Libris Cloud Apps. While not required, there are many resources for general Angular development on the web, including on the Angular website.

After you’ve gotten started you can begin exploring the tutorials which provide in-depth guidance for common use cases. You can also check out the frequently asked questions below.

Pre-requisites

  • Node JS 10.x or higher is required to install the CLI.
  • Visual Studio Code is recommended, although any text editor will do
  • Git or Github Desktop
  • Ensure Cloud Apps are enabled for your institution in the relevant environment (sandbox or production)
  • Set your user to use the new menu
    • Click your user icon, then “User Details”
    • Under “User management information”, select “Enable new menu”
The Primo customization development environment installation instructions currently recommend installing Node version 6.9. While it should work well with the latest version of Node, those who wish to maintain two different versions of Node can consider the Node Version Manager (nvm) or nvm for Windows.

Install the CLI

npm install -g @exlibris/exl-cloudapp-cli

Create a new application

Create a new directory:

mkdir my-first-cloudapp
cd my-first-cloudapp

Initialize the CloudApp:

eca init

Answer the questions. Use your sandbox URL as the environment:

✔ App title:  … My First CloudApp
✔ App description:  … My first CloudApp
✔ Environment URL:  … https://sandbox02-eu.alma.exlibrisgroup.com/institution/01MYINST
✔ Run dev server on port:  … 4200

Using config:
{
  env: 'https://sandbox02-eu.alma.exlibrisgroup.com/institution/01MYINST',
  port: 4200
}

The following files and folders were created:
.gitignore
.ng
.vscode
cloudapp
config.json
manifest.json
manifest.schema.json
package.json 

Done.

Start your application:

eca start

The application will build and open your browser. Log into your Alma environment. Click the CloudApps icon to open your the pane and your app.

CloudApps Icon

Congratulations! You’ve installed and started your first CloudApp! Now you can view the tutorial on Exploring the sample app.

Starting with an Existing Application

If you wish to start with an existing application and develop it locally, perform the following steps:

Git clone the repository and enter the directory. (If you don’t yet have Git installed, see the section below.) For example, to clone the Cloud App Tutorials repository, type the following:

git clone https://github.com/{REPOSITORY_NAME}
cd alma-csv-user-load

Initialize the application

eca init

Add the configuration for your environment:

Existing app detected. 
✔ Do you want to reconfigure this existing app? … yes

✔ Environment URL:  … https://na01-psb.alma.exlibrisgroup.com/institution/MY_INST
✔ Run dev server on port:  … 4200

Using config:
{
  env: 'https://na01-psb.alma.exlibrisgroup.com/institution/MY_INST',
  port: 4200
}

Configuration created for existing app.

Start the application and log in.

eca start

Installing Github Desktop

The easiest way to get started with Git is by using Github for Desktop. The Github for Desktop website includes instructions for installing the client for Windows or Mac, as well as instructions for cloning a repository to your local workstation.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’m currently developing an app and I need support, what should I do?

You can turn to the Cloud Apps forum to ask a question. The forum is monitored by Ex Libris staff and by members of the community.

Can I make sure that the app I’m developing will be available only to my institution?

In order to realize the benefits of community apps, all Cloud Apps are available to any institution when published. This “force multiplier” will enable institutions to benefit from the work done by others.

Is there a process of ‘confirming’ the app by Ex Libris before they go live?

When a Cloud App is first published in the App Center, it undergoes a manual review process to ensure it works as described and that it doesn’t use any libraries which are flagged as having security issues. For more information on the deploying process, see the documentation.

Can I also develop a cloud app for Esploro, Leganto and the other Ex Libris cloud solutions?

Cloud Apps work on the Ex Libris higher-ed platform, so apps can be developed for Alma, Primo VE back-office, Esploro, Leganto, Rialto, and Rapido. If you’re interested in developing an app for a product other than Alma, please reach out in the forum.