What is Webfuncs and what can I use it for?
Webfuncs (web functions) are an easier way of carrying functionalities (tools) that are interactive, personalized and available across all your devices. It could be as simple as calculating your BMI (Body Mass Index) or something more involved like financial planning tools. These tools require no additional setup on your end, just use any modern web browser and you have access to a growing library of functions. Webfuncs could even serve as an educational tool if you want to quickly prototype ideas with minimal programming and no tools to install/setup/maintain.
So we are building tools of all kinds as functions. What are stubs then?
Stubs are a way of personalizing the inputs and analysis. For example if calculating BMI (Body Mass Index), your height changes little (at least in the years when you start worrying about BMI) while your weight may fluctuate. Saving your BMI stub allows you to personalize the tool with your height, units (US/Metric) so you don't need to enter this every time you use the tool and you just look at the chart of BMI vs weight (also setup in the stub for your desired weight range).
How do I save a stub for the tool/function I have personalized?
If you are exploring functions created by others, once you click on the small function card you will see a 'Create Stub' button on the function page. Alternatively, on the same page in bottom row of function card you can click the icon to create your own copy. For functions you have created, open the function version and use the icon to create stubs (only applicable to released versions).
Do I need to learn programming to use Webfuncs?
No programming knowledge is required for using Webfuncs. You can browse, use and save stubs for functions created by others in the community.
Can I share the stubs I have created with other people?
Yes, you can personalize and share the stubs you have created. You can get the access link to share your stub by clicking icon in the bottom row. Both your private function stubs and all public functions (available on 'Explore' page) can be shared this way.
What are the green stars I see on some functions?
The green stars are transparency markers. If a function is marked with a green star, it means that all the source code for function logic (including other functions it might depend on) is viewable. In addtion to being transparent, these can also serve as a learning tool for other users interested in creating their own functions.
Is there a smartphone app for Webfuncs that I can download and use on my device?
Currently access to Webfuncs functions is limited to the web interface. You can login and access full functionality from any device with a modern web browser. We do have plans for an app in future and will prioritize it based on the response from users.
What level of programming skills do I need to learn to create functions?
Webfuncs framework allows users to manage function plumbing and lifecycle (UI, dependency, versioning, updates etc.) in an interactive environment with no programming required. Writing core logic of your function is where some programming knowledge (Javascript) is useful but could be done with learning minimal syntax depending on how involved your function is. In fact one of the goals of developing this framework was to help introduce people to building tools and programming with as little as a few hours of instruction. Have a look at this short guide to creating your first function!.
Can I access web resources like getting data from a URL from my function?
Yes, accessing web resources is possible with pre-defined function webfuncs_get_request. More details and types of requests supported here.
Can I customize the code editor?
Currently only two modes (light/dark) are supported. You can switch between modes using button above editor box or set it permanently in user settings.
Can I debug my function code?
Yes, you can debug your function code using inspect/debug functionality in most modern web browsers. Go to your unreleased function (implementation) version page and open inspect window for the browser (right click > Inspect in Chrome). Your function code should be visible in 'Sources' tab under 'webfuncs.com' > WEBFUNCS_USER_FUNCTION > index. To match the line numbers with your code in version page, hit button (above the code in version page).
Can I use Webfuncs functions in my application/project?
Currently access to Webfuncs functions is limited to the web interface. An API for accessing the functions from other applications is in the works and we will keep you posted on these developments.
What was the inspiration behind creation of Webfuncs framework?
The inspiration for Webfuncs framework derives from a desire to personalize, preserve and share analytical tools. Over years our experience with various platforms, programming languages and development frameworks led to a mix of tools unable to coexist, inevitably duplicated or even rendered useless as platforms grew obsolete. This led to the idea of a centrally hosted repository of functions (avoiding duplication) and a framework that abstracted most of the plumbing required for creating tools (UI, development, execution, lifecycle management), allowing users to create & share modular tools with minimal effort.