Analytica Cloud Platform (ACP)

Revision as of 20:03, 5 February 2021 by Lchrisman (Talk | contribs) (Removed notice that Publish to cloud is temporarily non-functional. It now exists in ACP3.)


You can rapidly make an Analytica model available via a web browser by publishing it to the Analytica Cloud Platform (ACP) hosted by Lumina. Your collaborators and end users can then view and run the model on the web. They don't have to install Analytica or any other software on their computer other than a web browser. They can access it from non-Windows computers. After you upload your model to ACP, you can simply email your end-users an invitation with a URL link to view the model.

ACP individual account: Every copy of Analytica comes with a free ACP account. You get 25 free sessions with Analytica Free 101 or Analytica with expired support. If you have a paid Analytica license with active support, you get 25 user sessions per month. You can always buy more session credits online.

ACP Group Plan enables a group of modelers to collaborate, share models, and provide them to end users. As a member of a Group Plan, you can save changes to model inputs as a snapshot so that you can modify and run it over multiple sessions. You can organize models into Project Directories. Group members may have different levels of access for each Project Directory: Reviewer access lets you run models; Author access lets you upload or edit models; Manager access lets you add new members or modify their access. Admin access is a Manager, which can also add or delete projects, and delete users.

ACP Premium Group Plan allows more members, more sessions, more CPU time per session, and supports models that use the Optimizer. To see prices or buy a Group Plan, see Lumina.com.

Upload to ACP

To publish a model to ACP, open the model in Analytica, then select FilePublish to cloud....

If you already have an ACP account set up, it shows this dialog with the Publish model tab (see below to Set up an account):

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You can optionally change ACP model name from your local file name -- useful if you want to keep several local file revisions, or want to publish different revisions. When you press Publish, it uploads the model to the ACP server. You have three options for what happens once the upload completes:

  • Open ACP model folder page
  • Open model in ACP
  • Do nothing

Opening the model in ACP consumes a session credit, while viewing the model folder page does not. From the folder page, you have the option of launching the model.

You can also jump to the ACP model folder page by selecting FileManage published models....

To Set up an ACP account: The first time you select Publish to cloud..., it opens the dialog showing the Configure account tab.

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Click the sign up link for a free ACP individual account in a web browser. You will get account information to enter in this dialog. Then press OK. For detailed steps on signing up for an ACP account, see Analytica Cloud Platform (ACP) in the Analytica Tutorial.

Designing models for ACP

You can upload and run any Analytica model via a web browser with ACP. But, here are some guidelines to design a user interface to work well as a web application. ACP also offers some user interface options not yet available in Analytica on the desktop, such as a tab-based interface, where each module in the main model is accessible via a tab.

Limit computation times: People expect each operation in a web application to complete quickly. When operations take more than a minute or so, users may give up and leave the page. Normally, ACP enforces a 60 second maximum compute time for each step. (If you have an ACP Group Account, you can modify this.) The Lumina-hosted ACP server is shared by many users. It is not a super computer, and is not intended for computationally intensive models.

Use small diagrams: Even people with large screens often narrower web browser windows. We recommend that you don't design a web app that needs more than 1200 pixels wide. ACP shows scroll bars if the window is wider than fits in the browser window, but that doesn't make for a great user experience. You can achieve this by organizing a large model into a hierarchy of modules, each with not more than about 20 nodes.

Single window design: Analytica on the desktop lets you have multiple windows open simultaneously, side-by-side or overlapping. This gives lots of flexibility to display and arrange information. ACP shows only a single diagram (or result or object view), plus an Outline view on the left -- and you can expand a view in ACP by embedding tables and graphs in a diagram using Tall nodes or Frame nodes.

Navigation styles: ACP provides some layout options that are not (yet) available in Analytica. These include tabbed module navigation, embedded tables and graphs, an outline tree or hierarchy header, control over what surrounding interface components display, and visual styles for diagram nodes.

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The full set of layout options and how to specify the settings are beyond the scope of this manual. The reference guide for these is on the Analytica Wiki, see CloudPlatformStyles Attribute Values, ACP Rendering tables and graphs on the diagram, and What's new in ACP.

ACP Style Library makes it easy to select most navigation options and display settings in ACP. The Style Library is packaged as an Analytica library file, which you add to your model, then access the control panels by opening the library diagrams from within Analytica.

You can make use of the styles without using the Style Library. Styles are specified in the Cloud Platform Styles attribute, as described at CloudPlatformStyles attribute values. However, the Style Library makes these far easier to use.

See also the instructions for obtaining the latest version of the ACP Style Library, and for using it.

Summary

Analytica Cloud Platform (ACP) is a convenient way to share models over the internet, and is usable by people who have not installed any edition of Analytica, as well as people on non-Window’s platforms. ACP accounts are free, and a moderate level of usage is free as long as you keep your support active.

When sharing models from the Cloud Platform, additional stylistic considerations are important for providing users of your model with a satisfactory browser-based experience. These include limiting evaluation times, keeping diagrams small, and making effective use of diagram real estate through embedded tables and graphs, tabbed panes and hierarchy headers. The Style Library provides an interface for selecting ACP styles.

See Also


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