Display your dashboard on a big TV screen

Automatically translated from English

Today, big screens are everywhere. At the airport or train station for arrival/departure. In production areas for failure/success or production numbers. In call centers for activity or calls in queue. In stock exchange for a ticker.

Your first thought could be to use a normal computer, macOS or Windows, with a “27” or 30” screen. Expensive, but easy to do. But besides the high price, you need to run a 4D app, launch it, update it, all just to display a picture?

Thinking outside the box – there are several solutions

Just use a TV, they’re cheap…even in large sizes, such as 40” or 55”. Full HD is sufficient for a status display, and prices of these screens have dropped significantly.

No need for an expensive computer to drive it, a mini computer – Raspberry Pi – is enough. Raspberry Pi is a $40 device, with a low power processor, running Unix. It is a minimal computer, just a tiny board, with Ethernet, WiFi, memory, all on board. No hard disk needed, it boots from an SD card.

RaspberryPI

All we need is to automatically launch a browser in kiosk mode after booting and connecting to 4D Server. Kiosk mode means no menu, no address line, no mouse, just the content. Then we can control the content, such as certain business charts, easily from 4D. If the customer requests different data presented, we just change the methods in 4D, no modification needed on the panel.

This is possible without any Unix knowledge thanks to a nice tool named PiBakery, available for macOS and Windows. The tool allows creating and setup of the SD card (i.e. Operating System) completely automatically, based on a “Recipe”. As a result, with a few clicks on your Mac or PC, you define the system, create the SD card for your customer, insert it into the Raspberry Pi and install it at your customers site. Done.

You don’t need to touch the Raspberry Pi OS at all, it’s like a device with included firmware. Boot, connect to your server and display results.

Into details

For going into more details, please take a look at this database example. An associated PDF file explains step by step how to configure your 4D application and the Raspberry Pi. This document also shares with you some tips and ideas on my own experience with a Raspberry Pi.

Database example

On the 4D side

Several sample web pages with randomly generated data are provided in the example:

 

On the Raspberry Pi side

Don’t worry. With this example, we provide an XML file to import into the PiBakery application to create your SD card. You just have to modify a few parameters, for instance the url of your web page.

Thomas Maul

• VP of Strategy, 4D Product Line •

When 4D's German subsidiary was created in 1988, Thomas joined the company as a Technical Director, helping to build the 4D developer community in both Germany and Austria.

After many years supporting customers with technical problems and being increasingly involved in sales and management issues, he was promoted to Managing Director for 4D Germany in 1999.

As a member of the executive board since 2005, he became part of worldwide strategy of the company, leading to his current position as Vice President of Strategy, 4D Product Line, responsible for defining and executing the overall strategy for the 4D product line in relation to the Program, R&D, Sales and Marketing teams.