Helm Web Panels take customisable broadcast control to the next level, allowing station engineers to design and deploy control panels that operate directly in end-user’s web browsers, rather than requiring a custom application installed on the user’s device. Web Panels operate with all modern Web Browsers on a wide range of platforms including mobile devices such as tablets and phones.

Helm Web Panels are built using the tried and tested Helm Designer, which allows a panel to be designed using a simple drag-and-drop process, with complex scripting support where required.

Various software components are used to form the Web Panel system. These are outlined below.

  • Helm Designer is used to design Web Panels, which are then published to…
  • Rascular WebCentre. This is the web server at the heart of the Web Panels system. Users visit the WebCentre homepage URL to select and launch panels, using a…
  • Web Browser. When a user launches a Web Panel, the panel and supporting JavaScript code is downloaded and run in their browser. Safari, Firefox, Chrome and Microsoft Edge are supported. The panel runs directly in the browser, with no further interaction with WebCentre. Some broadcast devices can be controlled directly by code running in the browser. Others may need to be controlled via…
  • Device Proxies. These server-based applications act as gateways between Web Panels and broadcast devices that can’t be controlled directly from the Browser. An example would be Rascular’s RouteMaster, which can act as a device proxy for a wide range of broadcast video and audio routers.

Product Status

Web Panels are currently in a ‘Beta’ phase. We welcome all feedback about issues, enhancements to help us move the product towards a full release.

Getting started: Install Rascular WebCentre

Follow the installation instructions here, and verify that you can access the pre-built sample panels

Install Helm Designer

Download and run the Helm Designer installer.

Next, configure Helm Designer to upload to your WebCentre system.  Start Helm, and select Tools/Options from the menu. If you’ve installed Helm on the same PC as WebCentre, then the configuration should be as shown below. If WebCentre is running on a different PC to Helm Designer then you’ll need to setup a shared folder to the WebPanels directory on the server.

Run a Web Panel from Helm Designer

Create a simple panel (for instance, just a button and a label), and click the “Run Web Panel” button. (if this button is disabled then you haven’t configured the options correctly as above). The panel should appear in a web browser.

 

Running web panels from the “Run Web Panel” button creates a temporary panel called “_HELM” in the Web Panel folder. This will be overwritten next time you press the button. To publish a panel permanently, use “Publish To…” from the File menu.

You now have the basic Web Panel workflow configured. You can design and publish simple panels. The next steps involve learning how to use scripting in Web Panels, and controlling specific devices from those panels.

What next?