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A brief overview of the architecture of the Thinkwise Platform
The Thinkwise Platform is an integrated low-code development environment for developing new enterprise applications or modernizing existing software. Earlier we gave a bird’s-eye view of the platform. In this blog we will discuss the technical architecture in more detail.
For organizations that have made the strategic decision to work with an enterprise low-code platform, and are looking for a suitable solution, the underlying technology is of vital importance.
After all, this is the foundation on which applications are built that, in many cases, will be used to support the most important core processes of an organization. Are you looking for a complete deep-dive on this topic? Then read the Thinkwise Platform Overview. For a short introduction: read on.
Thinkwise applications consist of a database, business logic, user interfaces, and a service tier for links to data interfaces and other applications. All functionality and layout of the user interfaces are defined in low-code models, which are completely detached from the underlying technology. As a result, applications developed with Thinkwise can easily be kept up to date, both technologically and functionally. Thanks to this model-driven approach, the software can no longer age technologically, and no new legacy is created. The Thinkwise Platform consists of the following components:
The development studio in which you design all visual models and processes. This enables you to create the digital blueprint that the platform uses to realize your application.
Intelligent Application Manager
The environment for managing the deployment of your Thinkwise applications, authorization of users and analysis of their usage.
Graphical User Interfaces
These GUIs can be plugged into the developed models and automatically bring the application to life for the end user on all his devices, such as desktop, tablet and mobile.
Indicium Application Tier
The Indicium service tier provides you with a centralized solution for all integration with other applications, and acts as a hub for your business logic, workflows, security, reporting and analytics.
Finally, there is a conversion tool for existing applications, called the Thinkwise Upcycler. With it, a model can be derived from existing legacy applications and then imported into the Software Factory. Depending on the technology and the available metadata, the derived model contains tables, columns, domains, controls, references, translations, screen types and more.
The Upcycler will also determine which parts of the existing software are no longer used and will automatically remove them. In addition, the model can be enriched by analyzing the data based on Thinkwise’s best practices.
Because the resulting data model is derived from the legacy software, the Thinkwise Software Factory can automatically transform the data from the legacy application to the new Thinkwise application and import it. The Upcycler supports the modernisation of more than 30 legacy technologies.
The positioning of the various Thinkwise components is presented in the diagram below. The components that are included in the Thinkwise Platform are shown in blue. The green components are created by the developer or application manager using the Thinkwise Platform, while the parts in gray are created automatically by the Thinkwise Platform.
Thinkwise applications consist of a data tier, an application tier (Indicium Application Tier) and a presentation tier (user interfaces).
In addition to the Thinkwise user interfaces, it is also possible to connect custom built or third party user interfaces or applications to the Thinkwise API to access the data, processes and business logic of Thinkwise applications.
The business logic, which contains customer-specific functionality, is included in the data tier in the form of SQL procedures. Through the Thinkwise Application Tier, it is also possible to connect external services to integrate external or custom built business logic in a wide range of programming languages and protocols.
The Thinkwise Indicium Application Tier provides a solution for all integration challenges. With automated processes and a range of default connectors, the Thinkwise Platform can connect to a wide range of third party services and applications, like:
- Artificial Intelligence services (Bots, Virtual Assistants, Machine Learning, Image recognition)
- Big Data solutions (Search, Analytics, Internet of Things)
- Office integration (Exchange, Office 365, SharePoint)
Third party applications and services (such as custom user interfaces, financial applications, Power BI) in turn can connect to Thinkwise applications with minimal effort using the provided webhooks and REST API. The Thinkwise Application Tier uses the OData protocol for its API, one of the most widely used standards for RESTful web services.
Some examples of these included connectors are:
Thinkwise applications can synchronize appointments, tasks, e-mails and contacts with Exchange. Incoming and outgoing e-mails can be enriched in the application so that the exchange with a customer or supplier is fully and quickly transparent. Appointments and tasks can be made in the application, then dealt with in Outlook whereupon any changes are passed on to the application. Business Intelligence can then be applied to e-mails, appointments and tasks.
SOAP and JSON/REST services can be called, for instance, to retrieve distances, postal codes and CoC details. Furthermore, all data, processes and business logic of Thinkwise applications is available through web services and can be used by other applications and services.
The user interfaces can visualize geographical data such as locations and routes on maps of different providers, for example Google Maps, MapQuest and Here Maps.
The Thinkwise Platform is designed with security in mind, following the Security by Design principles. It provides controls to protect the confidentiality and integrity of information and to ensure the availability to authorized users. The Thinkwise Platform supports different authentication protocols, like OpenID and ADFS, Single Sign-on and multi-factor authentication.
Furthermore, the Application Tier ensures that business rules are respected at all times, even when bulk importing data or when interfacing with third party applications.
The Thinkwise Platform is optimized for speed and scalability. The stateless Application Tier can easily be horizontally scaled for load balancing and failover purposes. This allows optimal use of the power of cloud platforms, such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud or IBM Cloud.
The Application Tier is developed with the .NET Core framework, making it cross platform and highly optimized for running in (Docker) containers.
Want to learn more? Then visit a Thinkwise Platform Experience for an in-depth introduction to the platform. Over the course of a day, the different parts of the platform will be explained, and afterwards there will be an opportunity to discuss with other participants and experts.
Would you like to determine whether the platform is suitable for realizing or modernizing your application? Please contact us via this page to request access to the Thinkwise Platform trial environment.