We are excited to announce the release of Glue42 Core – an open-source version of our application integration platform running entirely in the browser. Combined with Progressive Web Apps, Glue42 Core delivers native desktop app experience, while skipping the installation process and complicated upgrade processes inherent to the desktop apps.
The Browser is a Superior Software Delivery Channel
Installing and upgrading native apps in the enterprise environment is a challenge – both for our customer applications and for Glue42 Desktop itself. The simplicity of the web apps’ distribution is just one of the many reasons the web is taking over desktop environments.
Like Paul Graham outlined in his seminal essay “The Other Road Ahead“:
And when there’s no installation, you don’t have to worry about installation going wrong. There can’t be incompatibilities between the application and your operating system, because the software doesn’t run on your operating system.
It is no surprise that Google is gradually updating its web services to progressive web applications – Google Maps being my personal favorite. Microsoft is also doing the same with Office365.
Using PWA technology for Application Integration
Up until recently, the only practical way to integrate web applications on the users’ desktop was through a native application. Thanks to the technologies behind Progressive Web Applications, this is no longer the case. Glue42 Core provides client-side data connectivity for multiple web applications through a shared background process, hosted natively by the browser (so-called shared web worker).
In addition to that, through the PWA web install process, web applications can now exist outside of the browser window, providing the native window experience that users need for their core applications.
Combining those two allowed us to build a fully capable web to web integration platform as a pure, standard web application.
Why should I choose Glue42 Core?
Glue42 Core is a perfect choice if your organization deploys a pre-configured set of web applications to external environments. The significant benefits of the approach are the convenient distribution and the minimal requirements for the host environment – all that’s necessary is a modern browser. If you deliver a single web application, you make it a PWA, and Glue42 Core for its window management capabilities. If the application is deployed on-premise, exposing its capabilities through Glue42 Core will make it easy for your customers to connect it to their existing internal web apps.
As the Chromium team delivers their native capabilities roadmap throughout 2020, you may also migrate your Electron-based apps to a Progressive Web Applications, using Glue42 Core for its interop/window management capabilities. If you are using Electron only to hide the standard browser controls, you should consider such migration even now.
Glue42 Core Features
Glue42 Core shares a common platform with Glue42 Desktop – most of Glue42 Desktop interop features (methods, streams, contexts) are available. It also provides a set of top-level window management capabilities and supports saving and restoring window layouts when the application restarts. The majority of the enterprise web applications use one of the popular web frameworks – Angular, React. With Glue42 Core, we are shipping idiomatic framework wrappers around the Glue42 API. React hooks are available today, and Angular services are about to be released shortly.
To see the above in action, check the sample application we built with Glue42 Core – it uses contexts, window placement and integrates with the Golden Layout library for managing multiple apps in a single window.
Glue42 Core is available freely, as an open-source project, distributed under the MIT license. The development happens in glue42/core – a public repository in the Glue42 Github organization.
Why? We believe that an open distribution model perfectly complements the lightweight principles of the project. We are actively encouraging the developers who are using Glue42 Core to interact with us just like they would do with any well-known community-driven project – by raising issues for support and bug reports and submitting PRs.
By having an open dialog with our users, we will calibrate our next steps better and deliver the value you need.
What to Expect Next?
Our backlog already has several catch-up features that have surfaced from the pre-launch conversations we had – go ahead and comment and 👍 on what you need! Better yet, leave a comment with how you would use them. We would love to hear more from you. Understanding your integration use cases in detail will help us immensely in determining the direction of the project. To see the full list of what’s on our plate, check the GitHub repository’s issues.
Get started with Glue42 Core
Glue42 Core is open source – you don’t need to contact sales, obtain a trial license, and so on. Visit our website to get a structured overview of its capabilities, or, jump right in by following our developer tutorial. Happy Hacking!