Making the user journey easier: UX Integration
29/03/2018 | Written by:
A brief history of integration
In order to understand this approach to application integration, it’s useful to first consider previous innovations in this area. Database level integration was one of the earliest attempts at coordinating sets of data across different types of software. This opened up options for developers but was limited by its struggle to keep up with the rapid progress being made in the development of computers. With the advent of applications, point to point integration was another step towards sharing data between the different components that users work with in production. This worked well with small sets of integration endpoints but was inadequate when it came to supporting large numbers of apps and multidirectional integrations.
Middleware and proprietary services gave users improved performance and allowed developers to more easily integrate new apps into existing systems. In time this gave way to ESB offerings, which delivered a new type of architecture that was better suited to organizations with a lot of homegrown, in-house development projects. Initially most Service Bus deployments were developed in-house and brought vast benefits, solving issues with scaling and dependency between applications. However, as many enterprises came to realise that their in-house systems were not as good as 3rd party products and cost a lot to maintain, they started migrating to 3rd party offerings such as TIBCO. As more organizations adopted this architecture, the ESB created new patterns for system design and development. One example of this is in Financial Services, where ESB adoption had a considerable impact in Market Data distribution.
Desktop Interop is a successor to these efforts to incorporate external and in-house components as part of a unified, more powerful system. It stems from the fact that users in large companies have to work across multiple applications to get their job done, using a mix of in-house and 3rd party apps written in various languages. Some application sets, such as Bloomberg and Eikon terminals, allow interaction between their components. However, this is not the norm. In call-centre scenarios, users straddle 20+ apps and none of them are well integrated from a UX point of view, despite having products like TIBCO or Mulesoft on the back-end.
Today the Desktop Interop concept has the same concerns that the Market Data distribution system did in the early 90s and its potential impact is even greater. Accordingly, a significant shift is taking place in enterprise development towards 3rd party solutions. As part of this shift, products such as Glue42 Desktop are introducing new ways of designing and building enterprise systems.
These changes are exciting for end users and developers alike. A User Experience that flows between applications drives productivity and removes the hassle from executing everyday tasks. In addition to delivering a more powerful UX, developers are also able think about functionality in a more holistic way. Interop empowers them to assimilate whatever components their users need, whilst saving time that was previously spent on rewriting apps to add new functionality.
Glue42 Desktop is available to applications on demand, whatever technology they are using. Likewise, the product allows for a flexible approach to deployment, that suits the specific needs of customers. It operates at speeds compatible with the UI and therefore the default model is to deploy a Glue42 bus on the user desktop. However, when a user has multiple desktops, we also support multi-user server deployment. At one Investment Banking client, who had TIBCO’s TIB RV deployed on their trading network, Glue42 Desktop ran over TIB RV rather than the Glue42 Bus.
In some cases, customers require a link between Glue42 Desktop and an ESB layer. For example, one client recently purchased a Solace system and we worked with them to provide a way for their server-side applications to send user notifications and initiate other UI operations directly on the desktop.
Integrating components in this way blurs the boundaries between applications. In addition to providing interoperability, Glue42 Desktop also contains a set of features that allow integration at the level of the UI, including tabbing, sticking and save + restore of desktop windows.
Glue42 is a subsidiary of Tick42 – a rapidly growing software vendor and services organisation whose mission is to treat the user experience as a first-class citizen when integrating applications.
Glue42 Desktop has been deployed into some of the most extreme mission critical environments and is currently licensed across 12,000 production instances.