AgilePoint NX is a low-code, application Platform as a Service (aPaaS) that allows non programmers to build, deploy, and manage sophisticated software assets entirely in the cloud.
Similarities with Other Low-Code Platforms
AgilePoint NX resembles other low-code development platforms in that it utilizes a visual composition approach. Users can drag forms, activities (actions), and various types of controls onto a canvas and then configure each according to application specifications using plain language. These activities can be core functionality within the platform itself or can be functionalities from external systems, such as any version of SharePoint, Salesforce, or SAP. Like other low-code platforms, AgilePoint NX has an eForm building utility that enables the rapid development of interactive, rule-driven forms.
Unique Characteristics of AgilePoint NX
Beyond what may appear as familiar-looking application composition framework, AgilePoint NX has a number of unique characteristics.
Application Platform as a Service
AgilePoint NX is available in a cloud-based portal. Users can create an account at NXone.com and access a fully integrated set of application development and management tools in the same location. In a broad context, AgilePoint NX can be considered a powerful, enterprise-class aPaaS that provides a rich, desktop like user experience in a browser. However, AgilePoint NX can also be deployed on-premises or in a private cloud. This capability is unique in the industry and satisfies the security requirements of the most conservative customers.
Standalone Process Engine
AgilePoint NX utilizes a standalone process engine. In practical terms, this means that an event in SharePoint, Salesforce, SAP or most other line-of-business systems can trigger a process, but once triggered, the process lives in AgilePoint’s engine. This approach makes NX apps largely impervious to upgrades in any of the systems it interacts with.
Stateless Process Engine
AgilePoint NX’s process engine is stateless, meaning apps are not resident in memory throughout execution. Rather, apps are loaded when needed and jettisoned within just a few milliseconds. This design characteristic limits the amount of system memory required. Because AgilePoint NX’s engine runs on XML, rather than compiled code, AgilePoint NX keeps CPU requirements to a minimum. AgilePoint NX can be scaled to almost any capacity while requiring relatively little additional hardware.
XML-Driven Process Engine
Rather than rely on code-generation technology, which results in rigid apps that must be recompiled and executed with each business or technology change, AgilePoint NX converts application models into XML, which are then fed directly into its process engine. This approach makes NX apps highly adaptable to changing conditions. Apps can be manually reconfigured at runtime—without coding—or reconfigured programmatically via feedback loops of fresh data from other applications or devices.
Programmatic, run-time modifications makes AgilePoint NX an emerging leader for rapid development of Internet of Things applications, which must dynamically reconfigure based on data from millions—or billions—of other devices.
One challenging aspects of process-application management is evolving business requirements. This reality is exacerbated by the time it may take to complete some processes—as much as months or years—and by the fact that some organizations can have thousands of process instances running simultaneously in various stages of completion.
To account for these issues, AgilePoint NX includes management features that enable run-time updates of applications, eliminating the need to take an application offline while it is updated, recompiled, and re-executed. This capability is essential for a true, enterprise-class low-code platform and is woven into AgilePoint NX’s DNA, a byproduct of its long-time status as an industry leading intelligent Business Process Management Suite (iBPMS).
Beyond the fact that AgilePoint NX model-based applications are dramatically easier to build than traditional, hand-coded applications, the models themselves actually serve as run-time interfaces for system administrators, who can monitor with a glance the stage at which a process instance has progressed. Likewise, from these models, administrators can modify applications mid-execution.
Because these models are easy to understand (practically self explanatory),
- they can function as departmental APIs—visual guides of operational procedures to departmental and non-departmental staff.
- they can be maintained by anyone with process knowledge and platform credentials.
- They virtually eliminate the technical debt that results from hand coding apps and integrations against system APIs.
AgilePoint NX’s integrated eForm Builder enables users to build anything from simple forms with just a few fields and controls to complex, multi-tabbed forms. eForm Builder provides more than 50 control types, enabling users to build forms of any sophistication. And eForm Builder supports business logic in the form itself, enabling dynamic restructuring of the form based on input from application users.
Integrated Development and Management Environment
Beyond its asset development framework, AgilePoint NX’s integrated Management console provides
- a dashboard of custom, real-time and rollup reports;
- the ability to manage applications during runtime;
- the ability to manage workflows and apps;
- the ability to control access and user rights;
- and the ability to establish and oversee a variety of system-level controls.
Among AgilePoint NX’s most powerful features is the fact that it’s Management console can be embedded in other systems (SharePoint, Salesforce, etc.), a game changing capability for low-code platforms, which are used to build cross-functional applications that interact with many disparate systems.
Built-in Governance Functionality
AgilePoint NX’s state-of-the-art architecture includes layers of governance capability, a necessity for the compliance-sensitive and security-conscious organizations. AgilePoint NX utilizes a single-codebase-multi-tenancy approach, which combines the real-time scalability of a fully hosted service and the data security of an on-premises system. This level of functionality is available with only a few elite application development platforms, all of which cost several multiples of AgilePoint NX. In this regard, AgilePoint NX is a legitimate industry “disruptor.”
Beyond single-codebase multi-tenancy, AgilePoint NX enables permission and rights management at the system administrative level and within the tenancy model.
Cross-Platform, Cross-Cloud, Cross-Environment
In summary, AgilePoint NX apps and other software assets can span platforms (Windows/J2EE), cloud-native services (Salesforce, NetSuite, etc.) and hybrid environments (on-premises/cloud). This extraordinary capability is the byproduct of AgilePoint NX’s unique architecture, which includes
- XML-based application models that are fed directly into a standalone, stateless process engine, enabling runtime modification and updates to applications,
- a composition environment that enables multiple and programmatic configurations of components,
- and a framework that allows multiple configurations of the same application to be deployed in parallel.
The result is applications that are responsive, not only to hardware and software technologies, but to the business requirements of enterprises, business units, individuals, and customers.