If you service APPX applications, then I have to start by congratulating you on your good choice for an application development environment.
APPX was a productive low-code environment avant la lettre. Then called a 4th Generation language (4GL), APPX already provided the benefits of
- coding by entering specifications,
- a consistent user interface throughout all applications, and
- built-in security and documentation.
For more than 20 years, you have benefited from one of the most productive design environments that there is.
But at the same time, your users reach a moment where they want their applications to be ready for the future. A future where they can make use of all the benefits offered by graphical user interfaces and mobile platforms. A future where their applications can be easily integrated with the many specialised apps that are now available. A future where there is access to young developers who enjoy providing effective solutions for upcoming business needs.
You can now offer your users that future.
As you might know, APPX was already the 3rd generation of a 4GL. This development of the 4GL originated with Speed 1, which was followed up by Speed II, the development environment of choice for hundreds and hundreds of companies worldwide that made use of Wang mini-computers in the nineties. From banking to retail, from manufacturing to hospitals. From large multinational organisations with dozens of locations to small and medium-sized organisations with only one location.
Then, APPX was developed. A platform that brought the productive Speed II low-code design environment to open platforms such as Unix and Windows. This already happened more than 25 years ago.
The same team that originally developed the APPX development environment decided to develop a new platform that would be able to provide an advanced graphical user interface, create applications that can be used on different operating systems, databases and even devices (PC, tablets, phones) and that provides an enterprise-grade environment for even the most demanding industries.
In 2018, they launched VINYL. A comprehensive, all encompassing, no-code/low-code development environment that shows that the designers had more than 30-year experience with making low-code design environments.
Now in its third release, VINYL keeps getting the highest scores of user satisfaction from companies that use low-code application platforms (LCAP) to develop applications for their prime business activities.
Annually, you already see VINYL among the award winners of low-code/no-code design environments.
Now part of the famous worldwide-operating integration company Jitterbit, VINYL is quickly becoming the tool of choice among many companies that see Rapid Application Development as the path to meet ever-changing business requirements and to increase their competitive edge.
Future for APPX applications
If you are looking for a state-of-the-art future for your APPX applications then VINYL will exceed your expectations.
VINYL will offer everything that you were already used to in APPX and much more:
- No-code application design for maximum productivity.
- Low-code solutions to accommodate specific requests varying from customized user interfaces to integration with other Apps or even with other databases.
- Integration modules for third-party connections towards Google Apps, Quickbooks, Salesforce and many others.
- Freedom of choice of database(s).
- Graphical User Interface (GUI) with widgets that allow for full customization, including code from 3rd parties.
- Chart panels provide numerous charts and graphs, both during data entry and on reports.
- Map panels for easy display of geographical locations.
- Integrated security on user-level, on data-level and on function-level.
- Integrated auditing from showing when records were added or modified and by whom, to Full Audit storing all data modifications into a separate logging table.
- Integrated documentation on function and field level.
- Reusable business rules that are specified in a low-code environment (see below).
- Integrated Multi-Lingual facilities
- Version control and Release Management.
- Consistent user interface (UI) for end-users resulting in short learning curves for new users and high productivity for their daily operations.
VINYL: a new approach towards application development.
At the same time, the design environment has not remained the same. Besides the benefits of being designed for current operating systems, user interfaces, databases and business requirements, the designers have benefited from the fact that VINYL is their 4th generation of a low-code design environment.
This extensive experience enabled them to further shorten the time you need for application development. VINYL is therefore even more productive than what you are already used to in the APPX 4GL.
They achieved this by creating a very strict separation of application design into 3 areas: the Data Layer, the Business Layer and the UI Layer (screens & reports).
Each of these layers is conveniently available from the VINYL Workbench and, to further improve productivity, you can have multiple layers open at the same time on different tabsheets.
The Data Layer forms the core of your system. This is where the relationships between the tables are defined. VINYL‘s patented universal translator allows you to mix and match different databases inside one application.
The rules defined in the Data Layer do not only include the relationships between keys and alternate keys, but they also include dependencies and even the connection to business rules to enable automatic processing whenever a value in a table is added, deleted or changed.
In the Business Layer, you can define your customized low-code.
VINYL enables you to build complete no-code applications by only using the Data Layer and the UI Layer, but it gives you the flexibility to define any business rules which then can be called upon from each of the other 2 layers.
The benefit of this approach is that these business rules can be invoked as components from any of the other two layers. This prevents the same coding from having to take place multiple times and assures consistency throughout the application.
The Business Layer makes use of a graphical user interface to define the relationship between tables that are addressed in a business rule. This simplifies coding and gives developers a quick impression of used relationships.
Menu’s, data entry screens and reports are defined in the UI Layer (User Interface). Pages here are defined in panels where each panel addresses a table, including data lookups. You can place multiple panels on one page and for each panel you can define the type of presentation of the underlying data: text, radio buttons and dropdown listings, graphs, maps, images, etc.
Calculations on data-entry screens and reports are done by calling up the relevant business rule thus ensuring that the same calculation, taking place on different input screens or reports, always results in the same outcome.
Graphical representations of applications
In VINYL, graphical representations are not only used to improve the productivity of developers but they are also available to present and explain the applications to customers and to provide security managers with quick overviews of who has access to which menus, functions and data.
Per menu, data entry screen and report, the relationships can easily be shown in a diagram.
Security managers can use this representation to define and see what access is given to users who have the same role within an organisation.
At Lowcode4all we can help you with your migration process. We are deeply familiar with both APPX and VINYL and can create a smooth migration path for your applications.
Depending on your preferences, you can choose one of the three options with which we support migrations:
1) Your own VINYL installation.
We can provide you with your own VINYL installation, help you to set up the environment and to start with the development and you can do all the remaining work within your own organisation.
However, for a smooth migration, we recommend option 2 or 3.
2) Migration Support Program
With migration support, your own developers still do (most of) the work in VINYL, but you can start quickly and we provide hands-on support at every step of the way.
With Migration Support you make use of our VINYL installation and we provide training for your application developers on our system.
The benefit of the Migration Support Program is that your application and data are installed in a secure environment and together we make sure that you meet your migration objectives.
We can actually look at your application in case you run into problems, assist with the development, show ‘how it is done‘ and make sure that your developers don’t get stuck.
Once the migration is completed, you can decide to continue to make use of our convenient hosting and support, or you can decide to purchase a VINYL license yourself, set up your own server and move your application there.
3) Full Migration Service
With our Full Migration Service, you provide us with a copy of, or access to, your APPX application and we perform the complete development in VINYL for you. If you wish, your developers get trained in VINYL during this process.
In general, our objective is to keep the structure of the menus and the screens as similar as possible to your current application. We choose for this approach to minimize the disruption for your end-users when they step over to their new environment. They already know where to find their tasks and how to carry them out.
But if you wish, we can also immediately create a workflow and screens that benefit from the many features of VINYL that are not available within APPX.
If you are a provider of IT solutions, you become part of the Lowcode4all family. Professionals worldwide who work together to get the best VINYL applications to existing and new customers and who can reach out to each other for knowledge, for applications, for servicing international customers, and during busier periods.
Do you want to know more about moving the applications of your customers to the productive VINYL environment?
Then enter your name and contact details in the form below and we will be in touch with you soon.