The last couple of months were quite intense. We attended multiple conferences, events and meetups. What was refreshing was the fact that we were talking a lot with people who have strong experience with other low-code/ automation/ digitalization tools. These industry experts found Netgrif not only competitive with their current tools but also recognized its distinct advantages and potential to outperform them. That helped us to better understand and distinguish what differentiates Netgrif from other tools and can be a key winning point with customers. This blog sums it up!

Replacement of custom app development

What does development with the Netgrif platform look like?

In the beginning, a three-layer web application is installed and started on the server – either on-premise or private/public cloud – it can run anywhere. This app can be modified before or by default but must contain Netgrif Application Engine (NAE). NAE interprets Low-Code source code applications – an XML file -written in the Petriflow language and simply graphically built with Netgrif Application Builder (NAB). NAE will translate the Petriflow app from NAB to those three web app layers. You do not need to restart your server when you are deploying a new Petriflow app, as the deployment of the Petriflow app is simply done by uploading the XML file in the running three-layer web application.

What if you need to enrich the functionality of Petriflow Low-Code applications?

Low-Code Language Petriflow

In the picture above are mentioned all key elements of Petriflow language. Workflows – process models – are created by states and tasks. Tasks are graphicly represented by forms. Roles and user groups can be assigned either to tasks (to differentiate who can do what – assign/finish/etc. task) or to the whole process to say who can create/delete/etc. process instances. Data can be created separately or are created while forms are designed. Actions are simple or complex functions written in either Netgrif Actions API or Groovy (a superset of Java) and work as reactions on top of events in the process (set/get data, assign/finish/etc. task and others). Last but not least every element of the Petriflow language can be indexed and that way search queries in running applications can filter everything. This is not only useful for full text or advanced searching but also for creating dynamic multilayer menus composed of folders and end views.

Forms, user groups/roles and actions can enriched by new features in Java or Angular. If you create a new component for forms in Angular or create a new integration call/DB connector/whatever function in Java, after redeploying the web application, these components and functions will be accessible for Petriflow Low-Code app creators.

Traditional low-code vs. Next-gen concept of app creation

What does development with a traditional low-code platform look like?

Most of the traditional low-code/no-code platforms with which we crossed paths were usually three-layer or two-layer-based applications. I am writing about platforms for application creation, not automation/integrations. With these application creation platforms, you either have a presentation and data layer or a presentation, application and data layer.

These tools usually have well-crafted graphical designing tools, that at the end of the day create code for each separate layer:

  • For the presentation layer, you work with a UI/UX designer tool that will generate HTML, JS, etc.
  • For the application layer, any BPMN/workflow tools that will generate NodeJS, Java, C#, etc.
  • And for databases either UML or any other DB graph tools that will generate SQL/NoSQL, etc.

When those layers are created, you need to bind the functionalities of separate layers together to act as one application. After pressing the “DEPLOY button”, the low code application is compiled, and by CI/CD deployed on a server. Then it is ready for users to work with it.

If you need to change anything within the application that is not predefined or dynamic, you have to redeploy your application.

Development platform Netgrif

Once again – What does development with the Netgrif platform look like?

As I wrote in replacement of the custom app development section, the Netgrif platform is in the beginning deployed on the server in the form of a web application portal. New Netgrif low-code applications that work as “extensions” are then whenever deployed by uploading the XML file that is the source code of the Low-code application. You can deploy them when the main web application is starting and you can deploy them on the fly when the main web application is running. This makes development, changes and support much faster and you can do that whenever you need it.

Multi-agenda portals

What else is this extensibility of a web application good for?

  • Creating a single application portal – the place for more than one agenda – multi-agenda portal.
  • Utilizing your non-developers to create applications from simple to complex.
  • Integrate here whatever third-party solution or tool.
  • Have support for only one solution instead of multiple ones.
  • Train your employees to work only with one solution instead of multiple ones.

This approach is also great for recreating and upgrading your legacy applications.

One place for all company agenda

Workflows with forms & Standalone form solutions

Netgrif’s low-code language, Petriflow, is centred around workflows where tasks are represented by forms. These forms are designed using an intuitive form builder within the Netgrif Application Builder (NAB). The NAB allows users to create and customize forms effortlessly, making it accessible even for non-developers. This enables the rapid development and deployment of applications, ensuring that your organization can quickly adapt to changing requirements. Additionally, the standalone form solutions can be seamlessly integrated into existing systems, enhancing their functionality without the need for extensive redevelopment. This approach not only streamlines processes but also maximizes efficiency and flexibility.