Finsemble | November 12, 2020

Finsemble 5.1: Next Generation Native Support

Written by Cosaic Engineer

Your native components, your way.

Finsemble is the industry leader when it comes to native support. While other platforms offer the capability to launch native apps or use API connectors for simple integration, Finsemble provides you the infrastructure you need to seamlessly incorporate native applications into your workflow. With our 5.1 release, our native support just got even better.

Desktop integration means applications written in all languages—of any type—can seamlessly interact. This includes integrating your native applications with web-based or third-party apps. Over time, we’ve discovered the use cases for how our clients want to incorporate their native components varies. You may have legacy-native apps that you don’t want stuck inside a workspace. You may only want parts of a multi-window app to be in your workflow. Perhaps you’re looking for a bridge to HTML5, etc.

With Finsemble 5.1, we’ve tackled specific instances of native behavior and come up with the next generation of native support.

What are the types of native applications we’re seeing?

The most common type of native apps are desktop apps (multi-window) written in .NET or Java. They are “sticky”—meaning they launch at start-up, interact with the users’ OS, and appear on the desktop as icons. In 2017 (when we launched Finsemble) we knew that integrating these applications with new technologies or web technologies was step one to building a smart desktop. After all, financial institutions use native applications more than any other on their desktops.

Our standard integration is to link the applications both logically (allow the apps to share data) and visually (allow the apps to snap, dock, and group with each other). Learn more about native integration in Finsemble here.

However, we’ve now learned that we must think of native support in different ways depending on individual client desktops. There are various types of native app usage that we had to recognize before providing interoperability for our specific clients workflow.

Freestanding applications: independent and secure.

Things get complicated when you have permanent fixtures on your desktop that you don’t necessarily want within a Finsemble workspace (snapping, docking, persistence, etc), but do want to communicate with other applications inside Finsemble for passing messages (FDC3, notifications, etc).

The same complication can occur with web applications launched and running inside a browser tab that aren’t inside Finsemble. You may want these independent applications to connect and communicate with Finsemble applications.

We refer to these apps (native or inside a browser tab) as Freestanding Applications: an app launched outside of Finsemble but connected to Finsemble. When this occurs, a secure connection is established with alerts notifying the user that the app is now part of Finsemble.

Evergreen applications: your old giants.

giant treeWe discovered that some of our clients’ legacy native apps have more complications than we thought. These “monster components” are a crucial part of workflow, and they must be used in multi Finsemble workspaces, but restarting them isn’t an option. For example, your OMS might take 10 minutes to load – not something you want to wait on when you switch workspaces. How do we incorporate these monster components into multiple Finsemble workspaces?

Enter “Evergreen” applications. With Finsemble 5.1, Evergreen applications can participate in multiple workspaces without relaunching when you switch between them. There is no need to close and reopen an Evergreen component. If it isn’t part of the current workspace, it will hide and continue running in the background. When you switch to a workspace that includes the app or you try to launch it again, the Evergreen component will resurface at the desired location (rehydrated with its last known state) and will rejoin any docked groups, context channels, etc.

This attention to our client’s beloved (or perhaps tolerated) applications help them stay efficient while taking into consideration the cumbersome behavior of these old giants.

Multi-window? Multi-options.

Finsemble makes it easy to integrate single window native applications and have them participate in workspaces – but what about multi-window apps? A single .exe or JAR file might create multiple windows, and Finsemble will need to identify, track and recreate each window if you want to save and restore workspaces. Finsemble multi-window integration enables you to do just that by allowing Finsemble to launch each window, track any state it wishes to save, and to participate in all of Finsemble’s logical and visual integration functions.

Binary application support (no code needed).

Lastly, we looked at our client’s binary (or executable) applications. Our patent-pending assimilation technology allows snapping, docking, and grouping with these native apps and any other applications on your smart desktop. Workspace manage with no code? Absolutely possible with Finsemble.

In conclusion.

At Cosiac, workflow is a main part of our vision. As we sat with our clients, we learned that 1:1 application connection was not enough, and “App Connectors” promised by competing vendors provide just one piece to the puzzle.

Through our research, we’ve discovered and solved for our clients’ pressing issues with native integration. Solving for these various native use cases was imperative for our Finsemble 5.1 release.

Need more details? Visit our Native Application Documentation page for developers.