X4 Suite Version 6.3 shines with new security features and extensive design options

Digitization specialist SoftProject is launching a new version of the low-code platform X4 Suite. This allows companies to solve all digitization tasks centrally and without programming — no matter if they are a large corporation or an SME and independent of the respective industry. The digitization platform can be easily integrated into any system and scaled according to requirements and the degree of automation. We present a selection of new features aimed at business analysts, department heads, IT managers, process developers, technical consultants and system administrators.

There are many reasons to choose or upgrade to X4 Suite:

  • Higher productivity for process developers and technical consultants
  • More possibilities for business analysts
  • Major function update for X4 Activities
  • Performance optimizations for large projects
  • Low update effort - especially from version 6.0
  • Latest libraries and updates for more security

BPM — Model long-running business processes even easier and faster

Long-running business processes can be easily and completely modeled in BPMN; if desired, even without the use of security points or technical support processes running parallel to the primary BPM process. The possibility to work with sub-processes if required remains of course.

With the “timer-based event” it is now possible to interrupt an already running business process for a freely definable time and resume it at any time. For example, other systems can take over process control or wait for the result of a human task. Even in the unforeseen event of a server failure, the process status and all technical data are completely retained. It does not matter if the interruption lasted a few seconds or several months. The highest availability is thus guaranteed.

A possible use case could be the mapping of a complete customer relationship process. Acquisition, user behavior — e.g. type and number of contracts concluded — or a possible termination, all information can be evaluated and stored as to when a follow-up action, newsletter dispatch, the processing and checking of files or the compilation of statistics by an employee is planned. In combination with X4 Activities Web Apps, customers can also be provided with a web form for a specific activity at a specific time.

Short Facts:

  • Interrupt processes specifically and continue them at a defined point in time
  • Process status and all technical data are retained — even when the X4 server is restarted
  • No technical support processes needed to model long-running processes — model the long-running process directly in BPMN

ESB — “Find in Files” find specific content in seconds

Entering a search term is enough to identify all places where the search term was used — if within a file, in the current project or the entire global X4 repository. Further attributes such as file type or the entry of wildcards can be used to narrow down the search results even further and, for example, certain database connections to systems can be found and listed. These can be directly edited, renamed, replaced or deleted. From searching to editing, everything happens at one central point, no extensions or external editors are needed. The new feature is especially helpful in complex, extensive and unmanageable repository systems. This is where “Find and Files” helps by speeding up productivity, creating transparency and significantly reducing care and maintenance effort.

Example: In a historically grown project, databases are to be migrated to another server. It is not uncommon for a great deal of effort to be required to identify all connections to the databases. With “Find and Files” these can be easily identified, and it is possible to find out, for example, at which point which variable, placeholder or adapter was used and which statements were made in database scripts over time. This saves time and resources and changes that affect many different files (such as renaming) can be made directly.

Short Facts:

  • Easy to find your way around “grown” projects
  • Find all uses and connections immediately and without effort even in large projects
  • Possible search e.g. for used placeholders, variables or parameter settings

Adapters — focus on safety and functionality

The new and extended adapters are based on customer requirements and the current state of the art in the respective industry. Data security is central to this, for example through the worldwide standard for symmetrical encryption, the Advanced Encryption Standard, which X4 Suite now supports “out of the box” with the AES Encryption Adapter. The adapter, which can be used immediately with an update to X4 Suite version 6.3, secures communication between X4 processes and external, globally distributed systems and between business partners.

The enhanced POP/SMTP Connector as well as the LDAP Connector, which has been extended to support LDAP-Secure, ensure secure systems through encryption, too. The LDAP Connector is not only essential for companies when directory services exchange sensitive data for authentication and authorization of users but also prepares them for the fact that common services, such as Microsoft Active Directory, will only accept encrypted communication via LDAPS in 2020.

LDAPS
AMQP

Another highlight is the AMQP Publisher/Subscriber, which supports event-based message exchange between systems with the open AMQP (Advanced Message Queuing Protocol) standard, which is independent of specific programming languages. With the new adapter, data that meets this standard can be exchanged easily and reliably. This concerns, for example, common message broker systems such as Apache ActiveMQ or RabbitMQ. Advantages compared to previous technologies (e.g. JMS) are additional options for controlling message delivery, including Quality of Service (QoS) and Time To Live (TTL). Both sending messages from X4 processes (Publish) and subscribing to messages (Subscribe) for processing in X4 processes are supported.

Organizations that prefer Google Drive to store or share files with their business partners can store and manage files in the cloud with the X4 Suite’s new Google Drive Connector.

In the field of IoT, the OPC UA Publisher/Subscriber for the connection of standard-compliant devices will be extended by a subscriber functionality with the new release. Even with the previous version, configurations of an OPC UA server can be read out or messages can be sent from X4 processes. The new version makes it possible to simply subscribe to selected messages (e.g. sensor or machine data from production) and process them in X4 processes immediately after they are created. By defining filter conditions, only the messages required are received. Typical use cases such as monitoring, track & trace or quality evaluations can thus be implemented even more easily.

Short Facts:

  • Secure data exchange and secure archiving
  • Work with secure and standards-compliant encrypted data
  • Easily send and receive encrypted emails
  • Secure LDAP connections with LDAP Secure
  • Modern management of distributed messages with the JMS successor AMQP
  • More possibilities for use in the IIoT environment
  • More complex HTTP scenarios through better header control
  • Innovations and extensions: AES Encryption, POP/SMTP Connector, LDAPS Connector (extension), AMQP Publisher / Subscriber, OPC/UA Publisher / Subscriber, HTTP(S) Connector

Web Apps — New design options and increased flexibility

In addition to many optimizations, the developers placed a strong focus on further developing the functionalities and design possibilities of the X4 Activities Web Apps. As of release 6.3, the layout of the Web Apps’ user interfaces can be designed even more freely and individually, structures can be changed easily, headers and footers can be added and the menu can be adapted to the respective CI of a company. To make this possible, the themes support different colors and fonts. A library directly integrated into X4 Suite with a large selection of icons based on material design further extends the design freedom and accelerates the implementation of image representations in the applications, since icons do not have to be obtained from external sources. Another advantage of the new version 6.3 is the easy integration of the Web Apps into CMS systems. This enables companies to integrate Web Apps into their websites as intelligent, digital forms without media discontinuity and make them available to their customers.

Besides, both end customers and users can be integrated into business processes easily and without programming with X4 Activities Web Apps. For example, customers can track the order status via a web app or employees from controlling can check and approve invoices. Existing software such as ERP or CRM systems can be connected and supplemented with little effort. Data from different departments of the company can thus be provided and edited centrally in one interface.

Access rights can be managed via the X4 Control Center. Per Web App, several modules including different menu structures and different rights assignments for different user groups can be provided. This allows, for example, several specialist modules to be created in one Web App with different access rights for different departments. Another new feature in version 6.3 is that the data is reloaded dynamically. After input, the selected data is recalculated in the background and automatically returned to the surface. For example, charts on a user interface are updated automatically when data is changed in the background. All this is possible without programming! Without JavaScript, CSS and HTML, everything can be created exclusively with X4 Suite.

Example: A user selects a certain city in a form and automatically all existing street names are displayed. Or he selects a company, whereupon all other data belonging to the company is automatically displayed. For example, the number of employees, the sales volume etc.

Short Facts:

  • Easy embedding in CMS systems
  • Save development costs through low code and reuse
  • Flexible design (header, footer, menu, ...)
  • Extended support for themes and colors
  • Support for fonts (Web Fonts, ...)
  • Extensive integrated icon library
  • Improved controls
  • Multiple modules per Web App
  • Each module can contain several components (including a separate menu)
  • Access rights can be defined per Web App
  • Central administration of permissions for users and groups via the X4 Control Center
  • Easy deployment of Web Apps
  • Dynamic reloading of data