Technical Overview

Formbird is built on the latest cloud-native technologies. That helps deliver Formbird’s great functionality and scalability.

The difference with Formbird to other rapid application development environments, a non-programmer can start building apps within hours, yet a developer is not restricted in making things fly, the sky’s the limit. Formbird removes the burden that ties down good developers. 

Leveraging the component model, Formbird is able to take advantage of Angular, Vue and React.

Integration via RESTful API’s that expose all data without coding – just add permissions. The API fully secures the data against a users profile.

Delivering the future today.

Technical features that make Formbird great

 

Rapid Development

Forms are easily created using the Formbird Templates. These templates contain components, a range of standard component come with the platform, you can develop your own components or enhance standard components or buy them from the store.

 

Responsive Design

Formbird takes full advantage of responsive design and material design UI. You build your form once and it instantly works on phone, tablet and desktop. Adding to the speed of development.

 

 

Offline Capable

A Formbird app can operate offline. By configuring Formbird keys to be assigned to the  data required by an individual user, a subset of the data will be cached offline. The platform will auto synchronize when you come back online.

 

 

Add JavaScript

Add JavaScript to 3 client events – On Load, Field Change, Pre Save and 3 server events, Pre Save (Server side), Post Save and timed events. Then you can build your own components. You can fully leverage 3rd party libraries without restriction.

 

 

Reporting

Leverage components or 3rd party reporting tools. In our own implementations we have used a combination of 3rd party reporting tools, development of components and raw output to html. Formbird provides the freedom for you to do it your way.

 

Keys

With a Formbird app, you have the option to place one or more “keys” against any single record. A Formbird user has one or more keys, this match determines access to data. Providing  a powerful and easy way to share data between many groups, both internally and externally.

 

IoT and M2M

The ability to consume large amounts of data and the front end to present data from multiple data sources, as well as it’s ability to support a distributed and offline solution, makes Formbird the ideal platform for all you IoT and M2M requirements.

 

Data Lake  / Big Data / Data Warehouse

The core capabilities of the databases of MongoDB and Couchbase, combined with the many 3rd reporting and AI tools. Provides the ideal environment to support an integrated big data environment.

 

 

Geospatial Data

Incorporate geospatial and graphical data into your applications. Whether it’s simply looking up and address, or presenting assets on a map, points of interest or a vehicle moving. Leveraging geospatial data and integrating into everyday applications is made easy.

 

Version Control

An inherent capability of Formbird is that no data is ever lost. There is no such operation as physical delete or update. An update is the creation of a completely new record. Maintaining that critical history, required for security, audit, and integrations. 

 

 

Genius 

A developer can leverage the internal Rete engine or 3rd party constraint or machine learning AI engines. Combined with Big Data and IoT Formbird delivers a powerful package that can turn volumes of data into good decision making and automated business processes.

 

 

Provision and Scale

The fundamental architecture of Formbird provides you with the ideal base to take full advantage of the evolution of horizontal scalability and the serverless world.

 

 

 

SaaS Application

Building SaaS applications are easy with Formbird. Formbird provides all the essentials for you to build, host and sell your own online SaaS application. Additionally, with the agility of Formbird, you can customize your app to meet the specific customers need. The lack of flexibility with traditional “SaaS” applications has lead to massively bloated applications that end up not meeting anyone’s needs. Formbird offers any combination of fixed app multi-tenanted, to off-the-shelf with rapid customisation

Today Formbird has a number of customers leveraging this unique capability with 100’s of users on each application. 

You could leverage Formbird as your backend and still provide a unique mobile frontend, Leveraging IOS and Android native development tools in conjuction with Formbirds RESTful API’s.

Once you have built your application, we invite you to sell it on the Formbird Store.

 

Enterprise Applications

Every business is unique, the requirements for data and processing is unique to your business. In order to truly digitally enable a business, the applications that support the key functions of that business need to match the needs and uniqueness of that business. It is impossible for any off the shelf SaaS solution to meet those specific needs. 

How can an application developed for one industry support that of another? Formbird bridges that gap, with the ability to purchase an off the shelf solution that provides a significant framework to incorporate the elements that make your business unique. 

The ability to integrate is quick and easy. The complete version history, integration services and RESTful web services makes it a breeze to integrate data in and out of Formbird.

Formbirds unique ability to start small, rapid development, and abstraction makes it the perfect tool for building Enterprise grade applications.

Filling the Gaps

Formbird is great at filling the gap. Maybe your organisation requres some additional functionality, maybe it’s around sharing your enterprise data with customers, or suppliers interacting directly.

Most businesses are still running many core business processes with spreadsheets and email. That leads to poor access to information and lack of consistency.

Combining the core capabilities, of rapid development, data sharing, and mobile. Formbird is the ideal platform to “fill the gaps”.

Going Mobile and Remote

The core capability of being a responsive designed platform. Enables the single form to work across all devices instantly. As the application is all stored within the database, any updates to the forms are instantly represented on the users mobile application. 

To further support the mobile user, Formbird offers full offline capabilities. An application can be built to distribute subsets of data ready for offline use.

In addition to the offline capability Formbird supports data distribution in a multiserver environment. Enabling a local / cloud hybrid approach, geo-location of data, and support of low bandwidth or occassionally connected applications.  

Whether it’s a cell phone out of range, data off the back of a tractor, or a remote location with very bad and slow internet connection. Formbird can make it easy.

Internet of Things (IoT) / Machine to Machine (M2M)

IoT (Internet of Things) and M2M (Machine to Machine) are key to many businesses future. Not only do we need data created by humans we can now get data from machines that can provide critical information to make decisions on. Augmenting both human and machine data into an integrated process is the key to Formbirds power with IoT. 

IoT data can be received, processed into “business data” and presented or used to trigger business events. For example, the simple knowledge that a vehicle has commenced moving might check if a daily drivers check sheet is completed. Or if a vehicle enters a location at the wrong time, to trigger an alarm or business process.

You might be running a farm, and require weather data to be combined with productivity data, to make better decisions of the productivity of your paddocks. 

More and more we will see machines providing valuable data that can help humans make more informed and faster decisions without the need for manual data entry.

AI, Machine Learning and Data Warehousing

The structure of the Key Value databases used with Formbird, and their inherent nature of scalling combined with the ability to consume IoT data, makes Formbird the ideal platform to consume enormous amounts of data of different structures to then be analyzed in various ways. Be it simple reporting, constraint based problem solving or realtime statistical trend analysis by AI engines. 

With the front end’s ability to connect to multiple backend data sources, each dimensioned and managed differently. Be it transient data, or critical data to be maintained forever.

The natural capability of the NoSQL / Document Database and emerging tools that leverage the very power of mixing many sources of data to be then cross analyzed and correlated is simply not achievable with existing SQL tools.

Formbird makes the perfect front end and backend to bring the variety of data sources together under the one environment, to slice, dice and workflow decisions to the business.

High Productivity with Full Control

Historically “Rapid Application Development” has meant controlling the developer and “dumbing down” the capacity of the developer to fully leverage an environment. 

With careful design and consideration, Formbird ensures that even though anyone can develop a basic forms app, that a developer is then restricted to the “formbird” context. Quite the opposite, a Formbird developer can fully leverage the browser, 3rd party libraries, construct their own components.

The great success of the Unix /Linux operating system – given every smart phone, Apple product and most home appliances are based on it. The engineers at Formbird took the core principle of Unix and applied it to the platform. That key principle is that at the “core” there is some very simple, yet powerful principles and that everything beyond that is an “application”. 

This principle of everything being an “application” is at the heart of Formbird. The Formbird tools used to build applications is a Formbird application and components in themselves. Therefore a developer can even develop their own development tools to help or enhance the development environmet. ie. Formbird was developed on Formbird, and you to can extend and enhance the tools

Fully leverage JavaScript and JSON

Great technology is based on simplicity. A key to simplicity is to minimize the number of and types of technologies used. Leveraging the power and success of JavaScript, NodeJS and JSON is at the heart. 

By knowing the stucture of JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) and JavaScript (the worlds most popular language today), a developer has full control of Formbird. Therefore finding skilled resources that can make Formbird fly is easy.

 

Data can flow in externally via RESTful webservers which are JSON based, into databases that maintain their data in JSON. A developer can extend the capabilities of a Formbird application that is based on JavaScript. 

Browsers and 3rd Party Libraries are all based on JavaScript, therefore it all “just works”. 

With the added avantage that if for some reason you wish to leveage your development outside of Formbird the same code is transportable into other JavaScript based frameworks. 

A fundamental premise at Formbird is that , it must be easy and it must provide freedom at all levels.

Apps are contained 100% within the database, separation of framework and app

When developing anything on Formbird your entire app and the development environment is also stored within the underlying database. 

The power of his is numerous. Firstly stability of an application, given the perfect attomic or object oriented nature this offers, the simple “delete” of a form or piece of code removes it from an application. Without effecting the stability of the rest of the application. Think of a spreadsheet with a bug in it’s macro scripts, that spreadsheet has no impact on any other spreadsheets.

Another is portability, an application is portable easily moved. By simply “exporting” the data to a file the entire app, plus any data you wish can be moved to another Formbird environment. 

The separation of “core” and “applications” provides the unique capability that as Formbird upgrades and moves with the evolution of the underlying technologies your applications continue to operate with little or no change. Yet your Formbird components can still take advantage of 3rd party libraries uploaded to the server with other files.

A further advantage we have been able to implement is what we at Formbird term “hot upgrades”. As Formbird application is totally located within the database, upgrades can be staged in a very unique way limiting outages to minutes not hours, and with a very powerful capability to roll back without data loss and again within minutes.

Generic RESTful Webservices

Without a single line of code, anyone can create a RESTful web service, in fact as soon as you create a form and put data into Formbird. That data is accessible via RESTful webservices. 

The data access is limited based on the Formbird “keys”, therefore within minutes the same data can be shared to external organisations or integration services.

The Formbird webservices provide CRUD (Create Read Update Delete) services, allowing you to create, read, update and delete data. As well as create and read uploaded files.

These same webservices can then be used to integrate with and ESB (enterprise service bus) to provide on premise integration to insecure data sources such as SQL based databases.

Leverage either on premise ESB data services or cloud based services. To further, collect, authenticate or distribute data. Today we not only need data from may sources, we also need to distribute and integrate that data. 

The Formbird server side rules that are defined against a Formbird form are triggered with any data changes via the Webservices, further simplifying development. Business logic for the frontend is automatically applied to the integration layer.

Formbird’s integration is not only powerful, we again make it easy, yet powerful. 

Let Developers develop and Business Analysts design

The heart of the power of Formbird is to fully leverage the skills of the individual. Provide freedom to the Business Person to design their own application and the developer to make it sing.

With a couple of hours of hours of training anyone who can use a spreadsheet can be building Formbird forms.

The difference is that even though the basic form may only take a few minutes to build. That, this same form can then grow into an enterprise solution, evolving and growing over time.

This capability is further extended with Formbird’s unique capability to be able to then combine the other building blocks of components and modules. 

A component may be developed or purchased from the Formbird store, a Module which is a small application integrated into your own application or a purchased application.

This ability to extend and easily customize let’s you build a solution that is a true representation of the way your organization operates. Without this capability, you will continue to live in a world defined by others that simply do not meet your needs, or spending large amounts on “customization”.  

To improve productivity, the quality of your products and services demands that you meet these digital chalenges. Formbird is technolgy that can transform your operations and then continue to grow and evolve as your organisation evolves.