Workflow Automation with Silverlight and HTML 5

May 2, 2012

Decisions, a workflow automation platform, was an early adopter of Silverlight. Working with SL since the first beta release, we have been overall very happy with it. Being able to process and manage the user interface on the client, using a rich language (c#) has enabled us to really push the boundaries of what is possible to do in a browser with logic driven rich configurable applications.

From a development standpoint, one of the real advantages of building in Silverlight is it enforces the discipline of separation of between the user experience and the business logic – through a service interface.

Microsoft has committed to continue to support SL until 2021 (10 years) and is baking in XAML (the markup language that SL uses) into the Windows 8 metro API. Silverlight 5 -recently released – has a 64 bit implementation – and the cross platform/cross browser capabilities have worked really well for us.

But… it seems that the ‘age of the browser plugin’ is limited to some degree. Even Microsoft, while stating its commitment to Silverlight, acknowledges it anticipates that plugins life is limited. A big reason for this is that HTML/CSS have finally gotten to a level of capability that they can be used to build rich applications – natively in browsers.

Given this, the Decisions technical staff has been hard at work at producing a native HTML5/CSS3 version of our technologies. The Decisions platform was designed to be ‘UI independent’. While the Decisions ‘portal’ was built in Silverlight, there are a number of other user interface technologies that have been used including: custom HTML4/5, telephony (Twilio/Plivo), command line, iPhone, native tablet applications (andriod/iOS) and of course JSON, webserice and WCF service calls.

Today I am excited to announce that Decisions is going to be offering a native HTML5 based interface for all the end user functions in the portal – including dashboards, custom forms, all actions and navigation etc. Please watch our site to sign up for the HTML 5 beta program.

Carl [Chief Architect]

Carl Hewitt
Prior to starting Decisions in 2009, Carl began in mid 90′s as an innovator in object oriented programming for business. He started his first technology company in 1998 ( which developed a graphical configuration technology and rules engine. The company was sold to NetDecisions, a global technology company and private equity fund in 2001. As the CTO over technology ventures at NetDecisions, Carl also organized and created Fluency, a voice recognition technology based on the platform. In 2003, recognizing the potential of workflow in conjunction with other configuration technologies, Carl formed Transparent Logic. Using a .net based platform, Transparent Logic delivered a fully graphical platform for creating workflows, rules and form building suite. Transparent Logic was sold to Altiris/Symantec in January 2008. At Symantec, Carl was the Senior Director in charge of R&D for the workflow team. During his time at Symantec, he created the next generation Symantec Service Desk, based on the workflow technology.

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