Altio makes front-end integration smarter
AltioLive 3.0 hits new heights for Web-based applications built on Web services and data-centric resources
EAI has a reputation as a necessary evil for the costly task of integrating years of legacy applications and valuable data. As enterprises seek to expose these old resources via new technology, including Web services, the rift between functionality and the limitations imposed by current browser-based technologies is ever more obvious.
Facing the challenge head-on is Altio with its release of the AltioLive 3.0 platform. AltioLive enables companies to build collaborative applications by combining disparate applications, data sources, and Web services into a single, browser-based interface that exhibits the feel and functionality of a local desktop application. The result is an affordable EAI solution that ties applications together at the desktop rather than on the back end.
But, more than simply slapping a static portal interface onto enterprise resources, AltioLive enables applications to dynamically share information via the desktop, synchronizing data among local applications as well as relaying key updates back to the server and, ergo, back-end data sources.
In the rich Internet application space, there is no shortage of vendors (see "Building a better browser," Oct. 14, page 35). We found that although Altio lacks the breadth of prebuilt adaptors found in products such as AltoWeb, it produces a far more flexible and responsive interface than can be realized through JSP solutions. And, although AltioLive exhibits interface and collaboration fortitude similar to offerings from such competitors as Curl and Fourbit, it does so without imposing a weighty proprietary plug-in, thereby improving deployment.
This release of AltioLive includes an overhauled IDE, adds offline resynchronization, real-time services management, and shores up better compatibility with Web services and XML standards. Although we would prefer to see client availability for mobile devices and better integration for XML-based transactional security, Altio hits the mark, scoring our highest rating of Deploy.
The AltioLive production environment comprises the Presentation Server, which is a middleware servlet platform that manages XML-based communication streams, and a fat client applet running in a Web browser on the end-user’s system.
The fat client is an interface-rendering engine. It uses XSL to format raw XML data from the Presentation Server for use in the browser application. Altio provides an in-memory database, using a customized DOM (Document Object Model) and XPath interpreter, that allows data to be shared and reused locally among applications without constantly repolling the server.
The Presentation Server provides real-time synchronization among client applications and backend resources, ensuring messaging reliability, and it updates through its publish and subscribe data pooling model. AltioLive’s data pooling technology, pushes changes in underlying data to all subscribing client applications. The updating mechanism results in a platform for interaction that can be easily dropped onto existing business logic to build highly collaborative application profiles.