What is Boomi Flow?

Boomi Flow is a low code platform for apps that allows everyone to build workflow applications, without needing to be a software developer. We do this using a simple approach. You simply drag and drop your workflow as a flow diagram, and the Boomi Flow platform converts this into a fully functioning workflow application.

What’s a workflow application?

Good question. At Boomi Flow, we have a very broad definition – here are some examples of applications our customers have created:

  • Partner on-boarding: The workflow allows prospective partners to submit information and upload supporting documentation for approval by the partner engagement team. The team can make requests for more information, and partners can track progress of their applications through a portal.
  • Field service: Field workers can collect data and take pictures of on-site equipment via a tablet app. The app can run offline and sync data back when next connected.
  • Messaging bot: After important sales meetings, account executives are text messaged by a bot, asking them for additional information about the meeting. The bot schedules follow-up calls, automatically sends out appropriate product information, and updates opportunity/account information in Salesforce. Everything is done via text messages.

All of these are example of workflow applications built on Boomi Flow. What’s common with all of them is that they involve some form of user journey. That journey may be highly structured – as with something like partner on-boarding. Or very unstructured – as with the field service mobile app. But ultimately the role of these applications is to automate common tasks and make life easier – as with the messaging bot.

Interesting point about all of the above examples? They were all built with nearly zero code.

Why do you need Boomi Flow?

Delivering workflow applications (or apps for short) is hard, using code. A number of problems you have right from the get-go:

  1. Architecture: What architecture should you use? Something quick and dirty to “get it done”? Or something “properly” architected to ensure stability, scalability, and ease of maintenance?
  2. Distribution: What devices and channels will this app support? Desktop, tablet, mobile, native, hybrid, offline, watch, messaging, voice, public, or employee only?
  3. Development: Who’s going to build the app? And after they’ve finished, who will be responsible for support, maintenance, and upgrades over time?

These are tough questions for business managers. Figuring out the technology is not only hard, but can get super-expensive super-fast as well.

With the Boomi Flow platform, you can choose from a wide variety of pre-configured options, and pre-made components – saving you time, and radically reducing cost of delivery. You can customize the way your apps look and feel, and add service integrations with popular cloud application platforms like Salesforce. What is more, the apps you build will be mobile-ready, and can work offline out of the box. (You can find a complete list of Boomi Flow platform features here.)

How does Boomi Flow work?

Industry best practice built in: Our platform has industry best practice built right in. We talk a lot about “agility without sacrifice” – meaning – you can build apps fast, iteratively, in an agile way, without having to sacrifice quality. We do that using a simple approach very similar to our friends at Lego. We’ve pre-built the fundamental building blocks you need to create enterprise class applications. You can simply plug-and-play to build what you want. This gives you unprecedented agility, without needing to sweat the details of enterprise application architectures – we do that for you. This gives you unprecedented scale. With Boomi Flow applications, governor limits are completely removed. Boomi Flow apps can scale effortlessly based on customer requirements. You build, we worry about how to ensure your five users or five million users get the best experience!

Innovation based on sound principles: Our platform follows a number of fundamental principles. API first development is the future. We know this because it delivers so much success to our customers. In addition to our API first approach, your apps are also API first. This means you can embed your apps anywhere, in anything, across any channel, with ease. Network connectivity is transient. You should assume your apps will need to work offline at some point. Networks are not ubiquitous. And even when they are, your device will not always be connected. It’s not just remote parts of Africa, it’s field workers on iPads, executives traveling internationally, employees living anywhere in Sausalito.

Built for change: Our approach allows everyone to engage in building apps. We do this using layers of abstraction. Anyone can drag and drop Flow diagrams to set out the business logic and user journey of the app. End-to-end, you can deliver an app without needing to resort to complicated coding. However, we also love developers. As a result, we have ensured we provide an open architecture so developers can get under the hood using our open source frameworks and tools, built on top of our 100% API first platform. This makes delivery fast, allows everyone to engage in the software creation process, and radically reduces on-going maintenance costs. As a customer, your job is to maintain your user journeys. Our job is to make sure they’re available to the latest technologies and they work, always.

The Architecture

Our architecture is thoughtfully composed. To have true agility, you must have a solid foundational platform architecture. This is how we do it:

architecture

Core

Our core platform allows everyone to build apps. Our core is a multi-tenant cloud platform with elastic scaling. This core is configured using our drag and drop tooling – but can also be configured using our metadata APIs. The core supports a number of critical capabilities outlined below (starting bottom up):

  1. Connect: Use our Services and Connect frameworks to integrate your workflow applications with any third-party platform or application. We ship with integration services for Salesforce, Box, and Twilio. We also have a library of additional services built by our team or third-party vendors.
  2. Provision: Our platform includes user management for flow builders (the people building the workflow applications) and automatic provisioning for workflow applications that use third-party services for identity. E.g. users of your app login to Salesforce, not Boomi Flow – but we ensure they are correctly provisioned into your app for tracking also.
  3. Model: Fundamental to our platform is the ability to model your workflows, or flows. All of the modeling can be done using our point and click tooling, or you can work directly with our metadata APIs.
  4. Translate: Everything you build on the Boomi Flow platform has internationalization built in. This means you can translate your apps to any language, without needing to change the logic. We also provide additional capabilities in our translate features for A/B testing and multi-channel distribution.
  5. Snapshot: Once you’ve built your flows and are ready to distribute the resultant app to your eager user base, we provide a snapshot capability to allow you to manage versions and updates with ease. We also keep a history of snapshots of your flows so you can track changes, manage rollbacks as needed, etc.
  6. Package: As with many enterprise customers, it’s unlikely you go straight from your computer to a live production roll-out. As a result, we provide packaging and distribution support allowing you to move your flows between Boomi Flow environments (e.g. development, staging, production). Packaging can also be used to distribute template solutions.
  7. Run: Once your flow is converted into an app, it becomes accessible to run. The core Boomi Flow platform is API first, meaning your apps are made accessible through our standard Run APIs. These are the APIs that our HTML5 UI framework uses to create the pages and screens your users interact with.
  8. Embed: In addition to the running your flows as apps, the platform also provides capabilities to allow you to embed those apps in other systems. For example, users might want to access your app directly inside Salesforce. Or, for example, your app might start when a user uploads a file into a particular folder in Box.
Frameworks

Our platform also allows developers to extend our platform in ways we’ve not imagined. Many of our customers simply “use” our platform unchanged. There’s no need to do any coding whatsoever. However, like all things in enterprise IT, it can get complicated. As a result, we have open sourced our frameworks to give developers complete access. It ensures project success.

  • UI/UX (Embed): Boomi Flow apps are largely distributed as HTML5 apps. Our standard UI is built using two of the worlds most popular HTML5 frameworks: Twitter Bootstrap and Facebook React. We’ve leveraged these frameworks because we know they’re battle tested by billions of users. We also know you’ll have no difficulty finding a developer that can use them. There’s a huge eco-system of developers at your disposal as needed.
  • Integration/Services (Connect): Boomi Flow apps connect to third-party applications using a microservices architecture. Rather than connecting directly to the third-party application from the drag and drop modeling environment, we abstract all systems using a service framework. This makes everyone’s life easier. Flow builders don’t need to learn all of the nuances of various application and platform APIs. Developers can build services without needing to worry about what they’re being used for. If the underlying system changes (e.g. you migrate from MS CRM to Salesforce), you don’t have a huge job of re-writing all of your flows. They’re not hard wired to the underlying application. We have software development SDKs for Java, C# and Salesforce Apex to accelerate the development of these micro services.
  • Reporting and Events (Report): As part of the execution of your apps on the Boomi Flow platform, we track various activity, events, errors, etc to make management easier. This data can be stored in our standard reporting repository or we can push reporting data to any third-party system. Many of our customers prefer to have all of their data in one place so they have a holistic view of how their business is operating.

Now you have a solid introduction to our platform, we challenge you to start building flows and shipping apps. If you’re like many of our customers, you’ll be up and running in no time. Drag, drop, and don’t stop.