With the conversion from Microsoft SharePoint to Microsoft SQL, we can now manage the balancing act between smaller projects with few users and very large enterprise solutions with more than 10,000 users even better, faster, more safely and more cost effectively for our customers.
HybridForms brings a number of enterprise features to the all-new version 6. The back-end server, as well as business logic and workflows, have been migrated from Microsoft SharePoint to Microsoft SQL – to customer servers and SQL Azure in the cloud. With the combination of client apps for Android, iOS and Windows as well as Web App, HybridForms offers a flexible, versatile and secure system for mobile checklists and form processes.
Microsoft SQL instead of SharePoint as a central data platform
We have seen from a lot of feedback that we have received from customers and partners as well as from our own integration experience that there has been a need for a lean and highly stable installation for both small projects with few users – as well as for very large HybridForms installations with 10,000 users. With the previous back-end SharePoint installed on customer servers or with Office 365 in the cloud, this was not possible without imposing restrictions. Therefore, icomedias has been planning the new version 6 for the last year, and it is now ready to release it.
With the changeover to pure SQL as well as our own management and admin layer with business logic and secure API interfaces, including ones for administration as well, we have implemented the biggest change in the HybridForms system to be seen in recent years. The initial results with partners and customers through our innovation partnership have shown, among other things, that the servers now function more than twice as fast.
New features for IT admins and IT security
- Efficient and fast client API:
It is fundamentally new and much more efficient (optimized and with fewer accesses) with less latency. The API is customized and securely deployed by the business logic and rights system (AD/ADFS) for the server.
- Version staging:
For use across multiple devices belonging to a single user (for example, first take photos with an iPhone and then enter and sign the remaining data with a Windows tablet). Auto-check-out staging ensures that content editing and updates that are performed on multiple devices are made accurately and securely. Only after a new data collection version is completely finished will this data be transferred to all user devices. Incomplete, missing or broken media attachments, such as photo or data conflicts, can thus be averted.
- Integration of third-party systems via API interfaces:
The system has its own basic interface with differentiated access privileges depending on the application-data integration procedures for importing prepared and prefilled forms and retrieving and exporting data to third-party systems.
- Instantiated status workflow system:
For generating PDFs, sending e-mails and outputting data with XML and XSLT transformation for direct data exchange.
- Admin Web App:
For modern browser-based administration via a separate and secure admin API. In terms of access privileges, the following user roles are distinguished: general server admin, sub-system admin(s), template designer, API usage and form permissions for users and groups.
- Multi-client support for operator edition and delegated administration:
The optional operator edition offers (sub-)systems with local administration. This enables large centralized installations on a server system together with (many) subsystems and support for local administration of these systems. In contrast to SharePoint, no overarching higher-level rights are necessary for the general installation. It is decentralized and secure – and it is a very suitable complement to your IT security and IT administration.
- Full version control with real full versions:
Unlike SharePoint, all content, including all media and attachments, is versioned when the status changes. Only intermediate versions are logged more frequently during processing, but in detail. This means that more information about all changes as well as status changes is fully available with all data.
Your benefits for customized form projects on premises and in the cloud
- Fast and lean deployment:
The new server can now be installed much faster, and it saves many more resources than was true with SharePoint, which usually requires a very complex installation and configuration.
- Predictable and affordable server costs:
Apart from Windows Server and SQL, no additional components are required. Thus, the basic technical components of an installation are no longer directly linked to the number of users in the way that a SharePoint installation was dependent on the number of users.
- Stable HybridForms Business Logic:
Functional enhancements to the API and the basic server functions are now performed exclusively in the Business Logic Layer. This provides version-safe and guaranteed functionality with HybridForms without the risk of limitations, dependencies and unalterable changes to SharePoint updates.
- Common base system for on premises installation on customer servers as well as deployment with Microsoft Azure in the cloud:
The system supports a changeover from or to a purely local installation on the customer’s own and self-operated servers, or the system can be run in the cloud with SQL and web services simply and at any time. It entails absolutely no risk of varying system behaviors.
- Secure operation in a multi-device environment:
More and more customer users no longer use just a fixed and a mobile device. Staging and version control clearly show completed transfers. From pool devices to support for a user’s various devices, all modern scenarios are supported: a small smartphone for the best photos and GPS, a tablet for a better overview and larger screen, a laptop in the car with full keyboard and finally an older PC in the office with large screen and mouse.
Upgrading and migrating existing installations to HybridForms Version 6
Software support customers will receive the new server and app versions directly and at no cost through the HybridForms Service Portal. There will also be tools for targeted migration of existing HybridForms SharePoint lists to the new SQL Server.
For assistance with migrating to HybridForms 6, please contact your HybridForms integration partner or direct contact person at icomedias as the manufacturer.