What Is Decisions?
- Updated on 20 Nov 2019
- 3 minutes to read
Decisions is a business process automation platform with a comprehensive workflow, rule, integration, and reporting engine. It is designed to streamline and automate a wide variety of business processes and applications.
The key feature of Decisions is a family of visual element designers that enable business users or non-technical citizen developers to design and adjust business logic. Examples of this business logic might be:
- The order and persons involved in a given approval workflow.
- The handling of different documents that are generated by a workflow.
- The rules that are enforced to match various criteria for a workflow.
The family of element designers include: Flow Designer, Form Designer, Rule Designer, Report Designer, and Page Designer. Decisions also allows for the creation of custom data structures and integrations, includes an end-user portal, and includes audit access elements.
Decisions is 100% web delivered, in browser, without any reliance on plugins or custom technology.
Decisions operates on modern browser technologies that are capable of HTML5 and CSS3. Decisions does not have browser specific considerations, but we only certify the Designer Studio against IE and Chrome due to their prevalence in the business community.
Decisions operates on modern browser technologies that are capable of HTML and CSS. Decisions does not have browser speicfics considerations, but we only certify the Designer Studio against IE and Chrome due to their prevalance in the buisiness community.
Decisions requires the following technical infrastructure to function:
- .NET Framework 4.6 or higher
- Windows Server 2012 or higher
- IIS 7 or higher
- MS SQL Server 2008 R2 or higher
The below diagram illustrates the way the components fit together to serve both the end-user portal, and the element designers.
Decisions Automation Platform Architecture
Decisions Automation Platform architecture is based on three components:
- Front-end Client: Decisions Portal, API Client)
- Back-end Application Server: Decisions Service Host Manager
- Database Source: Database Server or Servers in MS SQL Server Cluster
The Service Host Manager is a Windows Service that is written in C Sharp (C#) language and it contains foundation services that define the Decisions platform. Examples of such service include the Flow Edit Service that define the Flow Designer functionality, or the Flow Execution Service which is responsible for Flow Execution processes.
The back-end tier is Web Application IIS Hosted (requires IIS version 7 or newer). This Web Application provides communication between Service Host Manager and the User Client. It is possible to create an environment with multiple Service Host Managers and Web Applications, but in order for this to be a single unified environment, these Application Servers have to communicate with the same Database Server.
A Database is the third component of the Decisions Automation Platform. A Database can be managed by multiple Servers in MS SQL Server Cluster. A single environment of the Decisions Platform can have only one Database because the platform has a single persistent source of data.
Because it is possible to have multiple Application Servers and only one logical Database, there are chances that communication with the database will be overloaded and dramatically slow down the process. In order to avoid this, the Decisions Platform stores as much data in the Application Server as it can, which is implemented by Caching.
In an environment with multiple Application Servers, all Application Servers talk to each other. If some data is changed in one Application Server, then it informs the other Application Servers to clear this data from cache and get a new version of it from the Database. Also, we cannot expect the data to be changed in the Application Server if we change it directly in the Database, it should be changed through the Application Server, otherwise the Application Server has to be restarted.
For successful communication between Service Host Manager and Web Application that performs client interactions, the Decisions Platform uses a Pushback mechanism. For example, when somebody makes changes to the Flow in the User Interface, the Web Application sends those changes to the Service Host Manager using Flow Edit Service. Service Host Manager pushes some data back so the Web Application is able to make adjustments in the UI.