OpenFin: electron-based runtime with real advantages for banks

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Trends in the IT world are probably its most defining character. Just when you have finished (or mostly finished) building your applications based on the current technology it is time to start thinking about what is next. Today, now that the Microsoft Windows Operating Systems are no longer the only players in town and mobile devices are so ubiquitous, a major trend we see is the ability to service multiple platforms from a single code-base.

Electron is a Chromium and Node.js based framework that has gained much popularity in recent years. Originally created as the GUI engine for the Atom text editor, it allows a single application to be written in standard HTML/JavaScript and run on Windows, Mac, and Linux. When one considers that the three versions are compiled from the same code-base and that code can utilize anything from the enormous open-source community, the advantages become clear.  Some of the more notable applications currently based on Electron include Slack, GitHub Desktop, and Microsoft’s own Visual Studio Code.

But one Electron-based technology that may be of greater interest to a financial company is OpenFin. Much like core Electron, it provides a desktop window API that allows web technology to drive desktop applications. But the real advantage comes with its ability to integrate with the enterprise.

OpenFin has put significant effort into creating an inter-application bus that allows its HTML applications to communicate directly with other software built in Java, .NET, Node.js, and even Excel. With this, a company does not have to do a technology migration en masse. Legacy apps can be maintained as new ones come online and still deliver an integrated user experience.

Another significant advantage is enterprise infrastructure. Their Runtime Version Manager (RVM) provides a centralized delivery system to provide installation and update pathways. They also provide a strict security model emphasizing the isolation of web-based code from the desktop. 

Finally, there is the fact that they are a real company. They are based out of the financial districts of Lower Manhattan and the City in London, and provide full customer support with guaranteed levels of response times. 

Eikos Partners has spent a great deal of time with both OpenFin and Electron.  In fact, we have developed an extensive open-source project titled WindowManager that allows a developer to create multi-window / multi-screen desktop and web applications using OpenFin, Electron or the web browser with plus 99 percent code reuse.

So, if you are looking to make the switch to HTML/JavaScript in manageable steps while maintaining compatibility with legacy applications, or need enterprise-level integration and support that can run on multiple platforms, none of which Electron provides natively, OpenFin may be the solution you are looking for. And because they are very flexible with licensing and proof-of-concepts, an organization can easily try it with minimal investment.

Interested in building your first OpenFin project?  Have an OpenFin investment already but need additional development?  

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Topics: Innovation, Tech Leadership, Open Source

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