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TriSys Web API Browser Compatibility, JQuery, CORS, XDR

TriSys partners and developers building business applications with the TriSys Web API should take note of the following advisory:

We have put in a lot of work to make the TriSys Web API as powerful, extensible, efficient and secure as possible. To achieve this however we have to let go of supporting legacy browsers which are not compatible due to well accepted inadequacies in their respective designs.

You are not able to use the TriSys Web API from Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) 6, 7, 8 or 9 for these reasons:

  • No support for CORS - this is the cross origin resource sharing, which allows web sites to be hosted on separate domains from their data and other services.
  • No support for the industry standard XMLHTTPRequest (XHR) asynchronous mechanism. Instead, IE 6, 7, 8, 9 use their own variant called XDomainRequest which has been deprecated in IE 10.
  • IE 6, 7, 8, and 9 do not support XHR2 CORS. It is not possible to make generalized cross-domain requests in these browsers.
  • IE 8, 9 support an ActiveX control called XDomainRequest that only allows limited cross-domain requests compared to XHR2 CORS.
  • jQuery does not include XDomainRequest support because there are numerous and serious limitations to XDR (external data representation).
  • XDomainRequest does not support complex JSON objects or secure custom headers which are essential design features of the TriSys Web API.
  • XDomainRequest allows only intranet zone i.e. on-premise as opposed to geographically dispersed on-demand such as TriSys global services.
  • JQuery 2.0 and other third party open source offerings is not going to support legacy IE.

You are able however to fully utilise the TriSys Web API from the following:

  • HTML5 compliant web browsers, including:
    • Internet Explorer 10, 11
    • Firefox
    • Chrome
    • Safari
    • Opera
  • All modern tablets, including:
    • iPad
    • Android
    • Windows RT
  • All modern phones, including:
    • iPhone
    • Android
    • Windows Phone
    • Blackberry

If you are a web designer or programmer utilsing the TriSys Web API, please contact us for further information, or visit the API at api.trisys.co.uk

 

Web Frameworks

Many of our customers and partners are web designers and developers, and use TriSys technologies to construct web sites, job boards and mobile applications.

All of these people will have come into contact with web frameworks which is a tool, or style, for constructing web sites by solving one or more problems which would otherwise have to be hand-crafted. A framework is generally an excellent idea as it allows much of the lower level detail to be abstracted away to let the developer/designer focus on actual content or presentation and manipulation of data.

There are a host of popular web frameworks such as jquery, sencha, kendoui, bootstrap, angular. ember, backbone, knockout, meteor, ionic, cappuccino, spine, qooxdoo, eyeballs to name just a few.

Should you use a web framework?

Just this week, google announced version 2.0 of Angular.js and this met with a very strong reaction from the community. It seems that we expect web framework designers to get it right first time and provide continual backward compatibility to preserve our existing and historic code bases. Is this unreasonable?

At TriSys, we have always used frameworks as they are now known. Historically, these would have been called 'components' and indeed all TriSys software is built using third party components from vendors such as Microsoft, DevExpress, Telerik, Infragistics etc..

More recently the concept of a component has been augmented with services such as those TriSys utilises from Google, Amazon, Microsoft etc..

Does TriSys use web frameworks?

Absolutely, but with great care. We also build our own responsive frameworks to solve the unique challenges our customers face. Sometimes our frameworks are built, or indeed inspired, by web frameworks from other vendors. This is an active and vibrant community where innovation is the only constant. Currently we are utilising KendoUI, Bootstrap and JQuery, and constructed our Apex framework to deliver the client-side functionality of Web API cloud data binding to provide feature rich recruitment technology to our customers.

In the future, we will use other vendors for sure. The web framework niche is going to get even bigger as the 'mobile web' increases in importance and apps become more sophisticated and connected.

You can expect TriSys to continue to be at the forefront of the leading egdes of software development.

Surface Pro 3 Review

Last week we took delivery of the latest Microsoft Surface tablet computer, the Pro 3. Our tablet has 8Gb RAM, runs an intel 64-bit processor, has half a terabyte hard disk and is WiFi only. It also has a pen for drawing stuff such as scrawling on OneNote. It runs Windows 8.1 Professional.

It did not come with Microsoft Office 2013 pre-installed as expected, but as Microsoft partners we were able to get this installed quickly. Installation of service packs took an hour or two before it was ready for real-use.

The first thing to say is that this is the best tablet I have ever used. This is because is it BOTH a tablet AND a laptop AND a desktop. I can touch operate any app, use the on-screen keyboard, dock my old Surface 1 keypad to it and type, or use the pen, or even plug in a USB wireless mouse adaptor and use that. It is lightening quick, and highly responsive.

Why is it better than the iPad you may ask? The answer is that I can run ANY windows program on my new windows tablet. I can choose from millions of legacy and modern windows apps, as well as those from the Windows Store - even those I bought or installed on other Windows 8 computers.

Unlike the original WinRT Surface, I can also run the .Net Framework which allows me to run our core TriSys desktop applications and get full programmatic access to our cloud services at Amazon, Google and Microsoft. This means that I can write powerful modern business software using Visual Studio and the TriSys SDK to design, build, debug, test and configure live line of business applications wherever I am in the world for any of our customers using my single device.

We have ordered the docking station which will allow us to plug into Gigabit cabled ethernet, a desk keyboard, multiple USB ports and multiple high definition monitors. All of our future 2014/15 computer purchases for staff will be the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 who can use their computer at work, home, or on a train/plane or even whilst being driven to work in a google car!

In summary, the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 has leap-frogged the competition and finally struck back at the iPad and Chromebook.

Windows 9 on the Horizon

The computing industry is awash with rumours about the demise of Windows 8 and its successor codenamed 'threshold'.

At TriSys. we have insider information about what is happening at Microsoft and the dynamics of the world of technology in particular business software, so hare are a couple of predictions of what will be in the preview of Windows 9 which will be made public next month.

First off, this is a realistic guess at what the desktop will look like:

You will see that the metro, or 'modern' tiled screen has completely disappeared as a full screen experience and has been minimised into the fully restored 'start' menu, appearing like a tall windows phone display giving access to live tiles.

The other expected innovation will be to allow these metro/modern apps to run in a proper resizable window - most non technical people must have been astonished when forced to run windows applications in full screen and find that they did not work, look or feel like windows applications.

Earlier this month, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella talked about the company strategy with market analysts and did not even mention windows 8 - such is the ambarassment felt by Microsoft at Windows 8 and in fact the resignation of former CEO Steve Ballmer from the board of Microsoft this week, strongly indicates that the board, shareholders and senior employees would like to move on from the debacle of windows 8, hence the rapid release plans for its successor. Steve Ballmer is credited with successively raising the annual turnover of Microsoft during his tenure, however his 'be-like-apple' strategy and his denial that the iPhone/iPad products would revolutionise the technology industry was perhaps his biggest mistake. He has now bought a sports team - it's about baskets, baskets, baskets!

From a personal point of view, I do not hate windows 8, but it is harder to use with too many bugs and breaks too many products which run perfectly on windows 7. The biggest mistake in my opinion was the ill-conceived Windows RT which did not support traditional Win 32 applications and did not even provide the .Net Framework to run products written by ISV's using tools promoted by other divisions within Microsoft. This dismal failure of the first Surface tablet resulting in Microsoft writing off over half a billion dollars in over-stock is in large part due to the lack of compatibility with the tens of thousands of windows applications.

Commentators have noted that every +1 release of windows is always poorly received: Windows 95 - Good, Windows 98 - Bad, Windows 2000 - Good, Windows Me - Bad, Windows XP - Good, Windows Vista - Bad, Windows 7 - Good, Windows 8 - Bad. Let us hope that Windows 9 is indeed Good.

Observations from a Technologist

This post is really more of a diary entry noting some personal observations of things which are of interest in July 2014.

First of all, a great thank you to the team here at TriSys in Cambridge. We have been ultra-busy during the last quarter, moving offices and coping well with the significant increase in demand of our services. James is really flying now managing the full development and maintenance teams involved in TriSys' desktop applications. Joanne is coping admirally with the challenges involved in project managing numerous, global delivery projects we are now running concurrently. Peter is as robust as ever, working closely with our global infrastructure partners in continuing to deliver a reliable and industrial strength recruitment service, whilst running the ever-expanding help desk team. Alex is doing a great job designing web solutions using our new CMS and Web API. Jack and Wendy are both getting through an enormous amount of sales related work, and Sue is doing a splendid job dealing with our social media output for marketing. A warm welcome to Francisco who has joined the team in Cambridge this month.

Secondly, thanks to all of our customers, new and old, who are further investing heavily in TriSys' products & services.

Our products and services are very competitively priced, for a variety of reasons. We operate a profitable business at TriSys, and this requires us to balance out our workloads to accomodate multiple concurrent work items, which I believe we do very well considering the complexity of the systems we support and procure. We welcome feedback from customers who may disagree.

We have ploughed ahead with our R&D efforts during this month with both our CMS, Web and Mobile products benefitting from the investments we have made in the Apex framework, SDK and API. We have significantly more world-wide expertise in web technologies such as HTML, CSS & JavaScript, and these will stand us in good stead to cope with the changing universe of computer software as it continues to 'eat the world'

I will update you with further details on all our exciting new products and services in due course. 

TriSys Web 2014

TriSys Web is a client and candidate web browser portal to allow candidates to search for jobs, and apply on-line, and for clients to maintain their own vacancies, search for candidates and arrange interviews. Where web timesheets are deployed, candidates can enter their timesheets and clients can authorise these.

The first version of TriSys Web was written in the 1990's using common gateway interface (CGI) protocols. Subsequent versions used web classes, active server pages and then ASP.Net in 2000 - 14 years ago. TriSys defined its own web browser framework called Ideometrix to provide an abstraction over the complexities of ASP.Net and make TriSys Web more desktop-like in both usability and for TriSys and partner developers. 

Much has changed since those early days. Many of the original design goals are still very relative today, however many are consigned to the legacy category and are less important today than back then.

The 2014 version of TriSys Web is nearing completion and has the following characteristics:

  • Platform agnostic - TriSys Web runs on any server (or client) platform and is not dependent upon any Microsoft software.
  • It can be deployed on Linux, or any cloud based operating system, or any desktop or mobile device operating system such as Mac OS or iOS or Android.
  • It does not rely or use ASP.Net or any other server side framework or special services.
  • Because of its non-reliance on resource hungry server based 3rd party application servers, it is much more efficient and scalable.
  • Clear separation of presentation logic, business logic and data-bound access and storage. This allows for greater functionality, easier maintenance and greater scalability.
  • Full integration on-the-fly with popular content management solutions (CMS) from a variety of vendors. This allows TriSys Web components to be simply dropped-in to existing web sites.
  • Open Source - the code to TriSys Web will be available on Github and can be re-used by any of our partners.
  • Partner-friendly implementation - it can easily be used by our web design focused partners to bring full interactivity to agency web sites.
  • Adherance to industry standards such as HTML/CSS/JQuery/Javascript/JSON for client side.
  • Uses the highly secure and sophisticated TriSys Web API which provides highly concurrent and powerful cloud data services integrated with TriSys cloud components such as active directory, SQL Server, massive data storage, application business logic etc..
  • Uses the TriSys Apex framework which is a modern replacement for the legacy ASP.Net-centric Ideometrix framework. Apex is entirely written in Javascript and utilises sophisticated data-binding using the TriSys meta-database used throughout TriSys desktop recruitment software applications.
  • Apex data binding to popular data oriented 3rd party client-side widgets such as KendoUI, JQuery Widgets or twitter Bootstrap.
  • Generates white-labelled recruitment agency native mobile apps providing TriSys customers with their own iOS/Android/Windows Phone mobile apps which can be used for customer engagement and operational management of jobs, timesheets, payments, invoicing etc..
  • A range of new features such as job alerts, social network integration, job board posting and application management, 3rd party cloud application integration (e.g. SalesForce, Microsoft Dynamics, SAP, Oracle etc..)

In summary, TriSys Web has undergone a complete re-write, and is now a modern recruitment agency job portal framework which can be easily deployed inside existing web sites.

Here is a screenshot of the prototype showcase opuslaboris.com currently in development:

Please keep and eye out for the full release later this summer.

20 Year Anniversary

During the early 90's, the IT contract market was booming and I was approached by one of my preferred recruitment agencies to supply them with a modern, cost effective recruitment management system to help them cope with the demands of both their customers and candidates. The concept of TriSys was born.

On 5th May 1994, Technical Recruitment Industry Systems Ltd was officially registered with Companies House and began life designing and building software for recruitment agencies. 

The first version of TriSys debuted at the Recruitment '94 exhibition at the Barbican in London in October 1994 and was the worlds first windows recruitment software application - competing head to head with 'green-screen' dumb terminal and very expensive legacy systems from the 80's.

20 Years later to this day, and one name change later, TriSys Business Software remains at the forefront of recruitment technology, having poineered the packaged windows recruitment software market, SQL Server adoption and laterly cloud computing over a decade ago.

As we begin our third decade in business, we have numerous exciting products and services to announce this year, and we look forward to bring these to market soon.

To celebrate our 20th anniversary, we have now completed an extensive upgrade of our global cloud computing network, providing faster and more powerful remote desktops to our existing customers, as well as a multimedia video and a press release thanking our customers for their business over the last 20 years.

All Things Web

Almost everything that TriSys is developing or integrating with these days has some kind of web component, whether it is a cloud database service, cloud storage, e-mail sync, social networks, job boards, open source code repositories and even cloud accounting software.

This is proof that almost everything new in technology is targetting the web - in particular the mobile web, or those products making use of web services.

Luckily we embarked on our webification of TriSys technology over 14 years ago with the launch of the first version of TriSys Web in 2000 as a client/candidate jobs oriented portal for recruitment agencies.

Now, as we approach our official 20th birthday on 5th May 2014, we have reliable and scalable industrial strength internet services delivering true business benefit to our customers all around the world.

Our latest R&D projects are being developed with a web-first approach, targetting multiple devices including phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, servers and TV. The days of desktop windows dominating the technology landscape are gone. Even Microsoft has this month released its Office for iPad, and announced that its new SQL Server 2014 is the most widely tested release yet - having been used in production on its SQL Azure cloud service with over 1 million databases.

Expect numerous exciting product/services announcements from us in the forthcoming months.

Version 10 Adoption

As more and more customers adopt the TriSys Version 10 platform, we often get asked questions about why software vendors such as TriSys Business Software, drop a small number of older, legacy features from their newer products. The following information may help answer that question:

TriSys continually invests significant R&D in bringing new versions to the recruitment software market. As the world changes, legacy features which were popular or useful in a previous technological era will be sacrificed for newer, more contemporary and valuable features. All of our work integrating with web services, social networks, job boards and CV services reflect the fact that TriSys is no longer an isolated departmental CRM system, rather it is part of a growing and powerful recruiting ecosystem which is accessible from a range of devices, not just a PC.

Version 10 is a new product which carries forward all of the design and usability principles of previous iterations, but has been re-written to take advantage of both modern and future computing platforms, both on-premise and on-demand. In particular, we have replaced our legacy and proprietary forms designers and programming languages with those which are industry standard and best of breed. Our software development kit is the only SDK in the recruitment software industry to build recruitment forms, actions and workflow, and our web application programming interface is the only API in the industry to offer access to TriSys for third party web and mobile designers.

Our latest roadmap is published here: http://blogs.trisys.co.uk/2013/12/default.aspx

TriSys will never stop innovating or listening to both customers, partners, business leaders and worldwide technology industries to engineer and deliver the best contemporary recruiting system in the market for the immediate and future benefit of our customers.

We are delighted that you are with us on this journey.


Microsoft in 2014 and Beyond

On 4th February Satya Nadella was appointed as the new CEO of Microsoft, replacing Steve Ballmer who was with Microsoft since the 1970's after being a Harvard dorm friend of the undergraduate Bill Gates.

Steve Ballmer was seen by many as an under-performing CEO, however the revenues streams and share price of Microsoft during his time as CEO remained strong, despite some very poor strategic mistakes leading to loss of ground to both Apple and Google.

Satya is a 20 year Microsoft veteran, was born in India, has recently been in charge of the cloud and enterprise groups, and is married with three children. He has wisely chosen to convince Bill Gates to spend one day per week working with Microsoft to help shape its future.

Microsoft faces some enormous challenges in the coming years. It has to deal with aftermath of the Windows 8 debacle in which versions of windows were released which did not run most windows programs (Surface/RT), and the much hated 'metro' interface (Microsoft wants us to call this 'modern' but this seems laughable given that it will soon be history).

Microsoft continues to lag behind Apple iOS and Google Android in the mobile operating system wars, and it's purchase of Nokia has come under recent scrutiny now that some Nokia mobile phones are going to run Google's Android operating system. This is a kick in the teeth for the Windows Phone teams.

With the 'death of the PC' being predicted by many commentators, Microsoft has to balance its existing revenue streams from Windows which drive sales of many other products such as Office, Exchange, Sharepoint etc.. Microsoft has already announced much cheaper embedded versions of windows for small devices, but I feel that they will have to effectively sacrifice this revenue in order to make Android less attractive for device manufacturers.

TriSys will continue to utilise the Microsoft technology stack, whilst of course embracing other platforms as the market continues to thrive. Microsoft needs however to re-engage with its army of partners and developers and greatly improve its communications and strategic direction which have both been very detrimental to partners over the last couple of years.

Good luck Mr Nadella.


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