IFS Aurena Overview
IFS Aurena is a state-of-the-art browser-based user experience, that offers end-users an intuitive, and device responsive interface. It employs a consumer-first design, to drive employee engagement and productivity.
The IFS Aurena interfaces are built using a declarative language that leverages a modern front-end framework, which connects to the back-end business system using RESTful web services.
IFS Aurena Architecture
Figure 1 below shows the architecture with the most important components in IFS Aurena.
Figure 1 - IFS Aurena architecture - Key Components
The application developers for the IFS Aurena development, mainly works in the green area "Application" with two basic model files, which are necessary to run pages in the Aurena client:
- projection file (*.projection)
- client file (*.client)
The application developer defines the projection and client files, and then sends it (deploys) through the code generator. The code generator then creates two packages that contain metadata:
- _SVC package, from the defined projection model
- _CPI package, from the defined client model
The _SVC and _CPI packages deploy into the database as the Page definition (_CPI package) and the Projection logic (_SVC package). IFS Aurena uses the existing LU business logic in the database. Additional “client” PL/SQL logic can be written and deployed to the database using a projection *.plsvc file. This logic will be part of the SVC package.
The metadata from the packages is sent to the FndODataProvider (JSON file format), which filters and extracts the information to be used by the IFS Aurena Framework.
The FndODataProvider exposes the projection metadata as a service to the IFS Aurena client, so it can communicate with the database. It also deploys the layout information on how pages are shown in the client. The layout information resides in the metadata (_CPI) that is generated for the *.client file that the application developer creates.
The deployment view (see Figure 2), shows how the IFS Aurena application works. With the introduction of IFS Aurena, the deployment adds new features to the IFS middleware server and the database instance.
In the IFS middleware server there are two deployments:
- IFS Aurena Client framework
- FndODataProvider framework
Both frameworks run with the metadata (which the application developer create) deployed in the database.
The IFS Aurena Client Framework is downloaded and executed in the browser and uses metadata provided by client models to render pages as a Single Page Application (SPA).
The FndODataProvider handles the data access for the metadata and IFS Aurena.
In the database instance there are:
- IFS Aurena projections
- Page repository
The IFS Aurena projection model can communicate with the existing business logic, and the business logic with the data storage. The IFS Aurena projections have the possibility to directly communicate with the data storage as well. At some point the IFS Aurena projection model works as a wrapper to the existing business logic of IFS.
This new layer in the database instance is added on top of the existing business logic since older clients still exist. In order to support the other clients which are IFS, it does not interfere with the existing business logic.
The final result shows in the new IFS Aurena client, refer to section Aurena User Interface.
Figure 2 - Deployment view
This section continues in more detail what is described in sections Key Components and Deplopyment View.
The main architecture comprises of three main layers:
- IFS Web (client) - Browser
- IFS OData Provider (IFS Middleware Server)
- Database & Business Logic Layer (Database Server)
The application models go through the code generator which generates two files, the projection services (_SVC package) and client service ( _CPI package). And the existing business logic (_API). the files contain the metadata of the models that the application developers have defined.
In the middleware server there are two new frameworks, the FndOdataProvider (.WAR) and the client(.WAR).
The FndODataProvider exposes web services based on the metadata, which adhere to the OData protocol. OData protocol is a specification that defines the web service which is exposed to the client. OData provides a solution to simplify data sharing across applications in enterprises, in the Cloud, and on mobile devices.
The Apache OLingo library (https://olingo.apache.org/) inside the FndODataProvider is the Java-based implementation of the Open Data Protocol (OData), that is used in the IFS Cloud, which also exposes RESTful service for the client to communicate with. Apache OLingo serves client and server aspects of OData and supports OData 2.0 and OData 4.0.
The client framework uses Angular4 and others to facilitate the UI library.
The main architecture does not have any static webpages, it has the definition of how to render a page by reading the metadata that is coming from the database.
Figure 3 - Aurena layers
IFS Aurena User Interface
The IFS Aurena User Interface is created to be responsive to the device used by the user, be it a desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile phone.
Figure 4 - IFS Aurena as seen on different devices
While the fundamental structure of the application is more or less the same, there are some differences in how the interface behaves compared to IFS Enterprise Explorer. The IFS Aurena client framework provides a rich set of properties per client component to facilitate these improved behaviors which makes the new web application much more intuitive to use.
Below are some of the major visual and behavioral changes in the user interface.
Figure 5 - IFS Aurena User Interface - Major Components
(A) - Top Bar
Contains tools for navigation, search, recent screens, user settings, and help.
(B) - Navigator
The navigator in IFS Aurena works both as a navigator (that is it displays pages and sub-levels) and a record selector. In Figure 5 above, the navigator displays a set of records, which makes it easier to get a holistic view. In this instance the navigator behaves as a record selector for ease of access.
Each navigator entry is called a navigator tile. When a Navigator Tile represents both a page and a sub-level it is split to two parts. The left part will open the page, the right part will take you down to the sub-level pages and records.
The navigator can be displayed or hidden using the navigator icon on the top bar, same as in IFS Enterprise Explorer.
(C) - Search Panel
The populate and search option has been replaced by a search panel. By default the panel shows the list of fields available for search but if you would like to perform an advance search with a complex query simply click the Advanced link.
(D) - Breadcrumbs
The breadcrumbs section shows you exactly where you are in the application. This is especially useful if you have the navigator hidden.
(E) - Page
This section in the interface contains your typical page contents. The page could be a normal detailed page or it could be an assistant. Dialogs are also displayed here. NOTE: Unlike IFS Enterprise Explorer, the assistants and dialogs will be shown within the page section and not as a separate window.
There are five key areas in the page section, details of which are listed below:
(i) - Title and Record Selector
This area of the page displays the title of the page and the record selector. This is very similar to IFS Enterprise Explorer.
(ii) - Command Bar
The command bar is where you will find all the actions that can be performed on a page. Actions include:
- Creating, editing, and deleting records
- Filtering records
- Commands, that is, actions that can be performed on the page. This is the equivalent of the right mouse button options in IFS Enterprise Explorer.
(iii) - Data Sections
As the name suggests data sections are areas in a page where you can display and manipulate the data. This area can contain Groups, Tabs, List, Cards, Images, Charts and many more data visualization controls. A page can have many data sections so that relevant information can be grouped together. Each data section can also be collapsed for better visualization.
(iv) - Attachments
At the very bottom of the page is an area called the attachments. This is the same as the attachment panel in IFS Enterprise Explorer.
More details relevant to visualization can be found under the following topics: