Architecture

InFlowSuite™ is designed to address submission-processing needs across a wide range of agencies and business functions.  It supports the construction and processing of documents ranging from simple, well-structured forms to complex submissions consisting of a mixture of forms and supporting free-form documents. InFlowSuite’s submission object model allows it to manage the submission as a whole while operating on the individual components.

Users interact with InFlowSuite using a standard, web-based interface.  InFlowSuite supports both simple, password-based user authentication and stronger, certificate-based authentication. Client-to-server communication is protected during transmission using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption. Role-based security determines functionality and data that may be accessed by each user. User roles are easily defined and configured using XML technologies. 

InFlowSuite submissions can be constructed in a variety of ways.

  • Applications that require clientless operation may use server-based HTML forms. Forms defined using XML templates are dynamically rendered using Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations (XSLT). This approach allows the developer to readily tailor the look and feel of the web-based forms to the needs of a particular agency and consumer.
  • Client-based commercial off-the-shelf e-forms products such as PureEdge Solutions’ Internet Commerce System (ICS) are also supported.

InFlowSuite ensures that each submission meets business requirements using a set of easily configured submission construction rules. These rules, written in XML, define components required for a submission to be considered complete. They allow the application designer to identify components associated with each particular type of submission, and to indicate whether these components are optional or mandatory. Construction rules can also identify components that are “conditionally mandatory” based on the presence or content of other components. They are applied during submission preparation for server-based forms, and following receipt of client-based submissions to verify that each submission is complete and “well formed.”  These submissions are accepted by the system and stored in the InFlowSuite™ submission database.

Accepted submissions may be processed in any of several different ways. In the simplest application, structured data and unstructured attachments can be extracted from the submission and stored in a database for use by other applications, such as report writers or statistical analysis tools. Or data can be extracted, transformed into legacy formats and delivered to existing back-room computer systems. InFlowSuite can generally be configured to support these types of operations. This capability makes InFlowSuite an obvious candidate for use in “web-enabling” legacy applications.

However, InFlowSuite also provides basic process flow capabilities that make it suitable for construction of entirely new applications. Using these capabilities, submissions may be routed to users or groups of users for review and comment. InFlowSuite’s simple process flow manager supports both linear and parallel activities, allowing submission processing to be streamlined through the use of parallel routes. Process flows are defined in simple, easily changed XML files. For more elaborate business processes, InFlowSuite is integrated with e.POWER™ to create end-to-end electronic submission processing solutions.

InFlowSuite is a web-based application framework that works with several other commercial off-the-shelf products to create electronic submission processing systems. Typical applications consist of the following components

  • InFlowSuite Core Software
  • InFlowSuite Application Customization Software
  • J2EE Compliant Web Application Server
  • Relational Database Manager (JDBC compliant)
  • Directory Server (LDAP compliant)
  • Java Message Queue (v2.0 or later)

Written in Java, the InFlowSuite core and customization software operates on J2EE-compliant application servers. This allows applications to be constructed that operate in either Microsoft Windows or Unix environments. InFlowSuite is also portable between J2EE-compliant application servers and has been successfully deployed with several of the more popular products.

InFlowSuite requires a JDBC-compliant database for storage of submission data.  This database may be dedicated to InFlowSuite internal operations, or shared with other, external application processes. InFlowSuite applications have been developed and deployed using several popular Relational Database Management ystems.

InFlowSuite stores user information in an LDAP-accessible directory system, such as a SunOne Directory Server. As with the database management system, this may be a dedicated LDAP or a shared resource.

In addition to these core products required to support any InFlowSuite deployment, applications may make use of several other components. Although a ‘canned’ report capability exists in the InFlowSuite product set, COTS report writers may be used to create dynamic reports based on data extracted from the electronic submissions. Third party document management systems can also be integrated to store complete submissions or attachments and as mentioned earlier, workflow products can be integrated to replace the basic workflow component provided by InFlowSuite. InFlowSuite has been successfully integrated with a number of these products.