It’s always important to define the level at which an enterprise software vendor operates.
While some tech companies offer a service, some offer a suite, others specialise in an application (or set of apps) and still others are primarily known for their toolsets, frameworks and operational mechanics, especially if the latter breed works in areas like observability, configuration management or perhaps security.
However, some companies offer platforms.
It’s always a good question i.e. what’s the difference between a software product and a platform?
Generally speaking, the simple answer is that software products fall into most of the categories described above, while software platforms offer a place to build ‘on top of’ an existing base layer technology. We regard Facebook as a platform because we know developers build games, video player services and more on top of it. We regard Microsoft Office as a platform (it’s also a suite of course, the language here can be somewhat elastic) because we can code apps to run on it, with it or to it.
In the highest level terms as defined here, “Platforms separate out the logic functions of applications so that an IT structure can be built for change.”
Infor developer portal
So then, as a vendor of cloud ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems, how has Infor positioned its technology offerings in this regard now?
Using its Infor Now event in New Orleans to detail its software application developer services updates, Infor announced the launch of its new Developer Program and Developer Portal, which are designed to provide developers with the information and tools they need to build applications on top of Infor cloud ERP.
“We view the Infor Developer Program as an on-ramp for launching solutions on our Infor Marketplace,” said Story Monforte, Infor’s senior director of digital strategy. “It is another key part of our growing partner ecosystem, which helps deliver a myriad of choices and innovation to our customers.”
Baseline concepts & definition
The Infor Developer Portal includes baseline concepts and definitions to get developers started, a centralized library of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and a set of specific tutorials that will help developers assemble the components they need to build software.
The 50+ tutorials are offered in addition to Infor U (the U standing for university campus) courses and topical videos on Infor YouTube at youtube.com/user/inforvideo as a central place for developers with links to product documentation, developer forums (Infor Communities) and best-practice guides.
“The Infor Developer Portal is another great example of how Infor is enabling partners like StarPoint to leverage the full capabilities and strengths of the Infor platform,” said Chris Griffith, CEO of StarPoint Technologies. “One of the most exciting parts of the Developer Portal is the new API library – having broad accessibility to this information will not only save us time by reducing our development timeframes, but it also will accelerate our ability to bring fully integrated solutions to market faster, ultimately driving value and improving cost performance for our shared customers. I’m really excited about the future of our partnership with Infor.”
The Infor Developer Portal also will provide resources for two primary Infor application development solutions, Infor Mongoose and Infor OS (Operating Service) App Designer.
Infor Mongoose is Infor’s rapid application development framework (RAD) that offers users a no-code/low-code/full-code experience. This framework can provide benefits to customers regardless of their technical expertise.
Whether building an extension to one of Infor’s ERP systems or building a complete stand-alone application, Mongoose is said to be able to help developers design, build and deploy. Mongoose offers various wizards to reduce the need to ‘drop into code’ and by exploiting Infor’s flex layout, user components and HTML5 designer.
“With Infor Mongoose, developers can create the UX/UI (user experience/user interface) that they are looking to achieve,” notes the company, in a technical statement.
With a concerted focus on software application development processes and practices capable of serving real world developer use cases, Infor offers a dedicated app design solution.
Infor OS App Designer
Infor OS App Designer (OAD) is an extensible application design tool that is part of the Infor OS Portal platform. OAD is designed to be a serverless, multi-tenant, cloud-based development framework.
With OAD, users can develop widgets for the OS Portal, using a no-code approach, based on predefined templates that are ready to be connected to a data service. The data service layer can connect to any API within the API Gateway. OAD uses a design wizard that guides developers through the required steps to assign data to, configure and publish an instance of a widget template.
Speaking to press and analysts in New Orleans this week, Infor’s Monforte noted that the launch of the Infor Developer Program and Developer Portal is a key milestone in Infor’s roadmap for introducing its next-generation Infor Marketplace in 2024.
The Infor Marketplace, accessible at marketplace.infor.com and the developer portal is at developer.infor.com, currently serves as a listing marketplace, where customers can register to receive information and assets related to a range of Infor and partner solutions and services.
In the coming year, Infor says it has plans to develop it into a real-time provisioning platform, where users can conduct frictionless e-commerce.