Overview of Linx
There are many business and technical reasons for why you may need Linx, including:
- The technical and operational complexity of doing business require tools that can simplify the creation of business solutions
- The technical challenges and business opportunities presented by interconnected systems and web services require tools that can provide quick and reliable integration capability
- The need for continuous improvement of business process efficiencies, especially around automation, requires tools that can rapidly and effectively automate complex workflows
- Talent shortages create the need for tools that can minimise coding, eliminate repetitive tasks, and simplify difficult and time-consuming systems integration tasks
- Competitive landscapes require businesses to increase their delivery speed and lower their costs, while still delivering quality products and services
What is Linx?
Linx is a flexible and powerful low code development platform that allows you to integrate systems and automate business processes. With Linx you can create, integrate and automate any application, ranging from simple to highly complex, without the need for programming.
Key components and concepts
Linx Application Designer
Linx Application Designer is a Windows application that is used to design your solution.
Linx Application Server
Linx Application Server is a Windows service that is accessible via a web browser and is used to host your Linx solutions.
A Linx Solution is created to achieve specific programmatic, data-driven, integration or automation related objectives. In order to achieve these objectives, a Solution is created with one or more Projects consisting of one or more Processes.
See Best Practices for principles that should be kept in mind when creating solutions to ensure an efficient and effective solution.
A Project is a container for a Process or a group of processes that work together to achieve specific objectives.
A Process can contain Functions, Types, Custom Types or other Processes. Typically a Process consists of a combination of these different components, with each contributing to the functioning of the process by providing input to the process or creating output as part of the process.
The Functions and Types that can be contained in a Process, are added to the Process from their parent containers, which are called Plugins.
A Plugin is a container for related functionality - Functions, Services and Types. The list of available plugins are dynamic, with new plugins regularly being added to Linx.
Plugins are subject to continuous improvement, which means that updated versions are released periodically. All plugins are versioned. Linx allows you to add, remove or update specific individual plugins to or from your Solution.
See the Linx Plugins reference material for details of all plugins and their associated Functions, Services and Types.
A Function can be used to retrieve, create, update, evaluate or delete specific data or objects for use during the execution of a process, or as output of a process. In other words, Functions have inputs and outputs that can be used by subsequent functions in a process. Functions also have scope, meaning they have data that is only available inside of that function (i.e. data created in a loop).Functions are specific to Plugins, e.g. the CreateInvoice function is part of the Xero Plugin.
Services are the starting points to all process flows. They have events that they fire and that execute processes linked to them in the Linx Application Designer.
A Service can fire one or more Events e.g. a Timer Service fires a TimerEvent, a DirectoryWatch Service fires a CreatedEvent, DeletedEvent etc. The processes that are associated with an Event are created in Linx Application Designer, but they are executed on Linx Application Server.
See Working with Services for help on how to set up a Service.
A Type is an object or variable with a specific structure. For Linx types the structure typically consists of an indication of a data type and a default value, e.g. an Integer type with a default value of 5. Types can be simple like string or integer, or complex with one or more properties, e.g. the Xero plugin contains an Invoice type with properties that describe the data a Xero invoice requires.
A Custom Type can be used to create a complex type with one or more properties. Properties can in turn be of any Type or Custom Type.
A Property is associated with a Function, Type or Service. A Property could indicate the value of a variable, or it could specify the conditions or instructions that are required for a Function, Type or Service to behave in a specific way.
A Setting is a value that can be used anywhere in the Solution. Functions cannot change Settings, they are read-only at run-time. Settings can be changed on Linx Application Server by the administrator. Settings are used for values that are re-used, might change when the Solution is deployed to a different environment or have security ramifications.
An Expression is a series of operands and 0 or more operators that evaluates to a single value. Linx uses expressions when assigning values to properties. Linx expressions are evaluated at run time and use C# syntax.
The Debug tool is used to debug a Process or Event. This is done to ensure that no errors or omissions exist within the Solution that would prevent the Solution from executing as intended and achieving the required objectives.
See the Debug Tool section for help on debugging.
The Deployment tool is used to deploy a Solution to the Linx Application Server.
What you can do with Linx
Linx enables you to:
- Automate business processes by using Services and their associated Events:
- Integrate to various API's, including:
- Work with functions and types from a range of plugins:
- Text, XML and JSON data
- Web Services (SOAP, REST)
- Remote files and directories (FTP)
- Message queues (MSMQ)
- Compression and decompression
- Images (GraphicsMagick)
- Programming functions and types
How to get Linx
Linx can be downloaded from the Linx website. Go here to download Linx.
How to use Linx
The high-level process for creating a basic Solution includes these steps:
- Create a Solution (or Open an existing Solution)
- Add Plugins to the Solution
- Add a Process to the Solution (if a new Process is required)
- Add Functions and Types to the Process
- Set Property values of the Functions and Types
- Add a Service to the Solution
- Link the Process to the Service
- Debug the Process
- Deploy the Solution to Linx Application Server
- Start the Solution's service Event
For detailed steps on how to use Linx:
Create a Solution
Add Plugins to a Solution
Add a Function to a Process
Add a Service
Link a Process to a Service
(This is to call a Process from a Service.)