Before delving into WorkflowFirst it's a good idea to be familiar with the concepts and processes involved in creating applications using the system. While there are some similarities with programs such as Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access or FileMaker, what makes WorkflowFirst superior in its simplicity is that the approach it takes to creating applications is refreshingly, and fundamentally, different.
Unlike Microsoft Excel, WorkflowFirst employs two different modes of use: a design mode and a run mode. The design process occurs using WorkflowFirst, editing the data model, adding reports and so on. When the design is complete, the developer publishes the application. This tells WorkflowFirst to put together all of the bits and create the application. When you access the application you will be in 'run mode', where you actually use the application and cannot make any changes to its design. This is important because it protects the application from unintended modification, a mistake that is easy to make with systems like Microsoft Excel.
Having two distinct modes of operations helps the user from being confused with features that are specific to designing or creating the application. Likewise, the features pertaining to using the application don't get in the way of the design process.
There are three main aspects to the design of any application in WorkflowFirst: The data model, the business logic and the reports. These refer to the structure of information entered and displayed, the rules that determine how that information is processed, and analysis and presentation of that information in the form of printed reports, respectively.
Because WorkflowFirst is an end-to-end, web-based development platform, each of these aspects are managed through a simple and intuitive web-interface that can be accessed from any Internet browser. It features a graphical workflow editor and point-and-click report generator that make application development efficient and enjoyable.
By adopting a consistent user interface across all the major features in WorkflowFirst, once the user is familiar with a few of the basic concepts entailed in using the system they will be able to re-use that experience and apply it to new areas without the need for extensive training. And the consistency extends to WorkflowFirst itself because even WorkflowFirst was developed using WorkflowFirst!
Being familiar with these concepts is essential to getting the most out of WorkflowFirst. This section will highlight these concepts to give you a head-start in developing your WorkflowFirst application.
Next Topic: The Data Model
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