Introduction to Finsemble
Finsemble is a desktop integration platform, connecting all of your applications together—modern or legacy, in-house or third-party. This is done with little to no development work; Finsemble cuts development time to integrate separate applications from weeks or months to hours or days. The end result of these integration efforts is a cohesive smart desktop consisting of separate but interconnecting applications.
All applications launched by Finsemble share an aesthetic. This look and feel is defined by your organization through easy white labeling. Each window can participate in a range of thoroughly considered, mature UX features. Windows can snap, dock, group, tile, and tab. Windows launched by Finsemble are persistent between sessions, reloading in the same position and with the same content. These capabilities are available for all applications out of the box—with zero coding.
With Finsemble, applications communicate and work together no matter the language they're written in—even if you don't have control over the source code. This allows you to create custom workflows. For example, a user might share a ChartIQ chart with a client—with all data layers and annotations—through Symphony chat. Workflows can also occur when developer-created rules trigger events. For example, when a user shares a ChartIQ chart with a client over Symphony, a CRM like Salesforce can automatically log this activity for tracking purposes.
A good place to orient yourself to all the reasons we built Finsemble is the Finsemble White Paper.
If you're a developer who wants a better insight into our architecture, take a glance at our tutorials—check out the Architectural Overview as a starting point.
Have questions? Reach out to email@example.com.
The Finsemble experience
Finsemble unifies the desktop experience. Based on your business needs, different packages of features are available. The core Finsemble functionality is contained in Workspaces. From this foundation, you may add on beautiful and functional UI with Flow, connect to your enterprise infrastructure with Connect, or integrate binary applications with Native.
Assemble the right smart desktop for your needs.
- Need to blend existing native apps with HTML5? Use Finsemble Workspaces + Native.
- Seeking an entitlement-driven UI via enterprise SSO? Use Finsemble Workspaces + Flow + Connect.
- Want to create a fully customized UI? Use Finsemble Workspaces + Flow.
Finsemble Workspaces lets you use familiar web technologies to create a unified, multi-window, multi-monitor desktop environment. This smart desktop will streamline the way your end users work. Lose the tabs, copying and pasting, and rekeying. Create synergy between the applications your end users actually want to use.
Integrate HTML5 applications
Finsemble Workspaces allows deep integration of web apps into your desktop experience. Critically, this allows a developer to “Finsemblize” a web-deployed application without changing how it is deployed to browsers. This can be done even when you do not have the ability to make code changes to the component. Finsemble-specific code is loaded on-the-fly when the application is loaded onto the desktop. Workspace integration, symbol linking, and deep workflow integration (e.g., sharing data across the Router, pre-populating forms, automating tasks) are all possible without making code changes. This dramatically reduces integration times while reducing regression risk for stable assets.
Between sessions, Finsemble will save and relaunch all windows in the same position with the same content. End users can save multiple workspace layouts and easily switch between groups of applications for different tasks.
Finsemble uses Electron as an underlying "container." However, Electron must be secured so its robust functionality cannot be exploited. As such, Finsemble Workspaces acts as a firewall that blocks access to Electron's API altogether, utilizing only those functions you specifically call.
Window management provides power steering. End users can snap windows together or dock them into groups. This lets end users handle cluttered workstations with dozens of applications.
Drag and drop data sharing
End users can instantly transfer data between windows with a simple drag and drop action. For example, Salesforce contact information could be dragged into a Symphony chat.
Multiple components can synchronize on a shared context. For example, linking applications together by stock symbol allows all applications to update their data automatically when the stock being viewed changes. The Linker uses a powerful but simple paradigm of colored "channels" to assign groups of components to participate in synchronization.
HTML UI components
Most HTML5 UI tool kits are only meant for building single page applications. Finsemble provides UI components specific to the desktop paradigm.
Finsemble comes with CSS files designed to simplify the process of white labeling the UI. The CSS has been carefully crafted with semantically meaningful variables. Developers can easily change font, color, and general appearance of interface sections by overriding any of a number of core variables. For deeper stylistic changes, Finsemble makes provisions for overriding any CSS style as part of the build configuration.
Finsemble Workspaces makes use of pop up (toast) notifications. Developers can leverage the API so that their components can create notifications. System messages and alerts are automatically routed through the notification system. Unlike operating system notifications, these notifications can be interactive, allowing end users to click on them to take action.
For communications amongst desktop services, components, or outside the container entirely, an event infrastructure provides high level protocols. At the center of this functionality is the Router API. Three abstractions are provided: Listen/Transmit, Query/Response, and SubPub.
Multi-window HTML5 application debugging is inherently fragmented; by default, single logical threads span multiple windows and must be tracked across multiple consoles. The Central Logger is a comprehensive dev tool that collates console messages across the entire Finsemble application.
Finsemble Connect eases integrating your smart desktop with your enterprise infrastructure, enabling workflows and team collaboration.
Use Connect to integrate the workspace to remote resources such as databases, single sign-on, directories, and other workspaces. Workspaces can be exported from one user and shared with others. This is often used to push a standard setup out to several users in a group. Moreover, end users can have a smart desktop on multiple computers and pick up where they left off when switching machines.
Finally, Connect allows the use of remote access technologies, such as Windows RDP, so that a smart desktop can be operated from a remote location.
Finsemble Connect allows developers to add an authentication component to match their specific application's needs. This includes authenticating access to the entire application or authenticating access to specific components within the application. Finsemble is agnostic about the underlying authentication mechanism, but provides both a cohesive end user UX and framework abstraction. Further, some commonly used methods are supported out of the box, such as leveraging a user’s Windows login.
Finsemble Connect is designed to be inherently configurable because of one simple fact: you shouldn't build a huge system and hard code everything. Finsemble’s config can be assembled from multiple pieces, allowing you to organize your configuration logically. Finsemble’s config is dynamic, so your application can adapt to entitlements, environments, and preferences.
Users have access to a single search box that can federate search requests across multiple back-end services and display the returned data in a single result set. Results are actionable, allowing an end user to click on the result to bring up the data. For instance, searching for "Apple" could bring up results for both market data and research—a click on the results will bring up that data in a corresponding component.
Finsemble Connect provides a persistence framework for connecting to external persistent storage (i.e., databases, tuple stores, etc.). Workspaces, windows state, and other Finsemble functions automatically use the persistence framework, eliminating the need for hand wiring. Components can use the Storage API to save and restore state, ensuring that they are reconstituted appropriately during workspace reloads.
Finsemble Flow offers additional UI capabilities needed to handle large numbers of applications and tools to develop a customized user interface.
For example, this package includes application management tools like an application catalog for browsing large numbers of available applications. These features allow you to curate hundreds of applications across your enterprise.
Flow also offers access to our library of pre-built UI components so that you can change or augment the behavior of Finsemble itself.
Finsemble Flow breaks UI components down into individual "controls": atomic-level UI building blocks which you can use to build your own componentry or customize the built-in componentry. This goes far beyond simple theming and allows for true UI extensibility.
Advanced application management
If your portfolio consists of dozens or hundreds of separate applications, Finsemble Flow has tools to help you manage. The application catalog is a UI component that allows Finsemble assemblers to manage a very large application library and allows end users to explore that library in an easy, meaningful way. End users can search or filter apps by tags; they can save and organize favorite applications in their app launcher. Essentially, advanced application management makes it easy for end users to discover and use the apps that are relevant to their work.
Advanced window management
Finsemble Flow provides additional window management functionality to your end users. This allows end users to see their entire spread of data and then zoom down like a hawk into the minutiae of their work. Windows can be "tiled" on to one another. When one window is moved towards the other, they can be automatically resized in elegant fractals. Moreover, completely separate applications can exist as tabs within a single window. This allows for a broad extensibility of desktop real estate, and delivers convenient functionality that users are familiar with.
It's hard to use keyboard shortcuts with web apps because they only capture keystrokes when the browser window has focus. Finsemble Flow solves this issue by capturing keystrokes globally, so hotkeys can be used no matter what. Provide your users with customized keyboard shortcuts to improve their efficiency.
The Distributed Store reduces complexity by operating as a central repository. This reduces the number of connections that windows need to maintain. The Distributed Store hosts business logic which can be invoked by any window that it’s plugged into. This lets the store synchronize state across window boundaries. Multiple windows can share data, yet remain loosely coupled.
Finsemble Native allows you to leverage existing applications written in desktop technologies such as Java or .NET (C#, WPF). Without any coding, native applications can be launched and then managed as part of a workspace: they can snap, dock, and participate in workspace rehydration.
For applications that you have an ability to modify, Finsemble Native provides language adapters, allowing you to make use of the Finsemble API directly from those languages.
Additionally, we provide an implementation of a window title bar in Windows Presentation Framework (WPF) that matches that of our HTML5 version, so you can fully integrate those applications.
Integrate Legacy Applications
Finsemble dramatically simplifies the process of building a single application from separate components. Incorporate native applications into a Finsemble Native workspace using only configuration—no code changes or code control required. Once integrated, native applications behave like any other Finsemble component, obeying layout, window management, and workspace management rules.
Bloomberg Terminal Connect Integration
With Finsemble, all your applications can exchange information with each other, as well as communicate and share data with Bloomberg® to create one fluid system.
Even with the breadth and depth of the Bloomberg® Terminal’s data and analytics, users rely on a combination of proprietary and third-party applications, each with its own data set, functionality, and place in their workflow. Finsemble embraces and extends the Bloomberg® Terminal Connect API to help you deploy the smart desktop end users need.