Integration Platform-as-a-Service (iPaaS) is rapidly becoming a fundamental component of enterprise technology stacks. And it makes total sense. IT organizations worldwide are dealing with an increasing number of software systems. Whether they are installed within the corporate network, in a cloud service provider’s infrastructure, or offered by a third-party SaaS provider, business groups want to use more software. And that creates a lot of fragmentation and complexity, especially when those systems need to be connected together or data needs to be shared between them.
That’s where iPaaS comes in. These platforms, such as MuleSoft's Anypoint Platform, provide a way for IT resources and developers to easily create integrations between systems using out-of-the-box connectors provided through the iPaaS platform. And that can significantly improve the fragmentation. But to make an iPaaS implementation really successful, there are a few things that enterprise developers need to keep in mind.
It’s All About the Ecosystem
Selecting an iPaaS platform has as much to do with the features as the ecosystem. Without a healthy catalog of systems to choose from, the platform is practically useless. Remember that the goal of an iPaaS platform is to make connecting disparate systems easier and simpler. Before there was iPaaS, companies had to create their own middleware solutions which took valuable engineering resources to both develop and maintain. With iPaaS, developers and IT resources can simply select systems to include in their workflow. A developer simply selects "the systems'' and drops them onto a visual editor. After specifying some configuration settings, it’s ready to go. Imagine, then, if the iPaaS solution doesn’t have that ecosystem?
Consider a simple example: a company wants to create a process which kicks off when an order is completed. The process interacts with a number of back-end and cloud systems until finally producing a receipt which is emailed to the customer, a receipt which needs to be generated as a PDF. But if there is no PDF generation available through the iPaaS system, the developer must figure out a work-around.
Look For What You Know
Although an iPaaS platform needs a robust ecosystem to really make it valuable as a way to connect systems easily, that ecosystem also needs to include components which are familiar to the developer. Even though most iPaaS platforms have a visual designer, the components themselves still might require some development work, especially to interface with systems that have been customized. There is still work involved.
Going back to the receipt and PDF example, if the PDF-generation component available in the iPaaS ecosystem is something the developer isn’t familiar with, it can be a lot of up-front work to understand the component and how it needs to be customized to fit specific use cases.
The last thing companies should look for when considering their iPaaS solution is the reputation of the ecosystem components. When comparing one iPaaS platform against another, it’s easy to choose one based entirely on the breadth of its ecosystem. But if the components in the ecosystem are completely foreign to developers, if they represent smaller and less well-known technology companies or products, there can be issues down the road such as support. Lesser-known components might not only have fewer support engineers, but their developer community may be much less mature as well.
Returning to the PDF receipt example again, the developer who has to build that process would much rather have a PDF technology in the ecosystem with which they are familiar, rather than a new provider. Familiarity and experience with technologies in the iPaaS ecosystem can significantly speed up development as well as reduce operationalization challenges and support headaches.
iText: A Proven PDF Technology For Your iPaaS Platform
As a leading trusted solution in PDF document generation, iText is actively engaging with iPaaS vendors to include the iText SDK/API and its template-based PDF engine iText DITO within leading iPaaS ecosystems. When companies that have a lot of internal processes which rely on programmatic PDF generation are looking to select an iPaaS platform, the availability of iText as a system within the platform will significantly reduce developer time and stress by ensuring they can leverage existing knowledge and expertise with the PDF aspects of their software.
iText 7 is the latest version of the leading PDF library in the world. Millions of users are creating document workflows and applications with the iText SDK - whether open source or in a closed source environment. Thanks to its dual licensing model, developers can try iText 7 at their own pace and convenience.
iText DITO is an industry-leading solution for generating PDF documents as part of software workflows. Rather than an application, it is a suite of functions encapsulated in SDKs developers can use to provide PDF capabilities within their software.
Choose Your iPaaS Platform Wisely
With the growing fragmentation within IT systems, iPaaS platforms are becoming a critical technology layer within the enterprise stack. That’s because, more than ever, businesses need a simple way to create software processes without the heavy lifting of bespoke solutions like custom middleware. It’s a waste of engineering and operational resources when, in today’s fast-paced digital business world, time is everything.
iText is making sure that enterprises which wish to transfer standalone, complex software processes involving PDF generation into an iPaaS platform don’t have to settle on inferior technologies. Their developers can use what they are most comfortable with: an industry-leading PDF generation technology that many software engineers already use today.