ZIAgent changes the rules in enabling existing applications to communicate with other applications. In general, applications are either built with interoperability features as part of their integral design or need an adapter to allow them to participate in a community of connected applications.
Some application makers who needed adapters have gone the expensive and time-consuming route of hand-writing their own using a toolkit. Many others, however, have chosen ZIAgent, a configurable adapter, that takes advantage of existing facilities that an application has already, without requiring changes to the application itself.
Instead of taking weeks or months to develop and test, users can create deployable adapters with ZIAgent in a matter of hours or days, depending on the complexity of the application and the amount of information being exchanged.
Level of expertise required? Typically, if you can build SQL queries, you can configure an application adapter with ZIAgent.
The Interoperability Challenge
The "interoperability challenge" has been addressed in the past, but wherever and whenever it was approached, very similar steps were taken: It started with making design changes in the application, writing new code, testing the code, finding out that extra levels of security are needed (because the connected community is larger), then implementing and testing the extra levels of security, etc.
With an Agent (Adapter) Development Kit, even though some of the pieces may have been built for you, the agent must still be built, debugged and tested. One of our customers who had experience with both described it this way: "It's like building a house: even though some of the pieces come ready-built, most of the work still needs to be done. For example, house builders may use pre-fabricated truss (roof) systems and furnaces, but they still need to pour the foundation, build the walls, run the plumbing, electrical, etc."
ZIAgent was first built back in 2001 and has been in a process of being refined ever since. In our customer's analogy, it's the finished house — ready to configure (decorate) and use (move in). Because of the way we designed ZIAgent, we don't rebuild every new adapter from the beginning or almost the beginning (as you would even with the best ADK). As a result, we've been able to spend many years making it more:
- Scalable — Deployments can be installed easily on a single server or across several servers to support large hosted environments with many customers.
- Flexible — Agents can support applications that use almost every commercially available database through a variety of interfaces.
- Reliable — We've had years' of experience seeing what can happen in the field, so we have built detection and recovery procedures into ZIAgent. Companies who build agents using an ADK will likely gain this experience through trial and error.
- Secure — ZIAgent has many built-in features for data security and privacy that have come from customer requests over the years such as message auditing, record filtering and activity logging.
- Supported — ZIAgent was first released in 2001, and we've been refining it ever since. We are continually adding new features, enhancing the runtime engine and improving the user interface.