trellispark “platform-first” origins and why that’s important

by | Jun 21, 2022 | Dev Team

In the world of development tools and frameworks to build business applications, the origin story of many software products stem from an initial business purpose or function, and then evolved from there. MS Dynamics started from a contact center solution, ServiceNow started from an IT service management solution, Salesforce for sales management, Airtable for a “spreadsheet-like” user experience with a relational database, etc. All these products have evolved considerably from where they started. But at their core they are all products that are grounded by their origins. That’s most apparent in their backend database design and data models.

At Great Ideaz, we began creating trellispark as a platform-first: to build any custom application, that can have any data model, and can support any kind of frontend user experience. Because of this, we have made trellispark far more flexible to our customers to modify the solution. And because trellispark is based on a Data Agnostic Services architecture, it is one of the most sustainable platforms ever created. This means we can evolve / replace core components of the platform without breaking other components or customizations made by our customers. It’s why we were able to quickly transition from MS .NET 4.x to .NET 6 Blazor, and why we plan to launch trellispark on hybrid MAUI this summer.

The cost of “standard” data models

Many SaaS frameworks provide “standard” data models for common business problems like customer relationship management, orders, invoices, human resources, etc. These frameworks also allow you some “limited ability” to customize their data models and to “force fit” them to your enterprise requirements.

Why “force fit”? When implementing a SaaS framework, the first thing you are often asked to do is to compare your enterprise requirements to the standard solution and where possible modify your requirements to match the out of box functionality. If your requirements do not fit the framework, then it often requires an expensive external solution partner to help build out your customization.

Why “limited ability”? Most SaaS frameworks give you the ability to add custom forms and fields to extend their standard data model. However, making sweeping changes to the data model, removing unwanted tables, fields, relationships is generally difficult and in many cases impossible. Being able to interact with your data in its underlying databases is often prevented. Your ability to add performance optimization to your database is restricted or unavailable. Maintaining your customizations over time can also be a significant challenge as your requirements continue to evolve and the underlying platform changes.

But what about my complex data model? Many enterprises have complex data models that drive their operations that do not easily fit the standard models available in many SaaS frameworks. Although it is possible to get extensions for some SaaS frameworks, building out a unique custom data model can be very expensive and time consuming. In many cases you end up fighting against the standard data model and adding code to bypass out of box functionality.

trellispark platform provides a fundamentally different approach.

We do provide you with example sets of common functionalities such as customer relationship management, orders, invoices, human resources, etc. But these are merely a suggestion to get you started quickly – you are completely free to add, delete, or modify any aspect of the example data models. The Data Agnostic Service approach taken by trellispark makes it simple to build and maintain any custom data model

This means that you do not have to force fit your requirements – you can implement exactly the solution that your enterprise needs.

We built trellispark to allow you to customize any aspect of the implementation directly. You have full access to your database – you can access it directly to write your own T-SQL stored procedures and optimize record access for workflow processing. You can implement workflow any way that you choose, using any technology with direct access to your own data. This gives you complete flexibility in customizing your backend processing.

We recognize that many developers also want an unrestricted ability to customize the user experience. For this reason, Great Ideaz publishes the source code for the trellispark user experience (currently available as .NET 6 Blazor/WASM). This gives developers complete flexibility to control the look and feel of your trellispark solution whilst building on a shared set of components to minimize the effort and risk of building a custom solution.

We offer the option to download trellispark and deploy it on your hosted infrastructure of choice, or to subscribe to our SaaS platform. In our SaaS platform we designed it in a way that we can take care of the entire infrastructure and application stack, but still give each customer their own trellispark deployment so that they continue to get ultimate flexibility for customizing their solution.

The vision of trellispark from the very beginning has been to provide a platform that can support any required data model and workflow with minimal effort and maximum flexibility. This has evolved into a cultural foundation at Great Ideaz of relentless innovation.