.NET - The Doorway to RightAngle Interoperability
But have we actually walked through it?
If you were familiar with ‘old’ RightAngle PowerBuilder, characterized by grey screens and right-clicks, and are now working in the ‘new’ RightAngle .NET, you might believe the 12+ year migration was for nothing. It seems many, if not most of the RightAngle community, may be missing the key reasons for this massive change. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t a 'look and feel' facelift. Understanding and using RightAngle .NET the way it was designed is the gateway to the next phase of technological advancement for the platform.
The key concept is interoperability. Oxford defines interoperability as ‘the ability of computer systems or software to exchange and make use of information.’ Prior to the .NET migration, only a small number of ‘hooks’ (places app designers create for data to be brought into and out of a system) existed within RightAngle to connect to other customer systems (e.g., pricing providers, AR/AP/GL systems, movement feeds, and the like). As a result, businesses who successfully adopted RightAngle as their CTRM system of choice had to understand what work needed to be accomplished in the system and re-train their employees to manually enter data as RightAngle needed. Groups who have done this successfully have thrived; others have struggled. The recent migration to .NET has caused a shift in this previous approach.
Now, almost every RightAngle screen has a native ‘hook’ in the form of a .NET API to pass data into and out of the system. This is a dramatic expansion of a customer’s ability to move their data both into and out of RightAngle through automated connections from new, as well as existing, peripheral systems. This is incredibly exciting and is THE primary point of value for the .NET architecture choice.
Business users are no longer restricted to the experience provided by RightAngle’s native windows. To demonstrate this value during the announcement of .NET as the new architecture back in 2007, Eric Wellnitz, then head of RightAngle Architecture, demoed trade entry screens built on multiple code platforms. The replacement examples were a basic website, a Google form, an Excel spreadsheet, and (to really date the story) a Palm Treo app. Each of these used early RightAngle .NET APIs (Application Programming Interface) and were able to provide an alternative interface all while keeping business rules intact and ensuring data was validated. This was intended to demonstrate that RightAngle customers themselves could now build and connect systems to RightAngle at a previously unachievable level—a landmark moment forgotten by most in attendance.
Since then, tragically few customers have utilized the newly built super-highway of APIs in this S17+ world. This isn’t the way it was supposed to go, and the teams making the choice 15 years ago to transition RightAngle to .NET envisioned a different future than what exists today. Innovation was not meant to depend solely on the vendor, and they knew that. The customer was invited in to build whatever tools made sense for them while keeping RightAngle at the center of the commodity trading data universe.
Let’s stop extending RightAngle the way we did with PowerBuilder, maintaining the decades-old status quo of how to view the interactions between RightAngle and other corporate systems.
Let’s start igniting the excitement for innovation both in and around RightAngle by empowering the community to push the limits of the readily available APIs and invest in new designs within the RightAngle ecosystem through client-focused and client-driven improvements.
By utilizing RightAngle, the energy industry has enjoyed the technological advancements of the automatcher, the powerful pricing engine, and the flexibility of the scheduling tools to name a few. The RightAngle API structure (of which there are now hundreds!) is the biggest area of untapped advancement and is in dire need of a spark to get us moving down this new path.
Today, I’m backing up my talk with action. Triangle Software has just finished building its third application, X-RA ('x-ray'), to help improve and simplify the lives of RightAngle users. It allows you to retrieve your live data stored within RightAngle directly from Excel. It utilizes the open APIs discussed above to pull translated RightAngle information straight to Excel and can be used by people with or without a RightAngle license. If you have questions about our products or how you can get started building your own, we’re happy to help you.
Let’s shift our thinking of how to use RightAngle. Build that screen, interface, or data extraction you’ve been hoping would be included in ‘the new .NET’ but has never arrived. And if you want to but don’t know how, our sister company Triarc Solutions can help you!
Join us as we create an elevated user experience for the next generation of RightAngle. Welcome to the new world of RightAngle.NET and interoperability!