All systems delivered by Asta Labs are implemented on the common software Asta Platform. The platform enables implementating a collection of mobile cloud subsystems that feature a loosely-coupled service-oriented architecture and interwork by means of service interfaces and workflow mechanisms. Asta Platform provides the technology of a scalable multi-tenant data repository with an extandable object-oriented information model. It also offers template and API libraries for implementing business logic functions and developing mobile applications that deliver rich map and multimedia content. Finally, it includes a scalable BPMN 2.0 workflow engine for system integration. The systems built on the Asta Platform can be developed and deployed using the tools and runtimes of the Windows environment.
The data repository of the Asta Platform is based on object-oriented information modelling – all data is expressed as a collection of objects of different classes with their assigned values of attributes. The unique time awareness feature of the information model allows for specifying that an attribute value is valid only over a given time span. Additionally, there can be multiple values of the attribute, and they can also be assigned indices forming an array.
An information model for a particular system can be built by defining a particular set of classes, attributes and syntaxes using the mechanisms of class inheritance, attribute packages, etc. The information model is open – it is defined using a set of metadata objects, that set can be extended at run-time. The repository features efficient, scalable implementation on a relational DBMS platform. The repository is multi-tenant – the multi-tenancy is based on assigning separate sets of tables for each tenant.
Asta Platform provides libraries for implementing data access, business logic, and application layers. Data repository access functions are exposed as two libraries – a native .NET API library and a Web Service and REST API library specified with WSDL documents. Additionally, utilities for loading metadata and data from spreadsheet files are included. The platform provides a .NET API and template library for implementing business logic functions as WCF services. Moreover, the business logic functions of each available subsystem are exposed as a domain-specific Web Service and REST API library.
Another .NET API and template library is available for developing mobile applications in the MVVM model. The library offers, in particular, state management functions, data storage and data transfer functions, map and map services integration functions, as well as provides a collection of predefined view models. Two versions of the library enable Windows Phone as well as Windows Store application development. Finally, there is the workflow engine’s library that provides Web Service and REST API for integration and orchestration of business logic services and business process managemenet.
Asta Platform provides a specialised subsystem with a scalable workflow engine. It provides synchronous and asynchronous execution of business tasks. It enables integration of Asta and third-party systems with inbound and outbound calls to Web Service and REST service interfaces. The engine interprets process definitions that are described by BPMN 2.0 documents; they can be prepared with any process editor compliant with the BPMN 2.0 standard. Process definitions and process instances are accessible through mobile applications and service interfaces of the workflow subsystem.
The data repository, the business logic, and the workflow engine can be deployed, each of them independently, either on Windows Azure or on a private Windows Server-based cloud. Then, the data repository uses, respectively, either SQL Azure or SQL Server instances. The applications can be executed on Windows Phone 8 smarthphones and Windows 8 tablets and desktops. As a rule, applications are deployed via Windows Phone and Windows Store marketplaces. Depending on the platform, to present geographical information the applications use offline Nokia Maps on smartphones and online Bing Maps on tablets and desktops.