Extension Kit for M-Files has been in development for four years. All those years, the customers were the generator of feature requests. As an M-Files partner that does M-Files implementations and customizations for our customers using Extension Kit, we can easily notice many benefits.
Extension Kit for M-Files 101
Before we discuss the specific benefits of using Extension Kit, let’s take a step back and discuss basics. Extension Kit for M-Files is no-code solution that allows you to achieve more with your M-Files implementation. In the nutshell, Extension Kit is a Vault Application Framework (VAF) application that is installed to vault like every other M-Files add-on.
From the high-level perspective, Extension Kit is working on a trigger-action principle. That concept is familiar to everyone that worked on any customization in M-Files (VAF or VB Script based) in which you have available M-Files Event Handlers which allows you to react based on user action in M-Files.
Extension Kit supports reacting on all relevant events (triggers):
- Object / Document created
- Object / Document changed
- Object / Document changed state
- Object / Document entered state
- User commented
Besides user actions (reacting on a trigger), Extension Kit also supports execution actions based on some predefine schedule.
Once trigger has happened, Extension Kit can support many different actions throughout 18 modules. Each module supports different actions but overall we can group the modules / functionalities in the next set of actions:
By combining triggers and actions, you can achieve much more with your M-Files, both from the technical, as well as from the business perspective. Extension Kit can support you regardless of your role in the company or team.
Who is Extension Kit for?
Being a consultant, working with the M-Files is great when you can easily adopt M-Files to your customers’ needs and display it in their business context. Quite often, customers would like to see some more advanced functionalities not supported by the M-Files.
For example, when a new Employee is created in the M-Files, customer would like to automatically have NDA and Contract created. From the platform perspective, that is possible with customization, but not out-of-the-box. Even though that case can be developed in a certain amount of hours, the first impression is not the same as if you could simply configure it instantly. As we have developed the Extension Kit based on conversations with our customers, we understand the power of showcasing the possibilities of the platform right away. This is a huge benefit for consultants when working with Extension Kit, since you can – in just a couple of minutes and without writing a single line of code – demonstrate powerful and advanced M-Files capabilities that show your customer the real power of M-Files.
Software engineers have two different possibilities when it comes to M-Files customizations: writing VB script or doing customizations using Vault Application Framework (VAF). Both options have some pros and cons. Writing VB scripts will definitely give you a faster way to achieve some functionalities in, for example, State Action. On the other hand monitoring, debugging and maintaining those VB scripts is a painful process, usually not very intuitive.
Furthermore, VAF will provide you with everything modern software development process needs, however, sometimes it is too complex to create a VAF application to achieve simple functionalities. Creating a project, handling event handlers, debugging, deploying and adding changes could be an overwhelming process for simple tasks.
Using Extension Kit you can easily choose trigger, set advanced filter conditions and then simply configure the actions you want. You don’t have to write the same piece of code every time you want to, for example, copy property from one object to another, or to make vault search. Instead, save your time with Extension Kit and focus on new challenges.
Everyone working in IT knows that software engineering is a complex and expansive process especially when you are aware of the shortage of quality software engineers in the labor market. In order to deliver M-Files solutions, it is not important only to provide certain functionality, but also, prove the quality and have short time to value. Quite often, teams lack enough software engineers that are available to start working on needed customizations immediately which might cause projects to delay, or fail.
Another pitfall of the lack of available resources (or experience/knowledge) is that the produced solution will not have sufficient quality, which at the end of the day may cause even more problems and spent hours.
In order to save our time and improve the quality of our implementations, we are using the Extension Kit in each and every implementation. And we are not the only ones. Many other M-Files partners recognized the value of Extension Kit in the same way, which confirms the quality and stability of the product. Moreover, before every new release of the Extension Kit, more than 1000 unit tests are executed confirming that everything works as expected.
Business owners that decide to either buy or offer M-Files have to prove the value of the solution as soon as possible. Moreover, once you have successfully implemented M-Files, engaged users will start producing many new use cases. In order to support them, you have make sure that those use cases can be supported, as well as to ensure that the expansion level of stability and performance remains the same.
More than 18 modules with some advanced configuration modules for orchestration and reporting, guarantee that you will utilize the M-Files fully. Possibilities like advanced validation, advanced reporting, SQL/HTTPS integrations with other systems will ensure that with new use cases are supported and expanded in a desired way.
Summary for both M-Files Partners and direct M-Files customers…
If you are an M-Files partner looking to offer more to your customers, we have a channel partner model for that will enable you to bring the most of the M-Files to the market. If you are already an M-Files customer, you can benefit by adding the Extension Kit to your vault and we have all the materials needed for you to be successful in doing just that.