Flexibility is the hallmark of NLINK®. The user has control over everything, from the structure of data exchange messages to the boundaries of business transactions. Yet the NLINK Configuration Module (NCM) guides the business user through all aspects of configuration so there is no need to remember arcane rules for each external system. NLINK can combine as many external systems and as much data as needed into a single transaction. The software allows the user to define interfaces and processes that make sense for their business.
The NLINK Server uses a rules-based, semantic integration method that uses declarative formatting to provide flexible configuration. Declarative formatting uses the meta-database and format dictionary to provide a rich set of business transaction elements, so the specification of new transactions is very straightforward and requires minimal configuration effort.
The NLINK Server uses an event-driven model. However, a scheduler is also incorporated into the design so that routine, or scheduled, events can be generated internally. This means that the NLINK Server can act both as a real-time and a batch processor of data.
NLINK’s ability to perform sophisticated and efficient business processing on received data using only a loose Workset database structure provides two key advantages to NLINK users. First, NLINK is much easier to use than other approaches since less information about the structure of the received data needs to be specified up front. Second and perhaps most importantly, the cost of maintaining a deployed NLINK solution is greatly reduced since loosely defined Workset structures withstand external system and format changes much better.
Normally, an NLINK Workset (NLINK’s internal working storage) is associated with a user session. However, Independent Worksets are not associated with a particular user session, rather they are associated with an external system. The best example of their use is with an external system that needs to pass data to NLINK periodically, through a scheduled event, and not through a user session.
The NLINK Server is meta-database driven. No coding is required by the end user in order to perform simple or complex integration projects. NLINK’s meta-database driven approach to integration makes it fast to implement and easy to change.
To better understand the technical aspects of the NLINK Server we recommend that you review the NLINK Architecture White Paper. It describes the internal architecture of the various major components of the NLINK product suite, which includes the NLINK Server, NLINK CoNNectors and eXtenders, and the NLINK Configuration Module. In addition to a high-level architectural overview it goes on to discuss some of the more important features incorporated in each component and relates them back to the underlying product architecture.