Manufacturers are Mining for Innovation in the Cloud

Posted: February 21, 2018 18:45


Manufacturers are Mining for Innovation in the Cloud

It has been approximately 170 years since James Wilson Marshall found gold flakes in the American River

How the internal team gets started

Posted: May 11, 2015 17:00
Topics: CompassAE, introduction


Starting up a new CompassAE instance is pretty exciting because you start off with so much capability right out of the box.
Most people start out by making a website with CMS, then creating apps, modules and forms using the app composer and inserting them into websites.
The default web site has a nice set of default pages and the CMS allows you to start entering your own content right off the bat. That’s the “instant gratification” that lots of us like, and it’s a nice introduction as well.
To enhance your default web site you only need to know HTML, CSS and Javascript to make the changes to the appearance and behavior that you want.
Personally, I love the ability to create “throw away” environments to try out ideas. You can clone your CompassAE repo to a local environment and generate new apps to your heart’s content using:
compass_ae new [my_new_project]
Running this generator gives you a full stack RoR application environment but you don’t need to be a RoR developer to start having fun with the Web Site Builder and the Application Composer from that environment.  This is a really friendly environment if you’re not a hard-core developer but want to create some really useful functionality. CompassAE ships with a full set of Business Modules that are essentially re-usable components that can be assembled in many ways to create applications. One really cool feature is the ability to customize the default Business Module forms using field-level drag and drop in the Application Composer. Infinite extendibility!

Prototyping functional websites with CMS Widgets

Each team member as you might imagine has their own individual tricks, but I like to prototype with CMS widgets. CMS widgets are like a mini-rails stack with a view and controller where the controller has access to the full set of Models available with core CompassAE.  If you’ve got access to the development stack (we do), you can generate a CMS widget and use widget themes as a UI prototyping tool. And the widget controller, provides access to the underlying business framework….and you can do this with a really simple tool chain. All you need is a text editor for the widget controller and the CMS editors themselves to edit the UI templates. If you like what you’ve built, you just put the UIs back into the source tree and check them in and voila! It’s a published and shareable component.

Prototyping office apps with Organizer Views

What you can do with the app composer and office apps is another cool rapid development flow. Because CompassAE’s office apps container (We call it the “Organizer View”.) dynamically assembles its menu system, tabs structures and UIs, you can basically paint an app’s basic list, detail and forms views right in the app composer.
In some ways this is similar to what you might have done with various data-bound UI controls frameworks (Powerbuilder, SQLWindows, VB, WaveMaker), with the exception that the underlying data models for the most part already exist. Of course you can extend and add to them, but much of the plumbing is already there.
For people who want to be developers and who’ve not touched Ruby or Rails, we always start people with a Ruby tutorial and The Rails Tutorial by Michael Hartl. This is probably the best tutorial around on any subject. Really! It works the prospective RoR developer through the creation of a Rails application from start to finish. One of our newer developers was able to be productive in short order after working through this tutorial.
We’re working hard everyday to make CompassAE better and easier to use. We’d love to hear you comments and suggestions.


Why we built CompassAE

Posted: May 11, 2015 16:45
Topics: CompassAE, architecture

It's a fair question. There are many tools out there in the tech landscape that could be compared to Compass Agile Enterprise in one way or another. So why CompassAE? Why this particular set of features?

The simplest way to answer is:  As a technology team operating today, we are often asked to make a variety fo things work well, or work well together.

We get requests all the time that start out like:

  • We need a (better) website
  • I want a mobile app
  • I have to copy users/sales/payments between my CRM/website/accounting system
...and various permutations of these.

During our various past dealings, we'd built enormous, expensive...but mostly integrated systems for large companies, and we thought with a combination of the cloud and dynamic programming environments, we could build something accessible to a much wider audience. We thought we could make something easier to approach, cleaner and simpler to use and more empowering when it comes to innovation, which is our favorite part of the puzzle.

Meeting that challenge is our ambition for Compass Agile Enterprise.

A New Kind of ERP

Enterprise Resource Planning, or ERP systems are the big business-oriented platforms that many companies use to automate various processes. Customer Relationship Managment (CRM) is one kind of business system familiar to many people, but there are also Supply Chain Management, Logistics, Commerce, Accounting get the idea.

Thanks to the cloud, lots of small and not-so-small businesses can and do sign up for online salesforce automation, customer service and accounting systems, but it's always a challenge to piece together a complete business platform from these services together with things developed internally or running on local computers.

"I need a website"

Early websites were like fancy Yellow Pages listings. They let people know about your business, but they didn't do much to serve as an integral part of your business beyond helping customers find you. Of course that's changed pretty dramatically now with online commerce and shopping cart applications and even form-builders that let you gather information from customers and engage them in interactions via the web and mobile.

But how to make all that work together?

Customers who sign up via your website, buy your products and then want service, should already exist in your customer service-oriented applications. Adding customers or products to your online store should add them to the accounting system. The large ERP systems like SAP and Oracle can do this, but they are complicated and expensive. 

Your special sauce

Lastly, the coolest part of your business is the part that's unique to you. So to really change the game, we had to make something that allows you to invent, innovate, and even incubate a new business or idea. So the perfect platform gives you an integrated suite of applications for the common tasks performed by all or most businesses, but it also includes a way to build something that's uniquely yours...AND that's integrated with the rest.

That's Compass Agile Enterprise, and it's tremendously empowering. We help businesses organize their existing functions and innovate new ideas - we love that we get to be part of that process and it's why we're in business.

...and doing that better than anyone else is what Compass Agile Enterprise is all about.


New Site Launch

Posted: May 11, 2015 16:40
Topics: compass, website

TrueNorth Technology Solutions is proud to welcome you to our company’s new website. This redesign coincides with our public release of Compass Agile Enterprise. We’ve been meticulously developing this platform within our walls for years. Now that CompassAE is allowing businesses to rapidly develop custom applications, we’re rolling out resources to help.


Naturally, this site, including the interactive components and the SaaS back-end, were designed using CompassAE. So our homepage not only provides marketing information and valuable resources, it’s also a demonstration of the visual and functional elegance of Compass Agile Enterprise. We encourage you to explore and welcome your thoughts and questions.


The whole TrueNorth team is committing time and resources to develop materials that will help you capture CompassAE’s incredible potential. We’ve used the system for years in service to our many satisfied clients. You’ll be able to benefit from our experience getting working prototypes to clients in blazing speed and comfortably iterating to success.

Currently, our Resources section has a growing documentation repository, a listing of developers in our network, access to our premium consulting and support services, as well as our video library. There are guides for you to do it yourself as well as an array of experienced services you can employ.

CompassAE is indeed an ambitious project. It’s a CRM, CMS and RAD platform rolled into one powerful suite. There’s a lot to explore and we’re proud to have a new layout that will make it all the more easy.


RSS Feed