In this article, you will find basic information about how Aurachain works. This material is meant to help users gather the fundamentals of Smart Contacts, business process management and Aurachain, regardless if they are new to the industry or are switching from a different BPM platform.
We encourage users to read this material, as well as take to our Web Help, every time a question or issue arises. Sometimes, complex issues have simple solutions.
Aurachain is a low-code, Smart Contract software platform, allowing rapid and collaborative development of Smart Contracts, which can be put into production for trading.
Aurachain serves the needs of blockchain companies across the world that require fast, secure and scalable prototyping to real-life business scenarios. Furthermore, provides business users with a mean for automating off-chain and on-chain activities that helps drive operational improvements rapidly, substantially and in volume, optimizing the cost of each Smart Contract.
Acronyms and definitions
While discussing the intricate details of of on-chain/off-chain automation and BPM, there are some words that may differ from other mediums although they are written the same or are common terms that you might have heard while operating other services.
Apps – It’s a basic and common shortening for applications.
Off-chain Apps - business process applications designed to automate processes outside off the blockchain network.
On-chain Apps – a business process application that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way, inside of a blockchain network.
Smart Contract – part of an On-chain app; it executes a written contract on a public or private blockchain and with it, enforces terms, proves performance, and even exchanges currency.
APIs – Application programming interface is a software that, basically, channels and allows two apps to talk to each other.
UI – User Interface is the means in which a user interacts with a website or, in our case, an application.
Diagrams - The tool you use to create apps in Aurachain. With it, you can define multiple process variables.
Diagrams – Helps you track and assess bottlenecks with intuitive analytics features.
BPMN – Business Process Management Notation is a standard for business process modeling that provides a graphical notation for specifying business processes.
UML – The Unified Modelling Language is intended to provide a standard way to visualize the design of a system.
Stage – Task/activity in a process.
MOD – Data model variable, in our case, this means that a variable can be created and its value used as a tool's parameter value.
USR – Abbreviation for user.
ROL – Abbreviation for group.
TXT – Abbreviation for free text.
Before you start
Before you read further, there are a few helpful things that every Aurachain user needs to know:
Aurachain doesn’t need to be installed on your computer or device. It runs in the Cloud.
You will receive running environments and your administrator will configure the users who will have access to the business flow of the app.
Add-ons can be purchased from the Aurachain library by registered users. However, upon acquisition, your admin will have to synchronize add-ons manually.
The Aurachain platform is an intuitive and easy to use UI that helps users keep track of work tasks, delegations and their off/on chain applications.
To access Aurachain’s main functionalities, you need to expand the Aurachain's collapsible menu located in the left portal panel.
Easily navigate the Aurachain Dashboard
Simplifying a complex UI to present a competent and friendly user experience stands at the core of our belief system. With Aurachain Dashboard, users have an intuitive and easy to use UI to keep track of their work tasks, delegations and applications. This is the main point of interaction with Aurachain.
To navigate the Aurachain platform you have a burger menu that collapses or exposes the sidebar.
In the sidebar, a user can see his:
The Admin has a slightly different view. In addition to all the elements exposed for the user, the admin also has the following:
User Management & Groups Management
Read more about the left side bar menu view for Users and Admins here.
Tasks list and how to start a process
All the applications you have created or have been made available to the user can be started from Applications section. This section is found in the main Dashboard window, in the lower-right part of the screen.
Depending on what notification settings the app maker has set up, you can claim your tasks and work them just by accessing them from the Task Explorer section found in the Dashboard or by going to the menu page Tasks.
Read more about the Tasks dashboard right here.
Aurachain collapsible menu
To access Aurachain’s main functionalities you need to expand the Aurachain menu sidebar.
There are four tools that can be accessed from Aurachain menu, depending on your group:
Apps - business process applications designed to automate processes off and on-chain.
Tasks - definite pieces of work assigned to user(s).
Dashboard - It is the main point of interaction with Aurachain and a 360 degrees display of processes and tasks associated with an application;
Admin –accessible only by admin users. Here they can manage users and groups, notifications, advanced settings and marketplace.
Help – prompts Web Help articles, video tutorials and here you can raise a support ticket to our Customer Support team.
Create a Smart Contract or just an Off-chain app by starting with Diagrams
In the Diagrams window, you can:
Select an existing app to edit
Create a new app
Give permissions to users and groups on apps
The Diagrams is the app creation tool where you will sketch your application flow, assign user groups and permissions for specific tasks and points of approval/rejection/escalation, define notifications and import schematics or export your current one.
Read more about the Diagrams’s functionalities and purpose right here.
A User Interface is the means in which a user interacts with a website or, in our case, an application. It’s the interactive design that allows users to read or input data.
User Interfaces are quintessential for app-making and business processes. With this tool, you can add the elements that end users will access in each step of the process.
Read more about User Interfaces, how to construct them and best practices for UI / UX, right here.
Data Model & Catalogs
In Data Model you can create and maintain data from all applications. The Data Model offers a unique view of all classes and attributes (data structure) in a single place, so that you can easily re-use some data elements and avoid data duplication.
Look at a Data Model like, let’s say, you would look at your average car. This car has multiple properties including Class, Color and Power. In the Data Model, you can set the car to be the Class and its other properties, individually, can be car Color and car Power. These will be the attributes of the main class named Car. And these attributes have values, such as carColor:blue, carClass:suv, carPower:100.
Read more about Data Model & Catalogs and how to better structure them right here.
Integrating your own APIs
Application Programming Interface, or short API, is a software that, basically, channels and allows two apps to talk to each other. Think of it as the mailman that delivers your letter requesting more information to a friend and then delivers the response back to you
In order to work with APIs, you will require a technical background and understanding, as before you can use them in Aurachain, you first need to set them up.
There are two types of APIs that you can set up:
Read more about APIs and how they can help your business right here.
The business process owner can design and generate documents by making use of data received through apps from the assigned end-users. The criteria for document generation implies adding elements from a Data Model and attaching the document template to a button inside the UI.
Customization can be done in a matter of minutes, as per your company’s requirements and changes that can develop through a project’s life cycle.
Read more about Document Designer and how to construct templates right here.
Track your results and asses bottlenecks with Live View
Diagrams offers straightforward analytics that help the Smart Contact/business process owner track and asses where the end-user hits a roadblock or if the end-user is taking more time than usual to complete a task.
This is done through a simple to understand user interface which displays process instances in a color coded manner, illustrating date of completion thresholds (which you can also personalize) for bottleneck assessment.
Read more about the Diagrams component right here.
Aurachain Admin users
An Admin user has access to Aurachain’s management module.
By accessing the Aurachain Administration sidebar menu you can locally create/update/activate or inactivate groups, users, sync users from AD, set the email and SMS capabilities and set the days and time band for environment access.
Only admins will have access to this section.
App architecture and logical steps
When prototyping and designing your apps, you will need to follow a few logical steps to be efficient and productive.
Access Diagrams and start sketching your business flow. Take your time to understand the main purpose of your process and how to avoid nuisances (a.i redundant confirmation or approval cycles).
The second major step is to add groups to each human stage to enable the end user to initiate a new process or to receive a task in his work list, as well as being able to take actions within the process.
After you have a business flow it’s time to build the User Interfaces that will serve the end user with read-only or data input screens. You can always come back to add more elements and arrange them as you see fit (or according to UI/UX best practices).
Create a Data Model and add all classes and their specific attributes. If you have already created a Data Model, you can easily re-use some data elements from previous data structures. Data Modelling can be a little bit intimidating at first, but don’t let that scare you. You can read some guidelines for Data Modelling in Aurachain here.
Now, you can connect Data Models to your UIs so the data is saved in a particular database but also get the saved data from a specific database and load it into the UI.
These complete and fully functional UIs can now be added in your Tasks/Stages also known as Human Activities.
Activate and start the process and all the tasks will be sent to the stated groups. Upon activation, the Smart Contract will be automatically generated, compiled and published on the blockchain.
This was just a summary of how you can create a Smart Contract or just to automate an internal business processes through an off-chain App with Aurachain.
To create efficient business processes, we highly recommend you take your time to understand the tools and components and how you can put them to good use.
We recommend reading Getting started with Aurachain to go through the fundamentals.