Democratising Data

ThinkFlow makes it easier to spend more time with your data and less time coding.   

Whether you are a professional whose spreadsheets are creaking under the weight of data, an experienced engineer who needs a faster route to prototype, or a data scientist who just wants to code less and explore data more – ThinkFlow can help.

Our platform can help you to explore data, test your hypotheses or build scalable applications in hours, rather than days.

Key features

Just as powerful as traditional text-based coding, but much easier to master.

ThinkFlow’s visual flow-based programming tools help non-coders engage with data much more rapidly and substantially reduces the cost and risks associated with developing data and software systems.

Flow Based Programming

Drag and drop function nodes into the web canvas, wire them together and deploy. Flow based programming makes it easier for a wide range of users to manage data flow.

Interface Design

Connect data and APIs to web interface in minutes. ThinkFlow has all the UX components needed: menus, lists, images, charts, switches, slides and form elements.

API connection

Easily connect to any datasource or API: Rest APIs, text, csv, json  – ThinkFlow handles all of them. We provide examples to help you integrate as simply as possible.

Database integration

Easily integrate any database: MySQL, PostgreSQL, MS SQL, Dynamo DB, Firebase, Firestore, Oracle, IBM Cloudand, Couch, Mongo DB, SQLite, the list is almost endless…

Javascript

 When one of the thousands of available nodes isn’t exactly what you need, just use Javascript to do the job. Data is passed from node to node in an easy to understand visual flow making it much easier to use.

Python

 If you prefer to use Python for creating new functions, no problem. Simply use a Python node to create what you need. The results are returned in the same way as any other node.

Thousands of functions

By basing our platform on a mature open source stack  you have access to a vibrant community of tens of thousands of developers around the world contributing new nodes to the ecosystem.

Support and tutorials

Our team are world leaders in understanding how to help non-programmers to be more effective in technology. We aim to make it possible for any domain expert to build applications as if they were a software engineer. 

Why flow programming?

Our experience is that many professionals use technology in a different way to software engineers. Non-engineer professionals often experiment with data and different technical approaches before deciding which one is best. It is an organic journey towards a software solution rather than a series of linear steps.

This approach is very common in spreadsheets  where users iteratively solve problems using the immediate feedback provided by the spreadsheet formulae.

ThinkFlow allows this same organic approach to problem solving to be used with data and software applications because it removes so many of the barriers associated with traditional software stacks.

Simple visual data transformation

ThinkFlow nodes contain the vast majority of the functionality you need and allow data transform and output in any format

The work can be as simple as understanding which nodes to use, connecting them up and checking the output. Where a little code is needed to get the required result we provide clear examples. You can also create your own nodes, or can commission us to create custom nodes for you.

Essentially, the vast majority of software systems require transformation of data from one state to another and require the application of logic or conditions in the middle. An hour or two with Thinkflow’s simple visual tools can achieve most use cases and reduce, or eliminate altogether, the need for specialist software engineers until much later.

Uniquely ThinkFlow also provides a tool that helps identify and select the data you need from the huge volumes provided in most sources. This is a critical aspect for non-programmers as data transformation is an area which is often very tricky to get right. To resolve this issue, we built our unique Graphical Mapping Tool to provide drag and drop data transformation – saving hours of frustration and expense.

Mature and stable platform

Our core technology is based on a stable and mature platform in use by hundreds of thousands of developers around the world.

We have secured and hardened the platform and built a scalable platform beneath it to allow it to be used in production environments as easily and quickly as possible. Installation is available with a single click.

For customers who wish to go straight to prototyping and building their application this is the simplest and fastest way to start.

For customers who wish to have an independent system

The software underlying ThinkFlow is independent of operating system and network, and can be delivered as a separate cloud or datacenter service or as an air-gapped IOT solution.

Customers who need this type of solution, please contact us to discuss our professional services.

Rapid goal oriented prototypes

Think flow enables you to test your ideas fast, whether you need to test a hypothesis, work with internal data or want to integrate external data that might prove valuable.

Users can trial a new customer service, identify and respond to emerging customer needs or changes in internal performance, provide evidence to support decisions, or brief development teams by creating a prototype.

The possible uses are endless and applications are already apparent in healthcare, education, manufacturing, finance, agriculture, government, smart cities, green technologies, data, robotics, informatics and analytics.


I went from raw API data to working interface – including stats and mapping within two hours!

ThinkFlow allows exceptionally rapid delivery of proof of concept applications, without being restricted by the available toolset or bounds placed on many applications. It is what you need if you are frustrated by the limits of spreadsheets, packaged applications and systems such as Zapier, IFTTT or Airtable.

David Carlyle, Product Manager

FAQ

Got questions not answered here?

We are more than happy to discuss any use cases you may have. We can often help you produce a prototype or test case in a very short space of time. For new customers in our beta phase, we will provide two hours free consultancy to help you get going. Please get in touch.

What else can I use ThinkFlow for?

As well as making sense of raw data, ThinkFlow can form the backend for digital avatars, chat systems like Alexa and Google Assistant, for database application interfaces or it can simply be used for data pipelines.

What nodes are available?

There are thousands covering all types of operations and transformations. Database and API connectors, IOT brokers, maps, charts, dashboards, visualisation, machine learning, statistics, AI systems connectors, chat systems, Alexa and Google Assistant connectors, smart home and smart cities, robotics, audio-visual, security and authorisation, sensors, control and programmatic functions. 

What if there is no pre-built node for what I need?

You can build one yourself! Or you can ask us our professional services team to build it for you. Nodes are built in standard Node JS javascript and are simple to build and deploy. What most people do is to build a node using a standard vanilla function node until they have proved the need for it, and then the function can be converted to a deployable node once the case is proven.

What if I get stuck?

The ThinkFlow platform is designed to make it as easy as possible for you to get going and not worry about the underlying tech stack. The natrue of visual programming makes it a great deal easier to code a working application even if you have never done so before. However, like any programming, you do still have to work at it, and creating applications takes practice! Luckily, because of the platform that we have adopted, there are thousands of developers out there using it and there is a wonderful community of helpful people. If you cannot find the answers to what you need, or you simply want to move as fast as possible, you can ask us for help. Our professional services team can be hired to solve problems for you as rapidly as possible.

What domain do we get?

Currently, you can choose your own subdomain of thinkflow.ai. We have plans to include a domain service in the future. For now, if this is a critical aspect for you, get in touch and we can create a custom instance for you at your own domain.

Do we get our own server instance? Are we sharing resources?

Each customer gets their own instance – a Kubernetes pod – which is not accessible from any other customer’s instance. This means you are not sharing resources with any other customer and have full access to the compute and memory allocated to your service level. ThinkFlow allows full access to all the resources of that pod – just as you would get with your own server. While this also means, of course, that you have the power to mess things up, you will not be causing problems for any other customer if you do so! The way we have designed our architecture, all your files are held in separate storage from the ThinkFlow instance itself. This means even if you do something which causes your instance to fail, your files are still safe and secure.

Can we have our own Kubernetes cluster?

Short answer, yes. Longer answer, talk to our professional services team. We will happily provide, configure and manage your own instance for you on a case by case basis. Get in touch if this is what you need.

What support and training do you offer?

A critically important question. Our standard offer comes with online support for only the backend services. In other words, we support the platform and not your software. However, we aim to make it easy for you to find and access community support. If you want further support, either on the phone, video call or in person, let us know. We can provide support packages on a per month or hourly rate including helping you actually build your software, if you need it. If you need training, we can provide in person or remote training in the shape and form required to support your business. We are currently building a range of industry specific use cases in healthcare, open government, academia, data science, agritech and marketing. Get in touch if you would like us to build examples for your industry sector. It is a particular strength of our company that we have world class technology educators and management consultants in our team – it is what makes us unique. We fundamentally understand why it is that non-programmers become frustrated with technology – and we know how to solve that problem to make it possible for them to succeed. Get in touch if you need our help.

Who owns our code?

You do. Any programs you create on ThinkFlow are yours and all rights to programs you create remains with you.

Javascript? I prefer Python!

No problem. The output from each node is independent from the language used to write it. If you are an experienced coder and prefer to build functions in Python, you can install the Python function node and code away in your language of choice. If the function proves useful, we can always turn it into a Javascript redeployable node for you. It’s your choice.

What is your underlying platform?

We primarily use open source technology whereever we can, which brings huge advantages of security through transparency, a committed and like-minded community of engineers and no licence fee additions. We use Google Kubernetes Engine on Google Cloud Platform for our primary hosting as we find this is a mature and superbly scalable platform, our clustered servers are based in Europe and other locations can be provided if needed – speak to our professional services team. ThinkFlow itself is primarily using Node Red, a visual flow based programming system developed by IBM who are still actively involved in its support, improvement and stability. See other FAQs for the roadmap on other platforms.

What about other flow based programming software?

We chose IBM’s Node Red on which to base our first ThinkFlow product for a number of reasons. Partly its maturity, but primarily for its wonderful community of supporters and thousands of available nodes. It is very rare for there not to be a usable piece of code available and made freely available to other users. However, there are other open source flow based programming software solutions out there, CDAP and Total JS, for instance – each of which comes with real strengths. We are not currently providing these on our standard platform, but we do have plans to do so if there is demand. If you need these platforms, get in touch and our professional services team can provide them from you.  

Do you provide database hosting on your platform?

Currently, most applications we see use cases for are making use of REST APIs. Accessing services such as DynamoDB, Firebase, Firestore or other databases with a REST API are trivially easy to set up and use on ThinkFlow. This means that we have not currently included a hosted database instance like MySQL or PostgreSQL within the standard service.  However, there is no reason why, if needed, we cannot provide a database within your ThinkFlow instance. Contact our professional services team to discuss you needs and we will be happy to help.

Why would I not just host the system myself?

You can! Either with us to support you, or completely independently. After all, we are using standard open source technology here. However, in the same say that most organisations feel that building, managing and hosting their own web servers these days is not worth the hassle, we feel the same way about flow based programming systems. We install the software, secure it, cloud it, cluster it, apply and manage the https certificates, configure the domains, set up and manage secure firewall routes, back it up, configure the system so your files are safe and separate from the software… the list goes on… In a nutshell, we deliver and manage all the above with a single click. If you want us to help you do the same in your own datacentre environment on any platform, just let us know.

Is each ThinkFlow instance GDPR compatible? What about security?

Each instance of the ThinkFlow system is entirely self contained and remains in your sole control.  Any data storage or processing that you undertake on behalf of yourself or your own customers is entirely within your own instance and its associated secure storage. We have no access to any of your data or to your instance via our management systems and all data is encrypted at rest as well as in transit. Our main clusters are based in Germany, where the requirements for privacy and security are stricter than almost any other country in Europe. Our platform is created on a platform provided by one of the world’s most secure hosting infrastructure providers with the entire technology stack, down to the physical layer, owned and operated by that single provider. Our technology stack is created, maintained and supported by one of Europe’s most experienced SaaS teams. This means that the ThinkFlow instance of each customers is highly likely to be more secure than you might be able to provide with your own resources. As the data controller for your customers and your own data is, of course, down to you to establish whether the security of the software stack is adequate for your needs but we have made every effort to ensure that the security of the system makes it easy for you to conduct your audit.

Beta Customers: Free Consultancy

All Beta Customers are entitled to two hours free software consultancy. We aim to help you get use cases up and running as quickly as possible.

Don’t think two hours is enough? You may be surprised…

Premium Support

If you require more support to get going, please get in touch. Our professional services team will be able to create a support package to match your needs.

From a few hours a month, to full design, code and maintenance – we can help.

 

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