SAIL Technology

Appian SAIL (Self-Assembling Interface Layer) is the patented framework that takes declarative UI definitions to generate dynamic, interactive, and multi-platform user experiences. On this page, you can learn about how SAIL empowers designers to build amazing interfaces quickly, and deploy them everywhere.

Background

Before SAIL, simplified UI (User Interface) design was inflexible. Traditional UI development was a bottleneck for most projects. Businesses have unique needs, which often means costly custom software. As business processes change, these interfaces become expensive and time-consuming burdens.

Beyond process and aesthetics, UI design trends evolve over time improving usability and experience. With consumer software raising user expectations, badly designed, custom UIs often cripple adoption of internal IT initiatives.

To make matters worse, mobile devices have became an inextricable part of work life. Technologies change, and new internet browsers and operating systems crop up every year. Keeping up with them becomes impossible, forcing many enterprises to remain years behind technology trends as they struggle to continuously modernize their internal apps or replace them with new custom solutions.

Enter SAIL

Rather than try to improve the existing methods of creating UIs, Appian started over from scratch and reimagined what it should be.

Easy

Building an interface mock-up should be as easy as just building the interface. With SAIL, Appian designers have a simple, configurable visual tool, where designers can drag and drop the various interface elements onto a visual workspace, and when they’re done the result is a working interface. And designers know it works because, unlike mock-ups, the interface is fully interactive while it’s being designed. It's an experience unlike any other.

Portable

Appian interfaces capture the designer’s intent, not their code. SAIL takes that intent and translates it into the various operating systems or browsers for you, meaning the interface you just built is natively mobile.

Timeless

The principle of capturing intent makes it easy to update styles over time. What looks good today will look dated in just a couple of years. For example, ten years ago green was a great color for a submit button, but over the years interface trends have given that color a different connotation—it’s the color of the “BUY NOW” button, or the “LEARN MORE” button. When Appian rolled out modern UIs, the primary button color on all interfaces turned to blue at no cost, because the buttons were never configured to be "green," they were declared "primary."

Powerful

Modern interfaces are dynamic and interactive. SAIL makes even the most elaborate design or logic possible. SAIL-based interfaces can also leverage existing enterprise services through the platform’s powerful integration capabilities, enabling designers to be able to pull together all the contextual information the user needs to make effective decisions.

Because SAIL was reimagined from scratch, it doesn’t suffer from the limits of traditional technologies. This has lead to some fantastic breakthroughs like parallel evaluation.

Beautiful

Designers have all the options of contemporary interface design trends available to them. With SAIL, designers can build professional-grade interfaces in a fraction of the time, and without needing years of specialized training.

Affordable

SAIL delivers a UI framework where cost is only a function of changing business needs, not of technical obsolescence.

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