Since its inception, Skylight has sought to make it easy for enterprises to connect their frontline workforces with the digital information that drives their work, empowering them to operate more efficiently and deliver increased quality. Today we’re incredibly excited to announce the next evolution of tools exclusive to the Skylight platform that make this process easier than ever before and enable more people to contribute to the digitalization of their organization and industry.

Expensive, time-consuming, traditional application development lifecycles can create barriers to rapid innovation for businesses seeking to build multiple software solutions that support hand-free operation, are consumable across a variety of different types of devices, and maintain consistent enterprise software “table stakes” (scalability, availability, and security). Rarity of specialized development skill sets can produce further challenges, limiting the number of individuals within the business that can contribute to the creation and maintenance of these solutions.

When we launched Skylight R6, we introduced the first iteration of Skylight Application Builder to begin to address these challenges. A web-based tool that anyone could use, Application Builder provided a WYSIWYG-style interface for building simple static workflows deployable across assisted reality, mixed reality, and traditional mobile devices. Over time we saw teams adopt Application Builder as a UX design tool whose workflows could be automated via the Skylight API to model much more complex and dynamic scenarios. Building on that emerging pattern, we created internal tools that our solution delivery teams could use to build rich, interactive Skylight experiences leveraging the power of Skylight’s APIs to integrate with customers’ existing systems.

Next-Gen Skylight Applications and Calling

Not wanting to keep this increased solution flexibility to ourselves, we have been hard at work building these new tools into our platform at a foundational level. And so it is with great pleasure that I announce today’s opening of a public beta for a brand new application model for Skylight applications. This is accompanied by the next iteration of Application Builder and a number of tools designed to give all users of the Skylight platform the ability to easily create fully-integrated, interactive, performant software solutions for the hands-on workforce at a fraction of the time and cost associated with traditional application development. Today’s release makes available to the public an array of new features and low-code application development capabilities.

A Brand New Application Model

Under the hood, a new application model drives Skylight application authoring, management, and execution. New constructs called “Work Sessions” sit at the core of the new engine. These new work sessions provide structure and context to the unit of work a user is performing and enable new methods of collaboration between users of Skylight applications. Use Work Sessions to allow users to hand work off shift to shift, interact with a single unit of work over long periods of time, or collaborate on the same unit of work simultaneously. Updates to the Skylight application engine wouldn’t be complete without the addition of often-requested features like publishing control, versioning, and easy packaging/portability.

Optimized Experiences Across All Platforms

Application Builder now supports a simplified set of UX controls that, when combined with new low-code tooling in Application Builder, provides an additional flexibility of layout, workflow, and flow control to enable the modeling of any conceivable use case. Speaking of use cases… we’re also shipping with this release the first set of Quick Start applications for common use cases that customers can use out-of-the-box or customize to get going quicker. Look for more of these Quick Start applications to be released over time.

Low-Code Client-Side Logic

Without leaving Application Builder, build logic into applications using low-code tools that execute familiar JavaScript syntax and make the process accessible to individuals with all levels of development experience through contextual help and intelligent code completion. Resulting logic executes on the device itself, enabling interactive and responsive applications that don’t require service round-trips, giving the developer complete control over how data flows from the devices to Skylight and any connected enterprise systems.

Powerful Data Binding

Leave behind the time required to write the undifferentiated plumbing code that populates UI with data from back-end data sources. Synchronize data between work sessions and the user’s display by binding control properties to specific data values and let Skylight handle the rest.  As the underlying data changes, so will the users’ displays. Utilize these new data binding contexts and list view constructs to quickly and easily display repeated UI elements for each item in lists of data writing little to no code.

New See-What-I-See Calling Capabilities

Updates to Skylight’s See-What-I-See calling stack arrive alongside the next-generation application engine. Calling is now a scriptable capability of the application engine that can be controlled by the logic you define in your application. Users will notice more stable calling, the ability to share their screen, and the introduction of group calling!

Compliance and Governance Capable Out of the Box

With Skylight’s next-generation application engine, data updates are made atomically, providing a fully API-accessible audit log of every change made to a work session. Trace exactly what user changed what data at what time, even in scenarios where multiple users are interacting with the same unit of work.

Role Based Access Control (RBAC)

Define user roles on a per-application basis, enabling/disabling Skylight permissions for each. Reference these application-specific roles to create fine-grained security and flow control within your application logic for complete control of what each user of your application can do.

Blazing Performance

Simplified data-focused back-end APIs give developers the ability to integrate Skylight with existing systems and read/write data relevant to the execution of Skylight Applications. A tight focus on the changes that take place to a work session’s data results in a dramatic decrease in both network payload size and the frequency of communication when devices talk with Skylight during the execution of an application, dramatically improving overall performance. The inclusion of application logic as part of the application also results in lower load times for users once the application is synced with the device.

Documentation and Support

All of these new tools represent a massive increase in our customers’ and partners’ capability to rapidly create and deploy enterprise-grade software solutions for the hands-on workforce. To help your team get up to speed on all of the capabilities available in this release, we are also launching our public documentation portal at https://docs.upskill.io/. Here you’ll find all the information you’ll need to set up, use, and develop on Skylight.

All developers working on the Skylight platform have access to community support using the “Skylight” tag on Stack Overflow.  Have a development question that the documentation didn’t answer? Just head over to Stack Overflow and ask the community!

Introducing the FREE Skylight Developer Edition!

And one more thing… We want everyone focused on shaping the future of work to experience first-hand how easy it is to build solutions capable of transforming the industrial hands-on workforce with Skylight. So as of today, qualified developer access is available for FREE. Head here to request your dev account today!

The entire team here at Upskill has been working nonstop to get this exciting new set of features in the hands of our customers and partners. We’re incredibly proud of this latest release and we think you’re going to love it. If you have questions about these exciting new features please reach out to us at info@upskill.io.

We can’t wait to see what you build!