ThinkAutomation 4 versus ThinkAutomation version 5



We’ve upgraded ThinkAutomation to give you more processing power, more automation scope, more baked-in features, more back-end security, and even more value for your money.

The new ThinkAutomation release outperforms its predecessor from every angle.

So, how does your upgrade stack up against the version it replaces? Here’s a side-by-side comparison.


Performance

The new version of ThinkAutomation has been rewritten from the ground up. It offers a fresh codebase with speed and resilience at the core – plus key infrastructure changes.

Codebase

ThinkAutomation version 4

Built primarily in VB6, with some legacy components.

VB6 is an older coding language lacking support.

Being tied to VB6 enforces more boundaries and makes integrations into new systems more challenging.

ThinkAutomation version 5

Built in 100% .NET managed code.

.NET is the leading server-side scripting technology. It offers superior memory management, security, and exception handling than anything achievable with VB6.

Using .NET also allows us to leverage the power of the .NET framework and its rich integration ecosystem.


Core processing

ThinkAutomation version 4

Does not read messages from multiple sources concurrently.

Each automated action is executed one at a time.

ThinkAutomation version 5

10x faster than ThinkAutomation version 4.

Offers a resilient core processer powering concurrent message processing, plus concurrent automation executions.


Core service connections

ThinkAutomation version 4

Uses HTTP connections between core ThinkAutomation services.

HTTP calls are not kept open.

HTTP is also a higher latency method – meaning a longer data syncing delay.

ThinkAutomation version 5

Uses WebSocket connections between core ThinkAutomation services.

WebSockets are continuous and connections can be kept open.

You get fluid, low-latency communication across your client and server.


Implementation ease

ThinkAutomation version 4

Core services are directly connected to the metadata and message store databases. From an implementation perspective, this makes multi-computer configurations time-consuming.

ThinkAutomation version 5

All communication relays via secure WebSocket – not over a direct connection.

So, setting up ThinkAutomation across multiple workstations is a much smoother process.

Secure, remote access to ThinkAutomation is also easier.


Database connections

ThinkAutomation version 4

Database queries don’t always use parameters. Database actions run via OLEDB connection.

ThinkAutomation version 5

All database queries are parameterised.

Database actions now use ADO.NET directly (for improved performance).


Logging

ThinkAutomation version 4

Multi-line logging can cause lags. For example, if fast executing triggers generate a high volume of log lines in rapid succession, the ThinkAutomation administrator may become temporarily unresponsive.

ThinkAutomation version 5

Multi-line logging can cause lags. For example, if fast executing triggers generate a high volume of log lines in rapid succession, the ThinkAutomation administrator may become temporarily unresponsive.


Features

As well as all the functionality you’re used to, ThinkAutomation version 5 comes with a vast mix of new features developed with fast, endless processing in mind.

Orchestration

ThinkAutomation version 4

Happens inside the ThinkAutomation administrator.

ThinkAutomation version 5

Happens inside the ThinkAutomation studio.

Your new automation studio is designed for scalable, accessible orchestration – with hundreds of available actions.


Message stores

ThinkAutomation version 4

Supports message store databases in SQL Server and SQLite formats only.

ThinkAutomation version 5

Supports MongoDB and MySQL message stores. (As well as SQL Server and SQLite.)

So, you can take advantage of high performance and unlimited storage.


Custom actions

ThinkAutomation version 4

Available on request, via a professional service.

ThinkAutomation version 5

Design your own custom actions using a new UI builder and fully-featured code editor. Build as much as you like, as often as you like, however you like.


Scripting

ThinkAutomation version 4

Must be written using VBScript.

ThinkAutomation version 5

Offers a built-in IDE to write your own scripts. (Using .NET, C#, or VB.NET as preferred.)

You can also reference external assemblies and paste directly from Visual Studio.


Web forms / surveys

ThinkAutomation version 4

Does not have a public-facing web form builder as an out of the box feature.

ThinkAutomation version 5

Build publicly accessible web forms and surveys from inside ThinkAutomation.

You can customise forms in any number of ways: from design, to input fields, to validation rules, to the sequence of automations that follow a form submission.

Forms can integrate into websites, be embedded via iframe, or linked / shared in any other way desired.

ThinkAutomation can then process your public-facing forms on-premises, and execute instant automations.


JSON

ThinkAutomation version 4

Limited JSON parsing.

ThinkAutomation version 5

Comes complete with advanced JSON parsing. This is powered by a friendly UI and accompanied with a JSON editor to assist building automations.


Local REST API

ThinkAutomation version 4

The local API is a SOAP-based web service and requires IIS to be installed.

ThinkAutomation version 5

Offers a local API for fast, embedded data processing in a client environment.

This API is REST-based, accepts JSON, and does not require IIS to be installed.


Public cloud API

ThinkAutomation version 4

Does not come with a web API.

ThinkAutomation version 5

Offers a public web API gateway for smooth, continuous data flows with third-party cloud services.


Automation chaining

ThinkAutomation version 4

Offers a “pass to” action in which a value can be passed to another trigger for processing. Actions passed to do not execute immediately.

ThinkAutomation version 5

Automations can now “call” other automations with any value and receive the result instantly.

This enables rapid value exchanges and immediate executions.


Accessibility

ThinkAutomation version 4

Legacy web-based message viewer only. Views are updated at scheduled intervals.

ThinkAutomation version 5

Enables remote access to a convenient, easy to manage web-based dashboard and message store viewer. Activity updates in real-time.

(Not available at early beta.)


File pickup

ThinkAutomation version 4

File pickup happens at scheduled intervals.

ThinkAutomation version 5

File pickup happens in real-time, via continuous .NET monitoring of selected folders.


Markdown support

ThinkAutomation version 4

Does not support markdown for outgoing email messages.

ThinkAutomation version 5

Includes markdown support. So, you can send stylised auto-responses / outgoing messages.


Mail server

ThinkAutomation version 4

Has an inbuilt mail server.

ThinkAutomation version 5

Uses a specialist smart host to send outgoing emails.

Using a smart host offers improved system performance, email deliverability, and overall security.


Available actions

ThinkAutomation version 4

Action types are now capped to the existing range.

ThinkAutomation version 5

Offers the most-used actions types available in ThinkAutomation version 4, plus:

– Create document

– Convert document to text

– Summarise text

– JSON to Azure Cosmos DB

Document to MongoDB

– Call other automations

– Create hash

– Delete scheduled email

– Math (formula execution)

– Tokenise text

– Extract field (inc JSON)

– Open database reader

– Mask profanities

– Mask credit cards

– Extract concepts from text

– Markdown to HTML

Since the product now has the option to create custom actions, this list will only continue to grow.


Longevity

ThinkAutomation version 5 supersedes its predecessor. As the older product retires, its upgrade ramps up and is continuously futureproofed.

Updates

ThinkAutomation version 4

Will receive support for 4 years. This includes patches, critical bug fixes, and security updates only.

ThinkAutomation version 5

Will receive continuous updates, enhancements, and R&D efforts.


New features

ThinkAutomation version 4

As a superseded product, no new features will be added to this version moving forwards.

ThinkAutomation version 5

Will continue to be actively developed and extended by a dedicated team of programmers.

This includes all manner of new features, actions, integrations, etc.


Community

ThinkAutomation version 4

Has a legacy forum only.

ThinkAutomation version 5

Offers an online library to create, share and discover custom automations.

So, you can draw from a growing community to find new, user-generated actions in one shared hub.


Managing your upgrade

The new ThinkAutomation platform represents a total reset in your automation capacity.

This upgrade is the result of more than 15 years of listening to customers like you.

And, in turn, of continuously upscaling product performance.

So, start unlocking the capacity of the new upgrade.

We recommend beginning the transition to ThinkAutomation version 5 as soon as possible – but there’s no need to do so in a single session.

As you explore the upgrade, you can keep your existing ThinkAutomation configuration up and running. The two versions can run side by side for a smoother, more gradual switchover.

And, for a smoother switchover yet, we also offer a fully managed migration service.

We can rebuild your setup in the new platform, as well as offering optimisation advice and implementing any new automations.

Get in touch to get started.


UK: 0330 0882 943  

US: (800) 680 7712

e: sales@parkersoftware.com


We’ve also put this comparison into a handy PDF for customers. You can download via the link below.



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