Frontline Solvers V2016 Empowers Users to ‘Instantly’ Create Web and Mobile Apps from Excel Analytic Models

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Advanced Analytics tool enables Business Analysts to work easily with Web Developers, using RASON® (RESTful Analytic Solver® Object Notation): Users can automatically convert Microsoft Excel optimization and simulation models into JavaScript, with AJAX calls to Azure-based REST API.

The Create App button can be used to instantly create a Web or mobile app from an Excel analytic model

Create App button on Analytic Solver Ribbon

Until today, business analysts building Excel-based advanced analytic models couldn’t even dream of creating a web or mobile app themselves. Now they can not only dream it – they can do it with just two mouse clicks.

Frontline Systems is shipping a new product line release, Version 2016 of its Solvers for Excel, including its flagship integrated product, Analytic Solver Platform, and its "professional entry-level" integrated product, Analytic Solver Pro. The new release includes what Frontline calls a “breakthrough” capability to automatically convert Excel analytic models into basic – but fully functional – “apps” that can run by themselves in a Web browser or mobile device.

“Until today, business analysts building Excel-based advanced analytic models couldn’t even dream of creating a web or mobile app themselves,” said Daniel Fylstra, Frontline’s President and CEO. “Now they can not only dream it – they can do it with just two mouse clicks.”

The new release addresses a major problem experienced by many organizations seeking to benefit from ‘embedded’ advanced analytics: Business analysts who can build models often lack programming or web development skills, while web developers lack familiarity with analytic models, whether written in Excel or a special modeling language. With Frontline Solvers V2016 and the RASON language embedded in JavaScript, analysts can easily create models, and web developers can easily use their work.

Full-Spectrum Advanced Analytics Tools for Desktop Excel, Excel Online and Google Sheets

Covering the full spectrum of "advanced analytics" tools, the release also includes new versions of XLMiner Platform, the leading tool for data mining and text mining in Excel; Risk Solver Platform, the leading tool for simulation / risk analysis and stochastic optimization in Excel; Premium Solver Platform, Frontline’s best-selling tool for large-scale conventional optimization; and subset "professional entry-level" products Premium Solver Pro, Risk Solver Pro, and XLMiner Pro. All of Frontline's optimization tools are upward compatible from the basic Solver included in Excel, which Frontline developed for Microsoft. Besides the headline new ‘Create App’ feature, the V2016 product line release includes significant enhancements to each of these subset products. It also brings new power to Frontline's analytic apps for Excel Online and Google Sheets, where Frontline is approaching 100,000 cloud-based users.

Excel Models Automatically Converted to Web and Mobile Apps

The Frontline Solver V2016 add-ins for Excel feature a new ‘Create App’ icon on their Ribbon. The user simply builds a worksheet with Excel formulas, then uses other icons on the Ribbon to define elements of an optimization or simulation/risk analysis model, via simple ‘point and click’ steps, and test the model in Excel. Once it’s ready, a single click on ‘Create App’, and a second click to choose where the converted model will run, is enough to create a basic ‘app’ that embeds in JavaScript, contains the user’s model, and solves problems via REST API calls to Frontline’s Azure-based RASON server. One ‘Create App’ menu choice produces a Web page with HTML, CSS and JavaScript that opens immediately in a web browser.

Leveraging RASON – RESTful Analytic Solver Object Notation

The ‘Create App’ feature automatically translates both Excel formulas and optimization and simulation model elements into statements in Frontline’s RASON modeling language, introduced earlier in 2015. Because a RASON model is embedded in JSON – JavaScript Object Notation – it is valid in JavaScript code on Web pages. Simple AJAX calls submit the model, as JSON, via REST API calls to Frontline’s Azure-based RASON server. The server solves the problem or runs the simulation defined in the model, and returns the results – also in JSON – to the client, typically a web browser or mobile device. And since the RASON language contains the entire Excel formula language – with nearly 500 built-in Excel functions – plus higher-level multi-dimensional extensions, nearly any Excel model can be translated into a RASON equivalent. Users are free to edit and modify generated RASON models, to make use of the higher-level ‘modeling language’ features.

RASON Desktop and Web Interactive Development Environment Included

To enable users to immediately realize value from RASON models, translated from Excel models or written or edited by users themselves, Frontline is including its RASON IDE (editor and Interactive Development Environment), and a special subset version of its Solver SDK® product that includes the RASON interpreter, with Analytic Solver Platform V2016 and each of its subset products. Since other algebraic modeling languages with features similar to RASON often sell for $3,000 to $10,000 by themselves, this is a ‘windfall’ for users of Frontline Solvers. Customers with V2015 licenses and current Annual Support will receive the new release at no extra cost.

New Optimization Power in Evolutionary Solver

The V2016 release also features significant enhancements to Frontline’s popular Evolutionary Solver. This Solver ‘engine’ is a powerful, compatible upgrade from the “evolutionary solving method” included in the basic Excel Solver that Frontline developed for Microsoft. The Evolutionary Solver handles challenging non-smooth, non-convex optimization models that may include nearly any Excel function. Besides its genetic algorithm and tabu/scatter search methods for global search, and its existing array of local search methods, the V2016 Evolutionary Solver includes a powerful new optimization algorithm known as SQP-GS (Sequential Quadratic Programming with Gradient Sampling) for local search, and new Feasibility Pump algorithms for both continuous and integer variables. In combination, these new methods enable the Evolutionary Solver to find better solutions faster than any previous version.

New Navigation Pane for Data Mining and Forecasting

XLMiner® Platform and XLMiner Pro, subsets of Analytic Solver Platform and Analytic Solver Pro (respectively), feature a new navigation pane in the V2016 release, making it easy to find and use data sets, stored models, and summary and detailed reports and charts, located on many different worksheets in an Excel workbook. This new user interface element is matched to the UI of a forthcoming cloud-based forecasting and data mining offering from Frontline Systems.

Support for Excel 2016, Excel Online and Excel for iPad

Frontline Solvers V2016 supports the new Excel 2016 final release, as well as Excel 2013, Excel 2010 and Excel 2007 for Windows. Its “Publish to the Web” feature makes it possible to run even large-scale optimization and simulation models in Excel Online and Excel for iPad, as well as Google Sheets.

Frontline Systems Inc. ( is the leader in analytics for spreadsheets and the web, helping managers gain insights and make better decisions for an uncertain future. Its products integrate forecasting and data mining for “predictive analytics,” Monte Carlo simulation and risk analysis, and conventional and stochastic optimization for “prescriptive analytics.” Founded in 1987, Frontline is based in Incline Village, Nevada (775-831-0300).

Excel® is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corp. Analytic Solver®, Premium Solver®, Risk Solver®, XLMiner®, Solver SDK® and RASON® are registered trademarks of Frontline Systems, Inc.

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