Helium FAQs

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General

Helium is a front-end software framework used to build custom learning experiences and applications on the Thought Industries Customer Learning Cloud platform.

Building and delivering highly differentiated and impactful learning experiences shouldn’t be difficult. Turning your vision into reality shouldn’t be constrained by the technical limitations of a software platform. Our mission for Helium is to empower customers to bring their visions to life through a simple and powerful framework that enables full customization and extensibility of the Thought Industries Customer Learning Cloud.

Ultimately we want to make it easy to:

  • Customize the web site & learner experience to achieve ambitious design goals.
  • Modify the structure, appearance and functionality of courses, assessments, tests, and more.
  • Incorporate external data into learner-facing components like dashboards and catalogs.
  • Utilize internally-developed functionality, other CMS, CRM, ERP platforms and seamlessly integrate these systems into both learner and administrative experiences.
  • Deliver in-the-moment training natively across multiple platforms beyond Web nd HTML

As a software framework, Helium’s intended users are software developers.

The possibilities are endless, but some common examples would be fully customizing the look, feel and functionality of a learner site, customizing a catalog to retrieve and show content and courses that are externally authored and stored, extending a learner dashboard to pull in metrics or data from an external source, creating a new content type or building a whole new learning experience tailored and native for non-web platforms like mobile, AR, VR and embedded operating systems. 

Today, all of the learner-facing web site components along with access to the components data and in the near future content and page types.

The Ti Admin interface.  In other words, the Ti Admin cannot be customized.

Yes. As part of the Helium install process, you will be prompted for your instance name and api key.

Getting Started

Yes, node.js needs to be installed. We highly recommend using a version control system as well to track code changes and collaborate such as GitHub. A full list of requirements can be found on the Helium Developer Guide.

Yes. Helium’s GraphQL allows you to access the necessary data that you can then use to build platform specific user experiences using any front-end framework.

We provide GraphQL out of the box, which provides an IDE to access and run queries and mutations and view the GraphQL documentation.  You can access GraphQL explorer after install here:  http://localhost:3000/graphiql or access the static version here: https://thoughtindustries.github.io/helium-graphql/

Technical Questions

React is at the core of Helium’s code-accessible components, coupled with Tailwind CSS for intuitive design and styling and GraphQL for high-performant and efficient data retrieval.

No. You are free to use any framework or language of choice along with Helium’s GraphQL to build fully headless experiences.

No, Tailwind CSS is not required.

All of your Helium code is deployed on Ti managed infrastructure utilizing serverless Cloudflare workers for instant deployment across the globe providing exceptional performance, reliability, and scale.

Your brand appearance (color, logo, etc.) and translations are readily available to use with Helium.

17.0.2 Keep an eye on the community forums and developer site for updates.

In addition to the code-accessible components, Helium provides a CLI for installation and deployment management, a GraphQL Explorer to access and run queries, code samples and documentation, and forthcoming SDKs for mobile and other platform development.

Yes. Helium falls under the MIT License.

The Helium developer community on Discord is a great place to post questions or view answers to previous and frequently asked questions. It's linked above in under Community.

When you modify an existing component, backward compatibility with future updates to the component is not guaranteed.

Yes, Helium does not enforce any version control system. You are free to use whatever you like.

We recommend using a version control system to synchronize local development such as Git, GitHub or GitLab. For deploying to sandbox and production environments, you can choose your deployment target at deploy time.

Where possible, Helium utilizes server side rendering (SSR) where the server converts web pages into viewable formats before sending them to the browser. This makes sites and learner experiences much faster and responsive compared to traditional client side rendering and also helps with search engine ranking.

Not currently, but we are looking to support in the near future.

Not currently. Server Components are a more experimental feature that is still in research . We are keeping a close eye on this new technology and will circle back when it becomes more production ready.

Helium sites are secured through HTTPS, standard across the entire Thought Industries platform.

Thanks to server side rendering, both search engine bots and humans get a faster page experience. This not only means a better UX, but it also eliminates speed-related crawl budget issues that accompany SEO results. Sending fully-rendered pages to search engine bots means that you’re not risking the “partial indexing” that often happens with traditional client-side rendered content.

Localized strings are downloaded from the Thought Industries platform during the Helium install process and are made available through a custom React hook. You are also free to use any alternative localization library you like.