Codeless Development is Going Mainstream – and what is getting lost in the noise
It’s great to see the mainstream pick-up of model-driven development in the media. This morning’s article by Paul Krill in InfoWorld titled “In the cloud, code doesn’t need developers” highlights how a “codeless” or model-driven approach to enterprise application development and app platforms can benefit businesses and is finding growing interest in the market.
What doesn’t appear to be as recognized in the market as we may think is the fact that the simplicity and speed of a model-driven approach is actually very well suited to address the business and process complexity many companies face. This may not apply to all vendors in this category, but certainly at Mendix we see a wide variety of companies building a broad spectrum of very complex applications – from clinical trial management systems in the life science space, to credit management applications for telecom companies, mobile application for logistics companies, to insurance quoting or claims management systems. The Mendix App Platform thrives when it comes to abstracting and visualizing complex data, business logic and workflows.
One customer, COO Phil Augur from insurance company Arch Re Fac, noted that “[Mendix] allowed us to visually model incredibly complex application logic right from the beginning of the process in a way that anyone can understand.” You actually develop and document business logic in a way business and IT can understand while an application is built. Project managers from the Arch Re project added that it had been the first time the organization’s core algorithm was documented and visualized in entirety. In our experience, this model-driven, visual approach is actually more suited to reduce complexity than manual coding. And, as Forrester analyst and industry veteran John Rymer points out, model-driven platforms also have to include the flexibility to supplement visual models with custom code – either to re-use existing code or address specific integration needs.
Speaking of integration – the InfoWorld article raised some concern about the question every CIO or enterprise architect will ask: “Does it integrate?” The answer, again, may not be the same for all vendors, but in the world of our enterprise customers, it is always “Yes.” There is virtually no project I can think of that doesn’t integrate with some other application – often with multiple systems at the same time. In fact, integration is built right into the model, ensuring seamless integration and full transparency. And then there is the power of the Mendix user community and the Mendix App Store. It includes prebuilt Connectors that enable users to quickly integrate Mendix apps with other systems such as SAP or Salesforce.com or utilize a full Enterprise Service Bus (ESB).
The Mendix App Platform and model-driven development have become a trusted method of building business applications – not only because it is simpler and faster, but also because it supports the complexity and integration demands of the enterprise.