I’d like to take a break from our usual monthly releases to bring you something special: the Mendix Digital Experience Release! This release represents the culmination of several months of work by the Mendix R&D team and I’m excited to share these new capabilities with you. I truly believe they make it even faster and easier for our community to build modern applications that help drive digital innovation.
While there are many great enhancements in the release, I would like to focus on four today:
1. Responsive UI Framework
We created our new UI Framework to address this challenge. Now, developers without deep technical and design skills can easily build engaging, responsive multi-device applications. The framework works by allowing you to define the look and feel of your application on multiple levels:
- Themes – Themes define the overall look and feel of your application. We provide three great-looking themes that you can use out of the box or easily customize. Of course, you can always create your own.
- Navigation Layouts – Navigation layouts control how users navigate through your application (e.g. top-bar or side-bar main and sub menus). A set of navigation layouts for each device type (phone, tablet or desktop) comes bundled with each theme.
- Page Templates – We provide pre-defined templates for numerous common page types, including Overview, Master-detail, Dashboard, Location and Wizard. Again, these templates are available for every type of device. We also provide a fully responsive Layout Grid that makes pages scale on any device.
- Design Elements – You can further design your page by connecting data elements and adding additional widgets from the UI elements that come with the platform. Using Design Elements, widgets can be styled quickly to your preference for style, color, size, alignment and attachment.
The UI Framework is completely open source and will be accessible on GitHub. We encourage you all to contribute to the project or customize the Mendix UI Framework to your needs.
2. OData Support for Enhanced Analytics
Second, we’ve added support for OData, an open protocol that enables simple creation and consumption of query-able and interoperable RESTful APIs for data. With just a few clicks, you can expose the data in your Mendix applications to a variety of third-party tools, including Tableau, SAS, R, Microsoft Power BI, Excel and Tibco Spotfire. This opens up numerous possibilities, ranging from simple ad-hoc querying, to business intelligence, statistical analyses, and big data science.
While you could already achieve this by implementing web services, app services, REST resources, or building custom request handlers in Java, it was not as easy as our developers would expect it to be. Now, you can very quickly create OData services for persistent entities so you can read and query the data available in the entity.
In the Business Modeler, you simply create an OData service, add a number of entities and specify the URI where the OData entities can be accessed. Mendix automatically ensures all the security and access rules you defined on your entities are applied when data is queried through the OData endpoint.
We are curious to see how you use OData to provide your users—and business—with even greater insight!
3. Free Full-Production Edition
Our Community Edition, announced more than a year ago, allowed developers to build and deploy unlimited applications in sandbox environments, with up to 10 users each. While this was great for piloting and prototyping, we heard from you that you wanted to be able to run these applications in production before scaling them to larger numbers of users.
Therefore, we decided to replace the Community Edition with our new Free Edition, which provides a full-production platform to build and deploy unlimited production applications, up to 10 users each. In the coming weeks, we will release more production-level features that weren’t available in Community Edition, including backups, monitoring, live debugging, REST support and deep-linking.
We wanted to make it as frictionless as possible for you to test new application ideas in production, and ultimately foster a culture of innovation and experimentation. So have a look at it – we can’t wait to see what you build with the Free Edition!
4. Improved Developer Experience
Last but not least, we’ve delivered an improved developer experience through upgraded sign-up flows, project wizards, instructional videos, how-to guides and an enhanced developer website. These resources form the new “Mendix Cookbook,” which is designed to help remove complexity and speed ramp-up time for new developers.
Let us know what you think of these new resources and what other topics would be helpful to address.
Driving Digital Innovation
Businesses are scrambling to become digital businesses—to harness the power of software to create new products, channels and business models that simply weren’t accessible just a few years ago.
We believe the Mendix DX Release is a major step forward in making it faster and easier for you to build modern applications in support of such digital innovation initiatives.
The release will be available on August 3rd. In the meantime, stay tuned for a series of blog posts that go into more detail on these exciting new capabilities!