This isn’t a rhetorical question. This week the largest collection of Mendix customers, system integrators and developers gathered at the renovated Rotterdam cruise ship terminal to see the latest version of their app framework and hear from some of their exemplary deployments. The recurring theme was how quickly they could get their apps done.
One principal at the Dutch firm PWConsulting (no relation to PriceWaterhouseCoopers) told me: “We wrote our first Mendix app and had something to show our client within the first two weeks. Most app frameworks you can’t work that fast, certainly not in Eclipse or Java.” Liberty Mutual’s Chris Woodman had something to show his management team within six weeks, and that is counting all the time it took to initially get up to speed.
Nine thousand of the Thai National Police force is using an app developed by Dutch CapeGroep. “We have been using Mendix since the early days and it just plain fast to develop our apps,” said Frank Snijders, one of the partners at CapeGroep.
John Rymer, an analyst with Forrester Research, spoke to this theme in his speech at the conference too. There are two different options he said. “One is to work faster with agile methods or app frameworks. But the best you can expect is an incremental productivity gain. But a better choice is to use new app productivity platforms. These try to step away from compiling code and are more open and cloud-based to allow simpler deployment and better scalability.” Rymer says one of the reasons that Mendix and other tools are so fast is because they avoid the test-build-deploy cycle. “You don’t have to configure so many different pieces of infrastructure. These platforms make all of that go away and make it easier to create data structures and apps quickly.”
But it isn’t just the toolset. Business people have to be intimated involved in the development process and the total app lifecycle. “Eliminate communication barriers so that both business people and IT can figure out each other’s perspective,” he said. “Developers are becoming QA people, and people have to change how they think about their jobs.” We’ll have other examples from Mendix World posted here later this week, too.