Introducing Mendix 6: Offline Mobile, Model API, Application Resilience on Cloud Foundry and More!
Less than three months ago, we announced the Mendix DX release. We received great feedback on this release and last month released a whole range of improvements. However, we are not slowing down towards the end of the year. We have a fast-growing and very talented R&D team, which shows in today’s announcement! I am happy and proud to announce Mendix 6!
Mendix 6 is our biggest platform upgrade in more than two years. The release represents the culmination of several months of work and what we believe is a new era for digital innovation. These capabilities make it even faster and easier for you to build modern, multi-channel applications that are connected, intelligent, adaptive and always on.
What do I mean by this? Let’s dig in.
Offline Mobile Support
We’ve received a lot of great feedback from our community regarding our recent platform enhancements with respect to mobile application development. From our hybrid mobile app development capabilities to our UI framework, we’ve made it easier to build fully responsive, cross-platform applications.
But one area that has been a daunting technical challenge for any developer is enabling offline mobile usage. Being able to use an application offline involves data synchronization, which is one of the more complex tasks in our industry. Even in Rapid Application Development environments, building offline mobile apps involves low-level coding from highly skilled developers.
Not any longer! With Mendix 6, we’ve enabled out-of-the-box, offline mobile support across platforms and devices through our model-driven approach. You can now build mobile applications that maintain consistency of user experience and performance even when disconnected or offline.
Within the Mendix Business Modeler, you can build mobile user interfaces the same way you are used to. The static resources of the app will be stored on the device, ensuring a quick load of the app, even for “online” apps. Furthermore, we will automatically synchronize the data that is needed (we deduce this from the UI you built) and store it on the device as well. We even support offline data entry, which will automatically be synchronized with the back-end as soon as there is a connection again.
These offline mobile capabilities open up a range of use cases, such as mobile apps for order management, inspection, field service, and events/festivals. We look forward to seeing how you apply them!
Model API and Platform SDK
The second big theme of the Mendix 6 release is platform openness. To date, we’ve made a number of significant investments in this area, from our support for open standards (e.g. Cloud Foundry, OpenID, OData, SAML, UML, BPMN, HTML5 and CSS3), to our support for REST and SOAP protocols, to our APIs exposing core platform functionality.
With Mendix 6, we’ve taken platform openness and application portability to a whole new level with our new Model API and Platform SDK. I’m excited to share that we’re the first model-driven rapid application development platform to publish all application models (data, logic and UI) in an open model specification, allowing you to access your core application artifacts from outside the platform.
What does this mean? We are publishing the formal metamodel of our platform as part of this release. This metamodel describes our modeling languages; it is the abstract syntax of our languages. On top of that, we provide a REST API that allows you to interact with the models of your application that are stored in our cloud-based model repositories (a.k.a. Team Server). This Model API allows you to create, read, and update any model element, and then commit the changes.
The Model API opens up a variety of interesting use cases for Mendix developers:
- Eliminating Vendor Lock-In – easily export your application models for documentation purposes, or to port applications to another platform, eliminating vendor lock-in concerns
- Legacy migration and modernization – support automated cloud migration of legacy applications, helping your organization to accelerate application modernization at massive scale
- Quality assurance – perform automated static analysis on application models to check for inconsistencies and ensure quality standards and maintainability
- Task automation – write scripts to automate bulk tasks, such as reformatting flow or changing certain parameters/activities across multiple models, saving time and ensuring consistency
With these and other use cases, we will actively work with our partners to create a whole tools ecosystem around our platform.
What we hope to achieve with this step (apart from the awesome use cases described above) is that we create a movement in our industry towards openness. We are the first Rapid Application Delivery Platform to open up our model specifications in this way. If all platforms would do this, the customers would all win big!
Application Resilience on Cloud Foundry
Since announcing our support for Cloud Foundry, we’ve released a number of features that tighten our integration with the open PaaS framework. Among other things, we’ve added support for Cloud Foundry in the Mendix Business Modeler and released our Cloud Foundry Buildpack, which turns your models into deployable Cloud Foundry artifacts called Droplets.
The Mendix 6 release brings out-of-the-box resilience for your applications running on Cloud Foundry. We’ve optimized our platform architecture to offer easy-to-configure scalability, high availability and fail-over in one go. More technically: our runtime architecture is now completely stateless and is accompanied with clustering features to coordinate tasks that need election of a leader, like database synchronization when there are model changes.
Mendix on AWS
We’ve also introduced Mendix for Amazon Web Services (AWS), providing easier access to Amazon’s rich portfolio of simple, scalable public cloud services. You can now access AWS resources (e.g. S3, RDS, SES) directly within the Business Modeler, consume them in your applications, and deploy to your AWS environment. We’ve also moved our Mendix Free Edition and Developer Sandboxes to run on AWS.
If you’re an existing AWS user, there’s more: The Mendix Pro Edition is now available as Amazon Machine Images (AMI) in the AWS Marketplace. This means you can utilize Mendix seamlessly within your existing AWS setup and account.
UI Framework Now GA
Last but not least, the UI Framework that we released in beta as part of our Mendix DX release is now generally available. Thanks to the great feedback we received from our community, we’ve added more templates and optimized the developer experience in the Business Modeler.
We’ve seen great examples of applications being built using the various themes, layouts, page templates and design elements. Creating the ultimate user experience has never been so easy and we can’t wait for even more developers to take advantage of these capabilities.
We believe Mendix 6 is a major step forward in making it faster and easier for you to build modern applications in support of such digital innovation initiatives. These new capabilities will be rolled out in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, stay tuned for a series of blog posts that go into more detail on these exciting new capabilities!