Low-Code Applied: An All-in-One Approach to Software Development
Low-Code Applied: An All-in-One Approach to Software Development by Joe Carroll
As you evaluate low-code platforms to help you accelerate your application development and delivery, it’s important to understand the history of low-code, which began in the 1980s but didn’t come to prominence until companies like Mendix harnessed the business-altering power of low-code.
Initially, low-code was about model-driven development: abstracting programming and using visual models for defining data models, application and process logic, and user interfaces. Mendix took this a step further, believing that low-code was the way to bridge the gap between IT and the business. In 2014 we wrote that Mendix’s approach to model-driven development was that “it empowers both developers and business users to rapidly build applications without the need for labor-intensive, low-level coding.”
Obviously, we’re not in 2014 anymore and neither should be your low-code platform. Low-code technology has matured beyond just building an application. So when evaluating a low-code platform, you’ll want to choose a vendor whose platform allows you to apply the low-code philosophy to other areas of software development. Or, as Forrester suggests in their latest “Forrester Wave: Low-Code Development Platforms for Professional Developers, Q2 2021,” look for a platform that addresses data- and process-centric development patterns, provides development tools across a range of developer skills, and meets enterprise-level architectural and infrastructural requirements.
Find it All in One Low-Code Platform
In order for a business to truly accelerate its software delivery, low-code can’t just be applied to the “Build” or “Develop” part of the software lifecycle. The concept of radical abstraction and automation you find low-code addressing in the world of development needs to apply to software’s adjacent domains.
Businesses run on processes. It’s alarming when you read Forrester’s report “Navigating the Rapid App Delivery Market” and see that 77 percent of enterprises are relying on clunky paper processes and 63 percent rely on Excel-type programs.
A robust low-code platform offers you the ability to insert process logic into applications that digitize or automate those paper- or spreadsheet-driven processes.
Forrester counts tooling for process automation as a chief capability or feature for current low-code offerings. Among the 14 vendors assessed in the Forrester Wave: Low-Code Development Platforms for Professional Developers, Q2 2021, Mendix scored a 3.3 out of 5. The Mendix Platform provides users Workflow, a BPMN-based visual process editor found in both IDEs (Studio and Studio Pro) that lets you infuse process logic into your scalable applications. Furthermore, you’ll find pre-integrated support for RPA tools, and app services for intelligent automation like document processing, data capturing, and natural language processing.
With Mendix you can power up your applications by integrating AI capabilities through configurable drag-and-drop AI services (Amazon, Google, IBM, to name a few) or find third-party offerings in the Marketplace for specialized AI services.
The discovery and use of data across your enterprise is also a point of frustration when it comes to building applications.
Tooling for data modeling and management—particularly its data catalog—is exceptional in both features and experience.
Low-code applied to data integration empowers developers to discover, understand, and instantly connect data, even in the most complex of enterprise data landscapes. If you have the right low-code platform, those connections will be easily governed and appropriately secured.
Forrester also recognizes the need for data and integrations as crucial to a modern low-code platform. Mendix scored 5 out of 5 in this category.
Forrester found Mendix’s data tooling impressive. According to the report, Mendix’s “tooling for data modeling and management—particularly its data catalog—is exceptional in both features and experience.”
Within Mendix Studio Pro, you get a single view of multiple data sources so that you can read, write and update operations. Data modeling through the Domain Modeler lets you visually create new data models and store new data persistently.
With the latest addition to the Mendix product family, Data Hub, you get composite data views from myriad data sources from your data landscape. The Mendix Data Hub Catalog is an open, standards-based metadata repository that enables a range of developers to find, understand, and activate data.
Mendix offers hundreds of pre-built connectors and the ability to build more through the Connector Kit. Data Hub abstracts away connectors while fully automating mapping queries and invocations with simple, drag-and-drop integration.
Delivering a low-code built application to market faster means nothing if it’s not going to be used or—worse yet—if it’s going to have a negative impact. User experience (understandable design patterns and an easy-to-use interface) is vital to the success of your application.
Meeting the user where they want to be met is vital to an application’s success. Google states that 48% of consumers who encounter sites designed without mobile in mind reported feeling frustrated. 74% of those who visit a mobile-friendly site are likely to return, with 67% likely to buy that site’s product or service.
A low-code platform should offer tooling that allows you to deliver best-of-breed experiences that are consistent, user-friendly, and multi-channel across mobile, wearables, AR/VR, or chat.
Further cementing itself as a true, holistic low-code platform, Mendix’s tooling for user experience and its offering in the multiexperience realm is a standout. Forrester scored Mendix’s UX tooling a 5 out of 5. With Mendix, you can create rich, web-based apps with responsive UIs and build with best-of-breed mobile architectures all from within the same low-code IDEs.
Mendix offers controls, style sheets, and built-in layouts or templates and they’re all customizable as well as reusable. Atlas UI is a fully responsive UI framework that comes replete with a theme creator, navigation layouts, page templates, and pre-designed building blocks. This out-of-the-box capability empowers you to govern your brand. You can build your own design language, brand assets, and reusable components and modules that ensure that those building solutions adhere to branding guidelines.
User experience goes beyond look-and-feel though. This is why Mendix, a leader in the multiexperience development platform category, offers tools to help build native mobile applications that ensure you can develop apps that work when and where users want them to work. You can choose the mobile architecture that best fits your business (native, web, PWA, hybrid).
Mendix’s All-in-One Low-Code Platform
With the right low-code platform—one that offers deep data, process, and UX tooling—you can bridge the gap between IT and the business. Read more about which modern low-code platform can help you accelerate the development and delivery of business-critical applications.