In today’s installment of our rapid developer profile series, we are featuring Marc Lehane, Mendix MVP and CTO at Kinetech Cloud. Hear how he uses Mendix to rapidly build applications.
1. What is your education and professional background? Did you have any prior development experience?
I worked in sales, and I was the person that would put excel files together to make my job easier. I took some courses at Northeastern on programming and decided I never wanted to become a developer. During my MBA at Curry College, Mendix showed up doing their college roadshow. Instead of writing a thirty-five page paper for my course, I had the opportunity to build an application. The rest is history and now I am in development.
2. What was your initial reaction to the Mendix Platform?
It was super intuitive and straight forward. I was enabled to do a lot of the things I couldn’t grasp with coding. I could build forms and logic incredibly quickly.
3. What was most helpful learning Mendix?
The first application I built was around sports, a subject I already had great interest in. At the time I was running a Flag Football League and I built an app to keep scores and stats for the team. I built the app in my free time, and it wasn’t a typical process of development, I just figured out how to get there. When I hit hurdles along the way I used the forum to figure out how to make it happen. It was helpful because I already knew the problem I wanted to solve.
4. What have you built using the platform? Which app/project are you most proud of?
I built an app for First Nonprofit that was a portal for managing specialized workman comp in a couple of states. While on a conference call with them, I was able to deploy the app in front of their eyes and that blew them away. They had never seen that happen before.
I also built a mobile-first application for Liberty Mutual that enabled employees to submit time off from work (for things like physical therapy, maternity leave, etc.) in order to be compensated appropriately. We were able to deliver the first version of game changing app through a mobile device in the insurance space faster than they got the requirements back from their IT department. In the amount of time it took for them to make a final time estimate of how long it would take them to build in JAVA, we were able to build and deploy the app.
At Kinetech, I am spending a lot of my time on a construction project management application, giving full insight into each project and allowing for communication with vendors and sub contractors. We use AWS integration to allow for a full project management lifecycle for construction projects. I also used the Google Gantt Chart widget in the Mendix app store.
5. Have you had any “aha moments” using Mendix?
Yes, during that very first project. We had a little bit of training, and I remember explaining how I just wanted to grab something with the same name from the database. And they were like “ok just retrieve it from the database”. And it made perfect logical sense. Mendix does everything in a logical way, not how a typical coding platform would work. Most things are handled by Mendix and it’s all there for you. You don’t have to overcomplicate things and can just accept that the answer is right in front of you.
6. What advice would you give to other Mendix developers?
Pick a project where you are the subject matter expert to remove the learning curve and be able to focus on learning the platform. If you have a programmer background, try to remove yourself from the way it was done in your previous background and use it in the way it was meant to be used. It is more logical than your code was because it is built to be intuitive. If you are new, try not to overthink it. Anytime you need to build custom logic, the key is to say it in a sentence first to understand everything you need. You have to have it to use it.
7. What are your interests/hobbies outside of work?
I spend a lot of time with my family and I am interested in sports and reconstructing houses.