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Mix and Mingle with Low-code at Gartner Symposium

/ October 2, 2018

As a Mendix evangelist, I’m always keen to build engaging applications that, in turn, inspire people to build their own apps using the Mendix Platform. One of my responsibilities is to work with our marketing team and build fun applications that attract users to our booth at field events and get the low-code message out there. For this year’s Gartner Symposium, our team was challenged to come up with a new idea to engage the event’s specific C-suite audience.

My team and I approached the challenge the same way we approach all apps: Starting with a design thinking workshop. Design workshops are a great way to understand the personas you are trying to target with your application. Some of my favorite past designs that resulted from design thinking workshops include a skill game in which people needed to complete a course without touching a wire. If they touched the wire, the information was recorded by a Mendix app to an IoT solution and a Blockchain. Another game was the SAP Sphero Delivery challenge, which allowed contestants to drive a Sphero around a course. I built a Mendix app to visualize sensor data, allow contestants to register, and calculate a leaderboard.

Those apps each served a particular audience and their needs. For Gartner Symposium, we came up with many potential app ideas—for instance, a test-your-strength game—but we were able to whittle down the idea list by focusing on three key criteria:

  • Personas – Who is our target audience? What types of people are they? Are they a developer, enterprise architects, or CIO/IT leaders?
  • Focus – What are the audience’s focuses and interests?
  • Feasibility – Is our app idea even technically possible? Does our booth space allow us to?

We identified that our audience mainly consisted of C-suite leaders whose priorities and focuses are on areas of digital transformation. Then we decided that we want visitors of our stand to share with us their digital transformation priorities and business initiatives. To help them identify their recipe for success, we came up with the idea to have them create their very own “low-code cocktail.” With a low-code mixology app, attendees at our booth would select their top three digital priorities from a menu of “ingredients.” These priorities muddle, shake and stir to then display a low-code cocktail recipe that would show them how low-code development could best serve their business.

We white-boarded four screens to build:

  • Select top priorities—for example, DevOps, mobile strategy, APIs, and microservices
  • Mixing the cocktail page
  • Display the cocktail results
  • Dashboard showcasing other Gartner Symposium attendees’ low-code cocktails and digital priorities.

Application Development Planning

Building the app

When starting to build our low-code cocktail application, we realized that we would require some back-end admin functionality to help with mapping cocktail ingredients to business priorities. For instance, “mobile strategy” would match to  “vodka.” So, we built a data model and a set of pages to allow us to map a set of priorities to the set of ingredients.

Low-code Cocktail App Screenshot

We then needed a way to select a cocktail based on a series of ingredients. We integrated the app to CocktailDB, which provides a REST-based API to make cocktails based on several ingredients. Using the Mendix Modeler, we built a data mapping which enables us to handle the cocktail responses in JSON format. Using the mapping, we can call the REST API using a microflow, passing the ingredients to the CocktailDB API and getting a list of cocktails back.

Connecting Databases Screenshot

The microflow logic then selects a cocktail at random from the list and presents the user their low-code cocktail in the app. Cheers!

During the event

Throughout Gartner Symposium, the app will be constantly tracking and dashboarding the audience’s responses. This allows us to real-time analytics. For example, we could ascertain the number of visitors over time and their overall priorities from the attendees that chose to mix a low-code cocktail.  We can then use this data to assess the maturity of attendees’ digital transformation priorities and offer them suggestions on how to think about their forward-thinking strategy.

Low-code Cocktail Application

Come check it out

If you’re interested in experiencing our app, seeing how we built it, and making yourself a stiff low-code cocktail, make sure you stop by booth #942 at Gartner Symposium. For every low-code cocktail participant, we’ll be giving away limited edition Whiskey Stones to drink your low-code cocktail with at home.

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