Compare Mendix vs. OutSystems

Mendix offers the most comprehensive enterprise-class platform for rapid application delivery.

Are you looking for a rapid application delivery platform to transform how you deliver modern web and mobile applications and accelerate digital initiatives? There are a few Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offerings to consider, which have emerged as alternatives to traditional application development approaches.

On the surface, OutSystems and Mendix may seem comparable, since both platforms offer strong support for model-driven development. There are fundamental differences, however, that make Mendix the preferred choice for organizations looking to drive digital transformation from start to scale.

What challenge are you looking to address?

When evaluating rapid application delivery platforms like Mendix and OutSystems, it’s tempting to quickly dive into a function & feature comparison. Before you do that, however, first ask yourself what challenge you are looking to address. Then assess whether Mendix or OutSystems will best help you achieve your goals.

Gartner 2016 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise aPaaS
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If you take that deeper dive, you’ll notice that while both platforms offer some similar functionality, the vision and philosophy that drive the company and product strategy are very different.

The OutSystems Platform is a developer-focused solution to improve IT productivity with a set of tools for model-driven development and DevOps processes. The platform generates code that is then deployed on a .Net or Java stack, on premises or in the cloud. If you’re looking to just improve developer productivity, the platform might be sufficient. If you’re looking for more, however, you’ll need to look for an alternative to OutSystems.

As many organizations have come to realize, however, there is much more to successful digital transformation than just developer productivity. In fact, despite decades of tools aimed at increasing developer productivity, software project success rates have improved only marginally. What if…

  • You could bring business and IT together facilitating the collaboration and short feedback cycles required to increase the project success rate?
  • You’d have one single platform supporting the complete application lifecycle to enable not only rapid time to market but fast, easy change?
  • You could start small and seamlessly grow your applications in size and complexity up to managing a large portfolio?
  • You don’t need to worry about scalability, high-availability and security as it’s all taken care of?
  • You’d have the freedom to run your applications in your (private) cloud of choice or even on premises?
  • Your platform vendor coupled its technology with a proven, best practices-based methodology to help you execute on your digital goals?

Mendix is the platform to drive digital innovation, enabling business and IT to turn ideas into applications faster and easier than any other approach. Open and enterprise-class, our platform combines business-IT collaboration, visual development, multi-cloud deployment and full application lifecycle support. As a result, cross-functional teams are able to rapidly deliver web, mobile and smart apps and adapt to changing business requirements.

Mendix vs. OutSystems at a Glance

Despite OutSystems’ focus on developers, the platform lacks support of some critical capabilities required to build mission-critical applications and manage larger portfolios of digital initiatives. Mendix in contrast combines outstanding developer support and state-of-the-art open platform technology with an approach that facilitates active involvement of business stakeholders in application projects.

Let’s have a look at the major differences at a glance.

Capability Mendix OutSystems

Agile Project Management
The application lifecycle starts when someone has an idea for an application.

Being able to define a project, and manage scope and progress in a single environment is key.

 
Mendix offers built-in agile project management and capture of user stories. The user stories are tracked throughout the entire lifecycle of the application.

 
OutSystems relies on 3rd party tools to manage projects, scope and progress.

Version Control
Effectively managing all design artifacts is critical to keep your application projects under control.

 
Mendix offers extensive support for revision control of all design artifacts, including code extensions and versioned APIs for component-based development.

Mendix supports automatic branching & merging, which is essential for distributed development and efficient deployment of hot fixes.

 
OutSystems does not provide the ability to manage the lifecycle of model extensions in the form of custom code. You will have to manage your own code outside the platform, which is laborious and error-prone.

OutSystems does not support automatic branching & merging.

Quality Assurance
One potential risk of building applications with significantly higher levels of productivity is lack of long-term maintainability.

Because the cost of defects rises exponentially depending on the stage in the lifecycle, you need tools to manage this proactively.

 
Mendix offers unique add-on tools to get a grip on application quality and reliability:

 
OutSystems does not offer specific QA tools, leaving you with the challenge to integrate 3rd party tools to cover this critical need.

Integration
Building apps to power digital initiatives requires robust integration with your existing IT landscape and external services.

 
The Mendix Connector Kit offers powerful integration options with native REST support and advanced mapping of XML and JSON messages.

Connectors that are based on code, leveraging a 3rd party SDK, can be included easily as native drag-and-drop elements in Microflows, Mendix’s visual model for application logic.

Access to external databases can be modeled easily, without writing a single line of code.

Through support of the oData protocol, you can feed Mendix application data into your BI and Analytics tools with a single click.

 
While OutSystems offers support for connecting external databases, application-level integration lacks the depth and breadth of Mendix.

A data mapper to map incoming and outgoing XML and JSON messages does not exist. This makes it hard to quickly build, change and maintain re-usable web service integrations that are key to leveraging your existing applications and 3rd party services.

OutSystems does not support the oData standard, so it’s hard to gain insight from application data.

Cloud Native Architecture
Rapid application delivery of digital initiatives requires an architecture that takes full advantage of cloud characteristics for provisioning, resource management, scalability and high availability.

New apps must be able to be deployed and scaled instantly and easily configured for high availability.

In addition, enterprises are increasingly focused on portability across various public and private clouds.

 
Mendix has a cloud-native stateless architecture, optimized to run applications in modern container technology with a small-footprint runtime that is fully scalable (horizontally and vertically). High availability comes out of the box for at a cost level that is significantly lower compared to traditional approaches.

Mendix leverages Cloud Foundry (CF), the world’s largest open source platform project backed by tech giants like HP, IBM, Microsoft, Pivotal and SAP. Through CF Mendix offers enterprise-class services for flexible provisioning, auto-scaling and high availability and freedom of choice of public and private clouds, supporting true hybrid cloud scenarios.

 
OutSystems’ roots are in supporting on premises deployments and code generation for applications to be deployed on a standard C# stack.

While OutSystems has moved on to offer the platform as a service, it deploys applications on a similar stack as on premises in the cloud. It misses the enterprise-class features for resource management and scalability that Mendix offers out of the box.

Security
Security is of utmost importance and goes beyond core platform features for authentication and access control. If you’re trusting a PaaS provider to run your applications in the cloud, you want to be sure that your environments are in good hands.

 
The Mendix platform is highly secure and addresses all known security threats. The platform is audited frequently by independent audit firms and undergoes periodic penetration tests by independent IT security firms.

Mendix offers extensive logging possibilities and scenarios for backup and recovery.

Mendix achieved ISAE 3402 Type II assertion for organization-level security.

 
OutSystems has no security certificates and relies on infrastructure platform partners for cloud security.

This doesn’t tell anything about the critical controls and measures to manage customers’ applications are implemented within the OutSystems organization.

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What you’ll hear from OutSystems

No Server-side or Code Lock-in

OutSystems spins the code generation approach as a remedy for lock-in. In theory, applications could be detached from the platform and keep running. In practice, that’s like pushing your car downhill with the steering wheel locked. Since OutSystems does not support round-trip engineering, you’re not supposed to touch the code.

If you wish to leave the platform, OutSystems will first delete your application models and then leave you with generated code, including platform libraries that you can’t maintain without deep knowledge of the inner working of the platform. Once detached, there’s no way back from code to models.

Mendix addresses the lock-in challenge at its core, protecting your investment, even if you decide to leave. Mendix is the first rapid application delivery platform to publish all application models in an open model specification. The Mendix Model API and Platform SDK provide access to your core application artifacts from the outside, facilitating model export for reuse on a different target platform, including Java and .NET. In addition, you can always come back to the Mendix platform and redeploy your models. Last but not least, Mendix makes no claim to any right of ownership in the application models or customer data.

Proven Performance for Serious Enterprise Grade Apps

OutSystems claims to offer better support for enterprise-grade apps as applications run directly on the underlying infrastructure. At the same time, they state that the generated code comes with a large set of optimizations suited for complex and demanding applications.

That’s exactly what Mendix provides with a fully optimized and scalable Java runtime that leverages Mendix’s cloud-native stateless architecture. Mendix applications can scale (automatically) by adding more compute power (vertical scaling) or creating a cluster of runtime containers to handle load (horizontal scaling). Thanks to our relentless pursuit of miniaturizing the footprint of the runtime engine, the cost of scaling is extremely affordable.

Easy Integration with Existing Systems

In describing their integration approach, OutSystems focuses on a perceived strength for database-level integration. It seems they ignore that the integration challenge typically manifests itself on multiple levels.

The Mendix Connector Kit offers powerful tools to establish integrations on any level, including database integrations. These capabilities go way beyond what OutSystems delivers.

OutSystems states that data safety is a challenge in Mendix as it’s possible to delete model elements and corresponding data in the database. It’s an argument to promote some features that OutSystems offers, but it’s far from true.

If you’re authorized to make such changes in a Mendix application, you’d be warned before deleting any entity that has data records. Should you proceed and regret the change, you can simply rollback to the previous version and restore.

Driving Digital Transformation with Mendix

We’re proud and passionate to offer the most comprehensive enterprise-class platform for rapid application delivery. At the same time, we know your biggest challenge driving digital innovation is not technology, but leading change.

That’s why we established our Digital Transformation Practice. We’ve taken our vast experience in guiding top brands and defined a proven methodology and roadmap to help customers execute on their digital goals. As we work collaboratively, your team will learn the processes, best practices and technology to successfully drive digital transformation. From Start to Structure to Scale, we help you lead the change required to digitize your business. Step by step.

Experience the speed and ease of Mendix. Sign up for our Free Edition today or contact us to discuss your challenge.

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