Steering the fleet: DevOps and domain experts on the high seas
Enterprise-scale software development can be pictured as two ocean-going cargo ships (or perhaps container ships); one piloted by software developers and the other by business domain experts. Both start on the same path with a clear destination but, over time, either may veer off course or proceed at a different speed.
Low-code development platforms have often been portrayed as a bridge strung between the ships. Citizen developers and IT’s DevOps specialists can, via a low or no-code platform, work together, exchanging intelligence, informing each other’s activities, and ensuring that any software is on course to achieve the business’s overall objective. But, while basic low-code tooling in the hands of citizen developers can create smaller applications, they lack the scope to harness the full IT stack in the way that expert developers can when they use the more powerful, yet slower, “traditional” coding methods.
In many ways, low-code tools – in their latest incarnations, at least – are a good fit for professional developers as part of the toolbox at their disposal. Developers are, at their core, creative builders; bringing life to a concept or business need and equipping users with the tools they need is an act of creation. With a proven reduction in concept to production timings, high-performance low-code is a key asset for any development team, letting them build quickly, safely, and at scale. Built for pro developers, new-generation low-code provides a collaborative space where business function experts can co-exist with their dev colleagues.
Increased productivity is, however, not the only requirement in today’s enterprise. Application scalability and agility are more than nice-to-haves, and security must be baked into any low-code methodology. Data governance in many industries is already mandated by governments, and the number of sectors where these types of laws apply is growing.
It’s these additional aspects of scalability, agility, and security where high-performance low-code ticks the boxes. Lessons have been learned from the older low-code platforms that emphasized the citizen developer’s capabilities. With the necessity of integration with the rest of the IT stack, platforms like those of OutSystems have been constructed with over 30 cloud-native layers, meaning that technologies like microservices and Kubernetes’s scalability work natively.
Developers can leverage existing skills with new-generation low-code and still have low-level access to code where they can extend functionality and fine-tune in familiar languages like C# via the SDK and API endpoints. OutSystems as a platform is itself extensible, with Apache Cordova used as a wrapper for modules referenced by mobile apps.
Several case studies show OutSystems-produced applications have been localized in different languages and are easily ported to kiosk, mobile, web apps, and multiple desktop operating systems. This means developers can create new applications and extend the capabilities of legacy code with full lifecycle management, QA, and testing, in ways that bring domain experts and developers together to ensure development is on target.
Business process modeling assists end-users and developers in plotting and quantifying internal processes. It also helps them understand how these steps and decision points are affected and influenced by application logic. For the end-user, the library of extensible UX templates means every application can conform to a style guide to ensure a consistent user experience across different platforms and applications.
As the enterprise’s IT stack and requirements change over time, high-performance, low-code makes connecting new platforms and existing ERP systems simple. a modular build methodology ensures that there’s no need to duplicate functions like exposing or consuming APIs. Applications are built fast, safely, and – thanks to the cloud-native underpinnings – can scale quickly according to demand once in full production.
While many developers will be able to pick up and run with OutSystems almost immediately, a range of training courses (and a vibrant community) are available too. Courses range from ‘build an app in a day’ to more detailed specialist functions, such as data analysis methods using AI on extant data. The latter significantly reduces the time-to-value of heavyweight data analysis projects, as many of the required processes (data connectors, sanitization, de-duping, etc.) can be instantiated in the OutSystems build.
To return to the earlier analogy, the bridge between business process expertise and software development was a rough rope bridge between our two ocean-faring ships in the early days of low-code. The OutSystems high-performance low-code platform represents a solid steel, seam-welded connection between DevOps and domain expertise.
To learn more about OutSystems’ capabilities and how they can transform your software development function into a business-focused powerhouse, speak to a representative from the company.