Low code building: the origin of a building block

Low code platforms are only useful if they offer what you need for your application. These needs vary from developer to developer and are constantly evolving. How do the companies behind low-code platforms ensure that their solutions grow with them?

Low code allows developers to quickly move from idea design to application. To do this, they combine already programmed building blocks. As with Lego, the different bricks can be combined in hundreds of ways. Two developers working with the blocks can build completely different applications with them.

For this, the right parts must be available on the low code platform. Low-code platforms try to offer as many building blocks as possible and supplement their platforms several times a year.

The market demands Mendix is ​​running

There are many ways in which low code platforms determine what the market wants, we noted from our conversation with Danny Roest. He is Product Management Director App Development at Mendix and is convinced that a feature block that no developers want will never be released. “At Mendix, you buy one subscription and you get a free subscription to innovation, because we ensure that the technologies keep up with the times,” he says proudly.

At Mendix, you buy one subscription, and you get a free subscription to innovation, because we ensure that the technologies keep up with the times.

Danny Roest, Product Management Director App Development at Mendix

Different input channels seem to determine the mix of building blocks: “First, we regularly arrange sessions with a specific group of clients, the pioneers. In addition, we meet four times a year with our field teams, which consist of all people who come into contact with our products, including customers. ”

Every business emphasizes the customer. As a developer and user of the platform, it is also possible to suggest blocks. The idea forum is the right place for it. Whether an idea succeeds again depends on its popularity. The number of votes an idea receives from the community is used as a gauge. “In addition, there is a community Slack, where questions are asked and treated. We also have a lot of contact with users of our platform there. ”

“Another channel is the analysts, they keep us informed about trends in the technological world. These trends stem from a specific need in society. Responding to it makes our platform future-proof. ”

Criteria required to select

To deal with the ever-flowing stream of ideas, it is necessary that some of the ideas die a silent death. “We’re trying to go to cases that are used in practice for something like 80 percent,” Roest says. This is a clear criterion that product managers use to filter ideas.

What is left is still a jumble of ideas. The structure must be found fairly quickly, because new building blocks appear on the platform every month. The product managers still have Mendix ‘vision and strategy as a guideline. “Each product manager represents a part of the platform, and with all of these input channels together, that person can determine the top priority for their part of the product.”

Ready to use right away

What rolls out is a finished product that developers love to see coming. Moreover, they can use it immediately, assures Frank Baalbergen. He is Chief Information Security Officer at Mendix and knows exactly why security is built into building blocks: “There are also costs associated with correcting a code error that is already in production. That is why we want to give developers the best possible tools to ensure that as few errors as possible occur. “

There is also a cost involved in correcting a bug in code that is already in production. Therefore, you want to give the developers the best possible tools.

Frank Baalbergen, Chief Information Security Officer at Mendix

Since a large community of developers use the blocks, an error in the code affects many companies’ apps. Baalbergen explains that the pressure that comes with this responsibility ensures that security is never lost sight of: “In development, it is very important for us to work according to the principle of left-wing change. The sooner we can say that something is safe, the better. “

Specializations come through time

In addition to the general offer that developers from all companies can get started with, Mendix also has an offer for individual vertical markets. Roest knows that the vertical offering emerged organically: “The verticals have only just been added over time because we realized we could simply help customers tremendously with this by digitizing faster.”

“In Europe, for example, we are very strong in the manufacturing industry. This is a logical consequence of the fact that Mendix is ​​a product of Siemens, ”adds Jethro Borsje, Chief Ecosystem Solutions Officer at Mendix. “We also offer solutions for financial services. We see that there has traditionally been a click, because it is very much about automating back office processes. ”

In the same organic way that the platform was created, it continues to grow: “We just do not want to do it too easily. When we launch a new vertical, we will immediately have enough to offer our customers, and we ensure that experienced people are in the right position. ”

Refill the supply with partner blocks

The vertical markets are also special because there are not only Mendix solutions. “The solution provider program exists for this. They are ecosystem partners who do not build a small building block, but in fact a complete application that you can use, built with Mendix.”

Companies can find solutions that other organizations have built from the vertical market. A problem must thus only be solved by one company, and the other companies can use the solution. The whole vertical can therefore develop faster.

We want our partners to also be able to sell smaller building blocks through the marketplace.

Jethro Borsje, Chief Ecosystem Solutions Officer at Mendix

In the future, this should also be possible for smaller components such as a visualization or workflow. “We want our partners to also be able to sell smaller building blocks through the marketplace.”

Everything in the hands of the partner

Mendix never interferes in the applications of the partners’ vertical markets. Therefore, in terms of security, not either: “With apps offered by partners, the responsibility lies with the partner,” says Baalbergen. “There are tools from our community that can help secure apps.”

Can these apps be fraught with security vulnerabilities? According to Baalbergen, not because the offered applications are all built on the Mendix platform and partners have certificates of which security is a part. “The great thing about Mendix is ​​that, in principle, every developer needs to configure a security model to keep it secure.”

Configuring that security model sounds complicated, but in practice, according to Baalbergen, it is not at all the case. Low code makes it easier to build an application, but also makes it more secure. Developers no longer have to read up on all the technical aspects of any threat as built-in protections take the burden off.

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