News, August 1st, 2017

OutSystems – Transforming the future…not just rapid application development

The IT industry has always been the most dynamic and fast changing market since its creation. This is even more present today as more and more businesses report that their feature product backlog is increasing and they cannot develop all the applications they want and at the speed requested by the end users[1].  Gartner predicts that market demand for app development will grow at least five times faster than IT’s capacity to deliver it through 2021.[2]

As the demand for applications continue to exceed development capacity and backlogs are increasing more and more companies are looking at alternative solutions. Also, as technology evolves there is no longer a clear line between responsive web and native mobile application development. On top of that more and more companies are putting the client at the heart of their businesses and demand cloud based application giving user freedom to use them everywhere and anytime. Thus, more and more companies are looking to rapid application development (RAD) platforms. Identified by both Forrester[3] and Gartner Research Institute[4] as a leader on the low code development market OutSystems comes in to change the way applications are build, integrated and deployed, transforming the way the applications are created.

OutSystems is not just a rapid application development tool, thanks to the powerful features and easy to use extensions the application development process is much more productive and developers interact much more with the business.

Why OutSystems development?

One of the main reasons that makes OutSystems platform successful is that it appeals to different types of developers with skills level varying widely: from the aspiring developer (who has  limited programming experience but thanks to the model-driven development, visual “what you see is what you get” development (WYSIWYG) and broad features for database and integration can easily start to be productive), to the semiprofessional developer (did not graduate from the Computer Science universities but they have previous programming experience creating websites or web applications through fourth-generation programming languages (4GLs); this group typically include Business Analyst roles or Technical Application Support engineers), up to professional developers (who can use their development and DevOps experience to custom tailor OutSystems application objects or optimize the architecture for the designed application). Professional developers can be efficient in OutSystems even after two weeks for training and preparation.

OutSystems will set the developers focus on delivering solutions for the client needs, understanding the business processes that need to be implemented and built. This way developers can put their innovative ideas into practice giving them the freedom develop the way applications are designed and created. This low code platform bundles together all components need to develop and deploy a web/mobile application into a single suite of tools. Developer can create data model, integrate with external resources (APIs), write business logic and create user interface in a visual way. Once application is built, platform handles the full lifecycle through test, production and ongoing maintenance reducing the headache of deploying applications. Applications can be deployed on premises, or in a private or public cloud (AWS or Azure). These build-in-features and tools will satisfy the need for speed in terms of application delivery of clients.

Low-code does not mean no-code

As a leading low code platform OutSystems has developed and matured until the current version 10 and comes with an important difference from the first-generation RAD tools of the 1990s: modern low-code platforms work within today’s enterprise distributed computing context. Enterprise integration, for example, is part of the low-code platform story, rather than an add-on as is typical with no-code alternatives. Abstracting the choice of user device is also an essential capability of the OutSystems platform: developers build the application once, and then can automatically deploy to desktop or mobile environments automatically.

It’s important to note that as its name would suggest, low-code platforms do expect a certain amount of hand-coding. The focus of such a capability, however, is to provide the developer with the option of hand-coding when they would prefer the level of control that such code provides.

For all other tasks – which make up the vast majority of the day-to-day work of a developer – the platform handles the heavy lifting, providing the developer with a simple declarative interface[5]. This unique set of features and tools is exactly what enables the OutSystems developer to be highly productive being able to design and create web or mobile applications three times faster. This means that they will be exposed to three times more business and much more interaction with the final users in understanding the underlying business processes that the business use.

That is why an OutSystems developer is no longer just a developer that codes an application based on user specification. He becomes a consultant interacting directly with the business and helping them redesign and improve their business process through rapidly developed applications and prototypes. Platforms like OutSystems are changing and shaping the future of application development and more and more businesses are starting to see the benefits of this emerging trend and use RAD platforms as their strategical development solution.


[1] Well over half of IT managers (62%) reported having a large app development backlog, with some having more than 10 apps waiting to be developed – The State of Application Development 2017 Research Report (3,200 IT professionals from over 40 countries and 28 industry segments)
[2] Pierre Nanterme, “Digital Disruption Has Only Just Begun,” World Economic Forum, January 17, 2016
[3] Jeffrey S. Hammond, “The Forrester Wave™: Mobile Low-Code Development Platforms, Q1 2017”, March 27, 2017
[4] P. Vincent, Van L. Baker, Y. V. Natis, K. Iijima, M. Driver, R. Dunie “Magic Quadrant for Enterprise High-Productivity Application Platform as a Service”, 27 April 2017
[5] Jason Bloomberg, “The Time Has Come for Low-Code Platforms”, 31 August 2016
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