OutSystems' mobile app backlog formula: deliver fast, change faster

Open Rapid Application Delivery (RAD) platform Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) company OutSystems (Ed – does that make oRADpPaaS then?) has released its Platform 9 version this week.

Claiming to be able to “raise the bar for mobile application development”, the software is supposed to allow developers to create and deploy apps across iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and web, from a single application design and code base.

NOTE: OutSystems applications are delivered as open, standard-architecture code and aim to “insulate enterprises” (so says the PR) from future technology changes and vendor lock-in.

OutSystems Platform 9 now adds a hybrid mobile capability — this is a visualisation tool for the aggregation and manipulation of data.

This new version also sports integration through a “fleet” of connectors for popular SaaS and legacy applications.

The company claims deliver mobile and web applications an average of five times faster than traditional coding techniques, while virtually eliminating change request backlogs due to a life cycle management capability that automates the build, test and deployment process.

A recent survey of more than 200 US and UK enterprises, conducted by independent insight and research agency Opinion Matters, found that enterprises have a significant mobile backlog. Of the companies surveyed, 85 percent noted that they have a mobile backlog of between 1-20 applications with half having a backlog of 10-20 apps. The goal of these new mobile app initiatives is either to generate revenue (64 percent) or to improve the mobile experience of existing apps (58 percent).

“Delivering a comprehensive mobile app dev strategy is a staggering hurdle, but our ‘deliver fast, change faster’ approach helps IT directly address this challenge,” said the company, in a press statement.

Company CEO Paulo Rosado asserts that developers face a deluge of mobile app projects with multiple platforms to support, hundreds of change requests, and complex backend integrations.

“Our visual RAD approach, enterprise scale features, and lifecycle management capabilities give enterprises an unprecedented delivery capacity while utilising their in-house skills. Platform 9 delivers new functionality making it simpler than ever for ANY developer to create, deploy and manage enterprise mobile applications,” he said.

RESEARCH NOTE: According to the June 2014 Forrester Research, Inc. report by Clay Richardson and John Rymer entitled New Development Platforms Emerge For Customer-Facing Applications, “Hand-coding is too slow to develop and deliver many of the applications that companies use to win, serve, and retain customers. Some firms are turning to new, ‘low-code’ application platforms that accelerate app delivery by dramatically reducing the amount of hand-coding required. Faster delivery is the primary benefit of these application platforms; they also help firms respond more quickly to customer feedback after initial software releases and provision mobile and multichannel apps. ”

The new OutSystems Now app is an open source native ‘shell’ that provides integration to device sensors and the benefits of an App Store app — users can create mobile apps that utilise responsive web design (RWD) to automatically render on any device, form factor or operating system.

OutSystems Now is an open source, native mobile app available in the Apple and Google Play App Stores.

Editorial disclosure: Adrian Bridgwater has worked with OutSystems on commercial content patronage programmes.