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Exclusive: The benefits of a low-code development platform

08 Oct 18
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Recently IT Brief had the opportunity to talk with Mark Weaser, OutSystems regional vice president, about low-code development platforms and how they can benefit businesses. 

Let’s start off by talking a bit about OutSystems. What can you tell me about your low-code development platform?

IT and business professionals alike with little coding knowledge can use OutSystems to develop applications easily and within a short time span. Instead of relying on traditional coding methods, IT teams use graphic user interfaces and drag-and-drop capabilities to streamline the application development process.

 But it’s not just about developing the app. OutSystems also accelerates and eases the integration of applications with existing cloud and on-premises databases and systems of record. 

Every aspect of our platform is crafted with the aim of helping organizations build enterprise-grade apps and transform their business faster. As the only solution that combines the power of low-code development with advanced mobile capabilities, OutSystems enables the visual development of entire applications that easily integrate with existing systems. 

And, as organizations today realise the importance of modernizing ageing legacy systems and accelerating the development of large business applications, OutSystems is enabling developers to build and rebuild large systems in months instead of years.

Do you believe the low-code development platform allows for innovation within a business, could you give me some examples?

With low-code application development platforms, testing, deployment, and updates are automated. As a result, developers can focus on transforming ideas into innovation instead of spending the majority of their time on application maintenance. 

For example, IT teams can definitely get more experiments off the ground. They can get on top of the development queue and still realise fundamental changes in the risk-to-reward ratio for custom development. 

The swift, visual modelling of responsive web user interfaces and mobile apps puts the user experience at the core of the development process. The best low-code development platforms enable prototypes and user interface mockups to scale into fully integrated enterprise applications.

Does an increased development cycle come with increased costs?

Given that hand-coding takes up a lot of software developer time and effort, labour costs can drive up the expense of traditional application development. 

By contrast, low-code development platforms speed up application deployment, by as much as 10 times. By significantly reducing application development time, low-code development platforms actually allow companies to save on labour costs in the long run.

Security is obviously one of the biggest issues in the digital era. What are some key security features that your solution offers?

OutSystems has an extensive set of built-in security features that support the entire application development lifecycle. Applications created with our platform automatically include secure code patterns as a safeguard against common web and mobile application vulnerabilities.

Additionally, OutSystems enforces automated application security checks that proactively warn developers of potential security issues as they publish applications. OutSystems also complies with other common security requirements, including access control, encryption, identity management, single sign-on, and auditing.

On top of these security features, are there any additional steps you encourage your clients to take in order to remain secure?

While our advanced security features—196 of them at the last official count—and automated security standards offer IT teams peace of mind, clients should still adopt their own security measures for protecting sensitive information. 

OutSystems actually provides clients with the option to override default secure code patterns and input their own customised security codes.

Can you talk me through the app deployment process?

It starts with development in a visual environment where developers can define data models, business logic, a workflow process, and user interfaces for web and mobile devices.

Deploying apps to production is also simple with automated staging for an open cloud, on-premises, or hybrid environment, full dependency analysis, automated rollback capabilities, and no downtime.

Developers can combine deployments to take advantage of the unique benefits of each environment. For example, they can build and test in the public cloud before deploying to a private cloud or on-premises environment. 

OutSystems also supports user control by managing roles, permissions, and security policies for all environments.