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Will OutSystems make developers obsolete?

Founded in 2001 in Lisbon, OutSystems was one of the pioneers of low-code development and is now one of the recognised leaders. Now based in Boston, USA, and valued at nearly ten billion dollars, the company has experienced rapid growth in recent years. Today, OutSystems boasts thousands of customers in 87 countries and 22 industries as well as a community of 435,000 members and 350 partners. This resounding success confirms the interest of companies in low-code programming, on which a growing number of players are positioning themselves, whether they are pure players (Mendix, Appian) or specialists in enterprise applications seeking to expand their range of tools (Microsoft, ServiceNow, Salesforce). According to Gartner, two-thirds of application development will be low-code by 2024.

What is low code?

Low-code is an approach to software development that allows applications to be produced with a minimum of programming lines. To do this, low-code platforms systematically rely on three main tools:

  • A visual programming environment that allows the interfaces, workflows, control structures and data models of applications to be built by dragging and dropping predefined components, and manually adding code when necessary;
  • Connectors to different systems, services or data sources;
  • An application lifecycle manager with tools for testing, deploying and maintaining the application.

OutSystems distinguishes itself by adding automation and support services based on artificial intelligence to these essential elements, which accelerate the application lifecycle and make it more reliable. The solution also facilitates collaboration between all the players involved in the design, development, deployment and management of the application. Finally, the platform itself is constantly enriched with the latest technical innovations so that developers can immediately integrate them into their applications.

The OutSystems solution is available on-premise or in Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) mode from the AWS cloud.

What are the main benefits of low code?

  • Speed: with low code, developers can focus on the application logic without wasting time typing boring lines of code or worrying about the underlying technical issues. Applications are produced and deployed faster, and for all platforms simultaneously.
  • Agility: Low code encourages collaboration between development teams and business units, facilitates project staffing, is perfectly suited to the development of native cloud applications, and allows functional and technological innovations to be tested and integrated more quickly… In short, it is a tool that is perfectly suited to the constantly evolving digital enterprise.
  • Rigour: unlike no-code, low-code is aimed at real developers, not “citizen developers” from the business. It is an IT tool, managed by IT. Developments will therefore be faster and more agile, but will continue to respect internal policies in terms of technological choices, urban planning, governance, security and compliance. The ability to implement and automate these rules in the OutSystems platform even encourages more rigorous enforcement.

With low-code, will developers become obsolete?

The developer’s job is not – and fortunately! – to writing lines of code. This is only the least exciting part of their work, which low-code allows them to do away with. They can thus concentrate on the aspects where their expertise is most valuable: designing application mechanisms that meet both the functional expectations of the business and all the requirements of performance, scalability, security, robustness and sobriety. 

With low-code platforms like OutSystems’, developers will not disappear, but their job will evolve and become much more interesting. In a context of skills shortage, low-code also offers a good prospect of professional development to experienced developers whose skills are less sought after, or even to people from other backgrounds who would like to retrain in this area.  

What types of projects is the OutSystems platform designed for?

The OutSystems low-code platform can be adopted by companies of all sizes and in all sectors to accelerate their front-end and back-end development, optimise the productivity of their IT resources, and thus be able to respond without delay to their digital needs, whether planned or unforeseen.

The solution is particularly suited to the development of web and mobile applications where time-to-market and scalability are critical. In particular, the OutSystems platform enables the development of what Gartner calls “multi-experience” applications, i.e. natively omnichannel applications, designed from the outset to take advantage of a multiplicity of digital environments (web, mobile, chatbots, IoT, etc.) and their complementarities.

How can I learn more?

This article is a part of a greater series centred around the technologies and themes found within the first edition of the Devoteam TechRadar. To read further into these topics, please download the TechRadar.