'Low-Code Manifesto' Lays Out Core Principles

What constitutes a true low-code platform? Mendix, a division of Siemens focused on enterprise low-code development, has just published a list of core ideas and principles that define "a bona fide low-code platform."

The company's "The Low-Code Manifesto" sets out five core application development "pillars" and nine foundational principles that codify the concept. The company likened the document to the Agile Manifesto published a decade ago.

"Our guiding principles, when combined, define a new way of creating software," said Mendix CTO Johan den Haan in a statement, "one that leverages all the talent available on both the business and IT sides. These principles foster collaboration from beginning-to-end and harness the ambitions of agile workflows and DevOps to deliver all the power and functionality that software is capable of with unprecedented speed, quality, and efficiency."

The Mendix raison d'être is fixing what the company sees as a fundamental disconnect between what businesses need and what software development teams deliver. The company was acquired by Siemens in 2018.

Analysts at Gartner defined a low-code application platform (LCAP) in a recent report ("Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Low-Code Application Platforms 2019") as one that supports rapid app development -- one-step deployment, execution and management -- using declarative, high-level programming abstractions, such as model-driven and metadata-based programming languages.

An enterprise LCAP, such as the Mendix platform, supports enterprise-class applications that require high performance, scalability, high availability, disaster recovery, security, SLAs, resource use tracking, technical support from the provider, and API access to and from local and cloud services, Gartner says.

The pillars in the Mendix manifesto are:

  1. Focus on business impact. Create alignment, achieve clarity, succeed quickly.
  2. Unleash all the makers from across the enterprise. No brain power goes to waste.
  3. Do everything with an agile attitude. Empower small teams, build for the cloud, deploy swiftly and often.
  4. Assemble from existing business capabilities. Utilize established assets, don't default to building from scratch.
  5. Connect everything. APIs, integrations, new ways to access data -- be open and accessible.

The nine principles are:

  1. Model-Driven Development: Transform ideas into applications that deliver business value through abstraction, automation, and openness. 
  2. Collaboration: Leverage a shared visual language to support the interchange of knowledge and ideas between business domain experts and developers.
  3. Agility: Manage the full enterprise application development lifecycle with agile workstreams to eliminate bottlenecks, support iterative delivery and achieve shortest time-to-value.
  4. The Cloud: Cloud enables the ease and speed of application deployment that customers demand.
  5. Openness: Anything can be integrated with an agnostic enterprise application development platform -- this removes limitations on what can be built.
  6. Multi-User Development: Multiple developers should be able to work on an application at the same time. The platform must support and synchronize their work streams.
  7. Experimentation & Innovation: Development tools need to be affordable and nimble so innovators everywhere can experiment, explore, and create.
  8. Governance & Control: Robust governance and control processes and protocols are essential. 
  9. Community: A platform without a community is no platform at all.

The company plans to expand on these principles in the future with clarifications and explanations from its own experts here.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].