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Mendix Low-Code Mobile Dev Platform Connects IoT, Big Data and Machine Learning

Mendix today announced a new version of its low-code mobile development platform, designed to help developers build "Smart Apps" with connectors to accommodate emerging trends such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data and machine learning (ML).

A key feature of the new Mendix 7 platform is the inclusion of drag-and-drop connectors that can be used to wire up those IoT, Big Data and ML services.

"Without writing any code, developers can seamlessly leverage these component services to make connected things and insights actionable, delivering new experiences for customers, partners and employees," the company said in a statement today.

The specific service connectors available today -- more are planned -- as described by the company include:

  • AWS IoT -- a managed cloud platform that lets connected devices easily and securely interact with cloud applications and other devices.
  • AWS Machine Learning -- a service that guides users through the process of creating ML models without having to learn complex ML algorithms and technology.
  • IBM Watson:
    • AlchemyVision -- an API that can analyze an image and return the objects, people and text found within the image.
    • Concept Insights -- a set of services for performing content recommendation and exploration.
    • Text to Speech -- a REST API to synthesize speech audio from an input of plain text.
    • Visual Recognition -- a service allowing users to understand the contents of an image or video frame.
    • Dialog -- a service enabling developers to automate branching conversations between a user and an application.
  • LoRaWAN -- Low Power Wide Area Network with features to support low-cost, mobile, secure bi-directional communication for IoT, M2M and industrial applications.
  • MQTT -- a lightweight messaging protocol for small sensors and mobile devices, optimized for high-latency or unreliable networks.

In addition to those built-in connectors, the Mendix 7 platform provides a connector kit so developers can roll their own connectors through the use of a data mapper, native REST API calls, Java extensions and database connectors.

The Mendix Platform
[Click on image for larger view.] The Mendix Platform (source: Mendix)

The Mendix platform is one of many low-code/no-code industry offerings created to empower "citizen developers" or ordinary business users who need to develop mobile apps to help their organizations keep pace in the new "mobile-first" world where experienced mobile developers are hard to find.

It supports Java, HTML5, JavaScript, CSS3 and SQL development in a visual, drag-and-drop environment that includes one-click deployment, cloud interoperability, Agile DevOps and other deployment, monitoring and management tools.

The platform was recently ranked highly by research firms Forrester Research and Gartner.

Now, Mendix is emphasizing the platform's ability to create Smart Apps, which it said are: intelligent -- they provide recommendations and guidance to users; proactive -- they predict future events and trigger workflows to guide users; and contextual -- they sport location-aware features such as beacons and are embedded in user processes.

Other features of the new release include a Web modeler to work through development iterations with stakeholders; model-driven offline capabilities; an app test suite; an app performance monitor; push notifications; native widgets; smart sync of offline data; and more.

A Mendix blog post published yesterday reported on the new platform introduced by CEO Derek Roos at a conference in Germany and his commentary on Smart Apps and platform features.

"The most notable thing about these Smart Apps, says Roos, is they don't have to rely on input from end users to create business value," the post said. "They proactively guide the user what to do and when, coming to them via push notifications, chat bots and SaaS plug-ins versus the user having to go to the app."

"Mendix, says Roos, is specifically designed to significantly reduce the complexity associated with building advanced applications that today are simply too challenging for most organizations to build even if they could find someone with the required expertise needed to build them using other types of tools," the post continued. "In place of those tools Mendix provides a framework that enables anyone in the organization, for example, to invoke machine learning algorithms and other advanced technologies without requiring them to have intimate knowledge of how each of those capabilities are constructed. The end result is a new generation of Smart Apps that Roos says will soon transform most businesses."

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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