OutSystems Enterprise Mobile Dev Tool Gets 2 New Features
OutSystems today announced two new updates to its low-code app development tool designed to speed up the creation of mobile apps and enhance their user experience.
The 15-year-old company, whose dev platform provides model-driven coding for hybrid apps based on HTML5 and Apache Cordova, is consistently named a leader in various research reports published by firms such as Gartner Inc. and Forrester Research Inc. It's at the forefront of a burgeoning movement in which dozens of vendors are competing to help enterprises address the great need for homegrown apps while facing a low supply of trained development professionals.
To address the speed and UX issues that are commonly cited as major challenges in enterprise mobile app development, the company today announced App Templates and a Theme Customizer.
App Templates, addressing the speed issue, provide building blocks that can be used to create complete applications, supplying pre-built screens with navigation, business logic and data structures, with support for features such as touch ID authentication, Google Maps integration and in-app notifications.
The Theme Customizer, meanwhile, can help developers quickly create agency-grade user experiences without the need for extensive design knowledge.
The two new tools were born out of research conducted last October with a revamp the company's platform, coming out with OutSystems 10.
"We completely re-architected how mobile applications are working, using React under the covers to create kind of a much more native-like experience," said Mike Hughes, director of product marketing, in an interview with ADTMag.
Noting that the UX with hybrid apps typically produced by low-code tools can feel slow and clunky -- with a user action being sent to the server, which then replies back with a page refresh -- Hughes said the company created discrete components to serve as app development building blocks.
Along the way, the company examined some 60 to 70 prominent apps in order to identify several common practices in an effort to better understand successful mobile app development processes. It discovered common patterns -- concerning screens, navigation between screens, common action flows, data structures, common functions within apps and so on -- and baked them into App Templates.
"So for a developer now starting from scratch, with an App Template they're going to get a huge lift," Hughes told ADTMag.
The Theme Customizer, meanwhile, lets developers upload a company logo that can be used by the platform to generate a mobile app theme matching the company's style and brand. "Developers preview their application in real time with a built-in emulator and tune them automatically to the device they are running on, creating a perfect native look and feel," OutSystems said in a statement today.
Hughes explained more about the two new features in a blog post, with an introductory video, published today: "Bust Your Mobile App Backlog With New Development Features."
The OutSystems platform comes in three editions, from a free offering to an enterprise product. Details can be found here.
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David Ramel is editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine and Application Development Trends Magazine.