Outsystems P10 “Unboxing” by Outfit – Tailored Agile Solutions
So what exactly are the differences between the P9 and P10?
In order to discover precisely that, here at Outfit – Tailored Agile Solutions, we decided to “unbox” and conduct a broad stroke review of the P10 version of the Outsystems platform – for that purpose we counted on the help of some of our developers that had no previous contact with the P10 – we booted up the recently released version and let them get acquainted with all the nuts and bolts of the platform.
After this journey of discovery, in which our developers spent several hours putting the nose to the grindstone, we conducted an impromptu survey – trying to get their opinion on just how much had changed, and how exactly that would impact on their work as developers.
So these are the conclusions of the “Unboxing Outsystems P10”, by Outfit – Tailored Agile Solutions.
The Big One- native Mobile App Development capabilities
“This was a game changer, definitely. Often we see updates in many software suites that are nothing more than a graphic design reboot, or maybe adding a couple of extra bells and whistles, based on the user community input – that´s certainly not the case here.”
Now the P10 allows for the development of mobile applications -it´s a built-in feature that allows you to develop specifically for mobile platforms – Android or IOS, instead of just adapting a solution that had been previously developed for web environment.
“Before, in the P9, obviously we could still develop solutions for mobile platforms – we would use the browser based technology and make it responsive to mobile devices, but now we can use the Outsystems platform to develop directly, and specifically, for the intended device – whether it´s Android or IOS”.
This allows the developer to benefit from all the advantages of a rapid development tool, like the Outsystems platform, with none of the hassles of having to find work-arounds and shortcuts for different devices.
“Using Outsystems was already much faster than coding in Android or IOS, because of the intuitive graphic environment, the great interface and all the possibilities the platform allows for. Right now, It´s ultimately as easy as the “export as” or “save as” option you see in many productivity suites – you only have to worry about developing the app itself, the end product, and all the code related to the app, it being an Android, IOS or web based solution, is managed by the Outsystems platform.
“So you basically have one tool – that allows you to “export” to all these different platforms and devices, without having to worry about all the specificities of the coding involved in every single one of them. This makes developing a mobile app a super-fast and almost glitch free operation.”
Besides the mobile app development capabilities – what else is new?
The “mobile revolution” certainly was the greatest modification, comparing to the previous version – there are a number of changes and additional features in the P10 platform, but they all stem from that one major shift in paradigm. This is what our developers had to say on the subject:
1 – Local vs Non-Local Data Storage
“This was actually a feature that many developers in the Outsystems community have been asking to be included in the platform for a long time – it relates to the possibility of working offline and all that it entails.”
“Before, we didn´t have the option of running part of the processes of any given application locally , or to choose if a certain amount of data was to be stored in the device itself, instead of the server, the “cloud”.
“Having the option to store data and run processes locally, in the device itself, increases the versatility and power of the platform – it can now run offline; which may be very important in certain scenarios – say, if you´re developing a health care application that is to be used in remote regions, or if internet access is unreliable”.
It also allows for the developer pick and choose exactly which data and processes run locally or non-locally – this in turn allows us to optimize the user experience of the end product:
“By having some part of the data stored locally, we can increase the processing speed of the app – independently of the quality of the internet access; by choosing to store non-locally we can spare the device´s resources, such as battery, memory, and such. By tweaking with theses variables, we can get to an optimal result in user experience”.
2 – Design / Graphical Interface
With the mobile development capabilities there was obviously a need to “format” the output of the developer´s work to fit the standards of Android and IOS devices.
Outsystems P10 now comes with a number of options, from menus to status bars, breadcrumbs and progress trackers, already set and ready to use, therefore expediting the process of developing an application by using pre-formatted solutions that adapt perfectly to the device were the end product will run.
“Whereas before, we had to keep coming up with solutions for a number of different design issues, because we were basically working with browser based technology, now we have a massive library of options to choose from – all specifically tailored for the device in question.”
3 – Plug-ins / Extensions for Android and IOS
For a several years now, developers of Android and IOS applications have been using a number of plug-ins / extensions that allow for rapid access to the mobile device´s resources: its camera, gyroscope, contact list, GPS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and so on. The most widely known resource in this filed is Apache Cordova.
“Up until now, using these resources was a relatively straightforward process but not necessarily a simple one – often we had to create our own solutions to incorporate many of these features.
But the fact that now I can use the platform API´s and rapidly integrate a certain feature on the app I´m developing (like a function to check the battery charge, access the camera, GPS or a certain folder) – makes the process that much faster. In apps that require running a lot of these types of processes, having the option to use plug-ins can cut development time considerably.”
All things considered the Outsystems platform evolved greatly form version P9 to P10 – and what drove that evolution was the shift in paradigm caused by this new capability to develop mobile applications natively.
It is now a more powerful and versatile tool.
Our sincere thanks go out to the Outfit – Tailored Agile Solutions development team, for their input and contributions on this subject.