OutSystems this week released a major upgrade to its rapid application development (RAD) environment that makes it easier to deploy native mobile applications that can access a broad range of back-end services.
Via a new hybrid mobile capability included in OutSystems Platform 9, developers working from a single code base can deploy applications on a variety of mobile computing platforms without having to sacrifice any native functionality. Enabled by an open source shell, dubbed the OutSystems Now app, the goal is to allow organizations to gain all the efficiencies of working with a single code base while taking full advantage of the capabilities available on Apple iOS, Google Android and Windows Phone mobile applications, says Sean Allen, director of product marketing.
Allen says OutSystems Platform 9 also includes a visualization tool that makes it simpler to aggregate and manipulate data. Developers can use that tool to bind and view complex queries in real time using live data, he says.
OutSystems Platform 9 also comes with a host of connectors for accessing both software-as-a-service applications and legacy enterprise software, and developers can also build their own connectors using RESTful APIs or SOAP-based Web services.
The driving goal behind the enhanced platform, says Allen, is to make deploying the application as simple as developing it has become using RAD tools.
With the rise of mobile computing in particular, Allen says the number of mobile applications that organizations are creating has skyrocketed. Managing that application development backlog will be impossible unless organizations find some way to first simplify the development of those applications using RAD tools and then automate the deployment of those applications, he says.
OutSystems Platform 9, Allen says, not only reduces the time it takes to develop an application by several orders of magnitude, it essentially eliminates many of the IT operations issues that developers regularly encounter, especially as they go to update mobile applications multiple times a year.
The good news, Allen says, is that as organizations gain more experience with developing mobile applications, they are clearly looking for platforms that allow them to develop those applications systematically. The challenge is that the developers working on those applications need to deploy them on either the Web or a specific mobile computing platform. Because each application has different attributes and requirements, developers need a way to create those applications that doesn’t involve creating multiple code bases for every implementation.