Low-Code Platform Mendix Reveals Platform Enhancements for Digital Economy

At Mendix World 2021, a virtual assembly of low-coders, Mendix, a Siemens business and industry leader in low-code app development for the enterprise, reveal their “robust” platform enhancements that will “accelerate delivery of high-value solutions for the digital-first economy,” according to an update shared with CI.

The improved capabilities of the Mendix low-code platform “empower all makers to orchestrate the next-wave of intelligent solutions for the enterprise by introducing ‘business events,’ substantive new investments in artificial intelligence for both makers and end users, and next-generation smart services and workflows,” the announcement noted.

“Mendix Makers are under continuous pressure to go faster. Even after adopting low-code to accelerate development, teams face increased expectations for software delivery,” according to Johan den Haan, CTO.

Johan added that the direction they’re taking with the platform is “to shift makers from always writing software from scratch to more easily finding and connecting to the data and components they need to assemble solutions.”

Data Hub 2.0 adds business events as first-class citizens

A highlight of den Haan’s Mendix World announcements was “a significant set of enhancements to Data Hub, first introduced at last year’s event as ‘low-code for integration,” the update revealed while adding that new functionality “greatly expands the platform’s ability to discover, create, and change data from any system or application.”

The announcement also mentioned that improved data cataloging “makes it easier to connect, filter, and utilize massive amounts of data from different platforms, data lakes, and data warehouses across the enterprise’s landscape.”

As stated in the release:

“Another key capability den Haan announced was the introduction of business events. As searchable entities within its catalog, business events will be elevated into native, plug-and-play elements that can be used in Studio Pro within any application model. Adding business events enables Mendix developers to deliver applications more easily, particularly for use cases where end-user satisfaction is paramount, such as new customer onboarding, payment processing, and support ticketing.”

“Business is event-driven by nature, with thousands of crucial, discrete events taking place on a daily basis,” stated Johan.

Johan added that a complete view of business events in the enterprise, along with the capability  to manage and trigger event-driven apps, is an important part of automating business processes in a “truly” intelligent manner.

Mendix also unveiled a new connector framework for Data Hub which will provide a mechanism for linking to off-the-shelf and custom data sources throughout the enterprise.

Key connectors “highlighted by den Haan included data sources common across industries, such as Dropbox, Slack, Microsoft Sharepoint and Dynamics, Twilio, and Salesforce,” the announcement noted while adding that “industry-specific connectivity for SAP and Siemens Teamcenter data sources was announced.”

AI for development and AI for applications

As noted in the annnouncement:

“Showcasing the Mendix low-code platform’s pioneering ability to scale rapid application development, day two of Mendix World featured two key AI-related announcements. First, den Haan introduced the third bot in the Mendix Assist suite: Page Bot.”

The Page Bot guides software engineers in creating UI and UX, “based on patterns learned from hundreds of millions of anonymized data points by Mendix developers.” The update also mentioned that this latest addition to Mendix Assist will be available in Studio and Studio Pro, “making real-time design and styling recommendations to develop compelling, consumer-grade UI experiences guided by best practices.”

Page Bot joins “a faster, enhanced version of Mendix Assist Logic Bot that provides next-step logic assistance for developers writing microflows, and Performance Bot that ensures applications follow architectural patterns that optimize for performance,” the update noted.

As stated in the announcement:

“For organizations looking to incorporate custom machine learning models into their Mendix-developed apps, den Haan also announced the Mendix Machine Learning (ML) Kit. This is a key capability when business processes and end-user satisfaction rely on specialized machine learning models, such as ones that execute over a proprietary data set or key off a custom parameter.”

With the ML Kit, Mendix will be applying low-code’s abstraction and automation to the fairly complex integration of AI models. Eschewing the typical complexities of REST services and APIs, the ML Kit “supports drag-and-drop of machine learning models, with automatic translation and execution.”

Johan added that assembling purpose-built, relevant apps “becomes easier for developers, and the applications themselves provide more value to the end users.”

Smart AppServices lead a new wave of intelligent capabilities

As stated in the update:

“The Mendix commitment to innovation centered on intelligent automation extends beyond simply platform capabilities. As part of its significant investments in the ecosystem, Mendix also announced a new suite of Smart AppServices that provide developers a head start in assembling complex applications.”

These services offer a solid foundation for digitalizing business workflows, with capabilities “centered around document data capture (e.g., processing invoices and receipts), cognitive services (e.g., language and sentiment detection), and messaging (e.g., email and Microsoft Teams).”

AppServices are flexible and accessible capabilities that can be used “to extend existing applications, enhance solutions acquired through the Mendix Marketplace, or as services that are deployed with just a thin application layer,” the announcement explained.

To strengthen an organization’s ability to provide intelligent automation, Mendix also announced new workflow templates “for business processes that are designed to be used with the Mendix Workflow Editor as part of any Mendix application.”

As mentioned in the update:

“With workflows for common business activities across HR, finance, and marketing, these templates are designed to further empower business users to participate in the development of software that enables them to do their jobs in this digital-first environment.”

Johan remarked:

“The powerful enhancements made to the Mendix low-code platform speed and simplify the process of building intelligent solutions for organizations, while easing the transition to what analysts describe as the ‘composable enterprise.’ Simply put, makers are empowered to accelerate their solution development by building on a foundation of best practices available and ready to be used in their apps.”

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