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How Mendix outshines high-code in complexity: A business perspective

Published 13-09-2021, last updated 01-02-2024 3 min read
How Mendix outshines high-code in complexity: A business perspective CLEVR Blog Image

What do a pig, a wolf, and a low-code platform have in common? To find that out, you should watch my Mendix World 21 talk on how Mendix outshines high-code when it comes to complexity: A business perspective. But don't worry; if you just want to grab the essence of the talk, you are in the right place.

The title sounds a bit like clickbait, and to be honest, it is. The truth is never a question of right or wrong. The key is a hybrid solution. The future of enterprise application development is a low-code technology like Mendix as the basis for each application, and an extension with high-code (like Java) is needed to fit your unique needs. This gives you the benefits of both worlds. 

There is no technology that meets all your organization’s needs,
just technology that empowers you to meet them yourself.

Before I elaborate, we need to clarify what we mean when we are talking about complexity.

You can divide complexity in software development into two sections. The first section is the complexity of the application development process, things like gathering requirements and deploying your app. The many Mendix customer cases, stories, and reports have shown that developing with Mendix significantly reduces the complexity of the application development process. The second section is the complexity of the application itself, the logic applied, and the technology used. But when it comes to the complexity of the application itself, many organizations and people still believe that low-code platforms cannot handle this well. Well, time to debunk this myth.

At CLEVR, next to helping our customers solve their needs, we also develop solutions for various markets, and we created multiple solutions that help Mendix developers build higher-quality applications. So we have quite some experience building highly complex applications with a long-term vision. In just 20 months, we introduced our Application Code Reviewer product, next to developing our existing product ATS and APD. We did so with a team of just five engineers. Of course, they are brilliant, but the Mendix platform helped them to fully utilize that brilliance (no, I did not call myself brilliant, I am just the product manager).

These apps are all built with Mendix, SaaS with a single database multi-tenancy, and extended with Java where needed.

Project Timeline

Project timeline ATS, APD, ACR

The only reason we were capable of achieving this go-to-market speed with these highly complex applications and a small team was because of the Mendix platform. The out-of-the-box components significantly reduced the overall complexity of developing the applications, allowing us to move faster. I will share some examples that illustrate how Mendix reduces the overall complexity in application development.

For ACR, we wanted to improve the technical license system to better align with the subscriptions of customers. With ACR, customers review their Mendix applications, and we wanted them to add new apps with ease if their subscription allowed it. This was quite the technical challenge, especially from a security perspective, considering the multi-tenancy setup. The built-in components of the Mendix platform reduced the scope and complexity of the project significantly. Most of our technical requirements were met out of the box. While discussing the scope, we used the Mendix visual model as a blueprint to guide the conversation and ensure everybody was on the same page, reducing the gap between IT and business. Deploying apps is easy with Mendix, so we could quickly determine whether we set up the security correctly by running quick experiments.

Creating simple-to-use software almost always requires complex logic in the back. The same applies to reviewing your application in ACR. When designing the system, we only had to focus on the logic and ensure we set it up correctly while Mendix handled the various security and deployment aspects. By reducing the project scope and the various dependencies, we also reduced the risk of human error and the chances of introducing multiple bugs and security issues. Instead of focusing on the code, we could focus on the logic.

Scanning a Mendix model is very complex. ACR checks each Mendix application for over 170 Mendix best practices and counting. We could not build this logic with the out-of-the-box components of Mendix. The Mendix platform does allow you to easily integrate your own custom Java code to ensure you can always make a Mendix application that addresses your opportunity.

Most of the rules and the complex logic in ACR are Java, but almost everything around it is Mendix. If we were to build the entire application in Java, it would have taken us ages, not to mention the required knowledge to build a solid SaaS application in a high-code language. But by having the base of our application in Mendix and extending with Java where possible, we developed a high-quality application very fast.

With Mendix as the base of our products, we made our lives easier. Security was simplified, quality was improved, the gap between IT and the business was reduced, and the extension with Java kept us flexible and gave us endless potential. My talk on Mendix World 21 goes deeper into the subject. We firmly believe that the future of enterprise software development starts with a low-code technology at its base and extension with high-code where needed.

Have you got curious? Or do you agree or disagree?
Please reach out to CLEVR or me if you have any questions or thoughts.

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