Cloud-native app development OutSystems introduces new low-code platform with “Project Neo”
The new platform, codenamed “Project Neo”, combines cloud architecture with Kubernetes support and CI/CD techniques with a low-code environment for developing cloud-native apps.
“Project Neo” ensures that the cloud architecture is always state–of-the-art – even if new cloud services are constantly being introduced.
The purpose of “Project Neo” is to increase scalability, to bring the software architecture up to date and to increase the productivity of the developers of cloud-native and mobile apps. Although Neo serves to “secure the competitiveness of companies in times of ‘cloud first’,” says Regional Vice President Carlo Pacifico, it is obviously also about securing OutSystems own competitiveness.
An all-rounder in the development department
According to analysts such as the Gartner Group, the market demands agile development with modern tools and constantly evolving software architectures. “This will soon account for two-thirds of all programming projects,” OutSystems EMEA consultant Christoph Windheuser quotes from a Gartner study on low- and no-code tools. “This makes developers four times more productive than before.” Neo should bring a further increase in efficiency. And you “only need a single all-round developer instead of four to five special developers as before. At the same time, low-code platforms such as “Neo” are supposed to democratize app development.
Speaking of competition, competitors such as Simplifier and others are strongly pushing the modernization of their respective platforms. But since there is a shortage of IT specialists – according to Bitkom, at least 20,000 IT specialists were missing in the German market at the end of 2020 – these platforms must lower their requirements for the specialist knowledge of developers in order to expand their market. Solution Architect Tino Fliege said at a presentation that a complete programming project would take “now only days instead of weeks”.
The Neo platform
According to Pacifico, “Project Neo” combines the productivity advantages of visual, model-based development with a modern container- and Kubernetes-based cloud architecture. This cloud is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS), the support of further public cloud environments is in the planning: “So every company can create custom cloud apps that can be used worldwide and can be continuously adapted.“ The current OutSystems platform does not support containers.
“With Project Neo, we have developed a platform that allows any development team to develop any app and scale it as they wish,” says Paulo Rosado, CEO and Founder of OutSystems. “Developers should drive innovation in their companies, but they are trapped in a complexity that significantly limits their ability to innovate and differentiate. With the help of our tools, developers can use their creativity for the company and create a massive competitive advantage, instead of putting their talent into repairing, changing and maintaining code and outdated systems.“ By democratizing development, customers should be able to create platforms that combine containers and Kubernetes with cloud technologies such as serverless, database autoscaling, event- and messaging-based orchestration.
OutSystems is designed to allow teams to move their legacy applications to the cloud, develop new and more strategic applications, or launch digital transformation initiatives that affect all areas of their organization, from internal processes to mobile apps.
The Evergreen principle
“Project Neo” is an all-round talent: it automates DevOps processes, manages a modern cloud runtime environment, documents code automatically, resolves code dependencies, performs regression tests, implements architectural standards, continuously adds new platform functions and keeps the entire system up to date every minute. So developers can focus on the code. DevOps practices based on the CI/CD principle should allow developers to implement critical changes to applications within hours instead of days or weeks.
According to Pacifico, the platform was developed to ensure that all cloud applications are always available and state-of-the-art. For this purpose, Project Neo is automatically updated with the latest cloud technologies (such as Kubernetes), without this having any effect on applications already in production.
Applications grow with
For companies with many online customers such as Mazda, Sage or Schneider Electric, the scalability of their applications is a matter of survival. OutSystems Neo is designed to ensure the automatic scaling of consumer and B2B apps in high demand. Pacifico: “It’s hard to predict when user communities will grow. But developers can count on apps to scale to hundreds of millions of users as organizations or application usage grows.“
It is also important what kind of development company OutSystems Neo supports. According to Pacifico, Neo supports the work of both individual developers and large enterprise software forges: “Project Neo ensures that every development department operates with maximum productivity and performance. Hundreds of developers can work simultaneously and continuously update application portfolios.” According to Tino Fliege, the code that Neo produces is written in C# and of course easy to maintain – with OutSystems, but also independently with tools from third-party manufacturers such as Microsoft’s IDE “Visual Studio”.
Outlook and market entry
OutSystems wants to continue investing in the existing platform, as it coexists with “Project Neo”. Customers should thus be given a choice for the cloud-native, multi-cloud or on-premises solution in each case. Project Neo is now available as a public preview and will be officially launched in the first quarter of 2022. The participants did not provide any information on the question of future pricing. It’s probably too early for that. Until then, developers can try OutSystems 11 for free and get a preview of “Project Neo”.