Last year I sat in the DB Results offices and witnessed our Digital Platform (Paas) from OutSystems demonstrate its ability to be the true game changer in the rapid creation of digital business applications...
Studying Electronics and Computer Science offers a bottom up understanding of how a computer works. Electronics worked up from transistors, the binary logic that supports their interaction and the operation of low level instructions that align with this logic known as ‘assembly language’, sometimes known as a Second Generation Language (or 2GL).
Computer Science introduced 3GLs (C, PASCAL etc.) which are converted into 2GLs or assembly language. 3GLs ‘abstracted’ the complexity of the underlying technology; you effectively ‘move up a level higher’ taking advantage of ‘automation’ removing enormous amounts of tedious, complex and manual effort.
In 1990 4GLs emerged promising a faster, versatile, easier way to develop software by providing another layer of abstraction and automation. I started my IT career in 1991 expecting and looking forward to the amazing changes that 4GLs were to bring about. However it was 3GLs all the way – although in 1992 a 4GL was introduced at a customer site, it was not a hit with the programming staff and was eventually thrown out.
The next 20 years there was barely a whisper regarding 4GLs. Perl, Python & Ruby combine some 4GL abilities, however my highly anticipated 4GL revolution never took place. Last year I sat in the DB Results offices and witnessed our Digital Platform (Paas) from OutSystems demonstrate its ability to be the true game changer in the rapid creation of digital business applications. A visual configuration tool was used to build an application. The visual configuration was used to generate & optimise 3GL code (in this case C#), the application was deployed & published to a browser – all with one click!
The future had finally arrived.
As with the shift from 2GLs to 3GLs, OutSystems abstracts and automates much of the tedious, complex and time consuming work associated with 3GL development. However, OutSystems is much more than what is perceived as a 4GL – it offers an abundance of additional features that take software development to a new level. Here are but a few:
- The speed of development permits a paradigm shift in delivery methodology.
- Customers can now continually engage in and drive the development of a user experience driven and intuitive solution in small (two-day) iterations.
- OutSystems is a dev-op’s dream, automating change and release management, rollback, versioning, monitoring, performance management and much more
- OutSystems is secure: a host of security features are packaged under the covers
- OutSystems does not lock you into their platform – if you disengage you can walk away with the 3GL code
Our DB Digital teams have rapidly developed SelfServe products and applications for Utilities, Superannuation, Tax and now Health. Each these outcomes have blown the cotton socks off the customer.
A cross functional team continually collaborates to rapidly add, modify, twist and turn upside down application features based on customer feedback. DB Results used OutSystems as a ‘visual prototyping’ tool rather than asking the customer to conceptualise. At times the team found it easier/faster to extract detailed requirements by simply building a rough prototype and asking the customer for customisations!
One customer collaboration and engagement quipped that “DB Digital [our Digital delivery methodology] was able to demonstrate our values of communication over documentation, equal contributions over hierarchical team structures, and piccolos over lattes.”