This episode was published on 2 July 2020 and is approximately 53 minutes long. This episode made possible by Glow Your Soul and Anchor.fm.
This is the second in our series about using Low Code at scale in an enterprise environment. In this episode we dive into some of the challenges we’ve faced while working with low code at scale. Important to remember these are challenges for any software project.
In the notes below you’ll find definitions of many of the topics we discuss, many with links to more information.
Key take away from this episode: You can do anything you want in Mendix as long as you learn how to do it Mendix.
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Show Notes & Selected Links
- How do you find Mendix talent?
- How do you find established low code developers
Mendix Community is small!
- Java community: 9,000,000 world wide
- Mendix community: 120,000 world wide
Mendix development is a growth opportunity!
What does it take to be a Mendix (Low Code) developer?
- Tech saavy, power Excel user
- Familiar with object oriented development
How do you learn Mendix?
- Mendix Academy
- There is a crash course for experienced developers to get into Mendix
- Many learning paths!
8 Min: How do you build a team?
Get help from Mendix Expert Services
- Mendix will bring people on-site (or remote) to help you ramp up your first project.
- Learn on-the-job from experts who will help train your team
Mendix Partners / Consulting Firms
“Finding high quality, experienced, advanced certified Mendix developers is tough!”—Imran Kasam
- Mendix is working with numerous universities across the country to build the community
- Imran has presented at the University of Texas at Houston to MIS students
11 Min: Imran shares a story about recruiting!
Major players getting involved in the Mendix space
- There are some large consulting firms building a practice.
- This is great for the platform, but will cause some issues with competition.
- This will cause prices to be higher for resources.
“Our Mendix recruiting strategy is three fold: You work here, you have worked here, or you want to work here. We're doing great things with Mendix and this is the place to be.”—Steve Ledwith
Developers can build a career in Mendix;
- Learn on the job
- Learn on your own
- From college grad to senior developer
Notes for Team Leads, Leaders, HR
- The career path options are a challenge. Most shops doing low code are only doing a small amount with it. Low code is part of their strategy, but not the center of it.
- You have to have a plan in place to help grow these assets too. If your focus is on Python, Java, .Net, or Ruby, your low code recruting is going to be more of a challenge.
- Start with the end in mind!
15 min: The Mendix Way
One of the tougher challenges is to realize there is a way. It’s even harder to force yourself to use it, but you have to admit it first!
What’s the right way to do things in Mendix to be successful.
Mendix makes some things really simple versus a more traditional coding environment. Similarly, Mendix makes some things much more challenging versus a traditional coding.
Learning Low Code is a whole new discipline. It’s not like going from C# to Java. It’s going from VBA to C#.Net
17 min: What’s the role of the DBA?
- There really isn’t a role!
- Mendix obfuscates the database layer in a lot of ways.
- Entity access is straight forward, and the Mendix developer works on the Data Model, the Presentation Layer, and in the Business Layer.
- It’s a one stop shop!
Comparing Mendix Evolution to Sharepoint
- Really wanted to mention this part in the notes, mostly so I could remind people how awesome Frontpage was!
Application Stack - see Episode 6
Low Code is about extracting the detail layer farther away from the user.
- You need to know how the tool meant for a process to be used.
- Mendix hides away the details, and you need to know how they mean for you to use the feature.
“There's a way to do something, and then there's the Mendix Way!”—Imran Kasam
22 min: Stay in the moment, and find how to make the most of the platform you’re using. Don’t fight it.
- Regardless of the technology platform you’re using, you need to think about your infrastructure
- Dev Ops?
- System Reliability Engineers
Challenges of Mendix Cloud
- Working with the Mendix Cloud on Medium.
- You only have so much control over what you do!
- Platform as a Service limits what you can do.
- You have to fit the model the provider gives.
- Difficulty around showing who has access to do specific things in Production
- As a leader, you have to consider how you’re going to manage the application, and the platform.
- We’ll talk about audit / compliance / controls in another episode!
- Think about how your team wants to work and make sure you have the ability to set the necessary roles
Mendix Technical Contact
- This is a key role for Mendix in the Cloud.
- You only get one, and this person is responsible for a lot.
- In a startup mode, this is fine … one person to write code, same person to deploy it.
- In a world of compliance and Sarbanes Oxley (SOX) you simply can’t have this sort of thing
- As we’ve grown our footprint from 1, to 2, to 3, to 20 plus applications, the Mendix Technical Contact is a full time job
33 min: The Mendix Cloud is a Black Box to You!
- You can only see specific things in the cloud.
- You can’t see the underlying RDS.
- You can’t see the Cloud Foundry containers.
- You have to build a process to work without some key information.
39 min: Consider hosting your applications in your own environment
- It’s a tradeoff, the Mendix Cloud is a great tool, but its limited
- Hosting your own, from a DevOps perspective gives you more control
- You can use Docker you can use Infrastructure As Code
- Low code, Mendix, or otherwise, only replaces one part of the process. You still have to manage your environment and build pipeline.
Bring Mendix into your Dev Ops environment and processes, not the other way around!
Environment Setup & Testing
- How do you manage environments in a low code scenario?
- It’s the same as everything else! You need a number of environments to ensure you can test the code, integration of the code, and deployment scripts.
- Need to find a way to include automated testing in the low code environment.
Indium Software is a partner we recommend
- iSafe product for Quality Assurance (QA) testing
Automation Testing is a challenge in Low Code
- You’ll need a tool, or a partner, and a plan!
- There’s a lot to think about, and you have to do things the right way for the platform.
- Not all of the off-the-shelf tools will work for testing automation
Operating at Scale has a number of challenges, regardless of the platform, or the language
- Doing an environment refresh, takes time, especially if you have Test, Acceptance, UAT, and Performance environments for every application.
- You need a plan, you need to dedicate the time to get things done, and done right.
“You can do anything you want in Mendix as long as you learn how to do it Mendix.”—Imran Kasam
- Challenges of implementing software at scale, not limited to low code
- Recruiting, retaining, and training developers
- Mindset - The Mendix Way
- Dev Ops Processes, hosting, site availability
- Testing, QA, Automation
Queuing Up the Next Episode
- How we use Mendix at eXp
- How we’ve built a microservices environment
- Different technology stacks we employ
- Things to think about when you’re in an audit and compliance environment
- How auditors look at low code vs something more well established