It’s that time of the year again, when just about everything edible (and sometimes not so edible) has a special pumpkin spice edition, and little monsters come knocking on our doors. But, if you’re in IT or you’re an app developer, monsters are not a one-day-only deal. During the other 364 days of the year, other monsters show up that don’t hide behind an innocent “trick or treat!” but behind your keyboard, continuously waiting for the tiniest distraction so it can attack.

In the spirit of Halloween, in this blog post, I’ll go over some of the most frightening monsters of app development and how OutSystems can help you tame them—no garlic or silver bullets necessary.

In the words of Geena Davis, be afraid, be very afraid.

#1 The Cross-Platform Sphynx

Just like the Sphynx of old, the cross-platform sphynx has a riddle for any developer who crosses its path: what operating system should you program your app to? Do you choose one over the other? Even with Android leading the mobile market with a 74.6 percent share, leaving those iOS lovers out can be a tricky business move. Furthermore, even if you decide to build for Android only, should you test the app for the hundreds of Android options? Or should you just forget native apps and go to the web and HTML5 instead?

Developing an app that serves different operating systems takes time and money, and the specialized skills you need to do it grows by leaps and bounds by the day - it’s like another monster, the Hydra. Get one JavaScript framework under your belt, and two new ones appear almost immediately. Then there are the monstrous usability tests and optimizing the apps on several platforms, which, once again, can be very time-consuming and even create fragmentation between the different versions.

Lucky for you, today, there are several options to face the cross-platform sphinx without losing your head. The most straightforward option is to choose a robust cross-development platform like OutSystems that allows you to deploy apps on iOS and Android platforms from a single code base. You can build apps with a native look and feel without resorting to custom Android or iOS development or assembling distinct teams with specific skills.

You can also opt to distribute your app as a progressive web app (PWA). Based on web browser technology, PWAs don’t depend on a platform, which means the same app runs on both Android and iOS.

#2 The Cross-Device Bermuda Triangle

Probably a hexagon or a heptagon would be more accurate. From wristwatches and fitness wearables to phones, tablets, automotive dashboards, all the way up to laptops and desktops, screen sizes have proliferated and escalated into a dreadful challenge for any software development project. And if different devices weren't already bad enough, let's not forget that each device can have more than one screen size. 

Just take a look at Apple. The iPhone 11 series requires apps to support three different screen resolutions: 1792 x 828 for iPhone 11, 2426 x 1125 for iPhone Pro, and 2688 x 1242 for iPhone Pro Max. And then there are four different iPads models and two Apple Watches sizes.

To sail through this rough sea, you need to use responsive design. OutSystems shields any company's application developers from this soul-and-time sucking landscape with fluid grid design capabilities, UI widgets, and a responsive UI framework called OutSystems UI.

In addition, with OutSystems, you can build your apps using a reactive web model. This model ensures you don’t need highly skilled front-end developers and a multitude of code frameworks to create complex, data-rich interfaces that adapt to changes in real-time. With reactive, your team only needs to develop the front-end once for mobile and web. This means you’ll be able to get your apps to market faster and deliver experiences that remind your users of the leading apps they have fallen in love with.

#3 The Testing Dementor

Do you know that wonderful feeling when you’ve just written that last line of code and know your app is almost ready to see the light of day? That generally lasts until about the time you start the QA tests. That’s when the nastiest bugs show their faces and your soul is consumed by the kiss of the testing dementor.

The good news is that high-performance low-code development platforms like OutSystems have built-in debug features to troubleshoot your apps as you’re developing them. The visual development approach that OutSystems is famous for makes it easier to understand application logic and flow. And, because continuous integrity validation is built into the platform, the number of bugs introduced is much lower when compared to other technologies. There are fewer testing and fix cycles, greatly reducing your development effort and accelerating app delivery. For the full survivor guide, take a look at OutSystems Testing Guidelines with the best practices for specific testing types.

Then there’s TrueChange, an OutSystems engine that uses AI to help developers address the complexities created by ever-changing software requirements. TrueChange checks for bugs and architecture errors, analyzes the impact of changes on component and application dependencies, provides team and architectural governance, and even monitors performance in real-time. As a result, developers can build, manage, and change enterprise-critical applications or services – with zero friction, zero errors, zero lead time, and zero technical debt. So, that testing dementor? You can kiss it goodbye.

#4 The Integration Frankenstein

Integration is supposed to make our lives easier. It brings people, systems, and data together in one place, breaking down information silos and giving users a complete picture to make better and informed decisions. Plus, it’s a way of going to market faster without reinventing the wheel. Why build a feature from scratch when you can simply integrate it? But building integration is much more complex than simply constructing a bridge that connects one app to another.

You need to understand the code of the third-party app you’re about to integrate with. You need to understand what will happen to your data and its dependencies if you make a change. You need to define the best type of integration. From APIs to SFTP sites and hard code, there’s a lot to choose from! That can be very time-consuming. But, worse, if it’s not done properly, you’ll end up with Frankenstein—a conglomeration of loose connections that cause to jerk and lurch, sometimes in the wrong direction.

OutSystems has built-in capabilities to help you integrate with SOAP web services, REST APIs, and SAP systems without requiring any line of code. This way, you’re able to reduce the normally time-consuming effort it takes to integrate databases, systems, and software.

In addition to that, OutSystems recently announced the Integration Builder, a new tool to reduce the complexity of extending the existing systems on which businesses depend, like SAP and Salesforce, ensuring integrations are fast and easy to implement, while also secure and scalable. To learn more about Integration Builder and more new OutSystems features, view this video:


#5 The Security It

As cyber-attacks become more sophisticated and common, code security must be stepped up. No one wants a Pennywise peeking behind users’ screens and stealing their data. Particularly now in the COVID-19 reality, when working from home and online transactions are woven into the fabric of our lives.

To help you in this quest, OutSystems has special weapons that help you secure your applications with minimal effort. Besides extensive security built-in to the platform (270 points and counting) to protect the entire app lifecycle, OutSystems offers Sentry, a security product that adds additional security features specifically designed for the enterprise and those organizations working with sensitive, core, and customer data. This puts the burden of security administration and monitoring on OutSystems and so you can concentrate on sharpening your ping-pong skills with your team or delivering all of those great apps you need in 1/6th the time.

For mobile apps, OutSystems offers AppShield, an add-on that automatically adds layers of security during deployment, making OutSystems apps more resistant to intrusion, tampering, and reverse engineering.

Happy Halloween

I hope this article will help you sleep better at night and keep those monsters away from your apps. Now, go enjoy your Halloween!

And if you want to treat yourself without any tricks, why not give the OutSystems free edition a try?