OutSystems development and management tools
Table of contents
Tools for developing and managing a full range of applications—from consumer mobile apps to critical business systems—are at the heart of the OutSystems architecture.
OutSystems offers a visual development environment and other tools infused with AI for accelerating the development of applications that are built right and for the future:
The tools in this layer include:
- Service Studio
- Experience Builder
- Workflow Builder
- Integration Studio
Service Studio is the environment for creating all parts of the application stack: the data model, application logic, UI, business process flows, integrations, and security policies. In this environment, designers drag and drop visual elements to create UIs, business processes, business logic, and data models for their applications. Applications also consume and expose SOAP and REST web services in this environment. AI-assisted development guides developers through the process, suggesting next steps, auto-filling fields, and offering developers the ability to search for answers to their "how-to" questions and other information right in the IDE.
All application layers have hook points so that developers can extend layers with their own code if they need to work outside the development environment.
This environment has a full reference-checking and self-healing engine also powered by AI that works behind the scenes to ensure applications are error-free and that changes won't impact existing applications. It is designed to be lightweight, and most of the post-design work goes to Platform Server, the server component of the OutSystems platform.
Experience Builder is part of a collection of specialized tools that accelerate development by simplifying the complexity of creating specific types of applications and connecting to enterprise data. It enables developers to rapidly prototype great looking and highly usable mobile applications that leverage common patterns and flows and turn them into production-ready apps.
Developers and designers can use Experience Builder to create and test prototypes in hours and generate production-ready code—with experience and development best practices built-in—in minutes. Flow templates for common consumer mobile applications enable developers to create experiences that consumers know without having to build them from scratch. With contextual sample data, feedback can be shared earlier between users and stakeholders.
Experience Builder also enables developers and designers to benefit from industry-leading applications, best practices, built-in native behaviors and animations, and a native plugin for device capabilities, And when the code is ready for production, it can be handed off with confidence.
Workflow Builder enables business experts, analysts, and process owners to solve their own internal productivity challenges with a wizard that abstracts the underlying development process from workflow design. Business applications built with Workflow Builder rely on the same standard architectures and frameworks as their pro-developed counterparts. These apps are generated into a fully open, optimized, and documented set of server and client components.
From expense approval to timesheet management, business process owners can deliver simple-to-medium complexity case management applications in minutes. As these line-of-business apps grow in importance and scale, cross-functional teams made up of varying skill levels can continue to evolve them in Service Studio. There, both business experts and professional developers can collaborate to refine workflow processes, user interfaces, business logic and data models.
Integration studio is the environment for creating components that extend the OutSystems platform and integrate with third-party systems and microservices. These components are deployed once and can be reused by all applications built with OutSystems. Developers use Visual Studio to code integration components and can take advantage of existing .NET libraries.
When publishing a component, the development environment compiles it with a standard .NET compiler. The generated DLLs are sent to the Platform Server.
This repository of UI components, libraries, and connectors speeds delivery by providing existing modules that can be reused in applications. Our visual development environment is integrated with Forge, so developers and others can get and adapt these components in no time.
Most of the components in the Forge are actually built and shared by OutSystems Community members. Trusted components go through a curation process by OutSystems Community experts to ensure they deliver the promised functionality and follow best practices for security, documentation, and code quality. There are also Supported components. These are the only ones for which OutSystems provides maintenance and support under the terms of a customer’s subscription.
To learn how software is licensed in the Forge, read the How is software in the Forge licensed article.
Managing application deployment and the SDLC is the key to a successful delivery, now and in the future. OutSystems provides consoles, tools, and a repository that enables centralized management of environments, elimination of technical debt, and easier reuse of application modules.
The main components of this layer are:
- Service Center
- Architecture Dashboard
Lifetime is a console that enables centralized management of all development, QA, and production environments—on the cloud or on-premises. Lifetime also automates DevOps processes, so individuals and teams can stage applications from development to production. Lifetime is a full deployment environment that supports:
- Staging applications across environments. When staging an application, LifeTime does a dependency analysis across environments to be sure the staging will not impact the applications running on the destination environment. After the deployment, all applications impacted by the changes are automatically updated to use the latest code, versions and more.
- Monitoring the performance of applications. All applications built with OutSystems are automatically instrumented to collect runtime monitoring information. With LifeTime, it is possible to monitor the performance of apps and take action even before users notice an application is slow.
- Managing IT team permissions. An organization's preferred authentication is set up and the permission levels each IT user has on each environment and application are managed.
Service center is a console that manages the operational aspects of an environment,, along with environment-wide and application-specific configurations, including:
- Taking applications offline and online
- Reverting to a previous version of the application
- Configuring application properties, web service end-points, and batch job scheduling
Architecture Dashboard is the OutSystems technical debt monitoring tool. Aided by artificial intelligence, it automatically performs code and runtime analysis and recommends solutions for improving the performance, security, architecture, and user experience of applications.
Architecture Dashboard provides an integrated, bird’s eye view of technical debt across an organization’s entire portfolio of applications and the interdependencies between modules. The OutSystems AI engine classifies every architecture module into its correct class. Automated architecture discovery enables a heat map visualization of mild-to-severe problem areas to be generated that IT leaders can use to identify problem areas quickly and prioritize accordingly.
Drilling down into individual modules will bring developers to detailed reports on what best practices are being violated, their impact, and how to fix them. Problem areas in the modules are linked to the reports, enabling developers to quickly open specific elements in Service Studio to address any issues. A guided refactoring capability identifies all of the opportunities for refactoring and code duplication across the factory, pointing architects and teams to the right points to make these improvements.