Opinion on using the Outsystems Platform

Opinion on using the Outsystems Platform

  
Hello everyone.

I would like to share my honest opinion in using Outsystems Agile Platform.

The Agile Platform really meets the customer's needs in terms of requirements gathering and analysis. I've seen it in my own eyes how quick translating requirements into products that can be shipped. Working with this software is really a fun experience. I always imagine that what if I did this using the manual coding? For sure, it'll take me around a year or two and still I am in the middle of development. I've also imagined that what if I have discovered this software earlier or during my school days, wouldn't it be great to the clients that they can add more features that they like instead of worrying that the developer might not be able to do it.

Well, so much for the positive sides of the Agile Platform.

Here's my small concern that bothers me. I've been thinking that since the Agile Platform can do things fast and robust, for me as a developer, I am worrying that I might lose the coding skills I've learned before using the platform in the long run, though I've learned how to plan the flow visually using the software.

Any advice from you guys would be appreciated. 

Thanks,

Ju-chan
Hi Ju-chan !

Nice story. My first reaction to your statement about losing your coding skills was: "Yeah, so what?". 
Seems a bit harsh, but what one needs determines what one knows in the end. I have lost many coding skills over the years, and gained other in their place. Languages that are not even used anymore in business software development. That's the deciding issue: things in life evoluate. Life is a question of letting go "the old", and embracing "the new". And besides, nothing you ever mastered will be gone completely. Your proficiency might fade a bit, but completely gone? No.

Unless one codes for the sole purpose of hobby, it is the result that matters. Result existing from function and costs. The fact that you need to, or do not need to code is of no importance if function and costs are met in a better way without coding.

At least, that's my take on things.
Hi Ju-chan,
 
Nice story indeed, thanks for sharing. I agree with Marcel, I believe he nailed it pretty well. 
 
I usually like to compare the evolution of programming to the evolution of operating systems: we still use the command line when needed, but most of us use the GUI a lot more often. Programming languages have just evolved a lot more slowly than operating systems. 
 
When you have a bit of time you should take a look into this brilliant ironic presentation, The Future of Programming: http://vimeo.com/71278954.
 
When I see programmers approaching OutSystems I see mostly two trends: a very small fraction of hard core sceptics, who are only confortable with their own languages and tools and hate with their guts anything else, specially if it looks visual or easy; and the vast majority of others that see the advantages you've just mentioned and use it to be a lot more productive. What happens to these programmers is that they suddenly become a lot more knowledgeable in the business problems they are trying to solve, evolving professionally because of that, and also evolving in the sense that they start understanding people a lot better. 
 
And, IMHO,  understanding people, their goals and ambitions, and what you can do to help them, is the most valuable skill in your programmer toolbelt.
 
Cheers,
Tiago Simões
PS: But I'm also very interested in hearing comments from more programmers regarding this.
Hello everyone,

Thanks for your opinions. It's more interesting to hear other programmers' take on my story. :) I don't know if I am right but I think it's worth an exchange from coding skills to knowing and understanding customer's requirements. Anyway, I hope I could hear more from others!

Tiago, I'll check that out later!

Thanks,

Ju-chan
Hi guys,

My story goes a little like this: Before starting to work with the OutSystems Platform I was (mainly) developing server applications in C/C++. When  I started to work with the Platform, you can imagine, I was thinking (and asking a bit) "How is the code being generated?", "Can I see it?", "How do I know that it's optimizing well the code?" and above all... I was (plain) sceptic (like Tiago was mentioning).

But then... project after project... of hearing the client saying "Awesome job!", and (like soft water on hard stone) I started to fall (in love) for it, thinking "Damn... god damned...! All that time lost searching for memory leaks... for what? Just to hear 'You found the leak! It was about time...'.".

And a Beast waked up in me... saying "I want more... I want to deliver more!". So I was all about need for speed! :)

But then, like Tiago mentioned, suddently you start to having "time"*, to think, to understand better the business and the key factor for both your application to succeed and your client. I began to change. I began to understand a little more about the business, to the point of even suggesting small changes (improvements) to it.

Nowadays, hearing "Nice App" or "Good Job", it's not good enough, through usability, business knowledge I want leave my clients like this:



and simple saying: "Ruben, You are AWESOME!"**. To which I reply, "Thank you, but it's mostly the platform!". And why is that? Simple because I had both the time and the (development) speed to understand what were the key factors for their business, what would bring them more ROI.

On the down side, just like Ju-Chan, I feared for my tech skill...

But I've also learned that tecnology is just "a means to an end", and that if I know what's the head shot, then the rest is just a matter of time.

Resuming: I'm probably less prepared to search for memory leaks, or to manage the memory, but I gained much more experience dealing with business guys and also becoming one. :)

Cheers,

RG

* not having to search for memory leaks on endless source code files does gives you time...
** Copied from a client E-mail