Is this the right platform for me?

Is this the right platform for me?

Greetings everyone. This is my first posting, and I want to begin by extending my thanks for any assistance you can offer.

Quick background on me: Over a number of years, I was a software developer. My primary areas of expertise were Unix, C, Tuxedo, SQL. I drifted into management by the late 1990's, and haven't done much technical work since.

Eight years ago, I decided to try something new and bought a company that manufactures custom looseleaf binders (of all the custom binder companies out there, I think our web site is the best!)

I want to add some new functionality, and also I'm getting a little restless in my career and am thinking it would be enjoyable to get back into some software development. Combining those two things, I've been looking around for the best platform to use to develop the added functionality to my site, as well as something I could learn and potentially evolve into some consulting contracts if I decide to go that way.

I found OutSystems the other day, and have played around with it a bit. I'm quite impressed. It reminds me of something I was working on in the mid 1990's...developing code generators to take the development grunt-work out of a complex, multi-tier application.

Ok, enough about me. Here are some specific examples of functionality I am going to need. Any comments regarding the suitablity of OutSystems to this feature set would be welcome.

- The "Conference/Seminar" application: Suppose you are in charge of putting on a conference where there will be 500 attendees and 30 speakers. What we do is assemble all those presentations, print them out, put them in custom binders and send them to your conference. We also publish the presentations to a web page so conference attendees can view them online.

From a very high level, the requirements for the web app look like this:

Step 1 is when my client signs up at our web site. They establish a user account, and then enter the essential information about their conference (when, where, etc). They also give us a list of the scheduled presenters (meaning names and email addresses).

Step 2: We send an email to each of those presenters, explaining that they need to go to our website, sign-in, and upload their presentation (as well as other biographical information, etc). Suppose "Conference 1" has 30 scheduled presenters. Is it reasonable to automatically create 30 user accounts (with temporary passwords) so they can log in? How do we associate those accounts with the conference (or conferences?) they are scheduled to present at?

Step 3: Suppose the client wants to keep the contents of the presentations confidential, behind a password. Is it reasonable to create a separate login for each conference attendee? This could run into countless thousands of logins (figure 200 conferences over the course of a year, each with an average of 300 attendees...That's 60,000 user accounts if we need to set one up for each attendee. Is that something that makes sense for this system?

- The ecommerce application: Our product is highly customized, and the pricing is complex. We've experimented with various ecommerce solutions (BigCommerce, Volusion, others) and found that they really don't support what we need: The ability to compute pricing based on a large, multi-dimensional array of features and quantities. This is something we could do easily if we had access to the programming.

But that leaves the question of existing integrations: Shipping managers (ie, automatic integrations with UPS or FedEx to calculate shipping charges) and credit card processing gateways. Are these things that have been developed and are available for OutSystems clients, or would we be building them from scratch?

And what about shopping carts in general. Are there shopping cart applications that are available as a starting point, or are we looking at building our own.

Last, there is the question of how to manage the web site itself. If you go to, you will see that we have a lot of static content. How do you integrate that with the OutSystems process? Does it mean re-deploying our existing web pages (they were all built using DreamWeaver) inside the OutSystems application? One thing we do a lot of is creating graphics in Adobe Illustrator, exporting that as a PNG file, then loading into Fireworks to cut it into slices, then taking the HTML that Fireworks creates (tables and such) and cutting and pasting it into our DreamWeaver template. (you can see a simple example of that here:  Is that something that is feasible with OutSystems? I wouldn't want to have to slog through the GUI and import each slice by hand. That would take forever.

Anyway, this is getting pretty long as it is, so I'll stop here. As I said, any thoughts, comments, suggestions, recommendations, etc would be most welcome.

Thank you!

Jeff Miller
Jeff -

I've been using this tool for some time now for external facing situations like you describe. I've even built a blooming consulting business around it (which is a very viable plan!). I'd be glad to have a chat and answer any questions you might have about your application, it would probably be a lot easier than working through the forum. My number is 803-760-7127, feel free to give me a call during business hours, Eastern Time.

I'll tell you that from a *technical* perspective, this is a great match and I can get you pointed in the right direction. From the *business* perspective, you will want to discuss licensing before you make a commitment to ensure that the user fees are for "concurrent" users and not actual logins, otherwise you'll get hammered on the licensing fees for this kind of scenario.

Justin, thank you very much for your kind offer. I'll be calling you next week.

Best regards,

Jeff -

Great! I look forwards to talking to you!

Hi Jeff, and welcome to the OutSystems community forums.

Indeed I agree with Justin, I think that this is a great match from a technical perspective.

I will correct something, however, which has been updated a couple of months ago regarding the licensing. We no longer have a "concurrent users" licensing model, but a model where you licence your application per application login.

What this means is that your application can have unlimited visits altogether, but the licensing model changes according to the number of user accounts you have in your system. We have a comprehensive explanation of this model, as well as an "unlimited user" license for scenarios like yours. You can read more about it at our Pricing and Editions page, namely the User Volume Licensing part.

If you would like someone here at OutSystems to get in touch with you to better help you with your system requirements and what such costs would be, feel free to let us know, and I'll have someone here give you a call. You can send me your contacts and best time to call you either by Private Message - just click my picture here, and then click the "Send Message" link - or through the forums.

Regards, and let us know if there are any other questions we can help you with.

Paulo Tavares