At Amplexor, we like to combine learning and fun. That's why we recently organized an international one-day hackathon to explore AppWorks, the new low-code platform from OpenText.
AppWorks focuses on use cases combining dynamic case management with process requirements, offering components for digitization, process automation and organized interaction in business applications. The low-code element makes it a natural fit for a hackathon as it allows for the rapid creation of full-blown applications.
During the hackathon, we began from a real-life case: to build the most complete employee onboarding application possible, in just one day. To take the challenge, we assembled five cross-functional teams, each a mix of business consultants and AppWorks experts.
Curious about what we learned about AppWorks? Check our three key takeaways as we put the "hack" in hackathon!
Low-code platforms are a clear trend in the software market and they most definitely speed up the application development process. However, this speed should not be mistaken for simplicity, as building an enterprise grade application with AppWorks (and other low-code platforms ) requires deep expertise.
AppWorks offers around 25 building blocks out-of-the-box, ranging from entity and forms modelling to business rules and web service integration. For each of these building blocks, an extensive set of configuration options are available. No wonder, the AppWorks configuration guide contains a whopping 1100 pages.
OpenText AppWorks low-code platform
As AppWorks uses process improvement standards such as BPMN (Business Process Model and Notation) and CMMN (Case Management Model and Notation), experienced business consultants will get a head start in the platform. But all in all, thorough product knowledge and hands-on expertise are a prerequisite to make your AppWorks implementation a success.
Enterprise platforms have rarely been known for offering top-notch usability (has anyone tried the SAP interface lately?). But we were pleasantly surprised about what we got from AppWorks, both for end users and during the design/development phase.
OpenText AppWorks user interface
From the end user perspective, AppWorks has been developed using a 'mobile first' philosophy which means that, next to the traditional desktop, it delivers a great tablet experience.
The user interface is also sharp, clean and offers the full range of expected functionalities such as filterable lists, tables, images, etc. As a user, you never have the impression that the application itself is in some way limited by the low-code options that the platform offers.
From the designer perspective, the developer workspace has recently been overhauled completely, allowing for performing tasks with a minimum of clicks. The low-code capability literally allows developers to drag and drop components in a page layout to create the user interface.
Our developers were also pleasantly surprised by the fast and frictionless deployments, which make rolling out new functionalities a breeze.
The final aspect is the agility that the platform allows. During the hackathon our teams applied the Agile methodology .
The business analysts acted as product owners and filled the product backlog, while the development team turned the backlog stories into application features.
Every hour, a short demo displayed the current application state. Because of the desire to deliver a fairly complete app in a short time frame, the stories were ultimately not defined in all depth and the demos often revealed functional issues or misunderstandings.
Demo pitches at the AppWorks Hackathon in Eindhoven, The Netherlands
In these situations, the flexibility of AppWorks came to the rescue: low-code allowed for fast re-configuration and re-deployment. In fact, we see value in applying our fast-track methodology for AppWorks projects. In this methodology, there’s an immediate feedback loop, from requirement gatherings and analysis to application configuration and testing.
With fast-track development, the business analyst can evaluate requirements before noon, while the technical expert converts 80% of them directly into a functional application, which can be demoed in the evening for direct feedback. All this within the same day! This method, which has been successfully applied to Documentum D2 projects can also bring value to AppWorks projects.
Tom Laureys is Solution Manager ECM at Amplexor based in Belgium. For the past 10 years, Tom has been helping clients across industries find the right technology to effectively digitize their business processes and improve collaboration and productivity. His combination of strategic thinking and expertise in a range of platforms - from Alfresco and Documentum to SharePoint and Office 365 – grant him the capacity to capture new trends on the market and turn them into solutions for our customers.