Mendix, which delivers a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering for software development, today launched version 3.0 of its Agile Business Platform. Among the new features in the upgrade are a centralized management dashboard that lets members of the development team see how the project is going, an app store where templates for software projects can be downloaded and Mendix’s recently announced Sprintr social collaboration platform for projects.
Agile is a software development industry term for a specific approach to creating apps in which application requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration among development team members throughout the process. The agile development lifecycle process is generally broken down into several steps, says Paul Campaniello, VP of global marketing at Mendix: planning, where team members determine requirements for what they want the software to do; development, where the code is written; deployment, where the application is distributed to users; and iteration, where the app is modified to fix bugs or add features. Together, the process is called application lifecycle management.
Mendix began by offering only development tools, but during the last five or six years has evolved to support all development stages, Campaniello says.
Sprintr is a social media platform in which people throughout an organization contribute ideas on the software requirements. The idea is for the software to serve the needs of the business so the software isn’t just built by the software engineers but also by the business and finance teams, he says.
"We don’t see the two as competitive or in disharmony; we see them as collaborative, and we see our platform-as-a-service product as a way of using social project collaboration," Campaniello says.
Version 3.0 also adds a cloud-based Team Server feature in which teams access the project and where all the changes are saved. Team Server adds advanced version control and structured release management.
Development is done in the Mendix App Factory, which includes an app store where templates, widgets, modules and other prepackaged software features are shared. If, for instance, someone wants to add a Google Maps tool to his or her application, the developer can download it from the app store. Other items available include an e-mail module, an Excel importer and a module for including a questionnaire.
Deployment is made easier with a one-click button that enables the quick release of an app when it is ready, he says.
Sprintr also plays a role in the iteration process of making changes after the initial release of an app. Campaniello explains that a company’s application or website could include a feedback button where end users could suggest revisions to the app. The iteration team could consider those suggestions and revise the code to implement those changes.
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