How do you explain to your partner, child, grandfather or grandmother what you are doing all day long. Developing an app or software development in general is usually very abstract. Their general response or thought is something like “oh, he does something with computers …” Or they ask if you you can help them with a computer or printer problem, it fits the job description, right!?

The Interaction Design (UX/UI) is often easier to explain, because someone immediately comes up with an example of a UX bad-practice. Often this gives a nice(r) conversation and sometimes even renewed insight.

Working with a Low-code platform immediately sounds technical, no clue and seen as a too abstract… So let’s make things understandable (and awesome).

Recently I asked for some LEGO® as birthday gifts. Why? I like it for different reasons; I use it to stimulate my own creativity, or to work out something in concept (eg during a Design Thinking Prototype phase). But there is more to it, it touches the essence of a low-code platform like OutSystems. Only OutSystems offers a few nice extras.

source photo, LEGO shop

So let’s say you want to buy a box of LEGO®, for example the Ultimate Collector’s Millennium Falcon , you can of course construct it according to the instructions and once built, you can enjoy your creation with satisfaction. Maybe you give it a prominent place in the house to impress friends or family that this piece of LEGO is no child’s play ;-)

However, making something according to the manual is only one aspect of the LEGO idea. The biggest and most important aspect is that you can make anything you think of. They are tools in your hands to express your creativity, whether it is a variation of the Millennium Falcon or it is something simple that captures the essence (more on that later.).

With my LEGO collection I sometimes run into a limitation, having too few pieces or lacking a specific type of brick … This is exactly the limitation you encounter with many low-code platforms. In the form of; Sorry it is not part of the package; f.e. no offline capabilities, or you have a lock-in and you just have to deal with it.

The beauty of the OutSystems platform is that it provides you with all the bricks and tools necessary. You can see it as when using the OutSystems Platform you get a 3D printer. Giving you the ability to create your own LEGO bricks (Integration Studio).

You can also use other “LEGO bricks” or constructions made by the community (Forge). Creativity should not have limits ;-)

Of course with more than enough LEGO bricks you can build everything, but often the power lies in simplicity. Capturing the essence, if you take Christhoph Niemann for example, his work is phenomenally in simplicity in his “I LEGO NY” book. Reading this and just looking at his creations appeals to the imagination and inspires to new creative ideas.

This aspect of LEGO is not unique to OutSystems, but it is a mindset that applies in the design and construction of your app. Focus on the business values for your end-user without too much distractions. Thankfully OutSystems can be used and help you in keeping things simple. Of course this goes much further than creating a simple app, because it can also be used in complex mission critical environments. But then again, they know how to keep things simple and easy in dealing with feedback (corrections/additional features). (More about that in my previous (dutch) blog on LI: Fail fast, fail better!)

Anyway, back to the (LEGO) Millennium Falcon, this ship proved its name by doing the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs, where 18 parsec was standard. OutSystems proves that creativity, speed and performance of your apps should not be hold back by any boundaries, but rather disrupting them, setting a new standard. You can read all about it in their White Paper on scalability and performance.

So next time you’re at a birthday party or having dinner with your spouse; tell them how cool it is to play with LEGO all day long. However I can imagine that your kid/nephew/niece will ask you to help with his or her LEGO creation. But who cares, who doesn’t like LEGO! ;-)

OutSystems Solution Architect @ Product-League | I just like to be creative by drawing, writing or playing with lego :-)