AI solutions required for fast-paced application development?

According to Gartner, “to keep pace with the demands of digital transformation initiatives, application development teams will augment their efforts with AI “co-developers” to streamline programming efforts“. Gartner predicts that “by 2022, at least 40% of new application development projects will have virtual AI co-developers on their team.”

Mendix is a digital transformation enabler platform that helps businesses to build web and mobile applications without the need to code – what’s called low-code development. The company has recently launched Mendix Assist, which uses machine learning and AI analysis of over 5 million application logic flows to deliver 90% accuracy on next-step suggestions and reduce the cost of development defects by 10x.

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The platform allows people from across the business with no coding skills to collaborate, build and continuously improve apps at speed and scale. It supports the synergy between the business leaders and IT teams, aiming to remove the specialised skills barriers and frustrations that the two often meet.

Check out how the platform works:

To learn more, Information Age spoke to Johan den Haan, CTO of Mendix, where we discussed the role AI will play for businesses moving forward, relating to application development.

Johan den Haan, CTO, Mendix
Johan den Haan, CTO, Mendix

The rise of smart apps

“From a technology trends perspective we’re seeing a lot of what I would call smart apps,” said Haan. “A smart app has three major characteristics: context awareness, intelligence [so it knows how to process all that data and context to get meaningful decisions], and it is proactive.”

Application development platforms need to allow their developers to build these type of smart applications in an easy way, without having to master all the required technologies.

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Mendix is challenging itself to take this next step with low-code development, by getting into the realm of machine learning and AI: AI-assisted application development. This is part of a growing move in the development market, and the next technology will be built on machine learning.

“We had the internet, the mobile internet and now machine learning is the next thing that is really shifting the technology market,” said Haan. “We’re already in this steep curve of how platforms are adopted, and that same thing can be applied to application development.”

AI and machine learning will be essential in the growing need for fast-paced application development
AI and machine learning will be essential in the growing need for fast-paced application development

AI coach for application development

“If you look at out market – low-code – it’s about building 10x applications faster, and for a group of people that is 10x larger than the professional developer community,” continued Haan. “This is because we want to enable people who have a vision of the technology, to use software to build visual models. There’s a lot happening in this area.”

The latest solution from Mendix will benefit enterprises by providing: Hands-on mentoring for new developers with AI-assisted next-step-suggestions to teach them how to build apps in real time (an AI coach); increased developer productivity and capacity with AI-assisted development and decreased time and cost impact of functional and non-functional defects by preventing them before they happen.

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“With a 1% unemployment rate for software developers, the talent shortage is not forecasted to improve and development managers have been lacking the means to dramatically improve team productivity. They have also been unable to tap into the nearly 10-times as many non-technical developers available, and teaching and enabling them to build applications is key to jumping on the digital transformation train,” said Haan. “Mendix Assist is like training wheels for first-time developers and drive-assist for more seasoned developers.”

Customer view

“The cost of fixing a software bug grows 100x from development to release,” said Desiree Fraser, Practice Manager Custom Software Development, Capgemini.

“Preventing issues at time of development dramatically reduces the time and cost of re-work and gives us the opportunity to focus even more on business value and speed up digital transformation for our customers.”

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...