During his keynote talk at ProgressNEXT 2019 today, CTO Dmitri Tcherevik announced ‘microapps’ which promise to save time while increasing productivity.
The promise is something any sane developer would embrace. After all, as Tcherevik quips, it means increased free time for office parties.
“If it takes you half the time to generate the same output – you start generating free time, and we love free time,” jokes Tcherevik. “At Progress, when we have free time we just build more apps.”
However, Tcherevik highlights too many apps causes the Google-coined term ‘app fatigue’ which consumes time and impacts productivity. On average, we’re interrupted every couple of minutes by our phones and it can take around 20 minutes to get back into the flow.
“When you have too many apps, you hit this limit called app fatigue,” explains Tcherevik. “The constant switching and getting back into the flow is just too much and that increases the time to do anything.”
Tcherevik goes on to say new enterprises creating some apps will initially see the productivity boost as they’re deploying them, but at some point that dreaded fatigue limit will be hit.
Progress’ answer is microapps. The company’s microapps effort is headed by Nischal Reddy. Reddy took the stage to give more details about what his team has been working on.
“We’re really trying to solve the productivity problem,” explains Reddy. “It is estimated the typical organisation has somewhere between 50 and 100 different systems.”
“Moreover, some of these systems provide web and mobile apps, few provide just web interfaces, and there are still those legacy applications with not-so-good command line interfaces. Users have to switch context to achieve simple tasks.”
“With microapps, we want to get all these systems together in one homogeneous container app so that users can access everything in one place and IT can build and maintain just a single app.”
An example is provided of an application for hospitals. A container is created which can contain any number of ‘micro features’ within it. A new microapp can be developed from scratch, or based off an existing template.
Users can then interact with simple actionable cards through which they can rapidly act upon everyday tasks like corporate approvals, assigning tickets, and submitting forms.
IT has complete flexibility to decide through which channels to make the microapp available – it could be deployed for only web, just mobile, or both.
“Once you’ve published these apps, they will be dynamically deployed over-the-air onto the container and users can access them instantly without having to update their app,” says Reddy.
“When you build new features or patches, everything happens automagically so users don’t have to worry about keeping their apps up-to-date and IT can maintain just one single app.”
Progress Microapps could be a gamechanger for IT departments. I’m sure I heard a collective sigh of relief from viewers (even those watching remotely!) who are involved with developing apps for enterprises with dozens of systems.
Developer had a quick chat with Tcherevik prior to his talk. Unsurprisingly, most of the surprises he kept for his keynote – but it was an interesting chat nonetheless about Progress’ solutions today, experiences spanning form factors, and the general landscape of low-code platforms.
You can view that interview below:
More information about Kinvey Microapps is available here.
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