Splicer Blog

Accelerating Native Mobility

Open Source Low Code for Relational Data

Develop in a low-code manner on the open source Spring Boot stack with Splicer’s MDD GUI. Splicer provides the MDD GUI design tools that generate model artifacts, API, and forms for Angular, React and native mobile clients. The server runs on Spring Boot microservices configured with Netflix OSS for hyper-scalability.

In this way, you can develop right on your open source java stack at the same pace as other low code platforms. Our design and automation tools deliver push-button, enterprise-grade apps and microservices. You own the entire run-time stack, which runs on the cloud provider of your choice — with no vendor lock-in. Consequently, Splicer transforms your enterprise stack into an open source low code platform. We call this capability “Professional grade low-code”. This makes a ton of sense, and we would be happy to discuss your particular applicability.

How does “Professional Grade” compare to traditional low-code?
In short, we offer full-stack control at low-code cost. As enterprise developers, we embrace source code – this is how we prefer to build and modify systems. So with Splicer, developers can continue using their existing best practices. Additionally, other low-code platforms typically rely on NoSQL databases, which create significant challenges for data normalization.

Also, the current low code platforms rely on NoSQL. Since NoSQL does not support data normalization natively, it seems beyond the scope of NoSQL to build general applications with it; this seems to be a major deficiency and a major source of technical debt. Citizen developers can get out of the gate very quickly with solutions like bubble.io, but as a client shared recently with me, the more the application grows beyond a very simple application — the number of entities grow — unanticipated and essentially unpredictable bugs start to appear due to the lack of normalization. Apparently, the fix for this is to handle the normalization at the application layer — all without access to the underlying source code.

Moreover, traditional low-code vendors are all proprietary platforms, which is covered in another recent post: Why Low-Code Sucks.

Low Code Analysis
In a review of the leading “low code” platforms David Ramel explains we need them “to meet the insatiable demand for apps amid a shortage of coding pros”1, and includes the new hpaPaaS category. Jason Bloomberg further refines that “low code … centers on professional developer”, whereas “no code” is primarily for the “citizen developer”2. I like how he takes a jab at these confusing, endless product categories that have been introduced for years in this space: “the big analyst firms can’t make heads or tails of this mess.”

Good. So it’s not just me.

Being a full-stack developer, each time I look at one of these “platforms”, I’m overcome with the same feeling of “oh no, not another thing to learn”. Each one expects us to learn their way of doing things. While “low code” might help expedite development, it does mean learning their way of doing things — meaning “lock in”. They to go to extravagant means to claim they don’t lock you in, but it’s just not true. Dig deep enough and you’ll find it. They talk about “open” and even “open source”, but look closely: perhaps they are not open-sourcing the actual server! Anyhow, I’ve looked at close to a dozen of these things, and none allow you to develop and deploy on existing open source stacks. Obviously, its much more familiar for enterprise developers when we simply add an MDD layer to enhance the Spring Boot stack into an open source low code platform.

Regardless, regarding developers, Bloomberg says “It empowers them to build more applications, and to make them more dynamic than they could have any other way, even with a finely tuned DevOps culture in place” and “support changing application capabilities”3.

The best way to do this — and to remain flexible — is with an “optimized” open source platform. Choosing the right platform is critical to provide “business agility”4. Ok, sounds good, but how?

Rapid Mobile App Development (RMAD)
Developers typically build enterprise solution on top of open source software. In fact, this is how system architecture typically gets started. Splicer follows that tradition by generating a custom, open source, low code mobile architecture as a separate Spring Boot microservice that is infinitely customizable. Splicer also generates Angular or React forms and features a custom, model-specific, data admin console, which will give you a solid start if you need to build a web interface to your mobile data. We use well-established, well-known, stable, J2EE-compatible pieces such as Spring Boot and Hibernate that are already being used in java-based enterprises — for ultimate compatibility — with the goal of a common, universal data model to support heterogeneous clients including native mobile.

At Splicer, we automate the most complicated pieces — the data models, associated APIs, and Object-Relational data fetching. Then we deliver an open source stack that populates these models with data. So instead of committing to a closed enterprise mobile app development platform as suggested in the articles, you can pick whatever “best of breed” tools you wish for components like web forms or even open source mobile app forms. Since integration and data model wrangling can consume as much at 80% of the development effort, Splicer automates that critically expensive piece. This provides the most effective leverage while allowing your team to continue coding as they normally do. Splicer is a simple and effective way to dramatically increase your productivity without sacrificing control, nor learning a whole new set of development tools.

Summary of Splicer Benefits
•    Backwards-compatible with existing RDBMS including Oracle, Mysql, PostgreSQL and SQL Server
•    End-to-end typesafety tracked to database types and relationships
•    Data model Agility and evolution against relational data
•    Runs on full-stack, open source stacks
•    Support for native mobile apps
•    No runtime fees nor dependence on 3rd party vendors
•    Deploys as a docker container to a variety cloud vendors
•    Hyper-scalable via Spring Boot microservices


  1. 3 Leading Enterprise Low-Code App Development Platforms Compared.

  2. Low-Code/No-Code Is Far More Disruptive than You Think.

  3. Bloomberg: “Low-Code/No-Code Is Far More Disruptive than You Think”

  4. Ibid.

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