Earlier this year, I shared a high-level view of the Nuxeo product strategy and roadmap for 2021 and focused on the four key elements of our product strategy: artificial intelligence, low-code development, cloud operability and enterprise connectivity.
In a recent post, I shared some details of the Nuxeo’s strategy for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) and, in particular, our plans to leverage Nuxeo Insight to bring greater out-of-the-box capabilities and business value to the Nuxeo Platform. This blog will dive deeper into our strategy for low-code development and will not only focus on some key enhancements to the Nuxeo Platform, but will also talk about our longer-term vision for low-code development for content.
By 2024, low-code application development will be responsible for more than 65% of application development activity.
What Makes a Low-Code Platform, Low-Code?
Before I dig into our roadmap, I wanted to take a brief moment to talk about the characteristics of a true low-code platform and clear up some of the confusion about what is – and perhaps what isn’t – a low-code Content Services Platform. First, the obvious part, low-code development environments are highly visual; they offer reusable components to accelerate development and shorten time to value; and, they inherently enable collaboration between technical developers and business users with specific domain knowledge.
However, if we look at low-code offerings for data- or process-centric applications (see my previous blog on the three pillars of low-code development), we see there are many other critical aspects of low-code development.
- First, low-code platforms enable multi-user development, allowing not just business users and developers to collaborate, but also multiple developers to work on different aspects of an application.
- Also, low-code platforms are designed to enable agile, iterative delivery of applications that bring more value, more quickly, to the business. This is at the heart of digital transformation. It is also fundamentally, inarguably, cloud. No other deployment environment gives developers the ability to instantly provision resources and promote applications into production.
- And, finally, low-code platforms enable developers to properly govern all of their projects across the full application lifecycle, from prototyping to production.
As you can see, there is much more to a low-code platform than enabling developers to visually configure an app and I would argue that most Content Services Platforms today struggle to even do this. So, with this in mind, let’s talk about our low-code roadmap for 2021 and the investments we are making to continue to evolve the Nuxeo Platform as a true, low-code offering.
Key Low-Code Elements from our 2021 Roadmap
The following are our key roadmap deliverables for low-code development in 2021:
- Enhanced Visual Designer - In 2020, we introduced a new visual design paradigm in Nuxeo Studio that enabled developers to drag and drop reusable Web components to quickly and easily develop new user interfaces for Nuxeo apps. This was a significant step forward for configuring our Web UI. In 1H’21, however, we will take this even further, and provide a grid view for configuring Web UI. This will give developers much more flexibility and granular control over the layout of Nuxeo apps. It will also enable true WYSIWYG visual design for UI/UX, a significant enhancement to our low-code capabilities.
- Templating in Nuxeo Studio - Another enhancement targeted for 1H’21 is the ability for developers to easily create, save and reuse templates in Nuxeo Studio. Templating is a critical component of low-code development, allowing developers to reuse common configurations across multiple applications. With this feature, Nuxeo customers will have their own secure location in Nuxeo Marketplace to publish templates and make them available to other developers in their organization.
- Direct Publishing to Nuxeo Marketplace - Publishing to Nuxeo Marketplace plays a critical role in our approach to templating. Not only will Nuxeo customers be able to publish and reuse their own templates in Marketplace, but they will also have the ability to share their templates with other members of the Nuxeo Marketplace community. And, they will have the ability to consume templates published by other organizations, including Nuxeo customers and partners.
- Development Toolbox - When we focus on low-code, we are focusing on developer productivity. However, we often fail to think about the time and effort that it takes to set up a development environment. The Development Toolbox is a containerized image that will enable developers to stand up a development environment in just minutes on a laptop, desktop or other development system.
- Photo Studio Application - Above, I referenced the ability to create and publish templates with Nuxeo Marketplace. A natural extension of this is to begin to create solution templates, or accelerators, that address common use cases across customers. In 2021, we plan to release our first solution accelerator (app) to address the Photo Studio use case. Intended to address a common use case across many of our DAM customers, our Photo Studio app will help manage the often complex scheduling and workflows involved in producing product photos for marketing, advertising and omni-channel delivery. Targeted for 2H’21, Photo Studio will be the first of several productized applications that we have planned.
I’ll talk much more about our Cloud Operations roadmap in my next blog post, but self-service enablement for Cloud is a key deliverable that also ties closely to low-code, enabling Nuxeo developers to instantly promote and deploy their own apps into test and production environments without support from the Nuxeo Cloud Ops team.
Beyond 2021: Full Lifecycle Support for Multiple Apps
Today, Nuxeo Studio is an incredibly powerful tool for quickly configuring content applications without writing code. It offers an entirely visual, point-and-click experience to configure data models, define business logic and automation, map workflows and complex processes, and even design modern, engaging user experiences. And, as always, Nuxeo Studio is entirely extensible, with defined endpoints that enable developers to quickly and easily create customizations with code. And, of course, with Nuxeo Studio’s ability to branch applications, multiple developers – and even business users – can collaborate on and contribute to the same content app.
However, in order to take the next step in our journey, Nuxeo Studio must continue to evolve. First, we need to think about how to make Nuxeo Studio a multi-application development environment where developers can access any number of different apps to further configure and develop, upgrade, or even iterate and improve. This will require significant enhancements from a UI/UX perspective and a new dashboard paradigm to provide visibility across multiple Nuxeo apps. Additionally, we will think about proper application governance and providing reporting for key application metrics. And, as mentioned above, we will continue to enable even more self-service capabilities for developers to properly manage and continuously iterate apps throughout the full application lifecycle.