Low-code is a visual approach to software development that optimizes the entire development process to accelerate delivery. With low-code, you can abstract and automate every step of the application lifecycle to streamline the deployment of a variety of solutions. By breaking down traditional silos of business and IT (promoting continuous collaboration), your organization can develop solutions that meet the needs of your business.
According to Gartner’s prediction, by 2024, low-code application development will be responsible for more than 65% of application development activity.
Mendix and Microsoft PowerApps are both leaders in the 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Low-Code Application Platforms. Let’s explore their differentiation in order to choose your most suitable low-code application platform.
Source: 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Low-Code Application Platforms
1. About Mendix
Mendix is a cloud-based app development platform that helps users build all kinds of applications. Allowing users to create apps on SAP cloud platform, the prime features of Mendix comprise of visual development, multi-channel apps, proactive and context-aware apps management, development and operations (DevOps), multi-cloud deployment, security, open and extensible integrations, AI assisted development and more. Its visual development allows users to empower real-time collaboration and develop transformative applications with experimentation, iteration and collaboration of different units. Additionally, the platform allows users to sync and control the app development process between business developers and professional developers. Mendix’s app services enable multiple apps to be used in a component-based architecture platform through microflows, supporting multiple versioned services and deployment management. The software integrates with CloudFoundry, OpenID, Enfield Modeling Language, HTML 5, React and Bootstrap. It is priced on a per month subscription basis and support is extended via phone, email, documentation and online help desk.
2. About Microsoft PowerApps
Microsoft PowerApps is a low-code development platform that allows organizations to create and deploy applications using a drag-and-drop interface. Software developers can utilize customizable templates to design online applications for smartphones, tablets and PCs. Features of Microsoft PowerApps include data management, workflow automation, application lifecycle management, productivity tracking, collaboration and more. Microsoft PowerApps allows administrators to create data flow diagrams, generate custom reports and connect the system with multiple data sources. Additionally, it enables employees to securely capture and store application data and model processes in a centralized repository. Microsoft PowerApps comes with an application programming interface (API), which facilitates integration with several third-party platforms such as OneDrive, SharePoint, Dynamics 365, Outlook, Google Calendar and more. Pricing is available on a monthly subscription and support is extended via phone, email, documentation, FAQs and other online measures.
3. Mendix vs. Microsoft PowerApps: Differentiation
3.1. Mendix Low-code Focused Expertise
Mendix taps into years of experience within the low-code space and fully dedicates its resources to provide its customers with the best low-code development experience and support.
Unlike Microsoft that has a big suite of scattered products – not solely focused on low-code development.
Implication: Mendix low-code focus puts it in a stronger, more credible position to claim technical superiority and expertise within the low-code space compared to Microsoft PowerApps.
3.2. Mendix All-in-One Platform
Developing with Mendix doesn’t require multiple Mendix products. Everything is in one single place for an optimal development experience – saving time and increasing efficiency for any type of user.
Developing an App with PowerApps alone may not be enough. In many cases, the Power Platform tools need to be used to allow the App to perform basic actions (e.g., task automation, data storage). PowerApps users will find themselves connecting different stand-alone products to be able to achieve the desired results.
Implication: Using PowerApps means figuring out the right platforms to use to develop a solution and collaborate, switching between platforms and having inconsistent development experiences.
3.3. Mendix Ability to Cover Multiple Use Cases
- External Use Cases
Mendix has a single approach to low-code and offers the same UI regardless of whether the use case is external or internal – knowing that both use cases are fully supported.
On the other hand, PowerApps offers 3 different types of Apps that can be built – Canvas Apps, Model-Driven Apps and Portals. The PowerApps Portals is the only platform dedicated to building solutions for external audiences. However, these are simple web portals – not Apps.
Implication: PowerApps is not the right choice for customers who are considering using low-code for external use cases and should therefore be advised against.
- Sophisticated Apps
With the Mendix platform, customers can build complex, sophisticated Apps – allowing them to have the flexibility to customize their solution based on their needs.
On the other hand, customers have reported hitting limitations with PowerApps (e.g., not being able to customize components).
Caution: Customers may want to develop simple Apps to digitize and automate day-to-day tasks. In this case, PowerApps may be a more suitable solution for them.
Implication: A co-existence scenario with PowerApps can be created when customers have a mix of complicated and simple Apps. It is important to reinforce the message that Mendix supports App development for a wide range of business problems in case the customer is open to considering a co-existence between PowerApps and Mendix.
3.4. Developing an App with PowerApps can hide additional unexpected costs
Investment in Mendix is based on current use cases without the unpredictable cost increases commonly associated with app/portfolio growth. Customers pay for the capabilities they use, and they pay a flat fee per user, even as applications grow and technical requirements change.
Customers’ initial belief is that PowerApps comes free with their office 365 or Dynamics 365 license. As Microsoft license holders, it is true that customers can have access to PowerApps for free, which justifies the exploration of this platform first. However, customers start hitting limits of the license at hand – mainly when it comes to data storage and management, as well as additional costs tied to connectors and API calls. The “free” PowerApps may push customers outside of the license usage limits, which increases the initial cost.
3.5. Mendix offers a dedicated and simple IDE for citizen developers
Similar to Mendix, citizen developers still need to go through a learning process to master building Apps with PowerApps over time and getting used to the PowerFX language.
With Studio, Mendix offers citizen developers an appropriate low-code/no-code IDE, with teams dedicated to make it even easier and convenient to use overtime.
A good low-code platform will help you meet the increasing demand for software solutions. But picking the right platform is difficult. Those comparisons above are some references for your enterprises in case you are looking for one.
As a Mendix solution partner, Kyanon Digital works hard to ensure this partnership has the goal of accelerating digital transformation for our clients by providing excellent low-code solutions from Mendix. We’re also keen to dramatically boost the development of new apps, enhance the power of pre-built and customized low-code solutions, and expand the business ecosystem.
Kyanon Digital is a Vietnam-based tech powerhouse providing world-class digital solutions with an agile approach. At Kyanon Digital, we are striving to leverage our expertise everyday to create endless value for our clients, especially recommending the fittest and the most effective solutions. Our consultant teams are capable of supporting globally and fulfill your technological missing piece with the best-suit advice in any sector.