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Showing posts from December, 2020

The Enduring Appeal of Low Code Software Development

  by James Townsend As we bid farewell to 2020, we can look back on the tech trends that shaped the world response to the COVID crisis.  The shock of COVID and resulting lockdowns accelerated existing trends such as digital transformation, remote work, and even software development methodologies and tools.  For decades, organizations could only choose between off-the-shelf products and custom software development.  Over the last 30 years another option -- low code software development -- has risen.  This trend began with fourth generation programming languages (4GL) and computer-aided software engineering (CASE) tools in the 1980s.  Desktop database products like DataEase, Paradox, Clipper and Microsoft Access were early examples of the low code approach.  Today, there are  many types of low code software platforms.  Some are business platforms such as Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce, and ServiceNow. Another group are  business process management (BPM) products such as Appian and Pega

My Debt to SharePoint

by James Townsend Microsoft Corporate Vice President Jeff Teper announced last week that SharePoint is now reaching 200 million cloud users worldwide. This is an impressive milestone by any standard, even the high adoption normal for Microsoft.  This announcement made me realize that I owe a professional debt to SharePoint.  Back in 1999, my company InfoStrat was one of the first Microsoft Gold Partners to embrace SharePoint development when the product was code-named "Tahoe."  Along with two of my InfoStrat colleagues, I wrote a book on SharePoint and related Microsoft server products called Building Portals, Intranets, and Corporate Web Sites Using Microsoft Servers - a title only a search engine would love.  SharePoint was many things rolled into one, from document management to a Lotus Notes groupware competitor to a platform for departmental apps (although the term "app" had not been coined).  We helped companies and government agencies roll out SharePoint, an

6 Reasons to Choose Microsoft for your Low Code Application Platform

  by James Townsend Low code software development has been in the news in 2020.  The COVID crisis has disrupted many businesses, and they have been forced to transform themselves rapidly.  We have never seen so much digital transformation since that term was coined in 2012.  Low code development platforms have been chosen for many of these efforts because they can bring software solutions to fruition more quickly than traditional development methods. Businesses and other organizations are choosing which low code platform they need, and these products are maturing quickly.  This post highlights six reasons why organizations choose Microsoft for low code application development. Microsoft has the most complete platform . No software vendor comes close to offering as a wide a set of capabilities as Microsoft.  These include database (Dataverse), business intelligence (Power BI), reporting tools, integrated document management (SharePoint), email (Outlook), spreadsheet (Excel) and even art

Governing the Dataverse: Peaceful Living with Microsoft Power Apps

by James Townsend Microsoft has created a business software platform which not only includes complete commercial products such as accounting and CRM, but also development tools which may be used by professional software developers and power users.  Microsoft is enpowering power users, sometimes called citizen developers, with tools that require less coding and more configuration through templates and wizards. All these apps are connected through a shared data model called Dataverse (formerly Common Data Service).  Some apps such as Dynamics 365 Sales store their data in Dataverse.  Security is managed via Office 365 hosted in the Microsoft cloud.  With Power Apps, you can build standalone apps that tap the power of Dataverse.   Dataverse and Power Apps are not the first tools to target citizen developers.  Microsoft Access, for instance, was a product that allowed end users to create database applications and connect to SQL Server which was often the enterprise data repository for an