Sybrin has introduced its rapid application development platform, Sybrin Nitro, at the 2020 Sybrin User Forum event in Cape Town.
The Sybrin Nitro platform is a framework which aids the digital enterprise of tomorrow to operationalise their digital transformation initiatives, and to automate and add intelligence to their operations.
Built for both the power and citizen developer within the enterprise, Sybrin Nitro allows the agile enterprise to rapidly build, model, and deploy web apps, mobile apps, and intelligent automation apps.
Sybrin explained that it helps enterprises with this process by creating a low-code digital factory between power developers and citizen developers. The power developers create digital building blocks, and the business savvy citizen developers assemble the apps.
“We really started developing what would become known as Sybrin Nitro four years ago and have invested significantly in the platform,” said the CEO of Sybrin Systems, Marius Mare.
Mare stated that they will continue investing in the platform forever.
“We build applications on our own technology stack,” said Mare. He categorised their own applications into two areas: Sybrin Apex — solutions that the company provides to its banking clients; and Sybrin AI — systems for intelligent automation.
Built for the professional developer first, to empower the citizen developer
Salvatore Errera, the head of product and innovations at Sybrin Systems, explained that Sybrin Nitro is built for both the “Power” and “Citizen” software developer.
Citizen Developer is a term that was coined to describe a person in an organisation who is not a programmer, but who is given the tools necessary to create custom business applications.
The concept evolved from the use of tools like Microsoft Excel and Access, which allowed employees to build their own basic applications. Gartner predicts that low-code application platforms will be responsible for more than 65 percent of all app dev activity by 2024, and that three-quarters of large enterprises will be using at least four low-code development tools for both IT application development and citizen development initiatives.
Low-code and no-code rapid application development tools aim to expand on this idea and give the Citizen Developer access to cloud computing and the ability to deploy applications for the web and mobile devices.
This is what Sybrin Nitro does. Where it differentiates itself from similar tools, Errera said, is that Nitro is designed specifically to allow professional developers to expand its built-in capabilities.
“Where others focus on low-code and no-code apps, we build for Power Developers first,” Errera said.
“We don’t build simple systems, and we know that if you are developing an app of moderate complexity you can quickly run into a problem where pre-built components in low-code and no-code systems can’t do what you need.”
The extensibility of Sybrin Nitro comes from its Visual Studio Code plugin.
“Visual Studio Code is an open source integrated development environment that we use to build our own digital building blocks on,” said Errera.
Errera said that Sybrin Nitro has the following key sets of tooling to enable rapid application development for the Power and Citizen Developer:
- Visual development tools to enable the Citizen Developer, such as an intuitive user interface designer, out-of-the-box widgets and themes, process modeller, data modeller, and decisions designer.
- Visual Studio Code plugin to enable the Power Developer to create digital assets for the citizen developer that extend the platform.
- Deployment Manager for single click deployments.
- Health Management Cockpit for real-time app performance metrics.
- Security Management to secure enterprise apps.
- Content Services for document and records management.
- Intelligent Document Processing to eliminate manual document capture.
Sybrin Nitro also allows you to create various types of apps such as web apps, mobile apps, or Intelligent Process Automation apps.
Data transformation tools to rapidly transform data
Errera said that when it comes to rapid application development frameworks, enterprises can learn a lot from the games industry.
Games are developed using platforms with excellent low-code and no-code capabilities, and vast libraries of pre-built components.
This empowers members of the development team who are not programmers, like artists and designers, to pull their assets into the game engine and connect them to the underlying code.
It is the same principle with Citizen Developers and enterprise rapid application development applications.
Errera cited a report from Gartner which predicted that by 2023 there will be at least four Citizen Developers for every professional developer in an organisation. They won’t just replace coding. New tools will allow for “citizen data scientists” and “citizen experience designers” to take more and more control of the software that runs their business.
Creating technology jobs for non-programmers in South Africa
Combined with findings from the recent report by the South Africa in the Digital Age initiative (SADA), Errera said that there is an opportunity for low-skilled or unskilled workers to develop new digital skills.
SADA found that the technology industry can create 500,000 new jobs over 10 years through globally-traded services. One of the conditions for this to happen, SADA stated, is that work which is currently being outsourced will need to be brought back to South Africa.
Rapid application development platforms can bring down the cost of business software development to achieve this goal.
Through empowering Citizen Developers, Errera said, platforms like Sybrin Nitro not only allow businesses to be more agile, it can also help create much-needed jobs in South Africa.