Today we are excited to announce the beta launch of IBM Digital App Builder. This tool will change the way citizen developers build smart web and mobile apps. The tool provides a drag-and-drop experience for the user to add building blocks, connect to microservices, and embed AI capabilities for creating multi-channel apps.
The changing application landscape
The application landscape is changing, and with the advent of new technologies, mobile devices have become the preferred gateway for accessing the digital business world. Enterprises want to build multiple apps that support multiple channels. The cycle time to deliver apps has reduced from months to days. In turn, users are expecting enterprises to deliver state of the art experiences, regardless of the digital channel selected as the touch point. In order to meet the growing expectations from the market, there is a need to embed advanced AI capabilities like visual recognition and conversation in apps. These are becoming a must have must-have for the enterprise in order to stay competitive.
Citizen developers: Rapid application development
A citizen developer has a need to build apps even though they do not have strong development skills. To bridge this gap, they need tools which can provide ease of use during development. The tool should provide the pre-requisites for app building and a drag-and-drop experience during application development.
Architecture: From monolithic to microservice
From an architecture perspective, monolithic applications are now moving to microservices-based architectures that provide loosely coupled services to deliver business functionality. This trend has changed how developers consume backend services for building the frontend user interfaces.
App owners: Need for user engagement
To cater to a changing market, app owners need to look beyond web and mobile technologies. Most importantly, they need to find new ways to keep users engaged, regardless of the specific digital channel they are in. Users today can start a transaction using the web browser and complete the same using a mobile device. The users need a seamless experience across channels. The app owner needs a unified view to understand usage patterns and deliver capabilities based on what users actually do.
The key features of the IBM Digital App Builder are as follows:
A citizen developer can use this tool to quickly build digital apps that can run on multiple channels. The tool provides the ability to drag and drop components to quickly build an app. This app can be targeted to multiple channels, like apps for iOS (IPhone, iPad), Android (Phone, Tabs), Progressive web apps (PWA), and web pages.
A citizen developer can easily integrate Watson AI capabilities like Chatbot and Visual Recognition. Adding a chatbot or visual recognition capabilities to the app becomes as easy as adding a control. Developers can easily train the AI service by adding a set of questions and answers or dragging and dropping a set of images to classify. There is no need for a data scientist to build a complex machine-learning model.
An app developer can add data bound controls for microservice backends. A wizard can be used to import an Open API specification (Swagger) for a microservice. This helps to create a dataset for building a frontend for the service which is bound to a data-bound UI control in the app. Switch to code view for performing advanced coding on the app.
An app owner can enable Analytics for the app. The app owner can enable analytics for the app. The app now sends data to the Mobile Foundation server. The analytics console provides Crash data, Page flows, and Operations in the form of dashboards.