How does software development work with the help of a low code platform? To what extent do different low code approaches differ? Questions like these were addressed by students from RWTH Aachen University who attended the “Model-Driven Low-Code Platforms” course held by the Software Engineering department in the summer semester of 2021.

At the end of July, the teams of the programming course “Model-Driven Low-Code Platforms” at RWTH Aachen University presented their results. This had been preceded by a few intensive weeks in which the participants had dealt intensively with different varieties of low-code programming.

In the course of the program, the students were asked to develop a webstore modeled on a simple vending machine that offers a manageable range of products – for example, soft drinks, snacks and chocolate bars. The web application was to be developed twice by each team – each time using different platforms. The enterprise low code platform A12 from mgm and the Monticore-based Generator for Enterprise Management (MontiGem) developed by the department were used. One of the main tasks was to compare the different approaches of the platforms and to document the experiences during the development.

Two approaches, one goal: the future of software development

“It was a great challenge for the students to familiarize themselves with the two platforms, which are based on different technology stacks and take different approaches to modeling and code generation, within a couple of weeks,” said Joel Charles, a PhD candidate at the Chair of Software Engineering at RWTH Aachen University, who co-supervised the event with a colleague. “We are currently evaluating the findings for comparing the platforms in order to share them with the scientific community.”

The use of A12 in the programming course took place as part of a university cooperation between mgm and the department of Software Engineering at RWTH Aachen University. The cooperation has been running since the beginning of 2020 and aims at a closer exchange between industry and research in the field of model-based software development.

The programming internship at RWTH Aachen was not the only course in which A12 was used in the summer semester of 2021. At the University of Siegen, students used A12’s modeling tools in a case study (article in German) for the development of tax expert systems.