Intrexx

Intrexx is a Low-Code platform that is developed by the German software vendor United Planet. It was first released in 1999 and by now there are over a million people using Intrexx every day at work. Intrexx is available as a cloud solution, as well as on-premise.

In this blog you’ll find a lot of examples involving Intrexx. This is because I have been working for United Planet since 2014. Therefor I have a lot of experience using this Low-Code platform.

Like for other products that I’ll look into in the future, I’ll give you a very quick overview over some technical specs of Intrexx. For this review I used version 19.03 of Intrexx.

First Steps

Easy access to trial: Just a few moments after registering for the trial, I receive an e-mail with the credentials for my 30 day trial-system. The trial runs in a cloud, but if I want to try it on a local machine or a server of my own, I can just download Intrexx and install it wherever I want. It then also runs for 30 days.

Everything at first sight: After opening the Intrexx-Manager and connecting to the portal, I can directly get an overview over the modules of the Intrexx-Manager. Applications, Processes, Users, Design, Integration and Tools.

Video tutorial: The Registration mail contains a link to a video tutorial. It describes how I can develop applications with the Intrexx-Manager.

Manager-Tour: After starting the Intrexx-Manager I get a short tour through the modules. It describes what each module is for, but doesn’t give me a deeper introduction into each module. That would be really great if it were part of the Intrexx-Manager.

Missing description of what a portal is: As on most other platform, I’m missing a description of what a portal is and what – on a technical level – is the vision behind the platform.

Development

Visual Application and Workflow Designer: It is the standard for Low-Code and No-Code platforms nowadays, but still so important that it needs to be mentioned. Applications and workflows can be build using Drag&Drop.

Many ways to add code: Some might say that is bad, but for me it is great. There are a many points where I can add code. Also different kinds of languages. Intrexx supports JavaScript/TypeScript, Apache Velocity, Apache groovy and of course Java. If you get to know Intrexx, you’ll find a lot of places where you can add code, but the ones that are obvious are already great.

Event based workflows: The way Intrexx and especially workflows function suits me a lot. Intrexx uses an event-based workflow-engine. This means that for every workflow there is an event-source and at least one event-handler. This allows it to separate Application and Workflow. On other platforms I had to add the workflow to a button, so if I wanted another workflow, I had to change the button.

No separation between Data and Pages: Some say it’s good other say it’s bad. I’m used to it and I see the benefits of having data and Pages mixed up. In Intrexx you can add a Page on the top-level of an application, but also underneath a datagroup. This way there is a direct connection between the data and the page. This means, you can open the page only in the context of a record.

A lot of dialogues: Intrexx is over twenty(!!) years old. And sometimes you can see it. One example are the dialogues for the configuration of elements. Inside these dialogues there are sub-dialogues for filters and other options. That can be confusing from time to time. For me that is something I’m used to from other tools I used before Intrexx. I also looked at other tools that had other concepts and to be honest, I missed my dialogues.

Design module: The Design module allows to change the design for the whole portal and thus, for all the applications at one place. For people like me the handling of this module might be a bit bumpy, because I’m more into logic and less into colours and styles. The module also allows to have multiple designs at the same time. So users can choose which design they want the portal to appear in.

Only server-side workflows are designed visually: That is definitely a minus. As soon as you want client-side workflows (other than filtering tables or jumping from page to page), you need to add JavaScript.

Surroundings

A lot of possibilities to configure the portal: Using the portal-manager I have access to everything that is part of the portal. It is the main tool for configuration and administration. I can manage users, configure the search engine, which is Apache Solr, check if all automated jobs are running and even take a look into the logfiles of the portal. These and many more possibilities are really great for managing the parameters the portal needs to run smoothly.

Tools for administration: A main requirement I meet very often is, that IT needs to be able to watch what’s happening. Not so much what the users do, but which jobs are running and stuff like that. Intrexx offers some tools for this in the Tools module.

Connectivity: Intrexx offers multiple ready to go business connectors for SAP, Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Notes, M-Files, OData, web-services and others. With the new Connector-API, any Java-Developer is able to create new connectors for all kinds of external systems. It’s also possible to offer data to the outside world using OData or SOAP. These also use the permissions that are configured for the datagroups that are used as a datasource for these.

User-Management: User-Management is somewhat basic stuff that all solutions should have. But with the Intrexx user-management and its integration in the companies active-directories, we can help the IT managing Intrexx users from outside Intrexx. That is really cool and deserves an extra point.

Support for Planning and Teamwork: Except for user-management, the signal that an application or a process is currently locked, and the version-control with Git, there is no functionality for teamwork or communication included. So planning and communication needs to be done outside of the Intrexx-Manager.

Bonus

Data integrity: Intrexx stops me from losing sight of the big picture. For example, if I try to delete a data-field that is still used in some parts of the portal, Intrexx reminds me on that. That is a really great help for someone as forgetful as me.

Classic IDE feeling: For me as a trained software developer, Intrexx feels a bit like the IDEs I’m used to. I can identify very much with the way Intrexx works. Even before I worked for United Planet, when I first took a look at Intrexx, I understood how it works, just like that. And over the years Intrexx became like a second language to me. I’ve also taken a look at other Low-Code tools over the years, but none of them were so clear to me. But again, this is because I’m a trained software developer. Citizen Developers might say just the opposite.

Total Rating

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