Ionic vs. OutSystems: Best Value for Your Business

Low code development appears to be a great option for businesses to quickly bring a product to market. But there are potential problems with low code that extend beyond the ability to quickly create a mobile app.

Jon Crowl
Jon Crowl
Guest Writer
Ionic vs OutSystems

As your business narrows its search for the best mobile app development platform, two brand names likely to appear on your shortlist are Ionic and OutSystems. These industry-leading app development platforms often draw comparisons because of their similar platform approaches, which benefit both small businesses and enterprise organizations alike.

When comparing Ionic vs. OutSystems, a lot of different criteria must be considered. From coding and development to admin requirements and long-term flexibility, businesses want to make sure they’re choosing an app development platform that prioritizes performance and value today, while also providing a solid foundation for those businesses to evolve their app development in the future.

The choice between Ionic vs. OutSystems isn’t just a matter of serving your present-day app development needs. Your business needs to balance current development needs with the potential value of a long-term relationship with that development platform—especially when trying to account for an unpredictable future.

Looking for help in comparing the Ionic vs. OutSystems platforms, and determining which one offers the best fit for your business needs? Read on for our expert perspective.

Mobile App Development: How Do You Want to Code?

If you’re making a decision between Ionic vs. OutSystems, you’ve probably already entertained the idea of developing your enterprise app on a low code platform. Low code development appears to be a great option for organizations that want to harness the capabilities of beginning coders to quickly bring a product to market. But there are potential problems with low code that extend beyond the ability to quickly create a mobile app.

Low code development limits your ability to customize features and capabilities for your enterprise business. While low code is great for teams with limited developer talent, it can also fence your developers in—and prevent your business applications from fully serving your business needs and goals.

You might run into that problem when using a low code platform like OutSystems. But you won’t face those limitations when using Ionic’s open-source framework

While Ionic offers the speed-to-market and quick integration capabilities on par with OutSystems and other low code platforms, our open-source mobile UI toolkit and platform provides the flexibility for developers to build apps across all devices without being tethered to a specific low code development platform.  

Ionic’s open approach makes it easy for users to combine the benefits of low code development with the flexibility and performance value offered by open source development. 

The Benefits of Choosing an Open App Development Platform

A key difference between Ionic vs. OutSystems is the way these platforms are designed to connect with the outside world. OutSystems is designed as a “walled garden” that offers a selection of internal features and designs, but restricts your ability to source plugins and third-party connections from outside the platform. By choosing to build enterprise-grade applications on closed platforms like OutSystems, you’re relying on a closed technology that is used by very few professional developers. 

Ionic, by contrast, is an open ecosystem that makes it easy to integrate applications and connect whatever tools and services you want to your applications. This open ecosystem approach is ultimately more user friendly for businesses, delivering a number of key benefits, including:

Easy integration of new plugins, applications, and third-party solutions. Whether you’re connecting your front-end UI to a legacy system or an innovative new third-party solution, open ecosystems make it easy to build API connections that integrate those solutions seamlessly with your application. You won’t enjoy seamless integrations when using OutSystems, which can have  clunky and limited integration capabilities—including a tendency for those integrations to cause performance issues for the app.

Faster time-to-market potential. While low code development offers faster timelines than full-code development, open app development can streamline the development process even further—especially for cross-platform mobile development projects.

Access to a larger development community. Developer communities play an integral role in supporting your developers to deliver projects better and faster. Open development communities are much larger than the platform-specific communities built around OutSystems or other low-code platforms. From troubleshooting to open development tips, these communities can directly benefit your development projects.

A larger pool of skilled developer talent. Open development practices are taught to new developers all around the world. When your business opts for an open ecosystem, you expand your pool of potential applicants. Over time, this can lead to better in-house talent for your business, and prevents you from having your hiring candidates limited by your choice of mobile app development platform.

Consider Admin Time When Accounting for Long-Term Costs and ROI

The time and resource investment of implementing a new platform is one piece of criteria to consider. But when you’re planning to invest in a new platform for the long haul, the ongoing maintenance and admin time required by that platform should also be considered.

According to past customer reviews, Ionic’s ongoing admin requirements are far less burdensome than what OutSystems requires. Increased admin time is a drain on your organization’s resources, and those costs only accumulate the longer you use any particular app development platform. 

From this perspective, the value gap between Ionic and OutSystems will only increase over time—and that’s without accounting for the potential ways app development might change in the future.

How Open Standards Can Future-Proof Your Critical Apps

While OutSystems and Ionic each offer cross platform mobile development capabilities, the key difference between these two platforms is the integration of open web standards, which is only available through Ionic. Open web standards give developers more flexibility in customizing and specializing mobile apps with features and capabilities, which is a limitation of closed platforms like OutSystems. 

For example, as new open source UI libraries or JavaScript frameworks emerge in the future, you’ll be able to take advantage of these new tool sets as part of your Ionic project. It’s all because of the open nature of the Ionic approach.

Open standards can be particularly important when customizing applications with best-in-class security. While security is a common concern for enterprises investing in cross platform mobile  development, open development solutions like Ionic’s Identity Vault enable quick integration of powerful security layers for your mobile app.

Over time, an open hybrid framework will make it easier to integrate and fully utilize new tools developed with open standards. This means your applications built in an open framework will be well-positioned to evolve with emerging technology over time, rather than being left behind—at a cost to your business.

The Choice is Clear: Ionic’s Platform Delivers the Best Value for Your Business

An OutSystems advocate might argue that its platform offers a wider range of features and capabilities than the Ionic framework. While that may be technically true, that statement obscures a much bigger problem with the OutSystems platform: When it comes to integrating other applications and incorporating open-source features to support your development projects, OutSystems is too rigid to accommodate those needs.

At Ionic, our top priority is giving you the tools to achieve whatever you want in the app development space. This is why Ionic is pioneering a new approach to mobile app development known as “Open Code.” With our Open Code approach, your business has full flexibility to build new apps or extend existing ones through development processes that embrace open standards and utilize any web library or framework.

No matter how you want to code your next project, Ionic can make it happen. Find out how Ionic can enable and enhance your mobile app development—connect with an Ionic App Strategist today.

About Ionic

Ionic is the leading cross-platform developer solution with 5 million developers worldwide. It powers 15% of apps in the app store, not including thousands of apps built internally at enterprises for every line-of-business need. Ionic is unique in that it takes a web-first approach, leveraging HTML, CSS, and Javascript to build high-quality iOS, Android, desktop, and Progressive Web Apps.

Ionic is a leader in enterprise app development. Thousands of enterprise customers use Ionic to build mission-critical apps for their customers, both external and internal.

You’re in good company. Ionic powers millions of apps at some of the smartest companies in the world.

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