Reports on evaluation of low-code development platforms
Table of contents
Product overview: RakRak Framework3
RakRak Framework3 is a low-code platform provided by Japanese company Sumitomo Electric Information Systems.
The concept of this platform is component assembly development. Users develop applications by assembling components consisting of UI and basic logic in the RakStudio development tool and then customizing the operations of those components from the perspectives of UI and logic.
There is also an extensive range of features to automatically generate application prototypes that can process tables (records)expressed in data models, making RakRak Framework3 highly suited to the data-oriented approach, where data models are carefully considered before proceeding to the development stage.
Component assembly development
The main point that distinguishes RakRak Framework3 is that applications are developed by assembling large granular screen components called program patterns.
Program patterns are general components that wrap multiple elements, including screens (single screens, lists, etc.), screen transitions, database access operations and error checks. Search patterns, registration patterns and update patterns are also program patterns.
A registration pattern contains elements for the entire registration process, including input screens, input checks, confirmation screens, registration processes and result display screens, but is not dependent on a specific table.
An employee registration program can be completed by applying (linking) a pattern like this to an employee table. In RakRak Framework3, a program consists of a program pattern applied to a specific table.
After generating a program, the user defines detailed operations by customizing the information displayed on the screen and adding action components such as checking of composite items, sending emails and displaying messages.
Over 900 program patterns are available, all with guaranteed quality, enabling efficient development of high-quality programs simply by selecting the appropriate program pattern, linking it to each table and then customizing.
Automatic generation from data models
When creating a program, users need to select the right components from a large range and then assemble those components.
To make this work more efficient, RakRak Framework3 has a feature to automatically generate programs from data models.
When a data model is imported into the RakStudio development tool, multiple program patterns are selected to suit the structure of the table and multiple programs consisting of list screens, detail screens and other sub-screens are automatically generated to perform master maintenance of each table.
The program details that are generated are called prototypes. Around 10 prototypes with different screen configurations are generated. The user then selects the prototype that meets their requirements and develops the application based on this.
The application that is automatically generated is a simple master maintenance application. The user then completes the application to fulfill their purpose by adding UI and adjusting the logic to suit their requirements.
Flexibility of screen design
In addition to a feature for making fine adjustments to object positions and decorations in automatically generated screens, RakRak Framework3 has a feature for importing HTML source code or a style sheet prepared by the user.
Flexibility and extensibility of logic
Development in RakRak Framework3 takes the form of assembling components. Logic is designed by customizing the activation conditions or operations of processes called actions in the assembled parts.
Logic is expressed as a linear processing order as shown below. There are no actions equivalent to branches, but there are loop actions.
This table is an English translation of the Japanese part of the above figure.
Processes that cannot be achieved using the actions that are provided need to be added by creating a Jar file in Java as an add-on. RakRak Framework3 provides an interface that ensures that add-ons will not be affected by product version upgrades.
A developer’s impression of this product
Below is a developer’s impression of RakRak Framework3.
(This impression is based on the developer’s experience in building a sample application after attending the free seminar and learning from publicly available materials. A developer who pays to attend the full three- to five-day training may have a different impression.)
I found that RakRak Framework3’s automatic generation feature achieves the most complete result out of the three products I tested, as it generates around 10 prototypes with slightly different list and detail displays.RakRak Framework3 requires any complicated processes to be created in Java, but this was not needed in the sample application I built. With that said, I got the impression that developers need to consider the extent to which this will be needed when developing more complicated applications.Since products can be customized simply by setting properties, I got the impression that this can be handled easily without programming experience, but there are a lot of settings, and I got the impression that developers will need sufficient knowledge of how to use them effectively.I think that if you have sufficient knowledge about the components and will be developing an application where the functions can be performed by the features of the components, you can develop an application quite efficiently without programming experience.
Situations where RakRak Framework3 is effective
Below are the benefits of RakRak Framework3 and the situations it is suited to.
- The core principle is that applications are developed from data models.
->Ideal for DOA development.
->Also ideal for situations where the application will be introduced independently without changing any existing databases.
- Prototypes with an extensive range of features can be generated automatically.
->Ideal for building an application with many screens where the main features consist of CRUD operations in tables and uploading and downloading of CSVs and/or Excel files.
->Also ideal for situations where working elements need to be checked quickly.
- The server is licensed without billing users.
->Ideal for environments where the application will be used by many users, such as internal systems in large companies.
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