What is Mendix?

Let me first say is that I have very limited exposure to Mendix. I have however submitted a proposal to consider it for a corporate innovation initiative. The proposal was worded by Stream Group and didn’t refer specifically to Mendix but rather to Model-Driven Development. At some point I am going to have to explain what that means and my concern is so far I don’t really see Mendix as primarily model-driven. To me a model is some abstract representation. We assume the model would represent the real system in some more accessible way. So far I’ve only seen the data pane and microflows as things which are obviously models. The domain specific languages – another aspect of the Mendix proposition – seem to be limited to OLQ and XPath which hardly set it apart from other platforms. What seems to me to be the predominant paradigm so far is form filling. I recognize this can hide an enormous amount of complexity (and typical conventional frameworks are getting frighteningly complicated these days). A BA or business domain expert could more easily examine and interpret forms than C# code but I’m not sure forms can be called models. It is quite compelling to be able to connect easily to (certain types of) web services, and in turn to expose your application as a web service with a few clicks of the mouse but do you think ‘model-driven’ is the most accurate way to characterize Mendix?
4 answers

Hi Mike,

i think you cover good points. For Mendix model driven means that models are, beside useful design documents, executable things that drive real applications. For this reason those models entail sometimes more low-level or technical constructs to fill in the details of the application.

Those constructions are indeed less high level. We experienced with removing some of those low level concepts, but this led not only to a technical more complex product, but also to a conceptual more complex product, were the application did exactly what it was asked to do, but not what the user expected it to do. So the proper level of abstraction always remains a difficult question.

Finally, do not underestimate the tremendous amount of stuff which is abstracted from in the modeler. But most of those abstractions are primarily technical, such as that you encounter no HTTP, HTML or JavaScript, nor (vanilla) SQL stuff in the modeler.

Furthermore, Johan wrote a lot about this subject.


Hello Jacco and Mike,

I'm part of the partner team and also sometimes involved in direct sales opportunities. What Jacco states is true, it will help for "business"-people to have the process designer integrated in the tool, and this will be in some later update of 2.5 (I think it will actually happen somewhere in the coming months).

But even without this process editor Mendix is very well sold/presented to corporate/business people. When I present a demo of the tool to business people everyone can understand what I'm doing. They understand the logic of a data layer and the creation of forms and business logic. They see it's very agile so you can do changes all the time and add extra functionality and understand that you can develop very quickly and certain solutions are already available via our app store.

So when you talk to business/corporate people you can convince them with a few arguments:

  • They can actually understand the logic and see the decision being made in the model (microflows). So they're aligned with the project and can actually have direct influence in building the app (even if they don't work with the tool),
  • Building the app goes very rapidly, so the time to market is decreased 3-5 times compared with traditional programming,
  • There is a wide range of solutions already available that can simply be used to solve their problem and be shown in a demo.

Let me know if this is useful, if you have any additional questions please let me know.


Hi Michel

The Strategy Team who will evaluate the suggestion to look at Mendix, have a Rational manual on their book case. I don't think they use Rational but I could imagine they would see that as model-driven. I need to put across that Mendix uses some modelling - particularly interesting is the visual programming microflows - but is more a rapid application development environment for the 21st Century. I don't know if anyone else here has tried to position Mendix to corporate people.


Modelling is possible with the add-on created by Mendix and Bizzdesign. My information was that this would be added to the Mendix 2.5 module (which is not).

In order to sell Mendix to "corporate" people I am convinced that the Bizzdesign add-on should be added.

Maybe someone from Mendix can explain why this module was not added to the 2.5 version.

See http://www.mendix.com/tag/bizzdesign/