While presenting information is one of the key features in an App, it seems that Mendix starts to lack the right tools to implement data displaying in a way required in a 2023 App.
Good UI for data displaying and filtering in Mendix Apps is often only possible to achieve by implementing highly customized solutions, as the out-of-the-box widgets are too often too simple or too limited to do the job.
These customizations require multiple default/market-place widgets, data sources, nanoflows, microflows and extensive styling, which has nothing to do with the low-code context anymore and can also affect maintainability and reuse.
I tried to understand this, as years ago the Grid and Listview widgets were the main tools to work with. The Grid widget did its job and had a clear philosophy in the way it works and matches the low-code concept. The Listview came at hand when more customization was needed, it was less of a out-of-the-box solution and required more advanced skills, but it was simple and straight-forward to use.
Although still useful these widget required updates to match new UI standards and Mendix picked this up. Both Grid and Listview are now reported to be deprecated and were substituted by their successors, like Grid2.
But in my humble opinion it feels like these successors aren’t ready for the job ☹ Among the reasons for this I like to mention: they don’t provide the required low-code flexibility and speed of development the original Grid used to have, they lack important basic key features, are too often clumsy and labour intensive in use in Mendix, they are not really clean implemented on HTML/CSS level, they don’t provide the UI in the App required in 2023, it’s simply too limited.
In general I have the feeling the new widgets are going in the right direction, but somehow it seems development stopped somewhere at 70%, the developers left the building and nobody is there to continue. Secretly I hope the new widgets are just try-out beta versions of new great widgets to come, but looking at the time Grid2 already exists, this period seems to be a bit too long for that.
So the basis question to Mendix is:
How come Mendix Studio Pro is advancing so much on many levels, but it fails so strongly on the UI? While the UI is at the end the most important item. It feels like Mendix started with the invention of the car, made a T-Ford, next puts years of developing in creating an amazing engine, suspension, breaks and more, but forgets to upgrade the wheels and body, so out of the box it stills rides and looks like a T-Ford and it’s up to the customer to try to create the body-work and design the wheels. This is all fine, and there are enough people who are willing to spend the time for it and would love to do so, but this can’t be called low-code anymore.
I agree, this could use some love.
making interfaces that have the same level of expected usability means creating a lot of custom solutions.
here is a screenshot from a dutchwebshop, if you look at the features of the filter,
something as simple as being able to show/hide over an association, and counting the amount, is more then a drag and drop.
Having some kind of listen to filter would make the UI slightly more flexible.
There are also some issues with he way DG2 is created in HTML when copy pasting to a spreadsheet.
Hi Tom, what do you mean by “provide the UI in the App required in 2023”? What are you missing? What (full-code) alternatives are you referencing to which do this in a right way?
Interesting discussion point.
Personally I can see your issues and do have my own concerns with datagrid 2. The team does seem to consistently pump out monthly updates and bug fixes which is great but as you say it hasn’t fully replaced all of the d1 features yet (export to excel being the big one). It only recently got multi select which after a year… does seem dissapointing and should have released with it. It’s something I REALLY hope Mendix drops everything else and focuses on.
I do however think they’ve done great pushing styling and better UI/UX with multi params for snippets being the key feature that was recently added to make “reusable components” easier for a low code dev to make.
Custom widgets are always going to be a requirement but looking at most react / vue pre made component libraries, mendix marketplace covers most of the packages already. For star / slider / etc… so I think is fine as is.
Styling wise, you’re just always going to need to know that extra css / scss knowledge if you really want to customise your app fully and they already support that as best they can with atlas ui and bootstrap classes. Building blocks are great for this as well but It’s not something I can see any solution being able to handle this better. There isn’t really a “low code” alternative for this.