Improving the developer experience with a low-code process modelling language

Henrique Henriques, Hugo Lourenço, Vasco Amaral, Miguel Goulão

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Context: The OutSystems Platform is a development environment composed of several DSLs, used to specify, quickly build and validate web and mobile applications. The DSLs allow users to model different perspectives such as interfaces and data models, define custom business logic and construct process models. Problem: The DSL for process modelling (Business Process Technology (BPT)), has a low adoption rate and is perceived as having usability problems hampering its adoption. This is problematic given the language maintenance costs. Method: We used a combination of interviews, a critical review of BPT using the “Physics of Notation” and empirical evaluations of BPT using the System Usability Scale (SUS) and the NASA Task Load indeX (TLX), to develop a new version of BPT, taking these inputs and Outsystems' engineers culture into account. Results: Evaluations conducted with 25 professional software engineers showed an increase of the semantic transparency on the new version, from 31% to 69%, an increase in the correctness of responses, from 51% to 89%, an increase in the SUS score, from 42.25 to 64.78, and a decrease of the TLX score, from 36.50 to 20.78. These differences were statistically significant. Conclusions: These results suggest the new version of BPT significantly improved the developer experience of the previous version. The end users background with OutSystems had a relevant impact on the final concrete syntax choices and achieved usability indicators.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - 21st ACM/IEEE International Conference on Model Driven Engineering Languages and Systems, MODELS 2018
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Pages200-210
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781450349499
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2018
Event21st ACM/IEEE International Conference on Model Driven Engineering Languages and Systems, MODELS 2018 - Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 14 Oct 201819 Oct 2018

Conference

Conference21st ACM/IEEE International Conference on Model Driven Engineering Languages and Systems, MODELS 2018
Country/TerritoryDenmark
CityCopenhagen
Period14/10/1819/10/18

Keywords

  • Developer Experience
  • Low-Code Languages

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