Hi, I’m Anna Buchanan and I am currently one half of QA Consulting’s Pega Technical Leads team. My role surrounds the growing and supporting of their Pega offering, as well as supporting Pega consultants in the field. In addition to this, I am also based on site as a Certified Senior System Architect and I am currently studying for my Lead System Architect qualification.
Over the course of the coming months I will be updating you on the latest in Pega technology, starting with Pega Express.
One of Pega’s unique selling points has always been its accessibility, with a focus on business friendly development tools. In the latest version of Pega, 7.1.9, a new tool has come out to further enhance that philosophy called Pega Express.
What does it do?
Pega Express is an alternate authoring view from the standard Designer Studio interface, which is used by most Pega developers. It’s been stripped down to vital features and it feels much more uncluttered than the full development portal. The result of this is a more user friendly interface.
It was first showcased at PegaWorld and received great customer feedback. Customers said that they really wanted to see more of it, so Pega decided to go ahead and make the full version.
The aim of Pega Express is to further abstract development from traditional coding methods, in order to bring the business closer to their applications, by empowering them to prototype their own applications. This can be shared and worked on with the Business Analysts and when it’s ready, switched over to Designer Studio, where the full complexity and power of Pega can be used to create the end application.
Just in Time Learning
One of the best parts of Pega Express is the concept of hands-on learning. Express can be used as a crash course in application development, there are in-context help boxes displayed throughout development, and virtual tours for the different areas of the tool. Challenges and Achievements have been introduced to encourage exploring the tool, these achievements are recorded uniquely for each user, allowing multiple people to access them on the same application. This makes a welcome change from the Pega Academy material which is largely academic. If your learning style isn’t suited to the Pega Academy, this could be the perfect alternative for developer training for you.
User Acceptance Testing Upfront
As a developer, you can create a sandbox prototype for your end users, which they are encouraged to edit and adapt for themselves. You can invite collaborators via email to get as many stakeholders involved as needed. It’s accessible via mobile and tablet as well, which makes it possible for prototypes to be reviewed on the go. I personally would recommend exploring the tool for yourself and understanding how best to leverage it, before handing it over to the business. There is a dedicated Pega Express forum on the PDN for any questions that do come up.
Where is it going?
Pega says in the future they want to open this tool up to its additional products, Pega Marketing etc. As well as the core offering, they want a stronger focus on the ability to use existing applications and build on top of them. At the moment you can reuse organisational layers but it is limited. One of the only downsides it that the current version is only available in English, something Pega aims to change soon.
This tool has the potential to be very useful, allowing businesses to get even closer to their software solutions, as building something the business actually needs is a daily challenge for most developers. Ultimately, the more you can empower your business owners to show you what they want rather than tell, the better results you will get, as sometimes concepts aren’t as useful to end users as they think they will be when stuck in long elaboration meetings. Pega Express allows those problems to be found early and provides a faster way to get started with applications.