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What is OutSystems vendor lock-in?

"Standard architecture with no lock-in"

 This is what OutSystems claims, but is it true?

At any point, should you stop your OutSystems subscription, you can retrieve and keep:

  • the last version of the generated source code for your applications - so you can deploy and run them in your infrastructure with no need for custom interpreters, runtimes or any kind of proprietary library. If you have to make small changes to your applications, you can do so with standard tools (e.g. change them with Visual Studio, manage them under a standard source control system).
  • your application data, in the last version of your database schema - so you can continue to use existing data for existing applications, progressively migrate or integrate it from other applications, or just keep it for historical purposes.

This statement is only partly true. Do they allow you to move your applications to your Microsoft stack easily and from then be able to change your code base with Microsoft Visual studio? The simple answer is NO! It is very cumbersome work and requires a large project to move your code and detach it from OutSystems.

If you have built multiple applications that were tightly coupled, and believe me your architects did not prepare for this detachment by loosely coupling upfront, the project becomes even more complex. In all the cases we have seen, it was faster and therefore cheaper just to rebuild the application in a new, and this time open, platform.

So the truth of the matter is OutSystems is very much tied to the runtime, and therefore you are completely locked in to one vendor.

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