At PegaWorld 2018, Pegasystems has launched Pega Community to help its customers create better software. Importantly, this is not just aimed at developer communities. Pega has its own low-code development environment. Like others in the low-code space, it sees a place for the user/developer.
The growth of automation and bots as part of digital transformation means that there is more demand for solutions. Users who would once write macros are now using low-code solutions to build their own bots to deal with repetitive tasks.
Pega is targeting this group specifically. It wants to engage them both on its Pega Infinity platform and help them customise and extend the platform. The advantage of doing this through low-code is that there should be no bar to the level of development skills required.
Don Schuerman, chief technology officer and vice president, product marketing, Pegasystems said: “The definition of a developer has changed – it no longer exclusively refers to seasoned professionals with deep coding experience. People of all experience levels need to be empowered to create applications that help their organizations achieve their digital transformation goals.
“Pega Community aims to change how software is built and who gets to build it by enabling all users to create and implement successful projects that can transform individuals’ careers and their organizations.”
What is in Pega Community?
The announcement lists three things that are shipping within Pega Community today. They are:
- Pega Launchpad: This is a training environment that will allow a user to get familiar with Pega features. This will provide them with the skills to start developing applications. As users get more proficient they will gain ‘badges’. This is an approach that is used by a number of open source vendor communities. It gives users a goal to aim at and allows others to identify in-house and community experts. The challenge will be making sure that this doesn’t become a badge collectors paradise. Pega will need to provide evidence of skills outside of just going through some onscreen courses.
- Pega Community Profiles and ”Find a Pega Pro”: Every member in the community gets their own expanded profile page. Users can use them to showcase their ability and skills. For some employers this will act as a potential CV. For others, it will enable them to find an expert inside their business who can deal with new projects and help with existing ones. It will be interesting to see how Pega recognises people with extensive profiles. Will it make the Most Valuable Person’s? Will it use profiles to invite them to events with expenses paid or with significant discounts? How often will it draw on Pega Pro’s to give talks at its events?
- Project Hub: This is the heart of the Pega Community site. It is the Pegasystems equivalent of the Microsoft Developer Network and TechNet. What will be important to many community members is how this is managed. For example, will they get early access to new products? How often will new technical guides to products be published? How often will Pega drop new sample code? Perhaps the biggest question is: will this become Pega’s GitHub for its community?
What does this mean
The plans for the new community sound good. Pega has delivered a vision that should help anyone with its customers start to build solutions for Pega Infinity. However, there is a long way to go before this can be considered successful.
Teaching people the basics of how to write a macro and automate tasks is one thing. Stepping that up to be applications is another. In between there are challenges such as how to design software properly and testing. Pega likes to talk about ‘design thinking’. It will have to ensure that it delivers that knowledge to people as they earn ‘badges’. It will also have to ensure that the use of testing tools is part of the process that ‘developers’ are taught.
It will also be interesting to see how quickly Pega builds out the number of courses and who, in the community, steps in to help. Building these types of community environments and then keeping them alive and vibrant is no easy task. Many larger vendors with established developer communities have closed them down over the past few years.
Building the training modules is arguably the hardest part. Will we see Pega join with an established training provider? One option could be to create a partnership with someone like Lynda.com.
One last challenge will be how far Pega can go to help developers and customers monetise their solutions. Will they put them in the new ISV app store environment? If so, that raises the bar even higher. However, for projects such as the Pega Blockchain Innovation Kit this could work well. It would allow companies, for example, to share their experiences with creating smart contracts.
Overall, this is a positive announcement and we will wait and see how it develops over the next year.