Many of us in the online community know
How would you describe working with AIMMS?
It’s been a very different experience for me. With AIMMS, we were given a lot of trust and freedom to do what we think is best. AIMMS is also not a typical software company. Generally, in software development, you develop an application for users. When it comes to AIMMS, your user base is completely different. You are developing a product for modelers to build applications. This means you have 2 audiences: end users and modelers. This makes it an interesting software engineering challenge.
Can you share some examples of challenges you addressed?
Something specific that comes to mind was when we were improving the map widget in the early days. We wanted to improve the way arcs and nodes were displayed. But the map was built in a certain way and we kept thinking about solving a specific problem for the end user, not really thinking about how it affects the app developer. We went into solution mode, and started working around that. Then we realized that what we were building was difficult for the modeler to configure. It would no longer be easy for them to make changes on the fly to the application. AIMMS is really model-driven. The more power you give to the model, the more flexibility you give the user on the UI.
We realized that we needed to see things from multiple perspectives. On the one hand, we need to enable someone to build applications easily. On the other hand, the end user needs to be able to interact seamlessly with the app and make changes to the data. When we realized this, new solutions opened up.
Can you tell us about some newer projects like the new widget framework?
Absolutely. The WebUI is mainly about visualization and building interactivity with end users. We want to be able to build new features faster, but we have a relatively small team. So, we started thinking about how we could make it easier for the wider community to create widgets and contribute. The new framework is also a move to bring the community together to help each other and contribute. That’s the grand vision. It will also enable us to release new, interactive widgets ourselves as well.
Speaking about the community, you’ve been very involved in this forum. Has the online community been helpful in your product owner role?
Yes, the community makes it easier to get feedback and share ideas. The ideation section is amazing; it’s another forum for us to understand the features customers require. We can look at it and match it with our backlog. Several ideas will be taken care of by the new framework and new widgets we are building, for example.
Ideas have also resulted in interesting conversations with partners which help us understand the needs of power users. Some of them have been working with AIMMS for a very long time, so they give you very good insight and inspiration.
The product updates also help to keep customers and partners informed about changes and improvements.
Very happy to hear you found the online community valuable! Tell us something we may not know about you.
I am a fan of specialty beers. In fact, visiting small breweries/pubs was among the highlights of my visits to the team in the Netherlands.
On behalf of the community and the entire AIMMS team, cheers and farewell Pratap! We wish you the best in your new role and hope to connect with you again in the near future!