My first encounter with low-code was in 2009. Back then, I was a .NET developer and all I knew was pure code - thousands and thousands of lines of code, hours on end spent writing code to get something to work.
When I headed for my new job in a company called Codeless, my role was to develop a product that enabled other people in the company to build software for customers using low-code. At first it was counter intuitive: how did people that couldn’t write code develop applications? Good, reliable applications, developed 10 times faster than I was ever able to get something to market.
How? Let me walk you through some of the interesting aspects of low-code development.
Have you ever heard about obsolete, out-of-time software? If yes, then you probably also heard about entire software landscapes that need rebuilding from ground up.
Think of a company that implemented an entire landscape of applications in the early 2000s. Assuming they did not use low-code, they most probably implemented those apps in all sorts of languages that are now obsolete - developers are hard to find, the latest OS-es might not even run them and we’re not even discussing mobile-platform support.
What low-code platforms bring to the table is complete abstraction from underlying technologies. For an application developed with low-code, it doesn’t matter if its platform is running on .NET or Java. If the low-code provider is adding mobile-platform support, it does not matter that your application was developed in 2005 - it will simply run on modern devices. And it’ll do it without development costs (analysis, development, testing, training, migration).
Quick and nimble
Low-Code developers don’t have to spend time and energy on the technical side of the implementation. They can focus on understanding what customers want and implement what they need on the spot. Think of a sales pitch where you could build what the customer requests on the fly - they’ll see value going up in front of their eyes.
Or think of the customer already running your low-code application asking for an urgent change that their business can’t do without. Provided that your low-code platform is mature enough,
Out of the box functionality
Any good application provides the following: a menu, user-access control, logging, reporting, file manipulation/attachments and security. So if the majority of the applications require these attributes, why do we need to build them over and over again? One could argue that there are existing libraries for each of these, but they still need to be integrated.
Why not have a base, barebone, application that already does all of the above so the developers only need to add functionalities specific to the particular business case? Why bother with security certifications when you can use a platform that is certified? Why audit user management implementation when a low-code platform has this readily available, fully tested and certified?
Visual, easy, reusable
A mature low-code platform can enable developers to implement applications by clicking and dragging entities on screen, linking them, defining relations and interactions between them. This way you can create business value without giving much thought to how controls on screen are created, how the application communicates with the database and so on.
If you’re worried that once you’ve started using low-code, you either stay and continue or start from scratch, know this: many platforms offer a simple way out called code generation. If a customer is in an irreparable situation with their low-code provider, they can simply request his application to be converted to conventional code. That way the know-how gained on low-code one can quite easily be translated and used into another platform.
Before jumping into developing your brand-new software ecosystem, do your research thoroughly - there may be the perfect low-code platform to serve your needs. And if you are a developer on the lookout for your next career move, check opportunities in the world of low-code - there might be a surprise in store for you.