Until recently, only programmers had the power to write code that guided various aspects of our professional and personal lives. What they created, the rest of us learned how to use to function in an increasingly digital world. But soon the software ate up the world, and the programming hierarchy had to come up with a new plan to support it. The low code platforms were quickly set up and served. The question now is whether the low code is a satisfactory course or a portion of junk food.

“The low code can be like fast food: it comes quickly and in bright packaging, but it’s bad for you, your community and your ecosystem,” he warns. Sean O’Brien Lecturer at Yale Law School, Yale Law Society Information Society Project Founder, Founder of Yale Law School Yale Privacy Lab Internet Service Provider and Principal Lecturer in the Oxford Cyber ​​Security Program.

But the low code can be delicious, especially when the goals are speed and agility at cheap prices. And they are always the goals.

The answer to the question of whether a low code is good for your company is “depends”. And this dependence depends first on who uses it.

“If low code is treated as a strict IT tool and excludes business – just like manual coding – you run the risk of creating new technical debt, but this time with photos,” said Rachel Brennan, vice president of product marketing at Bizagi, an automation provider. of low code processes.

However, when platforms without code and low code are used by both civic developers and software developers, whether this satisfies the hunger for more development stems from “how” it is used, not from whom.

But first, it is important to note the differences between low-code platforms for developers and those for civic developers. Low code for tables usually means visual tools and simple frames that mask the complex coded operations that lie below. Usually, these tools can realistically be used only for relatively simple applications.

“Low-code tools for developers offer tools, frameworks, and drag-and-drop tools, but ALSO include an encryption option when the developer wants to customize the application – such as developing an API or integrating the application with other systems or customizing front-end interfaces. end, ”explains Miguel Valdes Faura, CEO and co-founder of Bonitasoft, an open source and low code business process management platform.

The good in low code

There are various benefits for organizations when using low-code application development platforms that “accelerate application development over traditional manual coding methods by providing a development framework and reusable components. As companies accelerate application development, they can enter the market faster and improve their competitive advantageaccording to Isaac Gould, research manager for Nucleus Research.

Gould added that other benefits for companies include:

• Reduced friction between IT and business users by allowing collaboration through tools. For example, business users can design workflows and application frameworks, while developers manage more complex aspects of the development / operations cycle, such as integrations and troubleshooting.

• Reduced developer fees and third-party software costs. This is achieved by using LCAP to develop applications that can bridge functionality gaps and completely replace enterprise solutions. For example, he said, an investment firm opening an office in a new region will have new regulations to combat. Instead of implementing a new ERP system capable of managing regional compliance requirements, which can take months to a year, businesses are developing and implementing a compliance tracking mechanism in a matter of weeks.

The low code also lowers the barrier to entry for an army of civilian developers working inside or outside your company.

“A simple application created by a civilian developer can be turned into an enterprise-wide solution by an IT specialist for mass deployment. This encourages widespread use, as such an application is created by those who are closest to the problems the application seeks to solve, ”said Dinesh Varadharajan, Chief Product Officer at Kissflow, a cloud-based BPM platform.

Also, where the low code really shines is helping to constantly fill the talent pipeline.

“Children use computers from the age of three, and early-age children already work in low-code, no-code environments in their school classrooms,” said Michael Hunger, senior director of consumer innovation at Neo4j.

Hunger also pointed out that the low code is an advantage to entice people to enter STEM training, as it “encourages them to understand more technical topics and proves that ordinary people are capable of learning complex skill sets.”

Another place where low code is useful is self-activation for people who want to do their own thing.

“Low code development is a term that refers to the use of well-developed tools for streamlined and efficient creation of digital products. Examples include Wix, Squarespace, WordPress and similar platforms, which allow the rapid deployment of modern websites with very little or no coding for deployment, “said Michael Feinberg, chief technology officer of Hadean, a company that aims to democratize supercomputer resources. “To enable developers, data scientists and decision makers to solve the world’s most critical problems.”

This has proven to be a very effective strategy for small businesses, says Feinberg, “and those with technological needs in the style of brochures.” But it can also be used in e-commerce and analytics, both of which can also be “included under the low-code umbrella just as easily.”

The bad in Low Code

Although the pros are annoying, this technology, like all others, has an aftertaste. In other words, there is always one but after the buzzing.

“It’s debatable whether low code is hit or missed, but it’s safe to say that choosing a low-code or no-code option simplifies the overall complexity for developers by shrinking pieces of the technology stack. In that case, you just hope the tool you choose meets your needs today and in the future, ”said Steve Sewell, CEO of Builder.io, a visual drag-and-drop editor and provider of a content-free content management system. head.

“Unfortunately, this is not a working system as the organization grows and scales. Businesses are constantly tearing up and replacing parts of their stack to be as dynamic as a growing business. With low-code, no-code tools, you’ll have to scratch everything you’ve already built within your chosen development platform, which is less than ideal, ”adds Sewell.

This is not the only thing that can make the situation worse.

“Your platform without code or low code may conflict with your existing code base. When we built Plasmic, it was a high priority for us – we knew we would lose leads if our product didn’t integrate with React, Vue, vanilla JavaScript and all the other web development frameworks / languages, “said Yang Zhang, CEO. of Plasmic, a visual creator of non-code pages and a CMS provider.

“Even when your codeless platform works, you may still be pinging your developers to make quick fixes and workarounds or provide technical support. These are all problems that the codeless platform had to eliminate, “Zhang added.

And yes, things can get worse. “The ugly part about low-code platforms is when it comes to bugs,” said Mark Feradu, vice president of strategy at grid.ai. “By definition, you get a wrapper around the code and hope they detect errors in a way that is human-readable. However, this is not always the case and it is also difficult to cover every edge. Therefore, you may find that you receive errors that you cannot understand. And you may be stuck and not understand why, “he said.

The worst case scenario in this scenario is that the errors are silent and the end user feels the weight of them, Feradu added.

But low code can get even uglier with its own scripting languages ​​and lack of version control (depending on the platform, of course).

“Codeless and low-code platforms sometimes create their own languages ​​that you can use to go beyond their drag-and-drop features. Now your team has a whole new language to learn and one that is only suitable for this particular platform. That’s infuriating, “said Zhang.

“It’s better to have a platform that allows you to encode in a widely used language than something that the company has created itself. At least then you don’t have to train someone just to get things done, “Zhang added.

Opponents agree that there is no magic shortcut to building good code.

“From the developer’s point of view, we usually deviate from a ‘magic’ solution – which means we can’t fully see or understand how it works, and therefore we don’t have complete control over how it works. This makes the code less flexible, which is usually the biggest failure of the code, says Stefan Thorpe, Cherre’s chief engineering officer, real estate data aggregator and analyst provider for investors, real estate managers and insurers.

The big picture

As with everything else, low code platforms have fans and detractors. The key to determining if these platforms will work for your company is to carefully determine the result you are looking for and let that guide the tools you use.

Low code development platforms can provide some short-term benefits, perhaps for non-technical people, to build solutions due to a lack of developers, because there is a shortage of talent after all. And maybe they are enough for some internal needs. But when it came time to build external applications for competitive advantage, low-code development platforms largely failed, ”said Eric Gfeser, director and chief architect at Deloitte Global.

“At the very least, companies need to be aware of what they are likely to do when they want to adopt such a platform so that they can also actively plan for the long term. As it turns out, most applications simply have a longer life than originally expected, “adds Gfeser.

What to read next:

Why Consigli uses low project management code

Can AI lead the way in developing low / no code applications?

4 common reasons low code projects fail


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