March 2, 2021

Low-Code Explained: What it is, What it’s Not, and Some of the Benefits.

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One of the things this global pandemic has shown us is the crucial part software solutions play in our everyday lives. Going from an office work environment to a remote work environment has probably been easier for software development companies than for certain other industries, however, the demand to build digital solutions for companies or with companies in very short time frames has increased exponentially.

Luckily, there is this amazing thing called LOW-CODE, helping to ease the load upon the shoulders of the IT industry allowing them to create solutions up to 5 times faster than with traditional development. But what is low-code? How will it help? Will I still be in control? Will my developers adopt it? Will I cause more technical debt? How easy is it to maintain? Will I run into limitations? These are common questions that the technical community will ask and that we can answer for you, but some of these questions we will answer in the next article.

Low-code is essentially a visual development environment that automates a lot of the hand-coding normally associated with the traditional development process. To enable faster delivery of software solutions, low-code automates every step of the application life cycle creating an ROI (Return on Investment) and exceptionally low TCO, compared to traditional software development, within a relatively short time. There are a few misconceptions about low-code. As both a low-code and traditional coding specialist, JustSolve would like to help debunk some of these myths in this article:

Low-code is only for simple applications.

Yes, a low-code platform can be used to build simple applications, but you can do so much more than that. Unlike no-code, low-code platforms allow you to build highly scalable applications and complex solutions fast. Just have a look at this case study for NES Financial.

Low-code will limit my development team.

When considering a low-code platform for your company, remember that not all platforms are created the same and that a great low-code platform should be extendible without limits.

Low-code will cause vendor Lock-In.

All low-code, and indeed no-code, platform vendors promise faster and simpler ways to build applications. However, building the application is just a fraction of the full software lifecycle.

There are two types of low-code platforms used for execution:

  • Code-generation platforms output executable code that can be installed on a variety of standard infrastructures. OutSystems is one such platform.
  • Model-driven execution platforms host the application in such a way that the platform interprets and executes the model directly at runtime.

If vendor lock-in is a real fear for your company, then the necessity to interpret the model at runtime probably does not help your cause? If you decide to cancel your subscription license of the platform, you’ll no longer have access to the proprietary technology that makes your app(s) run. That’s game over for your applications. Your exit options are perhaps limited to raw data exports and some static documentation, but thankfully code-generating platforms like OutSystems provide several of the advantages that might seem compelling to you:

  • The ability to create native mobile apps.
  • The ability to create apps that work when disconnected from the internet.
  • The likelihood that apps perform better compared to those that require runtime interpretation.
  • The ability to continue using deployed apps even if the vendor disappeared.

Low-code lacks sophisticated security.

Application security is not a matter to be taken lightly. Low-code platforms can significantly speed up application delivery because of the security automation capabilities built into these platforms. Cybercrime is fueling demand for cybersecurity experts much faster than industry and universities can deliver raw talent. This means it’s a great time to be a cybersecurity pro, and a terrible time if you’re trying to hire one. With millions of dollars invested by a team of security experts, these platforms will most likely be more secure than your internal team can ever make their traditional apps.

Low-code means no programming.

The drag-and-drop features and models cover typical use cases, speeding up production and allowing developers to focus on value-adding activities and digital customer experiences that will make them stand out in the crowd. The no-programming features and visual interface make it seem like that’s all there is to low-code.

That is not the case, developers are still a crucial part of the development cycle, especially when it comes to building more complex applications. Some features that your app requires might not fall under the typical use cases that are covered by the drag-and-drop features and that is where the developers hand-code the features that your app needs to fulfil its business and user goals.

Low-code should also not be confused with no-code, as there are distinct differences between the two.

Low-code = no architecture planning.

Low-code will never replace architecture planning. The architecture is a vital part of a software solution and without it, the application will fall apart or not work as intended. Think of when a house is built without an architectural plan and what a big mess that would be. It is the same when it comes to building and developing an application. Low-code simply decreases the development time to deliver an application. It doesn’t replace any steps within the software development life cycle.

The number of companies adopting low-code platforms is rising, and by 2024, Gartner forecasts that 65% of all development will be done using these low-code platforms.

Some benefits of low-code:

Companies experience many benefits when deciding on transitioning to low-code development or making low-code part of their delivery strategy, including:

  • Rapid development and delivery
  • Third-party integrations
  • Built-in audit trails and security processes
  • Saving time and resources
  • Future-proofing with easily maintained components
  • Brilliant customer experiences

These are only a few, amongst many more, but you can learn more about how low-code can supercharge application development and the top benefits of low-code platforms by clicking on the provided links.

How JustSolve Uses OutSystems:

OutSystems is a leading low-code platform with which you can build out-of-the-box enterprise-grade applications. We have been a partner of OutSystems since 2016 and have established a centre of excellence within the OutSystems community. We have all the capabilities needed to help you dust off and tackle that long backlog of apps within your company. Please find our partner profile here.

By using OutSystems, we can provide rapid development at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods. OutSystems tackles today’s technological problems while encouraging powerful concepts that you haven’t even considered yet. The OutSystems platform allows you to design your apps visually, easily integrate with any framework, and change apps without limitations where everyone can work together to provide the best solutions and unleash the creative potential within the entire company.

In conclusion, the consistent need for safe, secure, scalable, and high-quality applications with faster delivery times proves that low-code will form a big part of the future and how development is done. Don’t wait too long to accelerate your organisation’s digital transformation. Time waits for no one, and remember, enterprise-grade equals peace of mind.

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Chané Fourie
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