The pros and cons of low-code app development
Simply put, low-code implies not writing code in order to build an application. The application can then be built either by using a visual based editor to drag and drop objects on a screen with pre-defined actions or selecting from a list of pre-rolled applications that do any number of pre-defined functions
According to a recent Forrester Research survey, 23% of 3,200 developers said their firms have adopted low-code development platforms, and another 22% said their organizations plan to adopt low-code platforms in the next year. John Rymer, an analyst at Forrester mentioned in the survey said that this data was gathered in late 2018, so by the end of this year, those numbers should combine to be close to 50% of developers whose organizations have adopted low-code platforms.
Simply put, low-code implies not writing code in order to build an application. The application can then be built either by using a visual based editor to drag and drop objects on a screen with pre-defined actions or selecting from a list of pre-rolled applications that do any number of pre-defined functions. Furthermore, low-code development platforms often offer templates that give structure, through pre-proposed functionalities that can be modified to preference or removed on basis of need. There are varying opinions regarding low-code, but the fact of the matter is that it is here to stay. Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of using low-code platforms.
Decreased need of technical experts
Today, developers are in high demand owing to rapid pace of digitization in every industry. And since we live in an on-demand world, the need for developers is going to be only increasing in the coming future. This means that IT companies will need to deliver more features and products faster than before, which adds more burden on the technical teams to innovate and execute at an increasingly fast pace. With low-code platforms, technical teams can be less burdened, as these platforms require little to no intervention by developers. Many times, it is difficult for non-technical team members to convey their requirements to developers. With a low-code app development platform, non-technical team members have the liberty to experiment on the platform, implement additions and changes in accordance to their specific requirements. On low-code platforms, the need for coding is substantially reduced which in turn also reduces the need for testing apps by developers. This saves time and consequently saves money.
Low-code ≠ no-code
Some low-code development platforms are designed for building applications that will run in a specific cloud-based environment or certain other parameters. Companies may get “locked” into using only that app development platform. Other platforms though, are agnostic, so you’re not locked into one specific framework or programming language. The best low-code solutions are the ones that are flexible with the framework and language they use as well as the ones that are syntax-agnostic. Customization options vary widely from platform to platform. Some will limit your customization options, while others provide access to the underlying code. Some will let you generate applications that fit your business perfectly, while others won’t as much. The key is to assess each platform’s customizable capabilities, before you adopt any platform. Also, low-code doesn’t necessarily mean that there is no coding knowledge required when using such development platforms. Companies shouldn’t assume that with low-code platforms, their teams wouldn’t need to know coding at all. Teams would still require a certain level of technical knowledge about programming to address malfunctions and other technical issues that could arise, as they may while using any technical tool. Scalability can also become an issue while using a low-code app development platform. The issue arises if platform updates do not exist or integrations of third-party components and services are limited.
In conclusion, companies who are considering using a low-code app development platform need to map out their exact requirements. They should keep in mind the following:
Think of your pain points- Low-code platforms tackle specific business tasks and solve real problems within an organization. Specify these problems and business needs and define their priorities
Think of the users- While selecting low-code app development platforms, always keep in mind the users behind each solution. Ask yourself: who is going to develop the app? What set of skills do they have? How eager are they to learn something new?
Keep tech specialists as a backup strategy- In case of an emergency or some difficulties, have some experienced developers or tech professionals to help you out
Verify scalability- Make sure the platform is enterprise-grade and easily scalable, it shouldn’t be a platform that requires you to heavily invest in
Cross-platform functionality is vital- Make sure that the platform you’re selecting will let you develop apps with cross-platform functionality
Availability of upgrades and new versions- With the constant changes in technology environment, like iOS, Android, browsers and other technology environments, it is important to ensure that the upgrades are available in a timely manner and it is easy and less effort to migrate the apps developed already to the new version. It is also required to ensure that the co-existence and inter-operability of the new version works well in the existing ecosystem.
Security features- It is always good to have low-code platform with in-built security features required for financial services industry with an ability to constantly upgrade for the vulnerabilities getting identified.
Authored by S Sundararajan, Executive Director at i-exceed
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