Top 5 Misconceptions about Low-codeAn alternative perspective on low-code and software development.
For IT departments juggling massive workloads and for businesspeople taking application development into their own hands, low-code tools promise to make the process much easier and faster.
But do they really?
There are a lot of myths about low-code development platforms, what they’re best used for, who should be using them and how they work. Understanding some common misconceptions will help you determine if low-code is right for your business.
1. Low-code Only Works for Small Scale
There’s a myth that low-code development is only good for small-scale applications. While true for most low-code platforms, some low-code platforms have a proven track-record to offer a cost-effective alternative for building enterprise-grade applications.
Oftentimes, low-code platforms have limitations in areas such as integration, custom enhancements and developers being forced to work outside the tool’s model for anything slightly complex or large-scale.
It’s important to understand what options you have within the low-code platform when it comes to developing and, equally or even more important, maintaining and scaling complex business logic.
2. Low-code is for Mobile Apps Only
There’s a misconception that mobile apps are the only use case for low-code tools. This simply isn’t true. Low-code development platforms can also be used for building enterprise applications that transform manual and paper-based processes into cloud, desktop, web and mobile applications, for example by bringing back-office and system of record information into the hands of users.
Application development can be hard given the multitude of programming languages and open source frameworks around. Adding to the complexity is having to deploy applications to multiple mobile and desktop device types, using multiple database systems, servers and the cloud.
A Low-code tool that allows you to deploy cross-browser application to multiple client device types, server and database platforms, all from the same code base, enables you to spend less time learning specialized technical skills and more time ensuring the business issue that needs solving gets solved.
3. Low-code Eliminates the Need for Programming
Low-code and no-code tools are often used interchangeably, leading to the myth that low-code tools eliminate the need for programming. However, they should be thought of as two different and distinct tools for developing business applications.
No code tools are geared toward the “citizen developer,” a business user without formal IT training.
Low-code tools provide visual, intuitive drag-and-drop interfaces. They typically come with pre-built functionality that enable programmers to build applications with little to no coding.
But what happens when developers need to go beyond drag-and-drop? More often than not, they must revert back to traditional application development, such as Visual Studio or Eclipse. Although they might have the skills for these traditional tools and languages, it is the last thing you want to do. It negates the benefits and promises of low-code, such as speed of development, cross plaform deployment and ease of maintenance.
When it comes to building, maintaining and extending complex functionality, the best low-code platforms do provide a coding facility within the IDE (integrated development environment), keeping the entire application portable, easy to maintain and manage.
4. Low-code Development Integrates with Everything
Most low-code tools claim they enable you to integrate with all sorts of things. That is, if you’re willing to use RESTFul APIs. That means … you guessed it …. complex programming is required to wrap existing logic in RESTFul APIs, potentially taking up equal or more time than the low-code platform promises to save.
The success of any low-code platform relies on its ability to integrate with anything and everything, whether the objects are in the cloud, on-premises or on a local device, server or workstation. When researching low-code platforms, it’s important to verify what integration options the platform offers besides RESTFul APIs, such as traditional XML/SOAP web services, direct database access, direct program calls, mulltiple data format and transport protocols and messaging. The more options you have, the easier it will be to integrate with your existing applications, including any legacy applications you may have.
5. Low-code Isn’t for Programmers
This is like myth #3, but a bit different. Some believe low-code isn’t for programmers, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In today’s business environment, it’s all about value – and that includes programmer speed and output quality. Low-code tools are designed to boost developer productivity, helping them get more done in less time. How? Low-code development models and application frameworks shield programmers from having to worry about how their project will be deployed across various devices, interfaces and platforms. In return, programmers remain focused on quickly delivering business applications.
The Future Is Low-code
While the market for low-code development tools is projected to reach USD $15 billion by 2020, these platforms are still misunderstood. The top takeaway from the misconceptions explained above is that you need to do your homework, so you make the best decision for your business. Not all low-code platforms are equal, not all offer the same functionality, and not everything they promise is feasible. Before you invest in any development tool, gather the stakeholders together, dig in and do the research, and only proceed when you’ve confidently identified the right low-code solution for your business.
Product Marketing Manager
As Product Manager at LANSA, David Brault draws on his 20+ years in the application development market to help determine the market direction for LANSA’s products. David’s experience includes extensive involvement integrating various Microsoft, IBM, web and mobile technologies with back-office and ERP systems. David is a member of an IBM advisory council called CAAC and a frequent speaker at industry events.