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The Low Code Revolution – Part 1

Cybersecurity tips part2

John Mendes, Vice President, Solutions, PamTen

What is Low Code No Code application development?

If you are involved in software application development, IT Solutions, and delivery, you’ve most likely heard of low code no code software application development.

Fundamentally, these platforms provide an iterative, super-fast approach to software delivery that requires little or no coding.  The platforms enable screens and logic to be developed quickly and shared, providing valuable feedback to stakeholders very early in the design process.

Low-code platforms require some coding which means that some level of technical knowledge and coding expertise is required. These platforms are primarily used by IT organizations to speed up software application delivery. They provide an advantage over no code platform since they permit software developers to add new functionality, connect to internal systems and external services, extending functionality beyond the capabilities of the platform.

No code platforms enable business users with no development skills to build software applications. They can use their knowledge of their business processes and data sources to build the software. There are some application development and delivery professionals who will say no code platforms are simply the evolution of low code platforms where the coding extensions are replaced by out of the box visual components.

Forrester defines low code development as: “Products and/or cloud services for application development that employ visual, declarative techniques instead of programming and are available to customers at low- or no-cost in money and training time to begin, with costs rising in proportion of the business value of the platforms.”

Many application development and delivery professionals argue that there really isn’t a single definition of low code development. They view it more as an approach or a mindset rather than something that is clearly defined. Regardless of how you define it, low code development platforms provide an environment that enables web and mobile apps to be built much faster than traditional custom software development. The objective is to create apps with as little code as possible. The platforms leverage visual design modeling tools, built-in reusable components, scripts, and configurations to enable business developers and software developers with varying levels of technical expertise to quickly prototype, build, or scale applications with minimal coding.

At its core, a low code development platform must be capable of: 

  • Generating source code
  • Allow html and source code to be customized
  • Interface with databases, web services or APIs to access data

Some key features and benefits of low code development platforms:  

  • Visual Modeling – Processes are represented as visual models. Visual models are much easier to understand (especially true for non-developers) accelerating application design and development.
  • Easy to use User Interface – Drag-and-drop UIs are used to enable developers to simply drag and drop instead of creating long strings of code.
  • Enable Agile Transformation – These platforms provide an environment where application design and development is iterative and fast allowing a streamlined approach to align application development with the increasing demands of the business.
  • Cross-platform functionality – Built-in cross-platform functionality allows a build it once, deploy it everywhere approach. Applications can be delivered across multiple platforms.
  • Use of Declarative Tools – Built-in reusable software, templates, configurations, and plugins minimize the need to write complex custom code.
  • Enterprise Level Security – Platforms have progressed over the past few years and many now provide all the necessary security certifications. 

Who is using low code development?  

Many innovative businesses are embracing low code development and utilizing its capabilities to drive innovation and deliver value quickly to customers. A recent survey by TechRepublic found four out of the 12 members of their CIO Jury using low code and no code tools in their organizations.   

In a 2017 Forrester survey of 41 application development and delivery leaders using low code platforms, most reported that they saw a rise in their teams’ ability to respond to the demand for software apps. The survey also noted that most of the apps built using low code were enterprise-wide or used by multiple departments which address the concerns raised by some skeptics who say low code development is for small-scale app development.

A recently published study by the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania entitled, “Joining the No-code Low-code Revolution: Creating an Online Educational Simulation with No Software Development Expertise“, an undergraduate student with no software development experience built an online educational web app using a platform provided by Graphite GTC.  

Uber is a good example of how low code development can be used to build something that is innovative without the need to develop each individual element. Their ride-hailing smartphone app uses APIs to interface with Box for storage, Google for maps, Braintree for payments, Twilio for messaging, and SendGrid for email.

Coming in The Low Code Revolution Part 2…

Why you should use Low Code Platforms and what to look for.