Low code development 101: What you need to know

Low code development 101:
What you need to know

Up until just 2-3 years ago, digital transformation interpretation was formed around transforming a paper-based office and ‘legacy applications’ into digital—mobile, web, cloud etc. But many organizations are now discovering the true meaning of a transformation— digital IS transformation. It requires constant evolution and adaptation to changing environments and business climates.

The emergence of low code application development stems from the need to deliver constant digital generation and modification.

Here, we speak to digital transformation expert Yaniv Levi, Senior Solution Architect & Consultant, AgilePoint who gives us the lowdown on low code and how it’s taking the world by storm.

Thanks for taking the time to speak to us Yaniv! Let’s start with:

What is low code application development?

Yaniv:
Low code is essentially the digital evolution of classic Rapid Application Development (RAD) which priorities quick design and prototyping over strict requirements building and long implementations. It promotes increased speed and efficiency of driving digital initiatives by eliminating the need of coding skills. This type of software development allows citizen developers (non-developers or the average+ knowledge user), to compose business applications independently, without relying on IT or development resources. Essentially, it requires less technical skills which in turn empowers more citizen developers so they can do MORE digital solutions with LESS code.

Additionally, keeping code low and leveraging dynamic model driven apps, allows businesses to be agile and quick to respond to changes. MORE apps with LESS time and effort.

Why has the low code method gained so much popularity in recent years?

Yaniv:
In a multi-channel world which incorporates web, mobile, chat, bots, social networks, instant communication, SaaS, IoT and more, mobile and/or web applications are simply not enough. A true business solution needs to rapidly create multi-channel digital experiences.

Low code platforms and associated development methods satisfy this need. They allow organizations to create digital business applications using micro hybrid assets/services, which form a dynamic multi-channel solution. They enable applications to be architected and re architected quickly at a low cost— essentially doing more with less.

No code has also recently materialized. What’s the difference between no code and low code?

Yaniv:
No code development enables you to create simple apps/forms/pages quickly, using graphical user interface with no code required at all. Think Google Forms, as an example.

The main difference between no code and low code, is that while no code allows you to create simple applications rapidly, it has limited customisation options which can’t be extended beyond a certain playground. This is when low code comes into play.

Low code still facilitates quick production of simple applications via graphical interface without the need of special coding skills, but when additional complexity and/or customization is required, it can be extended using pin-point small pieces of code—thus low code is born.

Typically modern, advanced low code platforms such as AgilePoint, are constructed to industry standards using reusable and runtime interpreted plug and play code, like Javascript. This keeps the minimum of code required low and expedites the pace of transformation—  remember, digital IS transformation.

What is driving the growth of no code/low code?

Yaniv:
There’s no doubt the two main drivers of growth for low code are the digital economy and digital consumption culture.

Firstly, the digital economy— for many traditional companies (non-digitally native organizations) the realization that current business models are no longer relevant has led to decreased profit levels and thus, smaller budgets. At the same time, business climates are more competitive and dynamic than ever and the need to overcome digital disruption is key to survival. As a result, innovation needs to happen efficiently— achieving more results with less budget. This is ultimately where the cloud and SaaS evolution stems from which changes the business model of purchasing and budgeting software, initiating the move from CAPEX to OPEX. This has led and evolved to a deeper consciousness mindset and we’re now oriented with utilizing easily maintained services, on a monthly/annual basis.

Secondly, the digital consumption culture— first-rate digital experiences have become second nature for us all. We purchase digital services left, right and centre. We manage our home/garden with technology and interact with others via web and social networks. Our exposure to all things digital has led us to acquire a set of skills and mindset and we’re keen to replicate these digital experiences in a business environment. As businesses attempt to catch up with the B2C markets and attempt to stay competitive with businesses who are innovating, the need for speedy application development emerges— and there you have it—the driving force behind low code.

What are the advantages of low code application development?

Yaniv:
I would say the main value of low code in its entirety is its contribution to the evolutionary progress towards digital transformation culture which connects people, data, systems, apps and channels, enabling continuous transformation.

This is the value of low code in its most groundbreaking form. There are, of course, tactical and operational advantages too— agility, compliance, ability to create multi-channel application and follow-me-app experiences. Non-technical skill sets also enable you to create and maintain more applications with low ongoing maintenance, resource and time.

What are the challenges of these development methods?

Yaniv:
Like with any new technology, there are some challenges around low code. I would say the most common ones are:

Choosing the right low code/no code platform— there are different types out there. Traditional low code app generators like Magic, OutSystems and alike, to low code Cloud App Platforms like SalesForce to low code Digital Process Automation like AgilePoint. While low code is the common denominator for all these technologies, they are different so doing your research to find the right platform for you and your organization is important.

Creating common organization practice and standards— As low code platforms are easy to use, accessible to many departments and individuals who can use them in different ways, creating solid practice and standards is important. It’s likely you’ll need to adapt your existing governance model to reflect this. This would fall into the “Eat all you can” syndrome – it’s one thing to eat, another thing to digest…

What’s next for low code application development?

Yaniv:
Low code will become mainstream and will be adopted across platforms and technology. Automation, combined with machine learning and AI will drive the next change in the digital and information technology landscape.

Thanks Yaniv!

Here, we’ve discussed what low code application development is and how it’s being used to keep up with the demand of changing business environments. As we’ve mentioned above digital IS transformation—it’s a continuous evolution of adaptation and that means the applications you build need to be future proof so they can evolve without needing to be fully re architected each time something changes.

Learn more about future proofing your applications in our whitepaper

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