Written by Eduardo Cruz, VP UK and Ireland, OutSystems
Backlogs, budgets, business demands, skills gaps, agility: these are the challenges you face in IT every day. Low-code development platforms can help companies overcome constraints such as long development lead times and high costs. How? By enabling the fast development of accessible and reliable applications.
Why Low-code Platforms? What Are They?
Hand-coding apps for a business is stressful. When you add shorter timeframes into the mix, it can become almost unbearable. Today’s more complex apps are difficult to build with traditional methods. In fact, even the most modern systems can produce apps that are out of date by the time they’re delivered. In this age of digital transformation, with disruptors lurking around every corner and companies facing the threat of being “Uberized,” this simply won’t do. You need the development speed and time-to-value that are the hallmarks of low-code platforms.
So, what do we mean when we say “low-code platform?” A low-code platform is a suite of tools that help developers bypass all the plumbing and re-implementation that is part of traditional software development. Most of the time spent hand coding pretty much accounts for simple wheel spinning. Low-code platforms automate the majority of these tedious processes. As a result, the same path needn’t be trodden every time a new project is embarked on. Instead, applications can be built visually using battle-tested fundamentals.
All this sounds great for businesses. Surely, anyone can be hired to build apps with a low-code platform, right? Not so fast.
What About Developers?
What does the increasing popularity of low-code platforms mean for developers? Should they be worrying about the safety of their jobs? The answer is a definitive “No!”
Low-code platforms enable control over the creation of apps without developers having to spend hours in multiple code editors and screens. But they do not eliminate the need for developers. In fact, without knowledge of software fundamentals, low-code platforms can only take you so far.
Basically, these platforms aren’t about reducing individuals’ value as developers, but rather about making them more productive. They can get more done in less time and without investing in extra training each time a new language or technology appears. In addition, low-code platforms are likely to deliver the most value when in the hands of a capable individual. For the more technically minded out there; take a look at the finer details here.
That is why the role of developers is paramount in the use of low-code platforms. They understand how to create and maintain high-quality web and mobile applications. Therefore, development teams are able to produce more value more quickly and create something new in a very short space of time. They produce the 10% of software that is truly unique. The software your company wants to be known for, whether it’s internal or external.
Is It Really Low-code Development or Is It No-code?
There has been a lot of talk about how low-code development is no-code development. It is certainly possible to use a low-code platform to develop simple apps without ever touching or writing code. However, the majority of enterprise-grade apps need to integrate with other apps and databases and this requires code. No-code development is not feasible in these cases.
Low-code platforms, however, leave ample of room for custom programming.
Are These Platforms Too Good to Be True?
If the ROI delivered by low-code tools sounds almost too good to be true, then don’t just take my word for it. Through the power of low-code development, OutSystems has helped many organisations solve their challenges and deliver innovative services.
So, to answer the question posed in my title, low-code development platforms can make developers a more valuable asset to the business rather than replace them.