Logo Header Menu

How realistic is the promise of low-code?

Low-code platforms promise to ease the process of developing applications, but how realistic is the aim of consistent, long term usage? How realistic is the promise of low-code? image

Low-code has come to the fore in recent times as a way to speed up the delivery of applications, while keeping costs down. However, with customisation being limited without a change in business processes, and cloud vendor lock-in being common in the space currently, how realistic is the promise of low-code, really?

In this article, we explore the points of view of five experts in this area, and what this particular coding technology brings to software development teams.

Development acceleration

Ajeet Raina, technical marketing manager at Redis Labs, explained how low-code, along with the right complementing tools, can accelerate software development.

“Low-code comes with a promise that “anyone” can code or build software applications and services at a faster pace,” said Raina. “It refers to those AI development platforms which offer pre-built algorithms and simple workflows like drag and drop modelling. These platforms include visual interfaces that can easily connect with data and accelerate bringing services and applications to the market.

“Low-code promises speeding up the development cycle. It improves the developer’s productivity with smart suggestions for application logic flows. It allows organisations to put more problem-solving capabilities into the hands of non-IT professionals.

“Today with AI/ML libraries and tools, it is possible to create powerful applications with a small amount of code, and more importantly, in an iterative way. For example, using libraries like TensorFlow, PyTorch, and notebooks like Jupyter and Apache Zeppelin, a data scientist can be very effective using a few lines of code.”

Becoming an autonomous digital enterprise with AIOps

Paul Beavers, vice-president of R&D at BMC, discusses how to become an autonomous digital enterprise with AIOps. Read here

More than a promise

There is a feeling that the simpler visuals that low-code brings makes coding more accessible to those outside tech backgrounds.

According to Andrew Davis, senior director, product marketing at Copado, “low-code is more than just a promise. It’s been a reality for decades for platforms like Salesforce, and the number of dependent low-code platforms is exploding with over 200 different options, including Microsoft Dynamics, Pega and other systems.

How low-code can help to overcome the AI skills shortage

Richard Billington, chief technical officer at Netcall, discusses how low-code can level the playing field when it comes to AI skills. Read here

“Grady Booch, one of the fathers of modern computer science, said the whole history of computer scientists layering is adding new layers of abstraction. On top of existing technology, low-code is simply a layer of abstraction that makes the process of defining logic, far more accessible for the most people.

“Even children are being taught the code programming through languages such as MIT‘s scratch, a visual programming language. Just like humans communicate through both words and pictures with a picture, being worth roughly 1000 words. So, developers can develop using both code, and low-code or visual programming languages.

“Visual language is much more accessible for many people, as well, much safer. So many business users who are great subject matter experts can make small dips into defining logic or user interfaces, through low-code systems, without necessarily having to commit hours and days to developing a feature through more sophisticated methods.”

The beauty of code

Nočnica Fee, developer advocate at New Relic, argues that while low-code tools are becoming more common, the process of writing code can still play an important role.

She explained: “For most applications, the code we’re writing is already the easiest and most human-readable solution for configuration. Tools that use a visual node editor to create code paths are impressive but the code still exists as a base layer for advanced control. I once built a complete mobile video game using these visual editors. Once workflows get slightly more complex it’s helpful to be able to edit the code these tools generate.

“It’s not as if the code we’re writing is direct machine code: any code I write is interpreted and run in a separate engine of which I have little understanding or control. For instance, Ruby — that grandmother of all later web application languages — is intended not as a language that computers find easy to run, but entirely as a language humans easily read and write.

“The state of configuration tools like CloudFormation is instructive: many CloudFormation developers make use of visual tools to create their cloudformation templates, never directly handling their templates’ YAML syntax. However, the YAML is there for direct editing, and as users get into more advanced challenges they may edit by hand or make tools that manipulate the YAML directly.

“In conclusion, code remains an elegant way to translate business needs into machine instruction, and will continue as the ‘advanced version’ of most tool configurations.”

Siloed usage brings risks

Low-code is known to increase speed and accessibility. However, if treated as its own island, it does come with its risks.

“Even today there is still risk that surrounds low-code, because teams will often silo low-code and high-code development software,” said Ben Schein, vice-president, data curiosity at Domo. “If people are working in Python or Kubernetes, low-code interface configuration won’t always align, so a tension point develops and you can’t collaborate.

Learn from the hype surrounding kale – don’t rush Kubernetes

Bas Lemmens, vice-president and general manager at VMware Tanzu, explores how the hype around Kubernetes can be likened to that surrounding the superfood kale, and what lessons enterprises can learn. Read here

“To truly realise the benefits of low-code, we need to find a way of using it to build on pre-existing high-code resources. Sometimes it’s as simple as API integration and ensuring that your high-code activity can talk to the low-code software platform and send information as a starting point. With Domo technology, our priority is making high and low-code activity work together rather than running them on two separate paths.”

Raina added: “Even though low-code looks promising, it comes with its own set of challenges too. It doesn’t speak much about how one can manage, maintain, and scale those applications.

“Lack of visibility is another challenge as most of the team inside the organisation are busy leveraging these low-code development platforms, and there is no oversight of the data being generated. Sometimes it could result in a significant waste of resources for many organisations.”

Coding skills still relevant

A final point to consider when it comes to the promise of low-code within the enterprise is the continued need for coding skills, explained Sean Farrington, senior vice-president EMEA at Pluralsight.

“It’s true that low-code and no code application development is expanding, and indeed, recent Pluralsight research found that half (51%) of new tech employees know just one or no programming languages,” said Farrington.

“However, this isn’t to say that traditional coding skills are redundant; they are still worth learning. Languages like Java, Python and C remain commonplace in organisations across all kinds of industries, and this will likely continue to be the case for years to come. They underpin all modern application development, new security and data processes and will keep businesses competitive and innovative amongst their peers.

What skills should modern IT professionals prioritise?

Sascha Giese, head geek at SolarWinds, discusses the skills that the modern IT professional should prioritise today. Read here

“Even legacy languages which may be deemed out of date by many are still useful to learn. Take COBOL, for example. The language is fifty years old and rarely taught to new software developers – why would you learn such an outdated language when new ones are being created year on year? In reality, there are still billions of lines of COBOL code in use and it underpins systems across many public sector and banking organisations.

“Therefore, in order to keep systems running or migrate to new ways of working, a good knowledge of these legacy languages will be vital for the foreseeable future.”

This article is tagged with: Coding, Low-Code, Software Development

Sign up for Information Age Newsletters

Latest news

divider
Government & Public Sector
IT hindering UK public sector response to Covid-19, finds study

IT hindering UK public sector response to Covid-19, finds study

23 November 2020 / IT has hindered the UK public sector’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a [...]

divider
Cloud & Edge Computing
Cloudreach CEO Q&A: ‘The cloud industry is at an inflection point’

Cloudreach CEO Q&A: ‘The cloud industry is at an inflection point’

23 November 2020 / Ahead of AWS re:Invent, Information Age spoke to the CEO of Cloudreach, Brooks Borcherding, about [...]

divider
People Moves
Cheil UK hires Gary Jobe as head of technology

Cheil UK hires Gary Jobe as head of technology

23 November 2020 / Jobe joins Cheil UK from Havas, where he served as group head of technology for [...]

divider
M&A
Electric acquires Sinu to drive a more modern approach to IT

Electric acquires Sinu to drive a more modern approach to IT

19 November 2020 / The abrupt shift to remote work revealed that companies can no longer rely on outdated [...]

divider
People Moves
Aptos appoints Pete Sinisgalli as chief executive officer

Aptos appoints Pete Sinisgalli as chief executive officer

19 November 2020 / New CEO Sinisgalli joins Aptos as the company continues to help retailers accelerate their digital [...]

divider
Research
Failure to optimise technology costing European enterprises over £2 million

Failure to optimise technology costing European enterprises over £2 million

19 November 2020 / According to the research, the technology spending initiatives of European enterprises are being held back [...]

divider
Major Contracts
Genesis and Symphony partner to accelerate financial services digitisation

Genesis and Symphony partner to accelerate financial services digitisation

19 November 2020 / The new partnership between Genesis and Symphony will look to securely and compliantly connect people, [...]

divider
Editor's Choice
US Election data — embracing uncertainty when making predictions

US Election data — embracing uncertainty when making predictions

19 November 2020 / Elections can bring out the best and worst in how data on opinions and issues [...]

divider
M&A
Ascent completes acquisition of Mango Solutions

Ascent completes acquisition of Mango Solutions

18 November 2020 / Expected to add 65 employees and approximately £5M in annual revenues to Ascent, the acquisition [...]

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!

Pin It on Pinterest