Low-Code Enterprise Application Development: The Future of Technology
Explore low-code and no-code and see the benefits, drawbacks, and more.
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FACT CHECK: Low-code Enterprise Application Development is the Future of Technology
What is enterprise application development if not making business-centric apps which help companies make money?! While that is a rough description of apps per se, it holds a deeper meaning in terms of usability, customer care and service, and, most of all, in terms of branding.
So, what’s the point?
Companies look for speed, efficiency, and affordability of application development to address all the above-mentioned factors. Cross-platforms applications such as Xamarin and Flutter have been ruling the roost throughout, mainly because of their ability to run single-code on Android, iOS, and Windows platforms. This means the codes have to be customized even if that means spending a hefty amount.
Let’s cross that bridge forever.
Enter no-code or low-code application development that takes software engineering a step further. Great for businesses and developers too, this has already started making the buzz in the industry.
As per a forecast by Gartner, low-code/no-code platforms will account for 65% of all app developments by 2024. This implies that by 2024, apps are likely to be developed only with systems that enable easy ways to program.
What Is Low-Code/No-Code App Development?
Unlike the traditional application development process, no or low code development platform uses visual interfaces with simple logic and drag-and-drop features instead of using full-fledged coding language.
Unlike traditional app development, no-code development of various complexities can be performed by even non-professionals. The output is no different from traditional applications that simplify complex problems, automate processes and accelerate digital transformation.
Low Code vs Traditional Enterprise App Development
The most common question that arises from the code vs no code tussle is whether the latter is as good as the former. Incidentally, traditional enterprise app development is considered more robust and effective than the latter in many quarters. However, here’s a detailed comparison table that will help you decide for yourself.
Traditional app development
Require certified engineers to make complex software
Complex software can be made by anyone with a small set of tools already integrated with the platform. Thus, it does not require a vast knowledge base.
Advance complexities lead to the production of bugs, hampering usability
Does not produce bugs, leading to smooth running of the app
They can be expensive ranging between $40,000-$250,000. Suitable for large companies that require highly customized software, which is not possible with no code/low code development
A lot cheaper since companies pay for only the access to a specified service, not the development of the app from start to finish.
It is difficult to maintain enterprise application development software because updates and revisions are expensive requiring third-party involvement. Moreover, it is a cumbersome process that includes teams to plan, design and test, followed by training users.
Low-code platforms are aPaas (application platform as a service) and are typically maintained by the company that owns them. This is particularly suitable for companies with small or non-existent IT departments as this allows them to benefit from well-maintained software without paying for a third party.
They have a complicated configuration system, which makes them less agile. Furthermore, it requires a lot of time to learn and operate them accurately.
They are operated with the drag and drop feature. Simply the drawing methods can be used for developing the applications.
Why Choose Low-Code/No-Code Enterprise App Development — The Benefits
The future of app development is all about speed, performance and efficiency. There’s absolutely no room for delays because that would mean lagging behind in competition, incurring losses worth millions. Bridging the gap between the number of software graduates and the demand (as stated above) is the call of the time, which is why citizen development is important.
The benefits of low-code or no-code enterprise app development is worth discussing here:
- Faster time-to-market: Owing to a rich intuitive visual builder, instant code snippets, form and report templates, developers do not have to work from scratch. Furthermore, the built-in connectors help in rolling out new applications fast. This saves a lot of time and developers design applications fast.
- Reduced cost: Since low code programs can be designed by non-professionals too, businesses do not have to invest or wait for certified professionals who could prove to be costly. It helps in cutting the IT backlog while minimizing the involvement of costly resources.
- Improved customer experience: Industries thrive in customer experience, which is demanding and subject to their behavioral dynamics. Fulfilling their demands in the shortest possible time with apps that are both efficient and trustworthy is important these days. No-code development cuts the mark here.
- Robust security: Low-code development has important features such as admin tools, threat assessments, and access control. This enables the thorough and easy monitoring and configuration of the system.
- Spontaneous business and IT collaboration: Businesses need to respond to market demands timely with speed. IT delivery gaps can threaten the smooth flow of operations and thus businesses. With low-code development opportunities, the pressure on the IT team is reduced, leaving them to address more important operation-centric issues.
- Enhances the prospects of digital transformation: Digital transformation is time-consuming, engaging. But it is an important part of a modern business environment because it helps businesses to keep up with changing business environments. Low-code BPM platforms provide core technology for organizations undergoing digital transformation, helping speed up the transformation cycle, innovate and adapt faster.
- Cross-platform accessibility: No-code development eliminates all concerns about cross-platform adaptability that too at half the price and time. Multi-device compatibility is one of the most important features of low-code development, which is making it increasingly popular among enterprises. Apart from giving the ability to use the low-code platform on any device running major operational systems, the app development approach can enable app operations on all code devices and platforms.
- Easy reporting and monitoring: Low-code app development is equipped to monitor workflows and processes to keep track of their performances. They also spearhead analytical operations and track the performance of other apps.
- Application lifecycle management: Low-code development is empowered by automated tools for building, deploying, debugging, and maintaining the application test, staging and production.
Working With Low-Code Development
Even if you are working with Spring Boot, .NET MVC, or Ruby on Rails, developers have to go through the following steps at any cost:
- Determining the requirements
- Planning and designing the architecture
- Selecting a back-end framework, libraries, data-store, and 3rd party APIs
- Selecting a front-end framework
- Choosing the deployment stack, setting up CI, and creating an operation plan
- Creating wireframes and prototypes
- Writing a bunch of failing tests
- Defining models and hooking them up to data stores
- Defining and coding business logic
- Creating views to providing and receiving JSON data to or from the front-end
- Implementing workflows and UI
- Integrating third-party APIs using a supported library or publishing an interface
- Repeating the process until the tests pass
- Testing is done for security, quality, performance and user acceptance
- Deploying, patching, monitoring and updating the app
However, steps are cut down by half with the low-code development approach, which means developers can roll out applications within just 7 steps, which are:
- Determining the requirements
- Selecting any 3rd-party API
- Drawing the app’s workflow, data models, and user interface in the visual IDE
- Connecting the APIs with automatic capability discovery
- If necessary, adding any hand-code to the front-end or customizing the automatically generated SQL queries
- Deployment and maintenance with a single click
Downsides of Low-Code Development
The enterprise application development process with the low/no-code approach has benefits that cannot be ignored in the long run, but the trade-offs must be addressed too. When there are requirements for scaling, integrating, or performing under extreme conditions such as pressure from a sale day, low-code developments fail to perform. As already pointed out, complex applications requiring expertise are not accommodative of low-code/no-code applications.
Another important drawback of low-code development is a lot of its work needs to be automated. Furthermore, it gives restricted scope for scalability unless it’s thought out well. The limitations do not end here. When there’s a requirement for complex applications, low-code/no-code development often buckles off.
Limited integrations: Low code/no-code developments can lead to integration issues with most in-house systems and third-party services.
Low code/No code can turn businesses the wrong way: Custom app developments are the best when you need customizations for your business. However, low code development with no customization capabilities can force your business to change its goals as per its specifications. This entirely fails the purpose of app development for business growth.
Vulnerability: Non-technical app developers can create severe security loopholes they might not even know of. This proves to be an open playground for hackers who can easily obtain sensitive data from corporates.
Poor UI experience: End-users love customized appeal, which is not possible with low-code/no-code app development. They have fixed templates, libraries widgets and UI components which might make app development fast but not unique. This is not acceptable by many organizations who are looking forward to making money from the app.
Does That Make Custom App Development the Best Choice?
Low-code/no-code app development may have its uncontested benefits, but custom development is here to stay. The latter, in fact, is and will continue to remain the top choice of enterprises because of its unique outcomes that justify a company’s growth pipeline.
Custom applications will continue to reign in domains that require open-ended thinking. Some business problems have an unstructured process of resolution, which is best possible if the app development follows the traditional agile methodology. Low-code/no-code development fails the purpose when unstructured data or operations need to be streamlined.
Similarly, low-code/no-code application development is not suitable for applications that require a high level of interactivity. Interoperability and interactivity being the norm of modern engineering, traditional application development is what makes them preferred among enterprises. These have an infinite number of functionalities, unlike their low/no-code alternative.
For that to happen, you need experts who know the secret of designing unique custom apps for your business. These experts with their experience and exposure know how to:
- Update enterprise and consumer applications quickly
- Automate dependency analysis and debugging
- Perform mobile app packaging
- Adjust applications to accommodate or scale up with new technology
- Eliminate any scope of guesswork and iterative tasks during development and delivery
- Check for hundreds of typical change points
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.