Should Developers Fear Low-Code?
By 2024, Gartner estimates that 65% of all application development will involve some form of low-code application development (LCAD).
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Low-code is becoming very, very popular
The market for LCAD is large and growing fast. Forrester predicts that the low-code development platform market will increase to $21.2 billion by 2022 - a significant growth from $3.8 billion in 2017. By 2024, Gartner estimates that 65% of all application development will involve some form of low-code application development.
Four features driving the popularity of low-code
Low-code has pre-built modules
With a library of pre-built modules low-code platforms allow developers to build applications easily and seamlessly. These modules are also reconfigurable and can be updated depending on the operational needs. Enterprise low-code platforms typically also allow the developer to create their own custom modules and share them within the enterprise as reusable company assets.
Low-code shortens development time
Low-code = less code which results in a faster development time. Developers become more productive with a low-code development platform. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that a low-code developer will just be thrown into more development projects. Rather, it also gives the option to allow for greater time spent gathering requirements, collaborating with stakeholders, iterating through end user acceptance testing and ultimately delivering a product that is more likely to be accepted and loved by end users.
Low-code allows for smooth collaboration
Business users and developers view a project from different perspectives but they both contribute value and collaboration between the two should be encouraged. A low-code development platform can facilitate collaboration between developers and business users by providing visual design tools that a business user can interpret and understand.
A business process, for example, could be designed using a design tool resembling a flowchart. From a business user's perspective, the flowchart represents a logical flow of high level functions being executed by people or systems. From a developers perspective each node in the workflow may represent an event that will trigger a service containing some form of logic before transitioning the workflow to the next step. The same design tool can enable a business user to understand if the design fits the requirements of a business process as well as that of the developer as a development environment for the execution of the workflow itself.
Low-code can run in the cloud or on-premise
Many low-code development platforms run as SaaS based solutions in the cloud. Cloud based solutions are quick to set up and require little to no maintenance. However, many companies would prefer or may even dictate an on-premise option so that they can deploy the applications either on their own public cloud provider such as AWS, Google or Azure, or behind the corporate firewall on their LAN. There can be many valid security, privacy or technical related reasons behind the choice of on-premise deployments.
Will low-code replace developers?
Low-code development platforms are powerful and are becoming more powerful everyday. However, they are designed to make developers more productive, not replace them. The reality is that low-code is designed to replace repeatable processes and functions. Processes or functions that are unique to a particular use case will still require some hand written code. Low-code may get you 99% there but that 1% is critical to finishing the job and is ultimately what distinguishes your project or business process from others.
With low-code development platforms developers will spend more time doing higher value tasks such as collaborating with stakeholders, understanding business requirements, and iterating through user acceptance testing to produce solutions that deliver exceptional value.
How can development teams maximize low-code tools?
Foster collaborative cultures
Identify early how business users can get involved with a low-code development project. For example, business users may be able to assist by designing a business process directly within the low-code platform itself. As the business user and developer are both using the same design environment the developer will be able to quickly identify issues with the proposed design and give feedback or ask for clarification on the proposed implementation.
Low-code platforms can provide more flexibility on the tasks a developer is assigned within a project. In some cases it may be possible for frontend developers to become full stack developers and vice-versa.
Ideally if the low-code platform also supports polyglot development then you have even more flexibility on the talent pool on which you can draw to work on a project.
Look for opportunities in low-code platforms
Remember, low-code tools exist to help developers. When a platform is utilized correctly, developers become more productive and can allot time for other important things, such as collaboration with stakeholders.
Quell your fears
The low-code market is set to move towards a $15 billion market value by this year, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. But this doesn’t mean developers should fear low code – far from it. LCAD platforms were built to help make their lives’ easier and spare them the trouble of writing repetitive, cookie-cutter code. Instead of fearing the disruption, developers should find ways to use LCAD platforms to their advantage. This would be a good opportunity for them to maximize their development time and find time-efficient ways to build other products and applications.
Published at DZone with permission of Aaren Quiambao. See the original article here.
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