What is Low-Code?It’s already been 8 years since Forrester coined the term ”low-code” to classify development platforms that are based on simplicity and ease of use. Low-code is a combo of software development techniques that helps deliver digital solutions faster by minimizing the amount of coding. Instead of writing long lines of complex code, users can simply drag and drop “elements” or “components” to create apps, mainly for the internal use of SMEs. In other words, low code replaces the custom code with a collection of UI components, solution blueprints, visual workflow automation tools, boilerplate scripts and integrations, and many other user-friendly features. Called "low-code" platforms take complex software tasks away and make it possible even for that low-tech people to build websites and online apps in a graphical interface. You only need to have a basic grasp of coding to create low-code apps, which makes the low-code software development approach quite tempting for an SME, entrepreneur, or founder who doesn't want to hassle with creating an app. Low code helps companies get apps into production much faster and makes it easier to maintain and update them since all the data will live in something simple like Excel or Google Sheets files. So, it’s easy to see why many small businesses, solopreneurs, and organizations that don’t have enough time and resources to hire a good software developer refer to low code. In brief, the main benefits of low-code development include the following:
Less Time to Build a Software ProductThe primary benefit of low coding is the minimum time required to develop the final software product. Hence, if speed is your priority, it may be a way to go.
Less MoneyLow-code development is fast and cheap since it doesn't require complex solutions and months of salaries paid to professional developers.
Less TestingFrom the above point, it’s easy to understand that low-code solutions don’t typically require testing.
The Cons of Low-Code DevelopmentYet, like with many things in the world, especially the IT world, there are often some drawbacks, and a low-code approach is not an exception. Among the most serious flaws really showing that low code will hardly substitute “real code” in the foreseen future, we can highlight the following aspects:
Security ConcernsAs mentioned, even a person with a zero-to-minimal computer background can build software with a low-code solution. However, the easier a software development process is, the greater the chance of security loopholes in it.
Scale IssuesA low-code platform is easy to use, but the mission is nearly impossible when it comes to scaling it or adding third-party integrations. Complex development costs you less than changing a whole platform and hiring a development team mid-process.
No CustomizationAs low-code development tools are aimed at a general audience, they typically lack personalization. That is to say, it’s impossible to build a unique product precisely tailored to specific needs by using low code tools. From all this, it’s easy to conclude that serious companies where performance, scale, and security are priorities will hardly use low-code tools. Why? Low code isn’t designed for dealing with large amounts of data or lots of dynamic updates. Simply put, low code isn’t a good thing for agile development. Plus, an inevitable side effect of “easier software” is that customizability will be sacrificed. Low-code tools are more suitable for general use as they often restrict how flexible your software will be. Dealing with any analysis requires complete visibility into code where you can see a roadmap for how it was generated. A thing that low-code apps can’t offer.
Will Low Code Replace Developers?Let’s be clear: low-code seems never to replace high-code developers working in programming languages like Java, C++, or Python. What’s irreplaceable about developers? For one, it’s essential to understand that low-code exists solely due to developers. Experienced developers with a strong set of coding skills stand behind low-code tools. And they are responsible not only for their genesis but for their maintenance as well. Simply put, any update of a low-code platform depends on its “creator” (aka developer). For two, no business application will perform well if built using low-code tools only. Low-code can do nothing regarding complex rules and logic (required for business transactions, etc.). The ability to architect and build APIs is a privilege for developers. A third aspect is that there’s no one-stop, all-around low-code platform that can cover all the app’s needs on the market. For example, whereas some may be suitable for e-commerce, others work well for back-office work. Hence, if the company wants to cover different needs (as often happens in serious organizations), you'll need a team of software developers to take charge of that.
A Fantastic Perspective — CollaborationWell, in this case, should developers love low code or hate it? There is a happy medium- teamwork! You should understand that a low-code revolution hasn’t come to destroy everything on its way, including old ways of coding. Instead, it can bring some benefits to professional coders.
Low code can give you more time to do what you love. Those with solid Java experience can say that low-code platforms can simplify monotonous development tasks. When using a low-code tool, you have more time to focus on modifying and upgrading your code — low-code tools will decrease the time you would otherwise waste on refactoring older work and technical debt. Did you know that developers spend about 6 hours per week dealing with their technical debt? And low-code platforms can handle a major part of that debt. As a result, you’ll spend more time innovating.
Low code can provide “new jobs” for developers. As long as companies have issues to solve (even if they rely on low-code tools), developers will remain in demand. Organizations need not only those specialists who can use low-code development tools but also those who can write their code in areas the low-code platform doesn't natively solve.
Low code can push developers to become more friendly and communicative, soft skills that many developers often lack. Low-code platforms with strong workflow capabilities let developers collaborate on the features with non-technical colleagues in a language they understand. Plus, you will collaborate better and quickly make changes thanks to low-code platforms. As a result, no wasted time on miscommunications mid-process.