Digital transformation mandates are accelerating the demand for rapid application development and deployment. Low-code is a technology that enables a user who is not a trained programmer to build a fully operational and deployable application at an appropriate complexity level. The business user just needs to specify the application's functional requirements at a very high level and the low-code software platform generates the actual software code to build a fully tested running application.
Application Development with Building Blocks
A typical low-code development platform consists of a highly intuitive user interface application designer, a vast array of modules/components which offer different functionalities, and a library of connectors. All that the user needs to do to build an application is to drag and drop building blocks of functional components available, define their relationships, and use connectors if required to interface with other existing enterprise applications, platforms, database engines, and services. Once designed and finalized, the platform automatically churns out the code per the high-level design and creates a deployable application.
Since the components and connectors available within the low-code platform come pre-tested, the quality assurance for a low-code generated application is maintained to desirable standards, and the application is ready for live deployment.
Advantages of Low-Code
The nightmare of human resources planning begins to decrease. Investing a lot of time and effort into sourcing highly qualified programmers and then working invariably towards their retention no more remains a grave concern. As elucidated above, with low-code, applications can be developed and deployed by non-technical power users or citizen users.
Development of an application using low-code has a much shorter SDLC as compared to applications that are being developed using conventional programming languages. Modification and new feature insertion into a low-code application also have a substantially less SDLC time frame. This reduced time frame drastically lowers costs as well as comes closer to meeting the customer demands within an acceptable duration.
Besides, the pre-tested nature of a low-code application's modules, components, and connectors reduces the time for quality assurance and testing compared to applications developed using other conventional platforms and tools.
Low-Code Deployment Trends
Due to the advantages offered by the low-code application development platform, enterprises globally are developing and deploying applications using the same said technologies.
Healthcare, Banking, Finance, Insurance, Loan Disbursement Agencies, and other related services are all beginning to use low-code applications for enhancing CX (customer experience). Customer onboarding, automation of manual procedures, data processing management, KYC, data aggregation, and reporting are popular examples where low-code applications are making an impact.
Since low-code comes packaged with a sophisticated array of pre-tested connectors, adding services and features to legacy systems is becoming simpler. Several functionalities do not need to be rewritten during migration due to this seamless integration offered by low-code.
The Future of Low-Code and a Conventional Programmer
There is a certain hype that comes tagged with low-code due to its prowess in rapid application development and deployment. However, it's a misconception that low-code will soon replace the need for programmers altogether; this assumption is, in fact, far from the truth.
The low-code application development platform itself is a sophisticated piece of software. Developing such low-code platforms requires the expertise of software developers. As the popularity of low-code platforms grows, the demand for more sophisticated features, modules, and connectors will grow as well. These enhancements will not be possible without conventional programming, tools, and architectures being used by trained software developers and data scientists.
It's quite likely that as business users become more familiar with the process of building applications and developers become attuned to the speed and convenience of using low-code platforms, there will come a time when some roles overlap. It’s possible that developers will need to become more engaged with the business users to understand the specifics of business requirements so they can enhance the applications over and above what the business users build.
Of course, not all enterprise-wide applications can be built with low-code. More complex applications with complicated business flows, functionality, user interaction, and reporting can be built only using conventional programming tools and technologies. Low-code is excellent for compact designed applications with fixed functionality. In essence, low-code applications are being used to enhance the larger systems and not to replace them.
Low-code applications built for a specific purpose might need a certain amount of customization. Customarily, low-code applications allow for such customizations; however, the extensions need to be written in a conventional programming language requiring the skills and expertise of a trained software developer.
Scalability and security are often the weak links of low-code generated applications when not managed well. If the application being designed needs to prioritize scalability and a certain expected degree of security compliance, then technical administration is imperative. The application in question must be handled by skilled developers with expertise in standard programming languages and toolsets.
In essence, we are likely to encounter a future where expert developers will become specialists who focus on enhancements and business users address customizations, frontends, and other simpler tasks.
The Bottom Line - Low-Code Will Not Replace Software Developers
Low-code platforms are a boon for rapid application development and deployment for a variety of applications with targeted functionality. More sophisticated enterprise-wide application development will continue to rely on trained software developers. Trends clearly show that low-code and conventional programming are going hand in hand as the digital transformation progresses enterprise-wide.