Low-key: Is this trend actually beneficial?


Do you have to keep up with all the trends in the IT industry? When is a development hype – and how do you classify it correctly? These are not easy questions, but they should be raised from time to time. The trend towards “low code” or “no code” development is part of this; as well as many years working in the IT industry.

For some IT professionals, the hype around the trend distracts from the significant value this approach actually brings to application development, while for others it’s just too much development fuss.

Simplify app development with little code—no retries

Main idea about the topic “Low Code” is not new. There have been various companies before application development (much) easier to design. For example, in 2007, as shown by Microsoft’s Oslo project. And yes, we may one day live in a (working) world where minimal – or no – programming is required. But let’s be honest: anyone who wants to create any kind of business logic usually needs to rely on programming/scripting skills.

Also, organizations and companies don’t necessarily want to give employees unlimited access to the tools they need. Key employee data is simply too sensitive. For example, I work in Chapter 4 – and our compliance rules simply don’t allow it. This clearly shows that the problem that most low-code tools are based on cloud services provided by different providers is of great importance. If the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) doesn’t ring alarm bells when asked about it, it shouldn’t just raise eyebrows in every IT department.

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Also, many low-code tools—even if they don’t want to give the impression that they are—only offer a user interface that sits on top of the existing application and doesn’t provide access to underlying system data. So your company again needs professionals with programming/scripting skills to successfully maintain the systems. On the other hand, you also need to have a pretty good understanding of how the business logic works. At least if you want a low-code interface to interact with your data in a purposeful way.

Where is the real added value of a low-code approach?

But enough critical thinking. Because the low-code trend makes perfect sense and often turns out to be very beneficial. In recent years, microservices architectures have been developed as the foundation of next-generation ERP platforms. This makes customers more agile and able to respond more quickly to customer needs and market changes. These are tools with extension kits. This includes standards and guidelines to ensure that any new add-on features can be seamlessly and efficiently integrated into the existing core environment. As you can see, the low-code approach definitely adds value!

By the way, there is also a very simple, important and pragmatic reason for the introduction of low code: such as the current shortage of qualified IT specialists, which will increase even more in the coming years. Precisely because low-code models allow parts of application development to be automated, saving time and resources, this is a clear cost-benefit argument for this trend. Thus, a low-code approach is not necessarily designed to meet specific technical requirements or provide technical benefits. Rather, it solves the “human problem” as demonstrated by demographic change.

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Low code development means more discipline!

If you really want to make low-code development work, you need to follow the same best practices that apply to any form of app development. On the one hand, this requires adherence to established processes and on the other, structural management. So it pays to be careful how your tools interact with your existing environment. Of course, you need to ensure that you can access the backend data systems, but for security reasons, you shouldn’t have unlimited access.

If you’re worried about your apps spreading out of control, you should…

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