SAG_Twitter_MEME_To-code-or-not-to-code_880x440_Oct18Although coding was not a subject in Shakespeare’s time, he may well ask this question if he were alive today. Coding is important, but writing code requires specialized skills that can be expensive and programming takes a lot of time. And, in today’s competitive, budget-conscious, time-is-of-the-essence world, who has the time for it?    

Enter low-code apps. These are not a new concept; ever since the first assembly languages came out, new languages have been released that hide machine level instructions and complexity and allow developer to focus on higher level programming tasks.

There are three trends driving advances in low-code/no-code software development tools market today:

  • The march toward ever-easier software usability
  • The participation from non-technically trained personnel in the creation and customization of business apps
  • The unrelenting need for software solutions to be delivered faster than programmers can deliver without changing the way they define, create, and upgrade apps.

But how far down the low-code curve can you go and still have a fully functional application that provides real business value? There are pros and cons of both so-called low-code vs. no-code platforms.  The difference between these terms can be fuzzy because you can sometimes create no-code apps on a low-code platform. However low-code platforms allow the option of adding code whereas no-code platforms do not.

In this environment no-code and low-code platforms provide options that let users visually assemble applications without writing code. They also allow non-technically trained people to create and customize applications, and facilitate a cultural change in IT that recognizes that this IS happening and the IT organization should embrace it for the good it can deliver as part of their digital transformation.

To begin:

  • No-code is the concept of using a completely visual, prescribed development environment to configure an application. No coding is enabled – it’s all visual. Forms can be created by dragging and dropping form elements or process elements from a palette of components.
    • The benefits of this type of development are that it’s highly productive, and can deliver high quality results for their application’s pre-built functionality.
    • The negative aspects of this type of application environment are that the application capabilities can only reach as far as the provider has enabled. You can’t build anything new. You are dependent on the application app builder provider to introduce every new kind of functionality that can then be utilized by your application.
  • Low-code is the concept of building an application visually with the minimum amount of coding necessary to complete the needed business functionality. The app might require 0% coding; however if needed you can add code to do things the platform provider hasn’t provided or in some case even imagined. Low-code embraces the benefits of configuring an application or visually assembling it instead of coding. However, as a true platform it can be extended with unique capabilities that the platform provider didn’t imagine or provide.
    • The benefits of this type of platform is that strikes a good and necessary balance between high productivity – getting it done quickly and an realistic perspective that everything that my application requires might not have been provided by the platform. It preserves the option that allows you to add some minimal amount of code if you need to.

Think of it as a spectrum of capabilities with coding at one end and a no-code environment at the other.  In my next blog, I will delve deeper and discuss how to choose a low-code platform. Meanwhile, take the next step: Software AG can help you realize your low-code application requirements faster and make sure you have future-proof capabilities—for what you need now and into the future.

To set up a demo of the Software AG Dynamic Apps Platform, Agile Edition, talk to your Software AG representative or contact us.

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