We live in a time of enormous demand for business software development. The need is greater than the ability to deliver. So how can we produce more apps? One of the solutions is to simplify the app development throughout reducing the amount of traditional hand-coding, enabling more people to participate. This is the so-called low-code app development – a market that is expected to grow over $27 billion by 2022 according to research by Markets and Markets (1). Another solution is based on the idea of outsourcing a skillful software development team that builds a custom application from scratch.
Which approach will prevail? We are trying to look at the future of the low-code app development to answer this vital question.
Low-code is a visual approach to app development. Theoretically, it is about to automate almost every step of the application life cycle to enable developers to make software fast and easy.
Low-code platforms are trying to carry out this idea. Designed for quick app development, they provide the Graphical User Interface (GUI) for programming. A developer drags and drops a component while simultaneously the right code is manufactured. The purpose of such platforms is to cut the programmer effort by reducing hand-coding. They also help with quick setup and deployment.
It’s true that low-code platforms enable even novice programmers to create simple applications for web and mobile. However, even small app customization may still need advanced programming skills. There are no signs of professional developers to be replaced by these platforms anytime soon. On the contrary, companies like CSHARK are conquering the market with their outsourced, dedicated software development teams.
There are a few popular low-code platforms. Most of these tools are already present in the app and games development process. For example, in Xcode — the iOS development platform — you can see the results of your changes in real-time. Unity 3D — another popular game development platform — allows you to visually add components to your scene, configure lighting, sound, animations and so on.
Low-code and no-code development platforms are similar but the latter doesn’t require coding at all. This seems clear enough but the line between them is blurred. Key differences are:
Are there any drawbacks to low-code app development? Yes, and some of them are crucial. Let’s have a closer look at areas you should watch out for when selecting a tool.
It is better to use software development services by a professional provider. Thanks to time and material model of cooperation you know exactly how much time takes the development process, the code has now flaws and you have can extend the application functionalities anytime.
More and more information is stored in cloud-based systems. The safety of vital information gathered by applications made with low-code platforms is troubling many security professionals. Apps are being built so quickly that the possible lack of governance is leading to compliance issues.
Working with low-code platforms means that parts of the system are provided by so-called shadow IT. This increases risks of data leaks or loss, since vendor’s systems may lack proper security procedures. The users of low-code platforms must rely on third-party security audits and certifications which are not always visible to them. Since these platforms usually provide a default implementation of permission and access controls, the users cannot flexibly change them according to their needs. They must rely on security decision of the provider which may not meet the necessary expectations.
Low-code platforms are not the only available option. The solution that speeds up the process of producing fast and reliable software is based on the idea of outsourcing software developers. Whenever you need to resolve a complicated enterprise solution, want to create a simple web/mobile application, or have in mind UX/UI design you can hire a dedicated team to help you out.
CSHARK has IT consultants and programmers on board ready to start your project right away. They can build your app from scratch or develop an existing solution, improving or refactoring the code.
If you develop a simple app for yourself with little or no budget, a low-code platform might be a good choice despite the drawbacks.
Unfortunately, mobile apps that rely on low-code platforms may not get the expected functionality. Options for the user interface are very limited, for example, you cannot build an advanced UI. Low-code platforms might be a poor choice for consumer-facing apps, including mobile apps where UX and UI expectations are high.
Some business sectors should reconsider before turning into these platforms. The rising concerns about the safety of customers data and dependency of the platform should ring a bell in the financial sector: banks, insurance, and energy companies, telecommunications, or state institutions are all prone to hacker attacks and should look for more secure options. This kind of platforms may be tempting for small companies, but even they should consider all downsides, especially if they have ambitions to expand. The alternative approach, which is using IT outsourcing services, seems more right for all types of businesses and sectors that plans growth and are obliged to safety standards.