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27/07/2020

Are We Doomed To Low-Code Platforms?

Table of content:

    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.

    What is a low-code platform?

    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.

     

    What are the most popular low-code platforms?

    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 platforms vs. no-code

    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:

    • No-code platforms are accessible to almost anyone, low-code platforms require professional development skills.
    • No-code platforms provide users with prepared components while low-code platforms’ users specify an application’s components by themselves.
    • No-code platforms most often rely on a preset UI which simplifies an app design. Low-code platforms offer a bit more flexibility but at the expanse of more coding.

     

    Benefits of low-code platforms

    • Speed! These platforms can accelerate the delivery of new software and applications. They also shorten repetitive update cycles.
    • High productivity. Working with these platform attributes such as graphical user interface (GUI) and reusable components is more effective.
    • Cost cut! The cost of building an app is noticeably decreased — developers produce more applications faster.
    • Fast transformation. Low-code makes it easy to integrate available components into the applications.
    • Empower novice software developers. The development of the app is based on the pre-built functionalities to create simple applications. It can be done without a technical background.
    • Less testing. Low-code development uses the template-driven build process, which eliminates tests required when building a new app.
    • Easy deployment. Once an app is finished, it is deployed either on a phone, a tablet, or a desktop without changing anything. It eliminates many time-consuming processes.

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    Drawbacks of low-code app development

    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.

    • Bad output. The code optimization is not the biggest concern of any low-code development platform. Code is less optimized than the one written by a skillful mobile app developer. If the quality is unacceptable, the great speed of generating the code is no longer relevant. Many low-code platforms don’t reach high code standards that developers are used to.  An experienced developer will never accept a messy code which could be frustrating and expensive. The defective application can break, some functionalities might not work properly. The potential saving is illusory.
    • Poor customization. Low-code platforms vary in terms of providing tools for app customization. Some of them limit your customization options, others provide access to the underlying code. All low-code platforms have limits and you should know it before you adopt any of them.
    • Issues with portability. Developers often get tied to the low-code platforms. The code generated by them is often useless anywhere else. For instance, canvases generated in Unity 3D are useful only in this platform. Additionally, low-code platforms are offered as subscription-based services and have to pay a long time after the app is finished.
    • Vendor’s dependence. Suppose you develop an app on your own and something goes wrong with the code. You need to find what’s missing and fix it. Despite being in trouble you are in control. Now, if you use a low-code platform, and something goes wrong with a platform itself then the real problem begins. You have to wait until a provider of a low-code development platform fixes his errors. Meanwhile, you can search the forum for an answer to what is going on.

    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.

     

    Security concerns

    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.

     

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    Software development outsourcing services as an alternative

    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.

     

    Benefits of outsourcing a software development team

    • A solution tailored to your needs. Thanks to a cooperation with a professional software development provider you gain access to the whole team of specialists, Project Managers, front-end and back-end software developers, UX/UI designers, and testers. They play a key role in software product development. The team is dedicated to you which means it is focused on your product. They will make sure the product meets your expectations, fits your infrastructure, and it’s up to date.
    • The project is delivered on time. Project Manager is responsible for delivering the project on time and on budget. He or she is in close contact with the client informing about the progress and important changes
    • Application and team scalability. With the development of the company, the application may grow in time and it should be able to adapt to new requirements. A professional software development team provides efficient ways to add new functionalities, alternate the existing ones and improve the performance according to the client’s needs. Additionally, depending on the workload on the system, the size of the team may vary. The company can decide to increase or decrease the actual number of team members on demand.
    • Comply with legal regulations. The application must comply with legal regulations on your market and be safe for users. The software development company will adjust the system to your requirements and the specific regulations.
    • Verified and tested app. Every application developed by CSHARK team undergoes all kinds of tests to make sure it is reliable and secure before it gets to the customer. If any bug is detected, the application comes back to developers for fixing. Read more about the key responsibilities of software testers.
    • Support for your app. CSHARK provides full product lifecycle support and consulting. New features or language versions can be added to your app even after it is finished.

     

    Who can profit from the low-code platform and software development outsourcing services?

     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.

     

    (1) 4 Security concerns for low-code and no-code development


     

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    CSHARK
    A custom software development and product design company that has the desire to help its clients accomplish more. We work with global banks, FinTech, and RegTech companies, as well as industrial, biotechnology and logistics sector companies, including startups.
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