While its roots can be traced back to rapid-application development (RAD), low-code application development started to gain serious momentum about three years ago. Initially, some in the DevOps community dismissed the trend, even as myriad approaches—from no-code to low-code for professional developers—started to enter the market.
At the time, enterprises of all sizes had embraced agile software development processes, moving to cloud infrastructure for some critical workloads and using test automation tools widely. DevOps emerged as an essential discipline, and it was assumed that its dominance would overshadow low-code.
Fast forward to 2021, Gartner predicts that the low-code development market will increase by 22.6%, to a total of $13.8 billion in one year, so it’s clear that the obituary for low-code was premature. The growth of the low-code market hasn’t restricted growth of DevOps, either. Thousands of medium to large enterprises either are already adopting or planning to adopt low-code for professional development, and DevOps’s growth continues. Low-code platforms for professional development haven’t replaced the DevOps model; instead it places an emphasis on a robust software development life cycle working with the business and IT to increase the velocity of transformational digital experiences.
The Need for Speed
During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations were compelled to accelerate their digital innovation to adapt their business activities to the new normal, or find new ways to compete against more nimble competitors to stay afloat. To enable delivery of their services to suddenly distributed customers and employees, they began to switch to low-code development platforms to deliver solutions faster.
Low-code software is easy customizable, can fit any organizational needs, doesn’t require in-depth coding skills and speeds up development. Low-code platforms feature a host of pre-made tools to develop an app in a matter of hours instead of weeks or months.
Some low-code development platforms feature integrated DevOps services and automated testing capabilities. Cutting edge platforms use AI to generate test cases to be executed on the cloud as part of the continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline). While these platforms It don’t replace developers, they can help to automate their work so they can focus their time on new features and big ideas, rather than on coding repetitive but essential tests, or on figuring out the back end complexities.
A Confidence Booster
With a low-code platform, DevOps teams get automated tools for testing, deployment, security, data management — all of the back end development necessities — plus front end and design capabilities. This is a very different set of skills and expertise, but using low-code platforms to simplify development processes allows almost any developer to work on any app through its full life cycle.
Even if an aspiring coder from the organization’s marketing team builds an internal app, DevOps team won’t have to worry about build validation or version control, because low-code enables a continuous process.
One small DevOps team can efficiently and confidently manage building and deploying an app from any developer. It can also deploy these apps across multiple devices — with very little upskilling of different programming languages required. Low-code platforms include pre-wired components, templates and sample apps for smart speakers, wearables, AR, PWA, native mobile and other real-world use cases.
Once low-code frees the organization’s DevOps teams from repetitive tasks and eases workload burdens, teams can concentrate on more complex problems, like upgrading and maintaining existing enterprise-class apps — enterprise resource planning comes to mind — or work on other high-value digital and operational strategic initiatives.
Long Live DevOps and Low-Code!
Low-code for professional developers is best suited for developing consumer-grade mobile and multi-experience apps. Whether an organization is trying to digitize an old process or create new ways to engage with consumers, business partners, customers or employees, low-code development helps organizations be more responsive and agile — just like a good DevOps culture. With the ever-rising demand of a digital economy and the subsequent shortage of development talent, by adopting the velocity of low-code development approaches, we can enhance the power of the developer (and the DevOps) models to meet the next business challenge.