Accelerating the pace of development has become one of the biggest goals in DevOps. After all, having teams speed the creation and modification of applications is supposed to be one of the primary advantages of DevOps pipelines. Yet, far too many DevOps teams run into speed bumps that can derail the process. For some, turning to alternative methods to generate and modify code can slay the beast of project deceleration, and that is where low-code platforms come into play.
However, the waters are muddied by misconceptions about what low-code is and what it isn’t. Here, three industry experts share their own observations about these common misconceptions.
Low-Code is Only for Citizen Developers
“People often confuse low-code with no-code platforms,” said Richard Rabins, CEO, Alpha Software Corporation. “No-code platforms, which are driven by visual modeling and user interface builders, are aimed at citizen developers with little or no coding experience to quickly build applications.” Rabins makes some good points; no-code environments are designed to put the power of application development into the hands of a citizen developer, meaning those no-code platforms are optimized for simple workflows and not for teams. On the other hand, low-code platforms can integrate with deployment platforms, which helps expedite delivery while also enforcing consistency.
Low-Code Makes Collaboration and Reusability Difficult
“Over time, many developers have come to believe that low-code platforms were built for a single programmer working on a waterfall project,” said Deepak Anupalli, co-founder and VP of Engineering at WaveMaker, Inc. “Today, low-code platforms, like WaveMaker, offer development environments that integrate with code management tools, as well as APIs, to support the sharing of code and fostering team collaboration.” Anupalli’s point is that the majority of low-code platforms incorporate workflows that support team activities. What’s more, those platforms support scale-up, reuse of code and the ability to work within pipelines.
Low-Code Prevents Custom Development
“From the beginning, low-code was all about building applications with little or no code needed, creating the perception that low-code platforms did not lend themselves well to customization,” said Rabins. “However, nothing could be further from the truth. Developers are able to expand the functionality of low-code projects as the need arises. They can insert custom code, call APIs, integrate with other platforms, and so on.” Rabins points out that low-code doesn’t mean no-code, simply that low-code can generate code that can be modified and adapted as needed, supporting pipelines that deliver fully customizable applications.
Low-Code Platforms are Only a Trend
Many seem to think that low-code platforms are just a trend that will ultimately fade away as other technologies come to light. However, according to Business Wire, the low-code market will grow 44.4% by 2022 to reach $27.23 billion. Anupalli added that WaveMaker has experienced year-over-year growth since the company was founded.
Low-Code Solutions are Proprietary
One of the leading assumptions about low code platforms is that they all use some type of proprietary programming language. That may be true for a few platforms, but many embrace open source ideologies and use common languages, such as Java, PHP, and C#. Take, for example, the RISE Editor, which enables users to output code based on models in a number of different languages. RISE is not alone in the industry; several other platforms embrace either open source or can create easily accessible code. VisionX and WaveMaker create in Java, allowing generated code to be edited with other Java IDEs.
Low-code development platforms (LCDPs) have come a long way since the term was first coined by Forrester Research back in 2014. And yet, these numerous misconceptions remain, which may have slowed the adoption of LCDP in enterprises using DevOps pipelines. Dispelling these assumptions goes a long way towards helping application developers realize the benefits that LCDP can offer.