How ‘Low-Code’ leads to ‘High-Agility’ in Software Production
How does Low-Code’ lead to ‘High-Agility’ in Software Production? Agility in software development is based on the Agile methodology’s ability to respond to changes much faster than traditional methods.
Since the beginning of Digital Disruption, the ability to respond to market change has become key to survival.
Low Code is based on the philosophy of “Maximising the Code Not Written”.
This means providing the software developers with the tools that would allow for quick design and setup of functional modules. Visual Modeling tools would automatically generate the code, configurations, pipelines, platform, and connectivity.
Since the dawn of development, we have used libraries, APIs, and Copy & Paste to reduce the amount of re-work needed to create a product. However, we still needed to go through thousands of lines of code and do manual work to complete the application.
Low-code is the most recent paradigm in software applications’ efficient design and development with minimal manual coding. As a result, it has a less steep learning curve than other development methods. Additionally, it enables novice and skilled programmers to deliver value more quickly.
Low-code uses visual modelling in graphical interface environments to pull together functions. Their relationships, and data sources, configure the quickly built application and skip the pain points of the platform, security, infrastructure, and connectivity.
Low-code uses tools that let the programmer “drag & drop” from a large group of pre-developed and encapsulated modules. Furthermore, they draw the flow pipeline between them. Additionally, they add decision points, data sources, and reporting segments and tune and adjust what they want. Finally, they provide the parameters needed and build a complete application. It has 1/10 of the traditional amount of effort with 1/1000 of the conventional amount of bugs.
Low-code platforms, at their bare minimum, are consisted of the following:
- Visual Environment for designing and composing the applications’ modules, resources, relationships, and configuration parameters.
- Back-end connection services to all the Microservices, APIs, Data Sources, and all of the available services to the tool.
- CI/CD/ALM enables CI/CD and provides a complete DevOps, or DevSecOps integrated toolbox for building automation, testing, debugging, deployment, operationalisation, and ongoing maintenance of the released Product.
The critical difference between Low-code and Traditional Methods in Software Development
Low-code and traditional methods adhere to the SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle). The critical difference is merging many standard steps into composite, enriched steps under Low-code. It ultimately leads to a much shorter cycle and faster delivery, directly resulting in “Higher Agility” in market change response.
As a bonus, the code quality is also better due to reducing dependence on – error-prone – manual coding.
When using a traditional software development approach, we may follow the following steps:
- Market Research
- Requirement definition
- Creating Wireframes And Visualisation Prototypes
- Designing the Architecture
- Deciding on the Platform (Front-end, Middle-layer, Back-end)
- Deciding on the Dev/QA Stack and Ops hand-off plan
- Creating the Prototype
- Collecting feedback from the market exposure of the prototype
- Decide on your Business Logic
- Loop between 7 to 9 as much as needed or afforded
- Coding the UI, Services, and Back-end
- Connecting to Data Sources, Microservices, APIs, etc.
- Creating Test Scripts and Scenarios for each component and their Integration
- Testing for Regression, UAT, and Staging Verifications
- Testing for Security, Workload, Latency, etc.
- Deploy to the Production environment and Release to Customers.
Several of these steps merge and collapse into others when using a Low-code platform. Additionally, automation removes the need for manual implementation of some additional measures:
- Market Research
- Requirement definition
- Choose APIs, Microservices, and Data Sources
- Visually drag and drop your software’s components and workflow stages in the graphic Environment
- Add your manual code if needed (usually less than 10% of traditional ways)
- Auto-generate the Wireframes / Visual prototypes
- Verify in the market and adjust as needed
- Loop between 4 to 7 as much as necessary or afforded.
- Test for UAT
- Deploy to the Production environment and Release to Customers
Low code needs fewer steps than traditional methods since it automates many aspects of work. Such as prototyping to coding and testing, and through that, avoids the bugs and errors of manual labour.
The Advantages of the Low-code approach:
- Higher Agility: Low-code platforms allow you to design, prototype, and deploy your ideas faster than all previous methods. They also come naturally to the DevOps team, assisting both sides in parallel. This removes a lot of error-prone, tedious, slow manual work from their plates.
- Low-code platforms allow you to integrate APIs and Microservices that are available to your team internally and externally (3rd parties). REST and SOAP web services are standard; you can also add and use your APIs.
- The visual nature of the process and ease of prototyping and collecting user feedback off the market on your designs allow for a great match to user expectations.
- Low-code platforms use the most modern, market-tested approaches and tools available. Thus automatically providing the best current version of every component you use in your development work. Whenever a better part is provided in the market, the Low-code platform can use your most recent application design and workflow to rebuild the solution based on the best high-performing components available.
- Strong Reliability, Security, and Durability: The Visual design of your application makes it easier for you to design a robust, scalable, and balance solution, and the security hardening that is implemented on each of your components, and their integrated solution, will bring peace of mind over how your released Product would behave and survive in the world outside.
- Solid Release Process: Low-code platforms can provide fully managed CI/CD pipelines that speed up the build, capacity management, and deployment process and raise the quality through automated testing on components, each tested and proven individually and collectively.
- Solution telemetry and in-time tuning: Low-code platforms facilitate live application performance monitoring and data-driven decision process over fine-tuning activities, from configuration updates to application restructuring and rebuilding as needed.
- Agility in Compliance and Governance: The Visualisation ability of the Low-code platform, combined with the unparalleled skill in responding to change, allows for far superior market change response, compliance update requirements, and enforcement of governance as needed in the enterprise.
A method for all seasons
You can virtually use Low-code to develop all kinds of software solutions. For example, the Visual IDE that sits at the centre of the Low-code platform can be equipped with several Web Design Templates. Each with a rich selection of functions would save significant time in designing, prototyping, and market-testing web application ideas. Low code can be used to design, develop and release any Digital Product on green and brown platforms and enhance or replace legacy solutions.
Low-code Platform Types
- Generalised Platforms: Good for all software application development and management work with no added speciality or bias towards specific usability or market sector.
- Niche Platforms: Specialise in specific market sectors (like Insurance, real estate, and healthcare) or Lines of Business (like Car Insurance, Commercial Properties, and Vet Clinics) with functions oriented towards delivering business IT solutions in specific fields.
- No-Code Platforms: They focus on enabling “Citizen Developers”, the business savvy but non/low technical people within an enterprise, using “Plug & Play” components without any needed coding to allow less technical staff to develop solutions within the boundary of the platform. It removes the burden of specialised selections at the price of limiting the flexibility of the developed applications.
- Bi-Modal Platforms: Designed to enable solutions in application modernisation through creating new UX for the customer by generating new Front-End flows and graphics and integrating them into the existing legacy systems. They can support short-term innovation efforts to boot UX on the enterprise’s products and services, buying them time to invest in incremental and eventual replacement of the legacy back-ends with modern solutions.
The Now and Future of Low-code Platform
The expanding market success of Low-code platforms over the past five years has accelerated market investments in creating existing and new tools.
Gartner and Forrester have closely tracked the Low-code platform solutions and market coverage.
In our current, digitally disrupted, Agile-driven world where the User Experience and Value Delivery are the vital competitive measures of businesses. As a result, low code has become a welcomed approach in solution design and delivery.
The high agility that benefits start-ups and enterprises alike have boosted the market expansion on Low-code ideology and platform solutions. Thus we already see a tightly competitive market for these solutions.
Low code acts as a new wave in digital disruption as it lowers the barriers of entry for development below the lowest we had experienced. In addition, it allows for greater participation of minds in the design and development of solutions. Additionally, it makes it easier for people to try their hand at solution development.
This would make it harder for start-ups to survive and enterprises that now have to adapt and revamp their agile-driven software practices with this new approach. Alternatively, they lose more profit to the latest market entrants that pose a rising risk to large enterprises.
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