Fast-Code Technology: New Generation of the Rapid Application Development
~ John Rymer,
Analyst at Forrester Research
The idea “coding is not the programming future” spread instantly. The focus is on other ways that allow even a child to create software products. In the last few years, no code and low code platforms prove that special knowledge is practically not required to design digital solutions. Here it's possible to develop them just by graphical elements, templates and the drag-and-drop function.
But let's see if everything is rosy as described and does the world have a universal alternative to no/low code technologies.
No Code and Low Code. What’s The Distinction?
The principal software's purpose is to optimize processes. Since the early 2000s, IT-specialists have begun to speed-up product development itself, introducing no-code technology. It allows anyone to design simple software solutions using a set of templates and visual elements. Following Goodfirms research, development project takes 4.5 months on average. This approach target is to help small businesses implement rapid application development (RAD), or design a product in shorter terms and with minimal financial investment. The most common no-code platforms are Betty Blocks, Nintex and others.
Everyone has probably heard of the Tilda constructor, used to create websites, landing pages, online stores, etc. Working with this app does not require technical skills. So, any person can "develop" the above products using ready-made solutions. All No Code platforms work on this principle.
With these tools, entrepreneurs don't need to involve developers in creating promotional digital products (websites or landing pages, and so on). Considering that their services are a bit expensive, it's a significant plus. Besides, the solution allows for MVP (Minimum Value Product) creation in short terms. Thus, for small businesses, the no-code option is the most suitable one.
But what happens when a website needs to be permanently maintained, and there is no profit? Or vice versa, the business is growing, and the developed solution cannot serve clients? At the first glance, no-code is a panacea, but the real experience convinces otherwise.
~ Source: G2
Low code technology is something similar to no code one because of using the same principle. Here the subscriber also can develop digital solutions due to visual tools and templates. But the main distinction is that a low code solution anyway needs a coding element. That’s why these platforms are often designed for corporate purposes.
Low code toolkit allows the development of much more complicated things that manage business processes and analytics. It explains why, following Grand View Research, Inc. forecast, the low code application platform market will grow at a CAGR of 22.7% from 2020 to 2027.
Low code service platforms cover all the development cycle stages and give an opportunity to design, test, run, and deploy apps practically without coding. Their interface is simple and clear for the majority of users that build new digital instruments based on ready-made solutions of other companies. The significant pro is that software elements can be changed following certain company wishes. So, for this aim coding is actually needed. And not only. Here traditional programming is essential whenever a company-user has troubles with integration between the new-developed program and already existing software. Thus, the subscriber begins a development procedure but later understands that it needs IT-specialist assistance to design a solution that will be efficient. Low-Code solutions usually require from programmers a deep knowledge of certain platforms, not technologies. Such specialists’ services are high-paid, which means that the company will have to pay more for development via the low code platform than it might pay for development from scratch.
Low-code digital platforms, like Appian, Outsystems, Mendix, are used by companies that need to get a fast solution to their issues and don’t want to pay attention to its development. However, following the above, this choice is dubious.
Fast Code: Alternative to No Code/Low Code Platforms
~ Victor Kmita,
CEO at XME.digital
Fast code is the improved version of two previous approaches. Open API platform allows coding on the base of templates, supporting all modern technologies, like 5G, Cloud, AI, and others. Yes, manual programming can be highlighted among other fast code features. But here, the first-rate solution requires just one developer. Fast code platform is not magic. It’s a real option that can save time and resources, developing customized programs for both a large gas station chain and a green retailer. The interface is also simple for IT-specialists and managers, who need to have an idea of which product will be designed. A fast code platform allows the development of any solution and protects its further usage. The new program is always well-integrated with the company’s software base and can interact with it seamlessly. Thus, this type of technology doesn’t offer unreal things. It gives transparency, convenience, and opportunity to design those products that are able to satisfy each client for a long time.
A shining example of such development space might be the XME digital service platform. There is a wide range of solutions that can’t be developed on low-code platforms but easily designed on this one. For instance, the e-car sharing digital platform. Yes, users can create standard client-management components with any technology. But only XME.platform gives an opportunity to build a special fleet management feature running in real-time.
Or let’s consider a chat-bot that allows tracking sales and prevents fraudulent activity in this field. The solution helps large retailers to control the goods movement and get all data about their shipping. You might say that every low code product can gather such details. But it’s unreachable to set real-time notifications and clarifying information options there. Meanwhile, the fast-code platform can perform it by default.
Fast-Code vs Low-Code vs No-Code: Which One Will Be a Winner?
No Code Benefits
Quick result. No code platform has all the necessary templates to make simple web-development products in brief terms.
Ability to check a hypothesis. Small businesses can create a solution to make sure that the new proposal will be fascinating to its target audience. It can make A/B testing, place its concept, and get a relevant response. This instrument helps to understand what exactly it has to improve for productive starting.
Reasonable price. No-code platforms are subscription-based. The majority of components are free. But additional options like domain purchase and further support are paid. So, this point concerns just small business representatives that don’t plan to grow in the future. However, such entrepreneurs are practically absent in any industry.
Boost productivity. The solution, designed with the no-code platform, can even decide some simple issues of big corporations. So, it can cover any elementary process to save employees’ time for more priority tasks.
No Code Drawbacks
Closeness. The user doesn’t have access to the template code, which means the impossibility to change it. As seen, all the elements are visual. So, a subscriber should use only them.
Flexibility absence. It’s directly related to the first disadvantage. The company can’t change its software and respond to the dynamic market situation on time.
General approach. The no-code platform can’t consider the current condition of each company-subscriber. It offers a basic set for the creation of web-development features. So, the designed solution is not always suitable for all users.
High cost. Yes, it’s not a mistake. A stable product’s functioning demands the purchase of additional options, like scalability increasing. Subscribers should always pay a lot to stay afloat. For instance, the Betty Blocks tariff plan cost starts from € 1250 per month. Not every entrepreneur can allow himself to pay this fee.
Limited scalability. Let’s back to this issue once more. Imagine that a new entrepreneur has 100 orders per day. He pays to support the service, and the platform satisfies demand. But what if his audience will grow and the neediness to proceed 10 000 orders per day will arise? The result of the no-code design isn’t able to support such flow. So, the user will need to develop a new product. Thus, no-code software is a temporary problem-solving.
Integration issue. Often a new-developed no-code product doesn’t integrate with a third-party software easily.
Low Code Benefits
High Scalability. These solutions can proceed with a great amount of information in comparison with the no-code ones.
Extended functionality. Low code elements can be changed by codding. So, such products satisfy demand better and can be adapted to each company's conditions.
Accessibility from any gadget. Usually, these platforms allow opening the working space from any device: desktop, phone, etc. All the changes are saved on the cloud and reflected in real-time.
Capability to develop complex solutions. Here products can regulate a variety of business processes and provide a user with a large number of functions.
~ Source: G2
about OutSystems Low Code platform
Low Code Drawbacks
Dependence from the platform. The developed product is dependent on the low code platform. If the last one stops operating, the result will be lost. In this case, the user has to develop a new solution.
Closed API. A subscriber can also change the code anyway he can’t use it in the future because of the subscription legal conditions. APIs are the platform’s intellectual property objects.
Changes deformation. Low-code platform can make amendments and improvements to its elements. If the user decided to change them before, all of such changes will be distorted. Most likely, this solution will not work and should be changed again.
Complicated development cycle. At first sight, it seems that everybody can deal with the low code platform and develop a digital product there. So people without any experience in this field try their hand. When the company understands that the solution will be bad-integrated or will not satisfy the company’s demand, it involves IT-specialists. They begin a full development cycle: from the moment of analysis to the deployment one. Thus, low-code designing takes much more time than expected.
High cost. Following the above, a developer experienced in the modern stack can improve the low code product. These services are expensive. So the company will lose twice: the first time subscribing to the low code platform, the second one – when hiring a high-paid professional to fix mistakes.
Fast Code Benefits
Open API. The main difference between low code and fast code is the absence of vendor lock-in. So the company can use a code basis for the design and the received fast-code development result independently from the vendor operating.
Stable development cycle. During the work on the fast code platform, developers go through 4 main stages: ◦ analyzing of current company’s situation to satisfy its needs by the result; ◦ planning the further project work; ◦ development and testing; ◦ deployment.
There are no other time-consuming phases. So users will spend time only on the above four.
Designing complicated corporate products. Digital solutions for almost all business areas can be developed on the fast code platform basis. For instance: real-time logistic management, in-store sales tracking, SaaS products, etc.
Fast delivery. Any cloud or on-premise MVP can be designed and tested in 4 weeks after the development stage begins.
High scalability. The platform doesn’t limit a scalability level in any manner. So it might vary following the user’s needs and business condition.
Clear interface. The fast code platform is practically equally understandable for both developer and manager, who initiates a new solution designing. It means that any Java specialist can create a new feature, and any business owner can control the result.
Flexibility. Fast Code platform enables to implement new changes anytime when a company needs it.
Reasonable Solution. The platform usage doesn’t require a payment for every second option. The subscriber pays just for coding templates usage.
Fast Code Drawbacks
Traditional coding necessity. In high-quality design, no code magic is impossible. Actually, it’s not exactly a drawback because only IT-specialists know how to develop the right digital product that covers a maximum of issues. So, only the expertise team should run a development procedure. Thus, such a disadvantage saves any solution from the future troubles of functioning.
Thus, it seems that in competitions fast code vs. no code and low code vs. fast code, the last one makes a strong challenge to others. XME.platform gives its client desirable flexibility and freedom in designing appropriate customized solutions. Such qualities provide a stable development and support a digital business transformation process. Meanwhile, no code and low code technologies show a nice surface with a countless amount of underwater rocks. So, quality development and digital solutions demand traditional coding. It’s true. The fast code platform's mission is to make it faster and convenient for each user.