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  • Writer's pictureVictor Kmita

Low-code Platforms for Business: Are They Still Relevant in 2021?

“Low Code platform has a lot of 'out-of-the-box' functionality, which in itself is great because in general increases the velocity of your app development. What I don't like about it is that the functionality is sometimes not flexible enough, and in those situations, it takes quite a lot of time to find a work-around.”

In this Article:


The idea of fast app deployment goes hand in hand with loan budgets and rapid time to market. That is the reason why the choice falls on low-code solutions.

However, there is a big gap between these theoretical benefits and reality developers facing using low code platforms for highly accelerated development.

When a business only sees advantages like independent and fast app development, it's no secret that programmers are usually cautious around low-code. So, is this just an irrational fear of being replaced by the machine or real issues?

In this article, dispels myths and finds out whether the fast-code is really so convenient for the app developers as well as for solving business tasks.

What is Low Code?

Low-code is a visual approach to software development based on drag-and-drop components with a graphical interface logic, automatic integrations, and data usage mechanisms.

It's perfect for everyone who wants to faster the delivery of applications with minimal hand-coding.

“There are just not enough developers to go around, so by going low-code, you can get a lot done with ordinary developers that you can afford”, - says John Rymer, Principal Analyst at Forrester

The typical low code platform consists of:

  • Visual interface to define the apps' UIs, workflows, data models, and add hand-written code where it's necessary.

  • Services connectors and back-ends aimed to help to handle data storage, structure, and retrieval.

  • Instruments to develop and maintain an app's testing and production.

Fast and easy to use this low code app development approach caused quite controversial opinions. Let's find out why. Low Code platforms offer an opportunity to design complex solutions in short terms with a minimal traditional coding part.

Why does Business want to Choose Low-Code?

While developers focus on application UX and capabilities, such a platform can manage the rest:

  1. Pre-built platform tools can fast the app development in 10 times.

  2. Smooth transfer from one project to another.

  3. Functions isolation and all applications' problems treating.

  4. One codebase for omnichannel development.

  5. One-click app deployment. Automated testing, no coding language limitations,

  6. Low-risk start thanks to the platforms' high-security standards and real-time management, monitoring, and support.

  7. Easy access and integration (APIs, blockchain, IoT, AI, machine learning, and cognitive services).

  8. There is no special skill required to meet all the demand for consumer-grade omnichannel experiences by building an app with low-code tools.

  9. Independent work of the different developers' teams over the part of an app.

  10. Easy product's updates without rewriting the code.

Low-code solutions offer rivers of milk & honey for its customers - low technical debt, no need to hire a developer, so business teams do not need to involve the IT department. Application deployment takes days, and you can easily integrate it with anything.

13 Reasons Why Developers Grow Frustrated With Low Code Development Platforms

#1. Hard Maintenance

The difficulties of running an app based on a low-code come with years when team requests for improvements and fixes. Adding them can be a challenge because these features usually lie outside the basic structure of the low-code application. Since programmers don't have access to the source code of such an app they just can't dive in and rebuild the guts. Thus, they are locked in.

#2. Nothing New

Thanks to the standard solutions, low-code saves your time and budget. It removes much of the innovations from your project and makes it look similar to others. You can add special configurations, splash screens, or CSS skins.

#3. One Size Fits None

The pipeline is an attractive idea for everyone who likes simple solutions. That's why product manufacturers prefer "one size fits all" items without care about customers. The same story with low-code tools: easy to use they limit the things you can code, customize, or change. Basically, programmers get stuck with this architecture and features. No one's happy.

#4. Application Configuration Issues

Low-code is known for minimizing the app's time-to-market. This rush can create problems for developers when the possibility of the configuration file's parameters changing becomes underestimated.

#5. Vendor Lock-In

A company-subscriber cannot change APIs following its needs. The last ones are usually closed and protected as a supplier’s intellectual property objects.

#6. Excessive Budget Savings Instead of Time Savings

Trying to save budget on code lines, some vendors prefer programmers to use platform configurations to specify the algorithms, connect the database, and fill in the parameters. Because that's easy and fast, but it does not always do. It can take days and weeks to fiddle all that keystrokes to do what they're supposed to do.

#7. Debugging a Black-Box

Using low-code platforms, you can't go deep in the app structure, so basically, you don't know what is inside. It isn't a problem until something goes slightly awry. That moment programmers get stuck with the solution they don't control. Building software on a low-code platform without any chance or instruments to fix a future bug feels like going in the dark.

#8. Superficial Simplicity

The first impression is wrong in this case. First, a subscriber tries to design a solution itself. When some issues with integration or other procedures arise, the company's management will go back to the classical method to fix it. The company will hire narrow-profile IT-specialists that start a development cycle from the very beginning. Thus, it takes twice as long as expected.

#9. Loss of changes

Any improvements made by the subscriber side developers will be deformed due to platform component updates by the vendor. Usually, it's needed to tweak a solution once more.

#10. Superficial Simplicity

The first impression is wrong in this case. First, a subscriber tries to design a solution itself. When some issues with integration or other procedures arise, the company's management will go back to the classical method to fix it. The company will hire narrow-profile IT-specialists that start a development cycle from the very beginning. Thus, it takes twice as long as expected.

“You need to be a full-stack programmer to truly capture and also understand its power. It’s not for the business user, but for the professional who wants to develop at lightning speed. Extra skills such as JavaScript and CSS are more than recommended to optimally use Mendix. ”

#11. Low-Code Inefficiency

Low-code read minds and deliver you the things you need. Platform developers decide what works and how, and it is not always about your business case. However, nothing is free, and the cost of this magic is in a stack of code lines that deal with all the possible odd configurations and curveballs. The company stores data in the files of one type, usually. But working with a low-code means working with YAML, JSON, and XML of 1.0 and 1.1 versions. Thus, there are hundreds of formats to handle that are about the checkmarks in the matrix of features. It slows down the project and limits its efficiency. Of course, you can hide it by throwing extra compute power at the stack. But everything has its price.

#12. Special Skills Required

Thanks to the fact that low-code platforms used to be written in standard languages, you don't need to learn a special one. But it has the extra structure bundled into its framework that is a real challenge for developers, who need to cope with it trying to revise or extend an app architecture.

#13. It's a Trap!

Easy to join but hard to leave, low-code is like entering a mob. The cost of saving work time and using the giant's advantages is that you start to depend on them. If they are moving, you are moving too. If a low-code platform collapses, you have a problem.

However, not all low-code solutions are created equal. Just be cautious when evaluating a solution.

How to Choose the Best Fast Code Platform for Your Business?

To reap the benefits of highly accelerated development before choosing you should keep in mind:

  • Who will build an app? Developers or people with low coding experience? There are two types of fast-code tools. The first one for developers gives more control than a second ㅡ designed for business people.

  • What use cases do you want to deliver? Fast-code tools differ with functions in different areas. If you are focused on the workflow and business process apps, pick the one that has functions there. If you want to raise the user interface, you should look for the other functionality set.

  • What governance strategy do you want to follow? Who is going to do the work? What do they need, and how are you going to maintain it? Answers to these questions form a portfolio management system. Think this through while choosing a tool because it will help employees keep track of what apps have already been built in the platform and avoid overlaps.

  • Are you and your developers have all the necessary skills and knowledge to work with the chosen platform?

  • How difficult will it be to get started?

  • How much financial and human resources do you need to put to the start of the low code app development?

  • Would your team be able to create, maintain, and update such software? Check whether it supports deploying API-driven microservices-based apps, coding custom software stacks, and effectively orchestrating IT infrastructure.

  • Are you sure about the stability of the fast-code app workflow?

  • How adaptive will the operation of such a system be? Is the platform architecture flexible enough to evolve and grow with company needs?

Keep these in mind when selecting a fast-code platform, and you'll avoid the majority of the issues while developing a product.

Bottom Line

There is apprehension in some corners of developing a low-code-based app, and it still brings IT undoubted benefits. Low-code works for everyone who wants to follow a fast and beaten track in app development. But for complicated tasks when you need to customize some really unique processes, it is not such a good option.


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