As technology advances, it has reduced the amount of manual work required across all industries. This is especially true for software engineers, who now have several low code platforms available to them that automate huge portions of the coding process.
But do low-code platforms really enable developers to move faster? Or will human speed and accuracy reign supreme when it comes to software development? In this blog, we will talk about the advantages and disadvantages that software engineers should consider when using low-code platforms.
What are Low Code Development Platforms?
Low code development platforms are software tools that help users create feature-rich, beautiful applications by eliminating complex manual programming. They often enable users to build interfaces and data models with drag-and-drop or other no-code tooling. With low code platforms, it becomes a lot easier and quicker to develop software for B2B and B2C markets.
The demand for low code platforms has increased in recent years due to the democratization of technologies such as IoT, AI, big data, and machine learning, which have enabled greater software and app automation. The market for low code platforms is expected to increase to $21.2 billion by 2022.
Now, let’s talk about the benefits of low code development platforms.
Benefits of Using Low Code Platforms
Below are four benefits of low code development that a software engineer can leverage:
Faster Software Development Speed
If you are working as a software engineer, then you are well aware that it usually takes longer than expected to complete software development projects. One of the main issues is ''scope creep',' where the requirements of the project keep on increasing as the project continues, and so does your workload.
Low-code platforms are a good solution to this problem, as they can help speed up the software development process and decrease your workload. Low code platforms use prebuilt templates, boilerplate code, and many other useful "building blocks" that shorten the cycle of software development.
Low code platforms enable software developers and engineers to work more efficiently and finish projects in time. If you can deliver new features ahead of time, you create the freedom and flexibility to tackle other priorities.
Perhaps more importantly, the rapid speed of app assembly and deployment also enables engineers to quickly respond to shifts in the product roadmap. Rather than manually digging through code and rethinking an app's entire architecture, you can build new features quickly and simply leave unfinished or irrelevant features behind.
Better User Experience
According to a study, 44% of companies believe that the user experience of enterprise software is significantly worse than consumer software. Enterprise software might help your team get its work done, but its poor user experience can impact motivation, efficiency, and productivity.
Using low code platforms to build custom workflows can give you full control of your development experience. Their use of standardized visual components makes it easier for any software engineer to develop a clean and user-friendly interface and add powerful features that are most often missing from enterprise software applications.
Accomplish More With Your Current Skills
Web and mobile application development is constantly evolving and requires an evolving skillset. This is where many companies face a skill gap, because they cannot afford to bring in developers with modern skills every time a new skill is introduced in the market.
But switching to a low code platform can help bridge the skills gap by introducing modern skills to the existing staff without much of an effort.
For instance, an IT leader could use a low-code tool to help their COBOL programmers transition to web development. This also enables engineers to maintain their core competencies while still accomplishing tasks in new domains of expertise.
Limitations to Low Code App Development Platforms
There are a few limitations that are worth mentioning before you or your software company switches to low code platforms for software solutions in the future.
Security and Reliability
While working as a software engineer, you work with custom code that you know is safe and can rely on because you trust yourself. But with low code, you are taking a risk because you don't have complete control over the source code.
This can open the door to a number of threats to your company's software security because a hack can quickly make your application vulnerable.
When you rely on low code platforms, you are sure to run into some integration issues, especially with your legacy systems. If you plan to build an app with complex integration demands, then you can't sacrifice custom integrations just to move quickly with your project.
Lack of Customization
Other than limited integrations, lack of customization is another limitation to these low code platforms. Once you get neck-deep with your new system that has been built by low code, you may want to make some customizations to meet your specific needs.
But due to the unavailability of customizable features, you might be forced to change your business process to operate within the capabilities of these low code platforms.
How to Deal With the Limitations of Low Code Platforms
Full-code solutions like Crowdbotics can help you move faster than manual coding methods while still maintaining the flexibility available to conventional development approaches.
The Crowdbotics drag-and-drop visual editor and model builder enable developers to assemble new features faster than they would by hand. However, Crowdbotics also automatically generates the underlying React Native and Django code inside a dedicated GitHub repository. This gives you the ability to switch between low-code and pro-code approaches as needed, and it provides a workaround for the limited functionality that comes with many low code platforms.
Most of the low-code platforms in the market also lack role-based permission settings on their platforms. Thus, the apps on the platform might not be able to achieve regulatory compliance like HIPAA and FERPA. Sometimes, you might also require a chain of custody for the data storage – e.g. you need to restrict data storage to certain demographic regions. All these security concerns can easily be dealt with if you are working with the Crowdbotics code editor.
Low-Code Platforms Are Worth a Shot
Many software companies are looking for ways to cut costs, reduce time, and speed up a product launch. A good solution to this is the use of low-code platforms.
For now, low code platforms are best thought of as tools within a developer's toolkit. Many engineers are understandably skeptical of so-called "automated" or "machine" development, and low code platforms aren't always the right fit for a specific build. However, top tools like Crowdbotics can dramatically decrease time to market and deliver high-quality custom apps under the right conditions.
If you're hesitant to fully transition to a low code platform, then you can also make use of our managed app development process. Crowdbotics will assign a dedicated PM and team of developers to build you a custom application using the Crowdbotics platform. This can give you the speed and predictability of a professional build while still allowing you to access, review, and tweak your project inside the platform.