In part one of this blog series, we looked at low-code hype vs. reality in the following technology areas:
- No coding required
- Fast time-to-market for new applications
- Seamless integration with other systems
In part two, we’ll conclude by considering other key areas such as:
- Ease of app maintenance
- No technology lock-in
- Great User Interfaces/User Experiences (UI/UX) without the need for a designer
- Creating enterprise-scale applications easily
Ease of App Maintenance
Hype: One success measure of an application in business is its longevity. For an application to be useful over a long period, it’s going to need to be updated regularly with fixes and new features and that’s why software maintenance is so important.
Software maintenance makes up 80% of the total cost-of-ownership (TCO) of an application across its lifecycle. That’s why it’s critically important that low-code platforms ensure they focus on making not just the first version of an application easy to create, but every subsequent version too.
Reality: With maintenance making up 80% of the TCO of an application, it’s a critically important issue to get right. When considering a low-code platform, look at:
- How often you’ll need to drop out of the low-code platform to code extensions the platform cannot handle itself.
- DevOps features the platform provides that can help to lower the software maintenance burden.
No Technology Lock-In
Hype: Low-code platforms often promise that if you decide to move away from the solution in the future, your investment is protected, and you won’t be locked into their solution. Your applications will continue to run as they did before.
That’s an attractive proposition. It reduces the risk of trying something new and leaves open the option of moving to a ‘better’ solution down the line.
Reality: Every technology choice includes some degree of technology lock-in and low-code is no different. However, the ability of the low-code solution to abstract the underlying technology as it changes, helps those applications have a long lifespan – an important consideration in an enterprise context.
Great User Interfaces/User Experiences (UI/UX) Without the Need for a Designer
Hype: User adoption is a critical element is the success of any app. So, the importance of building applications with great UI and UX is rightly highlighted. The demonstration examples presented during the sales cycle always look good and offer the promise that you can build similarly attractive and easy-to-use apps just by virtue of using the low-code platform.
Reality: Great UI/UX doesn’t happen by chance and there is a need for designers to be part of the development process. Low-code solutions can’t enable good design by default but by providing the elements of standard design languages such as Material Design, they can make the process easier for developers.
Creating Enterprise-Scale Applications
Hype: Low-code (or no-code) solutions promise to create applications that can scale to meet the needs of the enterprise. That means scaling to meet enterprise needs for users, volumes of data, app functionality, integration, deployment and security, as well as working with business people to deliver solutions. How good are low-code solutions at scaling?
Reality: Scalability is a challenge that requires more than just additional resources to solve.
When evaluating low-code solutions. Look to see how they support working across the business, how they handle complex functionality, integration and maintenance challenges. Can they abstract the complexities of the technical solutions from the need to constantly refine and improve the business process?
With low-code development being such a hot technology area right now, it’s understandable that there will be some hype surrounding the possibilities it offers. Low-code platforms promise much and, in many cases, offer an easier way to create business applications. In each of the six key areas we’ve looked at, one thing becomes clear.
Some low-code solutions have limitations. Those limitations need to be well understood to determine if the low-code platform being considered is fit for the purpose intended.
The promise of low-code solutions is that they offer everything from design, development, testing, integration and deployment of apps within a single solution. If the limitations of a particular solution require you to drop out of it and resort to traditional methods to do the tasks the low-code platform can’t do itself, the promise and advantage of low-code is undermined. Every time you have to step away from the low-code platform, the cost of building and maintaining applications increases.
When considering a low-code solution, you now have more information to assess its limitations against the claims made by the vendor and whether they will impact the applications you want to create. Crowd intelligence sites such as G2Crowd can help here too as real-world users share their experiences of putting low-code platform to real-world use.
If you’d like more detail on each of the technology areas covered in this blog post, please download the full Low-Code Hype vs Reality white paper and for further reading take a look at LANSA’s white paper on Five Key Considerations When Selecting a Low-Code Platform which includes details on important criteria you can use to evaluate a variety of platforms.
Most of all when selecting a low-code platform, look for low-code without low-code limitations.