In the rapid age of digitization, low-code development is considered a time- and cost-saving alternative to classic programming. In this article, you can find out what the term means, where the movement comes from and what advantages it brings.
Low code (in English, “little code” or “little programming”) means, on the whole, the simplification of the creation of software, which would otherwise have to be programmed at great expense. Graphic modeling methods and visual application designs are used instead of creating the software using classic, manual programming. This can mean, for example, making functions configurable, i.e., using a graphical user interface (GUI).
Where Does The Low-Code Movement Come From?
The beginnings of the low-code movement go back to the 1990s. Even then, the first versions of RAD products (Rapid Application Development), such as Visual Basic, Delphi, or Oracle Forms, were created. RAD was considered easy to learn, so non-programmers could quickly work with it.
What Is Low Code?
“Low Code” comes from the market research company Forrester Research. Analysts Clay Richardson and John Rymer coined the term in 2014 in the “New Development Platforms Emerge For Customer-Facing Applications” report. Time has experienced a real renaissance in recent years, especially in the USA, due to the emergence of so-called low-code development platforms.
These platforms offer the creation of software or applications with as little programming as possible and should enable users with excellent programming knowledge to create applications. Low-code platforms allow applications to be assembled according to the modular principle. With the help of graphic modeling methods and visual application designs, the software can be created in a simplified manner without developing it with classic, manual programming. According to Forrester, the market for low-code platforms is expected to grow to $22 billion by 2022.
The name Low Code already says that it is only sometimes possible with programming. Differentiated from low code, there are also so-called no-code platforms in which programming does not have to be done at all – but also cannot be done. When exactly programming has to start depends very much on the individual project and the requirements. As a rule of thumb, about 80 percent of application development can be done without programming. Programming knowledge is then required for the subtleties and exceptional cases.
What Are The Advantages Of Low Code?
A low-code platform is an ideal tool for managing the digitization of all business processes, progressing at an ever faster pace. Why? Digitization is going, and corporate functions and business models must also change and adapt more quickly. However, these business processes and models are very individual in each company and become more individual the more business-critical they become.
A low-code platform enables the individual adaptation of solutions with the simplest of means, some of which can also be implemented by specialist departments without any programming. This leads to an enormous acceleration in the implementation of requirements, which means that companies can adapt more quickly to changing circumstances and conserve the resources of internal IT specialists, who are now often scarce. A low-code platform can help both users and full-stack developers. The advantages at a glance:
- The simplified procedure does not require any in-depth programming knowledge; no manual programming is necessary
- The development and deployment time for business applications is significantly accelerated due to the simple handling without complex programming
- This can also save costs, for example, for planning the project or training employees
- Users can adapt parts themselves and thus relieve developers; Applications can also be adjusted afterward
- Developers can focus on more demanding tasks
Well-Known Low-Code Example: WordPress
WordPress is the most popular website content management system: it powers over 70 percent of the top 1 million websites. With WordPress, you have a (relatively) easy way to create your website, including all the essential functions, such as creating a blog, adding images, or changing the look and feel of your website. WordPress was released in 2003 and has built up a vast ecosystem through the open-source approach.
Nowadays, it is becoming easier and more accessible for users to integrate a wide variety of media on their websites, purchase ready-made designs, or integrate special functions using plugins. In turn, many freelancers have been found on the open market to provide them, some of whom fulfill the user’s wishes with little or no programming knowledge. In summary, WordPress offers a system that, on the one hand, allows users to configure websites and, on the other hand, gives developers the freedom to program special features. This is one of the basic principles of low code.
If There Is Low Code, Then No Code Is Also Possible
No Code is considered an evolution of the low-code approach. The name says it all: there is no programming here. But also consciously because most platforms and offers are aimed strictly at the end user within an organization or private users. This can be an advantage – Excel professionals and macro jugglers will quickly find their way around – but limits are also identified soon here. The docking of more complex systems or adding individualized plugins or script modules is impossible. As a result, the developer stays at the door and has to get involved again later in the next project.
Summary And Conclusion
It becomes clear: Low code is a time- and cost-saving alternative to classic programming. Due to its quick and easy use and implementation, Low Code will also play an upcoming role in the IoT area. Many companies are just beginning with the first implementation attempts. Here, a low-code platform again plays out the time advantage and “simplicity advantage.” With very simple and fast prototyping, different scenarios can be tested, and a wide variety of ideas can be implemented until every company finds the right IoT approach and the exemplary IoT implementation for itself.