Positioning low-code for Digital Transformation


One of the key notions is that business in any organisation requires constant change and adaption to the ever changing business demands. The idea that a single application should serve the business demands for many years doesn’t fulfil requirements anymore from a business point of view. People have tried to change the methodology of delivering applications with traditional technologies such as Java or .NET, or tried to introduce libraries of functionalities. But haven’t succeeded in most cases to meet the time to market demands of businesses. Low-code solutions are geared towards changing this paradigm. Let’s take a closer look at what low-code really is. Low-code is located in between no-code and high code solutions.

Geert Waanders

Geert Waanders, Manager Professional
Services at CAPE Groep
High-code
High code solutions are the traditional coding languages such as COBOL, Java, .NET, C++ etc. Key aspect is the amount of source code lines that these languages need to create application runtimes that execute business logic. Traditional languages such as Assembler require an enormous amount of source code lines, whilst more recent ones are shorter in amount to deliver syntax and semantics of functionality. But in all cases, you will have large amounts of files, code lines that a developer needs to handle to create these runtimes. And put all of these runtimes on a specific server in a basement data centre that needs to be accessible by end-users around the globe.

No-code solutions are model-based approaches to describe the logic of the applications in visual elements such as blocks, diagrams, relations, entities and pages. Then you are able to directly see what the end-result would be. One need different kind of people to master these models, and less technical oriented developers can master these models. Key shift is that these developers are empowered to work with the business a lot more closely. Business demand solutions can be showed in an MVP manner within hours, rather than weeks. For any software development project, this ability provides the opportunity to create applications 10 times faster. And therefore the business owners can make the decision to change the application on the fly.

Code-snippets
Of course this sounds very logical, and probably everyone would see that no-code solutions have limitations in the software that provides these no-code platforms. Mendix, a leading low-code development platform, has chosen to allow introduction of code snippets into these models, so that any specific demand of a user can be implemented at will. This small shift makes an enormous impact on the ability to create applications with a 100% fit to the users at that specific moment. Other elements of the low-code platform are around the transparency that the developer has around build-in databases, one-button deployments, automatic disaster recovery, app stores to reuse components, and easy integration.

Examples of succesfull low-code solutions
CAPE Groep has implemented several business critical applications through the last 10 to 12 years, and experienced how to work with business owners and product owners to create these low-code applications. One of the prime examples is a large customer that uses a micro-services architecture for their primary business process. Adding specific low-code elements around multithreading, they are able to handle 600 transactions per second.

Another example is a construction company that is running several Mendix-based application, and find themselves not limited to change these applications on the fly to meet business demands. New ideas rise every week, and by having a low-code platform, ideas can be implemented in weeks, rather than quarters.

no-code low-code high-code

Conclusion
The most important conclusion is that a constantly changing business requires an adaptive application landscape. Digital Transformation is more important than ever, and low code can help you stay ahead of your competition. In de next blogs, we’ll discuss the difference in these solutions in more depth using a comparison framework, requirements to be successful using low-code solutions and touch on methodology and coding standards.

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