OutSystemsPerspectives

The Myths of Low-Code: 3 for the Storybooks

This is the third installment of our Leading with Low-Code Blog Series.

Once upon a time, a guy named Thomas Bulfinch wrote a storybook about the Greek and Roman Gods. It promptly became a very big deal and is still being used in universities today to help people understand Homer, Socrates, Pythagoras and other fathers of philosophy, math and algorithms.

Why am I bringing this up in an article about coding? Good question. The answer starts with a simple term: Low-code development. It’s become trendy. It’s a new favorite topic for the big-name analysts. Lots of vendors are offering it. Companies who have long backlogs and customer demands for mobility are eating it up.

So, here’s where Bulfinch comes in. Myths always pop up when technology gains popularity. Forrester has identified three for low-code development. These are so totally false that they could easily be put in a 21st-century revision of Thomas Bulfinch’s famous mythology. Let’s take a look at them.

Myth 1: No hardcore developers allowed

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The overall marketplace is keen on enabling business experts to deliver mobile apps, and there are some low-code platforms that are for those kinds of people. So, people assume that they’re not for someone who’s serious about development (like you). They think you like to spend a lot of time perfecting systems, optimizing Ruby, wrestling with PHP, winning hackathons, and controlling development.

But, that trend is changing. Today, the issue is not having a perfect installation or doing open-source projects with Docker and containers. Business now demands that IT deliver business value rather than just technology. That affects developers more than it affects the business analyst in marketing who put a data visualization function on top of a spreadsheet.

Hand-coding apps for the business is stressful enough. When you add shorter timeframes in the mix, it becomes almost unbearable. Low-code platforms enable you to control the creation of your apps without spending hours in multiple code editors and screens.

Miguel Vicente, who has been doing all kinds of hardcore coding since he was 17, describes his experience with OutSystems low-code development like this: “If I have an idea, I can just draw it and bring it to life. I have the means to design, program, and build something that can actually improve someone’s life; the power to build something not only pretty but also functional.”

Miguel is not alone. In a recent survey of developers who use OutSystems, 24% said they’d be furious if they had to stop using the OutSystems low-code platform. These people describe themselves as everything from full-stack developers to generalists.

Myth 2: No more custom programming—ever

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There’s noise in the marketplace about how low-code development is no-code development. Talk about total Thomas Bulfinch. Sure, it’s possible to use low-code application platforms to develop simple apps without ever touching or writing code. But, there’s still plenty of room for custom programming. Most enterprise-grade apps need to integrate with other apps and databases and accommodate custom code.

There are low-code platforms that actually do offer the extensibility needed for these apps. OutSystems is one of them, because we take enabling customization very seriously. We are aware that our platform can’t support everything. Our applications can be extended with HTML, Javascript, CSS on the front-end. There are no constraints on the back-end, either.

What makes OutSystems special is that customization only has to be done once. If developers want to add their own Javascript or library, they wrap it up with OutSystems packaging, and add it as an OutSystems component. We have all kinds of components available on our Forge, The Forge is part of our community of developers, and it’s where they can share what’s worked for them. You can find anything from UI templates, to floor plan widgets to CRM services and Google Maps. All of them can be integrated in your app in minutes instead of the hours and days it might take if you did it the hard way or tried to create them from scratch.

Myth No. 3: Small apps only

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Some people believe that low-code products cannot support large and growing user bases and application portfolios. However, there are low-code platforms that can accommodate business needs for high-scale, highly complex business applications.

The OutSystems low-code platform, for example, was designed from day 1 to be scalable. One of our customers, AXA, does insurance claim processing that relies on millions of concurrent instances. Others have thousands of concurrent users. The architecture not only supports huge development teams building super complex apps but also the entire application lifecycle. This is critical, because the lifecycle of enterprise apps can be a sticking point for businesses with behind-the-scenes details such as managing iterations, tracking dependencies, and eliminating contention.

OutSystems makes it easy to stage an enterprise app into quality assurance and production environments. Mechanisms to gather feedback from applications users do the changes in development and then stage them back into production. It’s all about reacting at the speed of change.

And That’s Our 3 for the Mythical New Thomas Bulfinch Anthology

As you can see, these myths are like any other. They make great stories but most of them only have a grain of truth in them, if any. And as more companies turn to low-code platforms as viable alternatives to traditional programming, more will probably pop up. But as for our current three, we know the truth. The OutSystems low-code platform is for developers, not just citizen developers. You can add your own custom code easily. And as for scaling… when we say you can build enterprise-grade apps, we mean it.

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About the author

Rodrigo Coutinho

A member of the founder’s team, Rodrigo has a passion for web development, great products, and geeky stuff. He spends his time designing future versions of the OutSystems Platform and dreaming about the cool future of the web.

Comments

Nice Post about Low-Code, The OutSystems low-code platform, for example, was designed from day 1 to be scalable. One of our customers, AXA, does insurance claim processing that relies on millions of concurrent instances really True.

[…] The Myths of Low-Code: 3 for the Storybooks – The overall marketplace is keen on enabling business experts to deliver mobile apps, and there are some low-code platforms that are for those kinds of people … Our applications can be extended with HTML, Javascript, CSS on the front-end. […]

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