If your development team is skeptical about low-code, don’t worry; so was I.
I was in my mid-20s, and I didn’t like low-code. In fact, every time someone tried to convince me that low-code was the way to go, I would give them all the reasons why low-code platforms were not exciting enough. Today, I can’t live without it. I can’t imagine a world where you to have write all the code for an application from scratch. If I could recover all the endless hours I spent writing Database Access Layers and WCF integrations and zipping packages to deploy to production and… argh!
But now that I’m older (and I’d like to think wiser?) with over 10 years of experience, I don’t see things the same way. Today, I can look back and understand why I didn’t like low-code and why I was fooling myself into thinking I was right. But I was so wrong.
So, in an epic battle that pits past against present, César-From-Today answers the 7 objections of Mid-Twenties-César.
1. “I Like Code.”
Mid-Twenties-César: I love code. And, I love coding. I stay up all night because I have an idea, and it’s fun to be all alone in front of Visual Studio developing my own stuff. Here’s an example. I have a VW that can be programmed in all the possible ways you can think of (for those who know VAG cars, this is more hardcore than just using VAGCom). So, recently, I spent an entire weekend closed in my father’s garage playing around with the car. My father would open the garage in the morning and there I was, working on the car, and going hours without sleep. Luckily for me, Portugal is not that cold at night in the spring.
Then, there was that Christmas Eve that my bank required coordinates from a matrix card to validate every online transfer. Argh, I got so upset! I told my parents I was sick and stayed at home to understand how could I develop an OCR, as free versions were bad, apart from Tesseract. Also, I wanted to see if I could mess up the browser’s memory to inject values and so on. There are no browser extensions now or any smooth options. It was so simple! I never actually finished, but the idea is there. I love to mess around with things. All this is fun!
César-From-Today: Hmm. So, you never actually finished that OCR. Isn’t that a common theme with coding from scratch? Ha! Anyway, I personally want more of my ideas to come to life, and low-code is a faster way to make that happen! The world is different. My brain is tattooed with “Technology is just a means to an end.” Low-code is the best balance between fun and results. And that feeling when you see your apps being used by others—priceless! (And for the record, I still love to write code today. I can get all excited developing a personal project. Low-code doesn’t take that away from anyone.)
2. “I Don’t Like Low-Code.”
Mid-Twenties-César: Why should I like low-code? I’m perfectly fine not liking it. Let me get back to my OCR project. I think I’m getting close.
César-From-Today: You’re only saying that because you don’t fully understand what low-code means. You don’t know what you’re resisting. Just because you didn’t like it the first time you tried it, that’s no reason to decide you’ll never touch it again. It’s like beer or wine. Did you like them the first time you tried them?
Mid-Twenties-César: No. I thought they tasted awful.
César-From-Today: But you do like beer and white wine now. This I know. And one day, you’ll try red wine, dislike it, try it again, and come to love it. It’s all about appreciating the good things in life. Low-code is like that. You need to take time and let it grow on you. Give it a shot; you’ll love it, too.
3. “The Entire Team Is Used to Other Technologies.”
Mid-Twenties-César: The guys will never go for it. And I don’t want to be the one to force anything down someone’s throat. We’re all doing just fine in our Objective-C and Java worlds. Let’s just let sleeping dogs lie, shall we?
César-From-Today: Yep, it’s disruptive. And it’s true that you won’t get buy-in from everyone in a heartbeat. You’re proof of that. And, of course, you can’t force low-code down everyone’s throat. It doesn’t work when it’s imposed. We are humans, and we must understand why we’re doing things (Ellen Langer’s experiment). Plus, it takes time for teams to get productive with low-code. Different tools, a different way of thinking, a different working methodology.
But here’s the good news! It takes much less time to get up to full speed with low-code than other technology or crazy languages, say, I don’t know, Objective-C. The learning curve is much faster than traditional development’s.
4. “I Don’t Want to Learn This New Tech As It Might Not Add Value to Me.”
Mid-Twenties-César: I just don’t see what’s in it for me. Why should I put in the effort to learn it?
Remember, a good place to work will want to know if you can think rather than how many languages you know. It’s about how you structure ideas, creativity, innovation, engineering. A person can speak English, Spanish, Portuguese, French and German and still not be able to articulate thoughts in any of them.
5. “I Have Less Control.”
Mid-Twenties-César: Look, I’m a super engineer who can write awesome code. Why should I give up all that great control? Color me totally skeptical about this whole thing because I won’t know what’s going on underneath.
César-From-Today: You are right about being a super engineer and the awesome code. But, remember that movie with Tom Cruise, Days of Thunder? Nicole Kidman said that “control is an illusion.” This applies here, too. Tell me, Mid-Twenties-Cesar: Are you concerned about machine code running in your CPU? How Windows uses paging? How the .NET framework abstracts you from dealing with memory management? No? So, why should you be concerned about how a low-code platform abstracts an if statement from a visual element?
Here’s a true story. One day I was using an OutSystems action called TextToDecimal. As the name suggests, it basically converts a string to a decimal number. However, in some countries, the decimal separator is a comma, and in others, it’s a period or full stop. And this depends on the culture information you have on your machine. If OutSystems engineers didn’t implement the action using the right underlying method, making the conversion CultureInvariant, it could have been a mess. Worse than that, it would only be a mess only when the code reached production! You can read the full story here; it’s worth it. That day I was sold: I won’t care what’s under the hood. These guys have this covered. Proper implementation, properly tested through the years.
6. “Development Is Not Faster.”
Mid-Twenties-César: I’m sorry, but I think that the claim that development is faster with low-code is a crock.
César-From-Today: Metrics. Give me numbers, César-Mid-Twenties. The truth is that for the same project with two proficient teams, the low-code choice will be faster. Of course, it depends on the project. I can’t imagine that VW messed up with a low-code platform… hmm, wait, idea. No, seriously, maybe if you’re developing highly graphical mobile games it might not be fast. But a mobile app? Definitely. Developing Android and iOS versus a low-code mobile app? Objective-C? When I saw that “alloc” word, in 2017:
7. “These Low-Code Platforms Have Limited Use Cases.”
Mid-Twenties-César: So, yay, some kids fresh out of college can build an app that a small group of employees can use to track their fitness in a matter of weeks. Where’s the thrill in that? Think of the VW, man. I’m all about the big things. With low-code, there’s no “way out,” no “dark bag,” no escape.
César-From-Today: Stop being so dramatic. Of course, low-code platforms narrow the use cases. It’s the 80/20 rule; otherwise, it would be almost impossible to have anything usable in an IDE. But a good low-code platform has a way to extend functionality: some JSON, a .NET extension, writing a Cordova plugin yourself, whatever. You just dig in like you would if you weren’t using low-code. Just remember, it’s for edge cases or you’ll end up not taking advantage of the platform and doing everything aside. And also keep in mind that low-code is not no-code (for no code, click here).
César-From-Today for the Win
That’s it. I’ve now killed my twenties self.
To sum it all up (as I pay my respect to Mid-Twenties-César), as time goes by, you quickly get to a point in your life, as a tech person, where you need a balance between fun and speed. Your focus will shift to “Technology is just a means to an end,” and you’ll take it seriously. You’ll realize life is too short to iron clothes, insert numbers from a matrix card to validate a transfer, dry dishes, or code a full app from scratch. I know I can’t afford spending a full weekend in a garage writing code.
Life’s too short to write too much code. So, low-code.
Yep. All big car maintenance would end with a test drive and a great picture. I loved that car; what a toy...