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Debunking Low-Code Myths to Empower App Modernization

You’re a dev, so low-code platforms are useless. Wrong! Read on to find out why.

Everyone seems to be talking about low-code nowadays. Low-code app development platforms are already taking the IT world by storm. Moreover, the idea of being able to swiftly develop applications with minimal coding is appealing in itself. It has been aiding app modernization in all business verticals. But, with popularity, comes various perceptions and misconceptions. It is necessary to separate facts from myths in order to know the true capabilities of low-code app development platforms.

In forums and other channels, a lot of questions come in to get a better idea of what low-code is all about. Here is a list of popular low-code myths and some arguments to debunk them:

  • Myth 1: Low-code platforms are only for the build phase of the SDLC. As the name goes, low-code app development platforms seem to be meant only for the development phase of the software development lifecycle. But that is not true. There are excellent low-code platforms that can very efficiently support the entire app delivery lifecycle — design, build, deploy, operate, monitor, and iterate. Equipped with visual development tools, these platforms come with added capabilities like agile management, social collaboration, one-click deployment, end-user feedback loops, and many more. The built-in DevOps features facilitate a shorter time-to-market by seamlessly moving the app through the app lifecycle. In short, a solid low-code platform can act as a one-stop solution for handling all the stages of the application lifecycle.
  • Myth 2: Low-code is just for citizen developers and anyone can use it to develop all types of apps with ease. Before dwelling into this myth, let us consider the types of app builders out there.
    • The citizen developers: This category consists of people who have no coding knowledge and are operating at the front lines of businesses in areas such as sales, HR, marketing, customer service, etc.
    • The power builders: This category has people who are in the IT units supporting business units or operations. They do not have formal coding experience but are skilled with spreadsheets and have a basic knowledge of scripting languages like JavaScript, VBScript, Python, etc.
    • The professional developers: These people are coding specialists and are experts in programming languages that require formal training to master.

    So, which category can use low-code development platforms? The answer is all of these. All three categories can use low-code platforms but the functionality and complexity of the applications developed will vary. Using a low-code platform, citizen developers can develop very simple applications that can offer basic functionalities. Power builders can build applications with more functionalities than that offered by citizen developers. Professional developers, on the other hand, can deliver complex applications with multiple functionalities and automation processes. A low-code platform lets a professional developer build application swiftly by reducing the amount of manual coding required. In short, a low-code platform enhances the capabilities of all types of developers by letting them do more than what they are capable of in app development.

  • Myth 3: Low-code platforms and no-code platforms are one and the same. People are often confused between the terms low-code and no-code and tend to use it interchangeably. Gartner and Forrester added to this confusion by not differentiating between the two. Gartner collectively refers to all app development platforms as a High-Productivity Application Platform-as-a-Service while Forrester divides the world of app development platforms into two segments, namely Low-Code Development and Mobile Low-Code Development. Jason Bloomberg, in his Forbes article, says, “the Low-Code and No-Code terminology itself is misleading, as the distinction isn’t about whether people need to code or not. The distinction is more about the types of people using these platforms to build applications.” This sums up the required differentiation between low-code and no code platforms. Low-code platforms are capable of allowing citizen developers to create apps without any coding and are also capable of letting professional developers create applications with a reduced amount of coding. While no-code platforms let citizen developers create basic apps, they are of no use to professional developers.
  • Myth 4: Low-code platforms cannot help you develop large-scale applications with elaborate UI/UX designs. As the difference between low-code and no-code is vague for many people, it leads to a perception that low-code platforms have a limited capability of customizability and scalability. Low-code platforms, on the contrary, can accommodate small business needs to highly complex enterprise needs. Even modernization of bulky and complex legacy applications is possible using a low-code platform. Low-code platforms also offer all the necessary tools to develop engaging UI/UX designs. The option to custom code and reuse business logic gives developers the freedom to add all the required functionalities and customize it to meet business needs.

Now that the truth about these myths is finally out, businesses can leverage low-code app development platforms to develop future-proof applications and scale. But, while looking for a suitable low-code platform, make sure you avoid some major pitfalls that can prove to be disastrous for your business.

Originally published by Spruha Pandya in Dzone

Categories
Insights

Are you a digital-ready enterprise? checklist for CIOs

This article provides the much needed checklist for CIOs, to assess the digital-readiness of their enterprises.

The goal of nearly every enterprise – regardless of industry focus or vertical – is to position its products and services to reach the masses as quickly and efficiently as possible. But to do so in today’s modern business environment, an enterprise must operate as a digital business.

Embodying a modern digital business requires that CIOs make a conscious and strategic effort to ensure they’re providing the newest experiences, offerings, and business models that users are looking for – or risk losing out to the competition. At its core, this objective hinges on enterprise CIOs’ ability to maintain IT infrastructure that can nimbly evolve and scale with the ever-changing digital environment.

Here is a checklist of the top features that define modern digital-ready enterprises to help CIOs quickly assess whether they’re meeting the mark – and form a tangible plan for modernisation if not.

Take a look at team structure

When assessing digital readiness, the first factor a CIO must evaluate is IT team structure. Are various IT environments unified, or do different subgroups have their own processes, technologies, and objectives? If the latter, CIOs will face a larger challenge managing resources, skills, and objectives across the enterprise – which is a threat to innovation, agility, and scalability. IT teams with distinct and isolated islands of technical knowledge will not be able to quickly execute on the projects needed to achieve modern digital-readiness.

Assess the client experience

The client experience is critical to the success of a modern enterprise, and customer demands are more fast-moving than ever before due to factors like mobile technology, automation, and machine learning. As a result, an enterprise’s customer and user experiences must be visually appealing as well as fully responsive so individuals can make contact with the firm quickly and intuitively from any channel, device, or location. Rapid access to this feedback and engagement is a key part of refining technical and operational business processes from the CIO perspective – so it’s important that the digital customer journey includes well-defined touchpoints across multiple channels to facilitate client responsiveness.

Consider cloud capabilities

Being a modern digital enterprise requires having a software infrastructure that is capable of scaling with growing business demands. In many cases, achieving the level of speed and agility needed to remain competitive can be addressed through the adoption of cloud-native software, which is designed to harness the efficiency of cloud computing delivery models. CIOs that have not yet implemented cloud-native technology are forfeiting numerous benefits, including flexible application development, faster-acting IT systems, and reduced operating costs.

Capitalise on continuous delivery models

Cloud functionality and continuous delivery capabilities go hand in hand. Implementing continuous delivery models allows CIOs to create a strong feedback loop between the business and its customers by enabling software updates to be built, tested, and released rapidly at the touch of a button without affecting usage. Enterprises that employ a continuous delivery model to optimise their IT investments will have an edge on overall organizational performance as compared to the ones that that are not able to deliver their value as quickly and reliably to end-users.

Evaluate service ecosystem connectivity

Maintaining a digital-ready IT infrastructure also requires assessing the connectivity of systems used with the enterprise. The typical business leverages a wide range of systems – including internal enterprise systems, external tools the firm has adopted (like a CRM), and hybrid applications that the enterprise is developing. Do these three buckets of systems interact to share data in an integrated manner? A lack of streamlined connectivity can paralyse an enterprise’s ability to respond to changing user demands from an IT infrastructure perspective.

Create a gap-closing game plan

Attaining the above checklist items is all part of maturing as a digital enterprise and investing in the long-term viability of IT infrastructure. However, a final component of a holistic digital-readiness checklist is assessing whether CIOs have a plan in place for closing any gaps in modernized capabilities. If an enterprise isn’t quite hitting the mark, there are many system integrators, low-code platforms, and industry specialists firms can tap into to maintain a modern IT environment capable of agile growth and scale without disrupting the productivity.

Originally published by Vijay Pullur, CEO WaveMaker, in Enterprise-CIO.com

Categories
Enterprise Application Development

Innovate, Don’t re-invent: Stay agile with component sharing

Low-code platforms have made it possible to build applications by visually orchestrating the required building blocks without the need for reinventing the wheel for every project. Enterprises expect low-code platforms to standardize those building blocks so that it can be used across the enterprise by different teams and different projects. This is essentially a shot in the arm for the developers by significantly accelerating their productivity through reusability of their code. WaveMaker has found a way to do exactly this, by creating an Enterprise Artifact Repository as part of its Enterprise Developer Network (EDN) setup. EDN is an online environment that allows collaboration over projects, version control, and sharing of resources.

WaveMaker’s artifact repository is essentially a resource repository that standardize on a collection of prefabs, project shells, templates and themes. It lets the enterprise developers create, test and publish useful app components to the repository for enterprise-wide access by other development and business teams alike. It also allows for easy exploration and discovery of resources to be made available to the developers. The EAR provides a range of artifacts starting from simple templates, themes, feature- specific prefabs to even project shells.

Reusable Artifacts in WaveMaker

  • Themes: Style elements which work at the widget or UI component level. Themes help provide a consistent look and feel to the applications.
  • Template Bundles: A collection of templates – a reusable arrangement of one or more widgets in the page content that together capture the purpose of the page.
  • Prefabs: A collection of one or more widgets that are bound to APIs or services. They usually pertain to a specific feature or solution like map/QR code integration, etc.
  • Project Shell: An app with functionality that is common to multiple apps across the enterprise. This can be used as a starting point in app development.

Artifact Features

All artifacts have a standard set of information either auto-generated or provided by the developer like tag, category, version no and change log.

  • Tag: This will be useful for searching; each artifact can have multiple tags.
  • Category: This will be used for grouping purpose. Category is defined or approved by the EDN Admin and assigned by the developer at the time of publishing.
  • Version Number: Each artifact is associated with an auto-generated version number.
  • Change Log: These include the comments that the developer needs to add before publishing the artifact.

Creating and Publishing Artifacts

Artifacts are created by developers using the project dashboard by invoking the create function of the respective artifact. The artifacts developed are published either:

  • To a specific project– to allow the artifact developer to send it to a specific project
  • To the individual workspace for a non-enterprise version- can be used for any project under development in the specific developer’s workspace
  • To Enterprise Developer Network for the enterprise version- make the artifact available for the entire enterprise for all applications to use

Artifact developers create the artifacts which are pushed to the EDN- pending approval of the EDN Admin. Each of the artifacts will go through the four stages: In Development, Unpublished, Rejected and Approved which are self-explanatory.

The standard process remaining the same, each of the artifact has a slightly different publishing flow as described here: Prefab, Project Shell, Template Bundle and Themes. Once published, the artifacts can be viewed from the Artifacts Dialog and are available for use for the entire enterprise. The admins can manage the artifacts through the EDN dashboard itself. WaveMaker also allows EDN admins to import and export the enterprise artifacts using zip files.

Introducing WaveMaker 10

Enterprise Developer Network/Artifact Repository is a new feature in WaveMaker 10. Learn more.