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By Dick Weisinger
Low code refers to tools that make the creation of software applications easy, with the implication that low-code tools make it easy enough for non-technical people to create apps. Via clicks and drags, analysts and business experts can create apps that conform to the process and requirements of the organization. The IT middle-man is cut out of the picture and line-of-business leaders are better able to build apps that conform to real business requirements.
Is it all hype? To some degree. I believe it will happen and low-code tools are gaining acceptance, but I’m skeptical about the timeline. It’s hard to believe that low code will be able to become as dominant as quickly as many analysts are predicting. For example, Gartner says that in just three years more than half of enterprise software used will be apps created from low code tools. That’s a significant number and hard to believe.
But there is a lot of wobble room on exactly what ‘low code’ means and vendors are stretching the definition of ‘low code’ to include the capabilities of their existing products. ‘Low code’ isn’t the same as ‘No Code’. I have seen vendors use the term ‘low code’ when they refer to GUI-based configuration tools that can shape the way a core application functions — I think the usage of ‘low code’ is fair in that case. But other vendors also say that since the availability of APIs for their apps reduce the time for developers to integrate and modify app behavior, that APIs, libraries, and software components they offer are effectively ‘low code’, although the effective use of those tools is probably only possible by skilled developers. Does just offering an API or component classify an app as ‘low code’?
Rajesh Kandaswamy, vice president at Gartner, said that “digital business is treated as a team sport by CEOs and no longer the sole domain of the IT department. Growth in digital data, low-code development tools and artificial intelligence (AI)-assisted development are among the many factors that enable the democratization of technology development beyond IT professionals.”
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