By Peter Wayner
Contributing writer, CIO |
In a world with high stress deadlines and high maintenance bosses, the promise of low-code development tools sound great: With a few clicks, non-coders can stand up a simple app in a snap.
That’s the sales pitch from a wide range of vendors that have latched on to the “low code” buzzword. The marketplace is filling up with a large number of tools that can juggle all the bits with a minimum amount of babysitting. It’s more possible than ever to produce quality software without acres of cubicles and multiple warring factions of know-it-all developers.
Promises, though, are easy to make and harder to keep. Many savvy CIOs have heard the promises before and seen them fail at times. The history of computers is pretty much a history of programmers adding more layers of code to fix the rough edges of the previous layer. The first software compiler was considered a low-code alternative to writing machine code. Heck, machine code was a low-code alternative to rewiring the connections between the tubes. New tools have been promoted as a low-code enhancement to whatever came before.
The good news is that when viewed from a high altitude, the progression of tools has been wildly positive. We really can do much more with much less work. The news from the trenches, though, is often more confusing. Often a big improvement comes with the responsibility to manage it. Sometimes it can be almost as much work to master a tool and find the best way to configure it as it can be to build something from scratch.
Understanding and managing this tension is the biggest challenge for companies considering low-code options. Will the obvious advantages they offer be worth the costs that might be waiting a few months down the road? Deciding how much to embrace the current round of promises requires a careful balancing of these seven reasons to embrace low-code tools and seven reasons to avoid them.
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Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.
By Peter Wayner