Author: Dan O'Keefe, Content Marketing Manager, Appian
Burnout among software developers is common. Every day it seems there are more platforms to support, more security practices to follow, and more aggressive deadlines to meet. In short, application development is becoming increasingly burdensome and, without the right tools, easily saps developers' energy.
But now there’s a way for developers to sidestep the tedious parts of the job and develop applications faster, without sacrificing the innovative work they love. This is where enterprise-grade low-code platforms come in, enabling you to develop powerful applications faster by streamlining and simplifying the process end to end. You can offload many of your most time-consuming tasks to your low-code platform, allowing you to accomplish more in record time with far less stress. It’s not surprising, then, that low-code developers enjoy high job satisfaction (and often command high salaries, too).
Below are seven major challenges you can overcome with low-code, without sacrificing the power necessary to build robust enterprise-grade applications.
Even the most high-functioning development teams will sometimes be stymied as they try to meet all the requirements of their business users. Maybe direction changes mid-development. Or stakeholder ideas get lost in translation. Or user needs are misrepresented or misunderstood. Development teams, and particularly agile development teams, address these issues by iterating during the development process. But what if you could drastically cut down on the number of iterations needed?
A low-code platform with strong workflow-based design capabilities lets you map out applications via easy-to-understand diagrams that make the functionality clear. Since most business users are very familiar with business process workflow diagrams, this approach aligns developers and business stakeholders early, leading to less rework.
Data-driven applications are fundamental to success. But the value of data-driven applications is offset by the high overhead cost of creating the applications in the first place. IT teams must pull data from siloed internal systems, combine it with data from diverse external sources, cleanse and validate it, and make it easy for end users to access and understand. As a result, professional developers spend a huge percentage of their time on data access, integration, and preparation.
Enterprise low-code development platforms eliminate these obstacles, reducing development time and cost. They provide a uniform way of accessing data from diverse internal and external sources. Developers don’t need to anticipate how users intend to query data, or even how the data will be indexed or how the user interface will work. They can bring data into an application while leaving it in place—no migration necessary. The data can then be reused in any workflow, form, dashboard, or report to support anything from case management to account onboarding to supply chain orchestration and more.
Device interoperability has been a thorny issue for decades—from fixing web apps to accommodate browser design quirks to smartphone and tablet compatibility. With more than 85% of Americans owning smartphones and often using them at work, teams must build with mobile in mind. They must also consider the effects new devices and operating systems have on existing functionality and choose when to sunset support for older versions.
Low-code apps are mobile native. The reusable application components used to build them are automatically mobile compatible and work across devices. Some platforms support older smartphones while keeping up to date on the latest models and operating systems, as well. The best low-code platforms also handle a lot of the cross-browser and cross-device fixes that would normally bog down your front-end team.
If you want happy users, prioritize user experience (UX) during the design and development processes. A best-in-class low-code platform offers user-centric interface design patterns that make for an easy, intuitive user experience. Plus, low-code lets you quickly design and prototype apps to gain feedback and iterate quickly. Low-code also lets you build applications that work seamlessly across devices and platforms—whether that’s mobile platforms, desktops and laptops, or even wearables and internet of things (IoT) devices. In short, low-code app users will have a great experience, regardless of their preferred device.
Optimizing code for speed and efficiency is a time-consuming part of the application development process. Yet, performant code is critical for a strong user experience. That’s why low-code applications come out of the box with performance-optimized code. Of course, you’ll still need to use your development expertise to build new application components or do any customization, but having low-code in your corner means you spend more time building and less time fine-tuning performance.
Being able to scale enterprise applications across an organization requires a mixture of highly performant code and robust underlying infrastructure. Beyond performance optimization, the best low-code vendors can host applications for you on a scalable infrastructure. This cuts down on storage and maintenance costs for your organization. Of course, you can still use your own self-hosted or managed environment if you prefer.
Cybercriminals have increasingly focused attacks on software applications—a VentureBeat report claims that 50% of all web applications contain a serious security vulnerability. To combat this, developers have had to double down on learning about application security threats, which is no small feat. What’s more, once an application’s in the wild, researchers look for security vulnerabilities, and when they find one, development teams often have to drop their current work to create and release a hotfix.
Low-code application components are built for security. Low-code vendors have both internal teams and external experts to help build, test, and monitor their underlying infrastructure to prevent malicious or unintentional security breaches. And the vendors tackle vulnerabilities as they’re discovered, so you don’t have to worry. For teams and organizations that are already resource-strapped, allowing a low-code vendor to handle much of their security effort is a life-saver.
Low-code removes a lot of the drudgery and strain of traditional high-code app development. It doesn’t replace traditional developers—it only enhances their jobs and gives them another powerful tool to work with. High-code developers are often bogged down by activities low-code could do for them. Plus, having to develop a wide range of technical expertise to be able to do things like support multiple device types, understand UX, and develop security chops quickly becomes exhausting. With low-code, developers avoid burnout and get back to doing what they love—innovating and efficiently developing valuable applications.
Low-code takes the most cumbersome development challenges off the plates of already-overworked employees and gives them a faster alternative to create enterprise-grade applications. And remember: low-code doesn’t mean no-code. Developers with skills in Java, C++, or Python will still apply them on a daily basis to refine and customize apps for optimal performance—they’ll simply have low-code in their toolboxes, too.
Put low-code to the test and build your first app in just 30 minutes with Appian Community Edition. Sign up now at no cost.
Date: June 08, 2022