Around 15 years ago - an eternity in the world of tech- Amazon released AWS to the general public; it brought about a seismic shift in the world of IT infrastructure. As many of us know and remember, tasks such as requesting a server to build new applications and services were not particularly easy or straightforward. And all other useful services like queues and storage had to be requested and deployed manually.
The advent of Public Cloud began to change that dramatically. Suddenly, you could access services like Storage, Queues and Servers on demand, over the internet, simply by using your credit card. These services could either be woven into your applications - as in the case of S3 and SQS - or as servers on the cloud enabling you to deploy your applications. Cloud computing revolutionised and democratised the world of software and helped launch a whole new set of services and applications, which are distributed and accessed on demand.
Alongside this technology shift, application development has exploded and the demand for developers is higher than ever as new services and new digital journeys are being created. However, the supply cannot keep up with the demand. Developers are expensive and specialised resources so developer efforts need to be focused.
Professionally written code also requires regular update and maintenance therefore increasing the cost.
The speed of the digital transformation already accelerated by the advent of the public cloud, demands far more services and applications at a speed much faster than developers can write and code. These services need to be resilient, scalable and secure and increase efficiency and reduce dependency purely on developers.
In the last few years the Low Code paradigm has been getting very popular to build applications and services quicker. Low Code takes many forms.
So, let’s discuss what Low Code is, and why it’s important?
The desire to create higher level abstractions to solve complex technical problems is not new and has always been the goal of programming. And even Low Code platforms have existed in different avatars in the 90s and 00s or even before, some of us may remember the RAD (Rapid Application Development) tools that were in vogue.
However, with the perfect storm of public cloud, an explosion of commoditized services, infrastructure and distributed control and data, a very large number of applications encapsulating new digital journeys are required to be developed, all of which cannot be fulfilled by the aforementioned professional developers. Hence, a new breed of Low Code platforms is gaining popularity.
Many of these services have common internal functionality around resilience, scalability and security, which can be modularized and managed in one platform rather than repeated for each service.
Low Code provides an abstracted, simplified and Visual model to compose new services using building blocks. Enterprise Low Code provides these services with added resilience, security and scalability.
Commonly, modern Low Code systems provide full stack business applications which generate the user interface and business logic by an interactive drag and drop interface. Most of the software labelled as Low Code builds UI driven services. Although there is another kind of service which builds headless applications which are either backend processes or API driven services. At Dextcloud we are focused on creating headless or API and Event-driven services to create new digital journeys and promote collaboration within enterprise and its ecosystems both internal and external.
Another distinction is how do these services get consumed, some vendors generate code which can be extended by developers and executed on popular programming language runtimes. Others create a model which is executed on a proprietary runtime and the model is a simplified abstraction of the business logic expressed in abstracted languages and created using a visual interface.
Another variation, No Code is used for some services where it is predominantly visual and does not require any kind of coding convention used, at least explicitly, to create services. Although despite the moniker No Code is just highly abstracted code and focuses purely on the business function of the service.
Finally, it’s important to understand the developers' view on these services which are gaining traction within the enterprise. There is definitely a level of friction where a developer would question or not trust the applications developed by LCAP (Low Code Application Platform). However, with increased maturity LCAPs and developers would eventually coexist and complement each other. That is our goal at Dextcloud where we aim to enhance developer productivity by providing API contracts for developers to plug in to larger applications and processes.
Developers would then be able to focus on more high value and mission critical applications which Low Code is not able to create or may not be suitable, leading to better creative output and satisfaction.
Low Code is here to stay simply as demand for new services simply outstrips supply and would continue on this path in the foreseeable future.
There is tremendous opportunity for enterprises of all sizes to embrace this methodology and tools in their development processes and the benefits will be manifold.
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