Digital transformation is booming as companies understand they need to keep up with rapidly evolving technologies or face the risk of being disrupted by start-ups. Therefore, the need for business application development is rising, which in turn becomes a challenge for companies who are struggling to hire skilled developers.
In that context, more and more companies turn to low code platform solutions to reduce application development time and keep control over their critical business processes. According to Forrester, the market for low code platforms will reach $15B by 2020.
However, the low code methodology is sometimes misunderstood. To help others avoid making bad decisions based on myths, I’ll try to debunk some of them.
1 ) Low code is for citizen developers
For many years, development application platform vendors tried to build the perfect tool that would enable business analysts to build the solution that exactly fits their needs, without the need to rely on a development team.
This didn’t work. A new trend popped up to promote a generation of citizen developers, a hybrid role between the end-user/business analyst and the developer, who will use a new generation of low-code application platform to build the solution that exactly fits their needs.
This sort of works. While some low code application platforms enables Citizen developers to build simple applications, at Bonitasoft we saw the need to enable skilled developers to build enterprise-grade, mission-critical business applications rapidly, applications that will have a high visibility and potentially be used by large numbers of users. And I’m sorry to say that this is not a job for citizen developers.
2) Low code is for simple applications
When it comes to applications built with a low-code application platform, it might seem that they won’t scale, or they will not be able to implement the complex logic that the business requires.
But that’s not the case. At Bonitasoft we designed our application platform specifically in order to support enterprise-grade applications, and we also have the track record to prove it:
- Using the process designer, Areva was able to model complex workflows used by hundred of users that can take up to a year to complete.
- University of Sydney built a high-availability solution used by more than 10,000 users simultaneously.
3) Low code platforms are proprietary
Oops, this is one is true. Most of the available low code platforms today are closed and proprietary, which doesn’t help developers who prefer to work with open standards and avoid being locked in with a proprietary framework.
The Bonita platform originated from the open source world and Bonitasoft tries to give back as much as possible. A Community edition of Bonita is available for anyone to download and use without restriction’ there is a forum where community members can exchange help and share ideas, and of course, the source code is available on GitHub.
4) Low code kills collaboration and reusability
A low code platform enables various technical teams across the enterprise to start building their own solutions. This approach has the advantage of allowing scattered teams to be independent in their application development projects. However, every team that needs to connect to the company’s CRM will eventually end up developing the same extension.
A best practice in programming is to build reusable components, and it applies to the use of low code platforms too. We don’t want our developers to keep writing the same extension, but we still want teams to be independent on their development, so our Bonita architecture is completely modular. A developer can, for example, write a connector to integrate an internal CRM solution and easily share it with other teams through a version control system embedded in the Bonita development environment or as a standalone artifact.
5) Low code means no programming
Low code platforms offer visual development tooling that enables developers to quickly design their applications. Some of them even offer templates that cover common use cases.
These features are great to accelerate development, but can also lead some people to believe that they won’t be able to go beyond what the platform can visually design. While this is true for “no code” application platforms, this is not the case for low code application platforms.
A low code platform lets the technical team focus on the customization that makes their applications unique. And the value of this can not be overestimated! Any part of an application built with Bonita can be extended. For example, the UI Designer provides a framework to build custom widgets using AngularJS code. For another example, an application built with Bonita can seamlessly mix pages designed with the UI Designer and pages built using custom code.
The new generation of low code platforms that includes Bonita has a bright future, but as a still-young concept, there are still a lot of misconceptions and myths that need to be busted to help business to understand and fully embracing its potentia.
At Bonitasoft, we’re convinced that we can help businesses succeed with their digital transformation by empowering technical teams with our low code application platform.