While its roots can be traced back to rapid-application development (RAD), low-code application development started to gain serious momentum about three years ago; some of the DevOps community had initially dismissed the trend as the plethora of approaches from no-code to low-code for professional developers started to enter the market.
At the time, enterprises of all sizes had embraced agile software development processes, moving to cloud infrastructure for some critical workloads and using test automation tools widely. DevOps emerged as an essential discipline.
In a recent report, Gartner predicts that the low-code development market will increase by 22.6 percent, to a total of $13.8 billion in one year, so it’s clear that the obituary for low code was premature.
With thousands of medium to large enterprises either already adopting or are planning to adopt low-code for professional development, and DevOps’s growth continues. Rather than expecting Low code platforms for professional development to replace the DevOps model; instead it places an emphasis on a robust software development lifecycle working with the business and IT to increase the velocity of transformational digital experiences. Here’s how:
1. The Need for Speed
During the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, many organizations were compelled to accelerate their digital innovation to adapt their business activities to the new norm, or find new ways to compete against nimble competitors to stay afloat. In order to deliver their services to more customers and employees, they began to switch to low-code development platforms to deliver solutions faster.
Low-code software is easy customizable, can fit any organizational needs, doesn’t require in-depth coding skills, and speeds up development. Low-code platforms feature a host of pre-made tools to develop an app in a matter of hours, instead of weeks or months.
The low-code development platform HCL Volt MX, for instance, features integrated DevOps services and automated testing capabilities (like an AI-powered built-in test recorder that generates test cases to be executed on the cloud as part of the continuous integration/continuous delivery, or CI/CD, pipeline).
It doesn’t replace developers, but rather helps to automate their work and lets them focus their time on new features and big ideas, rather than on coding repetitive, but essential, tests, or on figuring out the backend complexities.
2. A Confidence Booster
With a low-code platform, DevOps teams get automated tools for testing, deployment, security, data management — all of the backend development — plus frontend and design. This is a set of very different skills and expertise, but such a simplified development process allows almost any developer to work on an app through its full life cycle.
Even if an aspiring coder from the organization’s marketing team builds an internal app, DevOps team won’t have to worry about build validation or version control because low code enables a continuous process.
One small DevOps team can efficiently and confidently manage building and deploying an app from any developer. It can also deploy these apps across multiple devices — with very little learning of different programming languages required. Low-code platforms, like Volt MX, include pre-wired components, templates, and sample apps for smart speakers, wearables, AR, PWA, native mobile, and others.
3. Strategic Focus
Once low code frees the organization’s DevOps teams from repetitive tasks and lowers workloads, they can concentrate on more complex problems, like upgrading and maintaining existing enterprise-class apps — enterprise resource planning comes to mind — or work on other high-value digital and operational strategic initiatives.
When a European energy giant decided to future-proof and digitize operations, it turned to HCL Volt MX. With a vision to lead the industry by focusing on renewables as well as providing energy to those who lack it, the company’s digital team chose to develop a suite of apps — for employees and customers — to foster this transformation.
Instead of hiring a small army of software developers to build and deploy apps — varying from SaaS for energy plants to spare parts collaborative solution — the company took advantage of a single development platform to save both time and money.
Long Live DevOps and Low Code!
Low code for professional developers is best suited for developing consumer-grade mobile and multi-experience apps. Whether an organization is trying to digitize an old process, or create new ways to engage with consumers, business partners, customers or employees, low-code development helps organizations be more responsive and agile — just like a good DevOps culture. With the ever-rising demand of a digital-led economy and the subsequent shortage of development talent, by adopting the velocity of low-code development approach we can enhance the power of the developer (and the DevOps) models to meet the next business challenge.