LowCode development

LowCode development seems to be the holy grail if Gartner and the marketing rhetoric of LowCode platform vendors are to be believed. At B-Synergy we now know that there are quite a few factors that need to be taken into account in order for a LowCode platform to be successful in the long run. A LowCode Platform is really just a visually oriented Rapid Application Development environment (RAD). Therefore, there is nothing "low" about the code, ultimately the generated code is just as complex as code written by hand in a traditional way. In fact, because LowCode has all kinds of tools for building the code and for deploying and monitoring the code, we can safely conclude that LowCode code is actually more complex than traditional code.

Of course, this higher complexity also comes with bugs and quirks. When the LowCode platform is not open, developers cannot look into the code to indicate corrections. These problems are called leaky abstractions and the vendor lock-in of the LowCode platform is called service lock-in.

So, is LowCode development actually the holy grail? No, definitely not. In the 12 years that B-Synergy has been working with LowCode, we have run into use cases where LowCode was deployed incorrectly. There are many reasons for this, but there is one constant thing.

1) Business case too complex for LowCode; it sounds nice, building an ERP yourself, but do you have developers who know anything about the complexities of ERP because they have built ERP systems before?

Do you really believe that you can build a system that is better than companies that have already done it and often have years of experience doing so. This self-overestimation is common.

2) Not enough experienced developers; ties in with the above but as if understanding business processes in a company isn't hard enough already we often throw up another barrier, namely foreign developers so that your business has even more trouble getting across what is now relevant to their process. A person doesn't trip over a mountain, but they do trip over a pebble. Provide experienced people who speak your language to foresee the bumps.

3) Not enough attention to solution architecture; full of expectation of the simplicity of the LowCode platform and the promised 10X faster than traditional, and after all, traditional you started LowCode. Finally your team can work Agile, get started! Fast forward a year? Your application is big, a plate of spaghetti, your developers are tired, besides projects the business wants, they have to fix all the bugs and write and describe code to keep things running. When you ask your team how to clean up this mess, they frown, because they don't dare say, "We have to build it again, but this time under strict architecture!"

4) Leaky Abstractions; Anything goes with LowCode, until it doesn't. We have already helped several customers who could not get an app live with the functionalities the business and ICT security wanted. Several plugins did not work together, and the platform vendor could not solve the problem either, so what now? Exactly after 1 year of struggling with a team of 3 people, many disappointments, the management is now convinced that it really can't be done and they are now looking for an open platform without service lock-in.

The costs some companies incur are sometimes exorbitant, hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for an app? You really could have spent that money better on good developers who had built the app for you directly with react native or Flutter, without annual costs.

LowCode is certainly not the holy grail! LowCode can be very efficient if used under the right conditions, the right business case and the right expectations. There are certainly success stories to be mentioned, such as how Beeztees developed their LowCode is certainly not the Holy Grail! LowCode can be very efficient if used under the right conditions, the right business case and the right expectations. There are certainly success stories to be mentioned such as how Beeztees unlocks their SAP SD module with OutSystems, or how Mammoet uses SAP and Mendix.

B-Synergy helps companies to make the right choice or to recover from wrong choices. Contact us before you start LowCode or when you get the feeling LowCode doesn't bring you what you expect.