In software development, we often walk a fine line between “good enough is good enough” (so you can put something out there) and creating the perfect app that solves world hunger, climate change, and geopolitical conflicts at the same time (you probably won’t get to launch it.)
In an ideal world, developers would have all the time in the world to deliver clean and perfect codes. But the reality is that looming deadlines and limited resources often mean we have to take some shortcuts and make some trade-offs.
Such trade-offs underlie the concept of technical debt, which can come back to haunt you in the future. But there’s a way to have your cake and eat it too — to create an app quickly without incurring technical debt. And we’ll show you how.
First Thing First… What’s Technical Debt?
Technical debt represents the additional development work that needs to happen in the future when mediocre code is used as a short-term stop-gap solution. Such code is typically redundant, poorly designed, and/or useless. Developers will need to rework or clean up the codebase before they can proceed with future iterations.
Just like borrowing money, you may incur “interest” when technical debt piles up. The interest comes in the form of increasing challenges when you make subsequent updates to the software. And just like compound interest, the longer you ignore a technical debt, the more chaos will occur in the software development process, and the more things that will break.
Are you doomed when you’re pinched for time but still need to get something out the door? Thanks to the rise of low-code and no-code platforms, you can now get the best of both worlds — clean code and fast deployment.
What’s Low-Code and No-Code?
Low-code is a software development approach that allows development teams to build an application with drag-and-drop interfaces, process modeling, reusable code templates, and software development kits (SDKs.) These platforms enable developers to use pre-built “blocks” of codes to assemble an app, thereby reducing the amount of custom coding required to shorten the app development cycle. These platforms are designed for professional developers, and users will need a certain level of technical skills to use them effectively.
Meanwhile, no-code development turns application design into a drag-and-drop visual experience. It eliminates the need for programming skills, so anyone can build an app or website without knowing how to code. Since no-code platforms leverage pre-built capabilities within the editing interface, users often have a limited set of functionalities to choose from. No-code tools offer a great way to empower business users to create solutions quickly (e.g., business process automation) without increasing the workload of the IT team.
The Benefits of Low-Code and No-Code Development
Low-code and no-code approaches can reduce software development times by 50–90% and IT budget by up to 20% compared with custom coding. Here are some key advantages:
• Agility: The shorter software development cycle allows organizations to respond to changes in the business environment and customer demands more quickly so they can stay relevant and competitive.
• Smaller project backlog: Instead of spending time to undo the karma of past sloppiness, development teams can focus on moving forward with the product roadmap and get more done with fewer resources.
• Scalability: Developers can reuse application elements such as user interfaces, integrations, and custom logic by simply dragging and dropping building blocks into a design interface.
• Innovation: Low-code development takes repetitive and manual coding tasks off developers’ plates, so they can focus on high-value projects and pursue innovative ideas.
How Low-Code and No-Code Eliminate Technical Debt
Did you know that the average developer spends 75% of their time on maintenance tasks and technical debts? Ouch!
Eliminating technical debt is where low-code and no-code development really shines because it simplifies the maintenance and scaling of an application. Low-code and no-code reduce the effort required to make updates because developers don’t have to spend weeks fixing sloppy code first. Here’s how this software development approach eliminates technical debt:
Model-Driven Development (MDD)
This software development methodology enables organizations to build complex applications using pre-built elements via a visual interface. It bridges the gap between business users and IT teams to streamline development processes and enhance collaboration. Thanks to predefined components built with clean code, organizations can sidestep many quality issues and technical debt associated with custom coding. Developers can spend less time in the future fixing glitches before adding new features or improving existing functionalities.
You can automate various manual and repetitive processes (e.g., configuration, testing, and QA) to shorten delivery timelines, minimize human errors, and improve product quality. Automation also makes deployment more secure, agile, and scalable. The use of artificial intelligence (AI) monitoring and multi-cloud technology can vastly improve the quality of the codebase to reduce technical debt. Meanwhile, developers can use the time they save through automating repetitive tasks to address technical debt from the past.
Improved User Experience
Low-code platforms allow developers to build responsive applications quickly. You can effectively address fast-changing business needs and user expectations with self-service tools, fast response times, and omnichannel communications. Additionally, these apps are mobile-optimized to deliver a satisfying user experience no matter what platforms, devices, or communication channels are used (e.g., website, mobile, chat, in-app messaging.) You can respond to evolving requirements without compromising the speed of delivery or quality of the codebase.
Today, we have access to vast amounts of data and AI-powered technologies. But custom-coding applications to integrate data and insights from various sources is time-consuming and error-prone. Low-code development makes seamless data integration a breeze. You can create secure, fast, and event-driven applications to support accurate data-driven decision-making and business process automation. This can help your business respond to fast-changing market needs without paying the price in the form of technical debt.
Add Low-Code and No-Code Development To Your Arsenal
Low-code or no-code has many use cases. Besides standalone platforms, it can also be part of platform-as-a-service (PaaS) or software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions to streamline coding and integration processes. You can apply this approach to websites, internal business applications (e.g., business process automation), customer-facing applications, and re-platforming (e.g., upgrading components in a legacy system with cloud-based solutions.)
Thanks to its agility, scalability, and ability to eliminate technical debt — which is one of the best ways to improve long-term cost-efficiency — you should consider low-code and no-code development as part of your digital product strategy. Wondering how to best leverage this approach? Get in touch, and we can help you discover how to use this software development method to create real value for your business.
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