There are many myths surrounding low-code technologies. Some of them are based on facts, others are simply misconceptions. Here are 10 low-code myths you should know about if you’re interested in this area of software development in 2023 – from the perspective of a CEO of a company that specializes in low-code solutions.
Low-code rapidly gains prominence in the IT world. Gartner predicts that by the end of 2024, 65% of app development will be the result of using low-code and no-code platforms. A report by the 451 Research and FileMaker, Inc. company shows that right now, 60% of custom apps are developed outside of the IT department.
However, as low-code’s popularity grows, more and more questions, uncertainties, and myths arise. Some of them have to do with the possibilities it offers or the advantages it can provide, others pertain to the possible problems that may arise during the development process.
Some of these myths are rooted in the truth, but others are a result of misconceptions and misunderstandings. Here are the 10 most popular low-code myths you might encounter.
10 low-code myths in 2023
1. There is a perfect low-code platform
Many companies start their adventure with low-code by looking for the “perfect” platform. If you’re here to learn which is the best tool out there, I have some bad news for you – there’s no such thing. Sure, there are some market leaders, and some solutions – like Mendix, OutSystems, or Microsoft Power Apps – are more popular than others. There are also some that are considered challengers – Oracle Application Expres (APEX) is a great example here.
But the reality is that low-code technologies have widely different use cases, and a platform that’s great for one thing, might not be all that good for another. There is also no point in trying to implement a platform that doesn’t sync well with your company’s technological stack, just because you saw it in the Gartner’s Magic Quadrant (above). You’ll just make things harder for yourself. Research is the answer here – ask your in-house team to get the necessary information (alternatively, if you don’t employe IT specialists, look for low-code consultants from outside the company).
2. Low-code is always cheap
Let’s get one thing straight: sure, low-code is usually substantially cheaper than traditional software development. However, that doesn’t mean it’s always incredibly cheap, and there are some circumstances when it can actually get quite costly.
One of the most important things to take note of here is the licensing model that the company behind a given low-code technology uses. Some of these tools are licensed in complicated ways, with the final price being dependent on such things as the number of active users, developers, etc. This can easily make costs grow if you’re not careful, so you should always make sure to consider and evaluate the subscription plans and models before you decide on a specific tool. And don’t just look at what it means for you right now – try to also take the future into account.
3. Low-code is always lightning fast
Low-code application development is a lot faster than the traditional model – by at least 20%, and some experts believe that value to be much, much higher (I’ve covered this in more detail in my article on low-code advantages). However, depending on your choices, the process might not be as smooth and fast as you might expect it to be.
The main thing here is to – to repeat once again – choose your low-code platform wisely. If you decide on the wrong tool, your development might be negatively impacted. For example, the solution might not work well with your current technological stack. Or, despite having a robust list of 50 great components, the technology might lack that critical 51st, that you’ll have to painstakingly create a substitute for. Save yourself the trouble and be aware of such things before you start development.
4. Complicated systems can’t be made with low-code tools
It’s one of the most common untrue things I hear about low-code technologies: that you can’t create complex projects with such tools. This idea is completely made up. I mean, sure, low-code is great for simple applications you can make in a day or two, but it can also be used to create powerful, flexible solutions for big enterprises. Pretius is a great example here – we’ve successfully used technologies such as Oracle APEX to create full-blown enterprise-grade systems for big, global companies (I’ve talked about it during a webinar organized by Oracle, so check it out, if you’re interested).
5. Low-code is for business people – not for “true” IT specialists
Low-code is often considered to be a solution made specifically for people outside of the IT world – business users who can learn to create apps, becoming so-called “citizen developers”. While it’s certainly true that these platforms can be used by people without coding knowledge and/or experience, it by no way means they are only meant for such users. Software developers are still an important part of the process – their presence makes some things much easier, and significantly extends the list of available possibilities.
For many companies, low-code is something of a shortcut – one that allows them to make great solutions faster and cheaper thanks to the use of various drag-and-drop “wizards” and read-made elements. It also standardizes the software development process, which can be a huge boon.
However, it’s important to remember that all of this is still based on programming languages, databases, and so on – it’s made a bit easier to use, with less coding required, but you’re not limited to these read-made elements and functionalities. You can extend the platform and software made with it in various ways, though it will probably require more knowledge and actual software development experience.
6. Low-code has to be cloud-based
Most low-code platforms do work in the cloud, and many of them are created with such a scenario in mind. However, while the cloud is usually an optimal choice, there are some solutions that actually allow you to operate your system completely on-premise. Some examples include Mendix and OutSystems.
On-premise deployment can be quite important in some circumstances – for reasons related to privacy or security, for example. It’s yet another factor that should be considered when getting ready to choose a low-code platform for your project.
7. You can’t make products with low-code platforms
Another myth that I sometimes encounter is that low-code platforms can’t be used to create full-blown software products that you’ll later sell to your clients. I can actually prove this isn’t true by showing you an example – Pretius has a proprietary sales commission system which is a product created with the Oracle Application Express (APEX) low-code platform.
In fact, in some circumstances – for example, when you’re running a startup with a rather limited budget, and an aim to create a product with the best possible time to market and validation time – low-code can be a truly great choice. In such scenarios, it’s a much, much better, and safer alternative to traditional software development.
8. Low-code is hard to maintain
Some people also believe that low-code software is hard to maintain but the reality is that it just works differently than in the case of “traditional” – say Java-based – systems. You have to change your mindset. The main reason for that is the fact that the apps usually exist on the platforms they were made with, and are operated through them.
In fact, in a way, low-code maintenance can even be a little bit easier than what software developers are used to because the platform’s creators provide users with a clear methodology – a path to follow, an explanation of the entire maintenance process, and the application’s life cycle. Instead of coming up with your own maintenance strategy, you simply have to follow these guidelines.
9. Low-code platforms can’t be modified
Another common myth is the belief that applications created with low-code technologies can’t be modified in any way, and can’t be made to work with other tools. This is very untrue, as most platforms offer extensive integration capabilities. Low-code apps and systems can easily be used with various components from other vendors.
However, once again, be sure to check the information about integrations on the website of the platform you’re interested in using – in most cases, there’s detailed documentation available. If something important for your project isn’t on the list, consider choosing a different low-code solution, or get ready for additional expenses.
10. Low-code specialists are hard to come by
Now, this is kinda true, at least on the surface. If you look on a portal such as LinkedIn, for example, the number of specialists who list low-code skills and experience on their profiles isn’t very high, to say the least. It’s important to know, however, that this is only a part of a much bigger picture.
The key to understanding the situation is something I’ve already mentioned in this article – low-code platforms are based on existing technologies and solutions. This means that people familiar with them can easily become low-code developers, even if they don’t have experience with low-code itself. Learning these tools is quite a simple matter, especially for someone with extensive IT knowledge, and after a short onboarding process, such developers will be able to work with low-code tools without too many issues. For example, someone who knows Oracle DB, SQL and PL/SQL will have no problems with an Oracle APEX-based project.
So, while the number of specialized low-code developers might not be very high, the number of potential low-code developers is.
Most low-code myths are just that – myths
As you can see, while some low-code myths have roots in the truth, most of them can be easily debunked, when you look at the issues more closely (or sometimes the other way around – take a look at them from a broader perspective). In 2023, low-code technologies are mature, flexible and powerful solutions, capable of delivering any kind of application or system. That being said, a lot depends on making the right choice when it comes to the platform, and some projects can’t be achieved without the help of specialized software developers. If you’re looking for such help, we’re here just an e-mail away! Message me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the contact form below. We’ll see what we can do for you.