We have been developing our low code data integration platform Xapix since 2016. In the last years we have encountered some features that are most important for developers and should be integrated in any low code platform you want to use.
One key question in using a low code platform (be it for the automation or optimization of processes, the development of apps or the integration of different data streams and formats) is to what group you belong: Are you a professional developer or do you belong to a broader non-technical audience? Both groups can immensely profit from low code, but obviously their backgrounds are different - and so are their needs.
Developers have high requirements. Building a product specifically for that target group usually means optimizing for hard facts: Performance, security, scalability, reliability. They are also more biased towards effectiveness and already known concepts, technologies and programming languages.
Product Owners have the big picture in front of their eyes and for them mostly the result counts. From our experience, Product Owners usually want a fast way to reach their goal and any roadblock in software development that slows their project down is considered to be a burden.
Convincing developers to use low code can be quite challenging. An easy to use UI/UX is a nice extra. It can also give your product an edge over competitors, but not at the cost of any of the hard factors.
Keep in mind: Usually developers already have a set of tools to solve the particular challenge (the “proven approach”) and the new tool needs to add enough value to beat their cost of change significantly. No developer wants to work with a blackbox.
The biggest advantage in using low code platforms is that developers can get more work done through simplicityand reproducibility. Low code allows automation of the time-intensive, yet mundane tasks. This allows focus on the really hard problems and on the actual area of expertise, whether it’s data analysis, machine learning or other complex data modelling.
With Non-experts, it’s much easier to sell them on any low code approach. They feel excited and empowered by being enabled to perform a task they could not do before. If a beautiful UI/UX is the heart of the product, it will be decisive for the user’s decision to adopt the tool.
Conceptually, low code tools should support 100% of potential use cases. But sometimes that is just not possible. This might be the case when the tasks, data formats, schemas or endpoints are too complex or too niche. The most important thing for developers is then openness and extensibility at all levels, providing open model specifications and tools for platform extensibility. You need to be able to quickly get into a code level to build additional extensions around the low code platform.
APIs are the drivers of digital transformation and have an enormous relevance and strategic value in every company. That’s why continuous integration (CI) / continuous deployment (CD) is an important part of API development. Generally speaking, CI/CD is an automated process for building, testing and deploying code. It makes the deployment of APIs or the migration of configurations from one environment to another easier and avoids interference between different development teams. Ultimately, it also improves testability and makes sure that APIs are always ready to use, no matter what changes a developer is currently performing.
If more than one team is seeking alignment for development standards, the data governance challenge arises. By offering pre-built frameworks and templates —such as ensuring for instance to ensure common authentication and authorization practices, privacy checks, or data schemas—teams can ensure commonality and repeatability across an organization. Those can be easily facilitated through low-code components and further be enforced through data validation.
When building a scalable system many elements need to be addressed, including a safe development, access and hosting to scalability. Not every team wants to become an expert in all of those fields, hence low code solutions that specifically focus on delivering best-in-class solutions and allow for direct integrations with existing frameworks and deployment processes help achieve such scale in a more secure way.
When users of different skill levels or different teams are working on a platform, a multi-user development approach is very important to be able to offer a multi-user-development approach. At the start of a project, all team members can work together on the main line of the version control repository, but then it should be possible to assign dedicated branches for team collaboration.
A low code platform should also support the use of a centralized version control repository. This way, multiple developers can work on the same project, continuously merging model changes into revisions held inside the version control repository.
For us there is no doubt that low code is the future - for non-experts, business and professional developers alike. By simplifying and automating complex tasks, the focus can be put back on pressing topics where deep expertise is needed.
If you want to try our approach to low code data integration, feel free to get started with a trial version of Xapix. We have a couple of demo projects where you can directly see the impact on your daily work.