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Low-Code Development Versus Traditional Development

Jul 11, 2023
Pim Tongchai

In this article, we want to introduce how low-code and traditional development differ from and complement each other. Low-code development and traditional development are two approaches to building software applications, each with its own advantages and considerations.

Traditional development refers to the conventional software development process that involves writing code from scratch using programming languages like Java, Python, C++, etc. Low-code development is an approach that focuses on visual development environments and abstracts away much of the manual coding. It enables developers to build applications using graphical interfaces, pre-built components and drag-and-drop functionality. Furthermore, developers can create highly customized solutions tailored to specific requirements and business needs. In contrast, writing code from scratch from start to finish can be time-consuming, especially for complex projects where the development involves detailed planning, design, coding, training, and maintenance phases which usually extend the project timeline.

Low-code development abstracts away many technical details, making application development more accessible to developers and those with limited coding experience. This can empower business users to create simple applications themselves. Often times, the low-code platforms provide a visual, intuitive interface that simplifies and speeds up the application development process. Developers can leverage pre-built components, templates and automation tools, reducing the need for manual coding. Nevertheless, low-code platforms may be limited in customizations and advanced functionality. The platforms may have limitations when dealing with complex requirements. Furthermore, developers have some degree of control but not all for faster development. (Some of the common low-code platforms are

Tableau, Microsoft Power Apps, Salesforce Lightning, Alteryx, WaveMaker, AppSheet, and Appian.)

When deciding between low-code development and traditional development, several criteria can help guide your choice:

  1. Project Requirements: Evaluate the complexity and scope of the project. Traditional development offers more flexibility for complex projects that require custom logic, extensive integration, etc.
  2. Development Timeline: Assess the urgency of your project and time-to-market requirements. Low-code development platforms offer rapid application development capabilities, allowing you to build and deploy applications quickly. Traditional development may take longer due to the need for manual coding and testing.
  3. Team Skill Set: Consider the expertise and skill set of your development team. Low-code development can be more user-friendly and beneficial when you have limited technical staff.
  4. Customization Needs: Determine the level of customization and control you require over your application. Low-code platforms offer pre-build components when traditional development allows complete customization.
  5. Integration Requirements: Evaluate the integration needs of your application. Low-code platforms may have limitations in integrating with complex legacy systems. Traditional development offers more flexibility and control for integrating diverse systems and APIs.
  6. Cost: Assess the cost implications of both approaches including initial licensing costs for low-code platforms and development resources and time for traditional development.
  7. Flexibility: Consider your future needs and the potential for application growth or changes including integrations, future enhancements or customizations.

Low-code development can be more beneficial for the following developments:

  1. Rapid Application Development: Projects with tight deadlines or a need for rapid prototyping, proof of concepts, or minimum viable products (MVPs) can benefit from low-code platforms' visual development environment and pre-built components.
  2. Standardized Applications: Low-code development platforms excel in creating standardized applications that follow established patterns and workflows.
  3. Workflow and Business Process Automation: Low-code development is particularly well-suited for projects involving workflow and business process automation if the primary focus is on streamlining and automating business processes, such as approval workflows, task management, or document routing.
  4. Integration-Focused Applications: Projects that require integrating multiple systems, APIs or data sources can benefit from low-code development platforms except for legacy integrations that may be more complex.
  5. Iterative and Agile Development: Projects that require frequent iterations, continuous improvement and the ability to adapt quickly to changing requirements can leverage the visual development environment of low-code platforms to rapidly prototype, test and iterate on applications features.

Traditional development can be more beneficial than low-code development in the following types of projects:

  1. Highly Complex Applications: Projects that involve highly complex algorithms, intricate business logic or extensive customizations may require the flexibility and control that traditional development provides.
  2. Performance-Critical Applications: Applications that have stringent performance requirements, such as high-volume transaction systems, real-time data processing or resource-intensive simulations may benefit from traditional development.
  3. Customized or Unique Requirements: Projects that have unique or highly specialized requirements, which may not be easily accommodated by off-the-shelf components or templates, may be better served by traditional development.
  4. Security-Sensitive Applications: Projects involving applications that handle sensitive data or require stringent security measures may benefit from traditional development. Traditional development allows for granular control over security implementations, encryption algorithms, access controls and compliance requirements.
  5. Large-Scale Enterprise Applications: Developing large-scale enterprise applications that involve multiple modules, extensive integrations, and complex business processes may be better suited for traditional development.

It's important to evaluate the project's specific needs, complexity, performance requirements and customization demands to determine the development approach. In some cases, a hybrid approach that combines elements of low-code and traditional development may be appropriate to leverage the benefits of both approaches. Some of the common low code platforms that you can check out are

Tableau, Microsoft Power Apps, Salesforce Lightning, Alteryx, WaveMaker, AppSheet, Appian, etc.

EisnerAmper does not endorse any product or service or warrant that any products or services are appropriate for any particular business.

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