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The Impacts of Low/No-Code Development on Digital Transformation and Software Development

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Low/No-code development is a software development method that provides users with a platform for visually creating applications with little or no coding. Companies and organizations need software applications and information systems for various business purposes like management in the technology era. Low/No-code development gives non-IT professionals a convenient tool for rapidly building simple business applications they need without or with little coding. In this paper, we explored the benefits & limitations of Low/No-Code development and modern Low/No-Code development platforms in the industry. In addition, we analyzed how it can be improved and prospected the impacts of Low/No-Code development on society and related industries in the future. In conclusion, we find that Low/No-code development is a promising trend that can significantly impact future software development and digital transformation.
The Impacts of Low/No-Code Development on Digital
Transformation and Software Development
Zhaohang Yan
Department of Computer & Mathematical Sciences
University of Toronto
Toronto, Canada
AbstractLow/No-code development is a software development
method that provides users with a platform for visually creating
applications with little or no coding. Companies and
organizations need software applications and information
systems for various business purposes like management in the
technology era. Low/No-code development gives non-IT
professionals a convenient tool for rapidly building simple
business applications they need without or with little coding. In
this paper, we explored the benefits & limitations of Low/No-
Code development and modern Low/No-Code development
platforms in the industry. In addition, we analyzed how it can be
improved and prospected the impacts of Low/No-Code
development on society and related industries in the future. In
conclusion, we find that Low/No-code development is a promising
trend that can significantly impact future software development
and digital transformation.
Keywords-Software development, Digital transformation, Low-
code development, No-code development
With the development of information technology and
digitalization trends, companies and organizations require
robust tools to respond to dynamic & complex market
environments and requirements (Sanchis et al., 2020) [1]. In his
journal Software development trends 2021, McLean (2021)
defines Low/No-Code development as a sort of visual software
development that developers can use to drag & drop and
connect components for building mobile or web applications
[4]. Such a component-based approach empowers professional
developers to deftly create applications without any code
(McLean, 2021) [4]. In 2014, Richardson and Rymer (2014)
first brought in the phrase "low code" to the public in their
report titled "New Development Platforms Emerge For
Customer-Facing Applications," published in Forrester
Research, in which they claim that comparing to demanding
hand-coding, enterprises and organizations prefer low-code
substitutes for swift, continual, and test-and-learn development
and delivery [2].
The result of an investigation conducted by Richardson and
Rymer (2016) illustrated that low code development platforms
could help enterprises and organizations expedite the
development and delivery of applications by 5 to 10 times [3].
Gartner, a technology research and consulting company,
forecasts that Low-Code Development will be used for 65% of
application development projects by 2024 (Duffy, 2019) [5].
Therefore, it is crucial for the public to understand LNCD
comprehensively when LNCD is rapidly adopted and embraced
by enterprises and organizations.
Nevertheless, though Low/No-Code Development has many
good for application development, some enterprises do not
adopt it over conventional software development process due
to the dearth of knowledge about Low/No-Code Development
Platforms (LNCDP), fear of vendor lock-in (i.e., fear of being
dependent on an LNCDP vendor), the scarcity of confidence
that LNCDP can develop desired applications, worries about
the security, scalability, and inflexibility issues (OutSystems,
2019) [7].
However, some of the concerns about LNCDP, such as
inflexibility, scalability, and security, were defended or proved
to be manageable by Warren from OutSystems (2018) [8].
Alsaadi et al. (2021) analyzed leading LNCDP developers such
as OutSystems, Microsoft, Salesforce, Mendix, and Appian
[11]. We will analyze the features and functionalities of these
platforms and focus on the insight we get by looking at trends
and patterns in the Low/No-Code industry.
In the last section of this paper, we prospect how Low/No-
Code development will affect future software development and
digital transformation by analyzing opposite opinions.
We conclude that even if Low/No-Code Development
emerged only a few years ago, the rapid growth of its adoption
in the industry indicates an optimistic prospect. Based on our
analysis in each section, Low/No-Code Development will
cause a turnaround in the software development industry and
conduce digital transformation.
In today's society, it becomes more critical for enterprises
and organizations to adapt to fast-changing both external and
internal environments (OutSystems, 2019) [7]. As defined by
Alsaadi et al. (2021), digital transformation usually refers to
digitalizing paper-based documents and storing them in a
digital form [11]. It transforms the business processes from
time-consuming and labour-intensive manual processes to
automated agile digital processes (Alsaadi et al., 2021) [11].
According to Outsystems (2019), digital transformation has
been playing a significant role in business strategy for a few
years [7]. Organizations leverage digital transformation to
grasp new opportunities, to satisfy customers' complex and
various needs, and to circumvent being defeated by competitors
that become more adaptive and flexible (OutSystems, 2019) [7].
Outsystems (2019) investigated over 3,300 IT professionals
from 6 different continents, and Figure 1 shows the results
regarding business digital transformation progress. According
to Outsystems' (2019) criteria, Level 1 Unaware is doing
almost nothing for digital transformation; Level 2 Isolated is
the preliminary stage of digital transformation, and Level 6 is
the most robust stage [7]. We can conclude from the chart that
the majority (95%) of the respondents' organizations were more
or less making efforts for digital transformation.
(Figure 1. Digital Transformation Maturity Level. Data source:
Outsystems (2019) [7])
Outsystems (2019) also surveyed Applications Planned for
Development in 2019 and Application Development Time.
Figure 2 shows that 23% of the respondents planned to develop
and deliver over 50 software applications. Figure 3 shows that
majority of the applications are required over three months. We
conclude from these two graphs that during digital
transformation, there will be numerous and continuous
demands for new application development and delivery, which
can be time-consuming. Therefore, organizations that plan to or
are digital transforming need a tool to improve development &
delivery efficiency. Low/No-code development is one of the
rising approaches to boost delivery speed. Figure 4 illustrates
the percentage of Low/No-code adoption in the IT strategy of
respondent organizations, where we can see that over half of
them will start or are utilizing Low/No-code development. The
study of Richardson and Rymer (2016) indicates that Low/No-
code development can speed up the applications development
& delivery by 5 to 10 times [3]. According to Duffy (2019),
Gartner predicted that, by 2024, Low-Code Development
would take on 65% of application development tasks [5]. For
the Digital Transformation Maturity (DTM) we mentioned in
Figure 1, the average DTM score of Low-Code practitioners
was 16% higher than that of industry peers who did not use
Low-Code (Outsystems, 2019) [7]. Moreover, 37% of
businesses that practiced Low-Code development were
satisfied with the software application delivery rate, while only
26% of businesses that did not practice Low-Code were content
with their release rate (Outsystems, 2019) [7]. Therefore, it is
important to learn more comprehensively about Low/No-code
development before using it during digital transformation. In
this section, we explore both benefits and limitations of
Low/No-code development for developers and organizations to
pounder if it is felicitous with their digital transformation
(Figure 2. Applications Planned for Development. Data source:
Outsystems (2019) [7])
(Figure 3. Applications Development Time. Data source: Outsystems
(2019) [7])
Level 1 Unaware
Level 2 Isolated
Level 3
Level 4
Strategic, 31%
Level 5
Level 6
1 to 9 Apps
10 to 24 Apps
25 to 49 Apps
50 to 99 Apps,
100 or more Apps
1-2 months 3-4 months 5-6 months 7-12 months Over 12
Applications Development Time
Mobile App Web App
(Figure 4. Low/No-code Adoption in IT Strategy. Data source:
Outsystems (2019) [7])
There are many goals that developers want to achieve using
Low-code development. Outsystems (2019) collected top
reasons for utilizing Low-code development, and the first three
were Expedite digital innovation/transformation (66%),
Improve responsiveness to the business (66%), Decrease
dependency on the technical skill that is hard to hire (45%) [7].
Besides these general responses, we expand several main
benefits that Low/No-code development can produce in this
a. Swiftness
By the nature of Low/No-code development, Low/No-code
development platforms allow users to build new applications
visually, which accelerate development by providing
businesses with immediate prototyping new customer
requirements and testing of the functionalities (Richardson &
Rymer, 2016) [3]. Richardson and Rymer (2016) also argued
that coding a new software application is still a demanding and
time-consuming task, even though practicing Agile or Lean
software development process [3]. Modifying a customized
application with numerous lines of code is also complicated
and inefficient (Richardson & Rymer, 2016) [3]. Most of the
enterprises using Low-code platforms reported that Low-code
development conduced to their release of applications and
speeded it up by 5 to 10 times (Richardson & Rymer, 2016) [3].
As presented in Outsystems (2019) survey, Low-Code
practitioners could release 68% of their web applications in 4
months, while non-Low-Code users could only deliver 57% of
their web applications using the same amount of time [7]. For
mobile apps, it presented a similar pattern where Low-Code
practitioners could deliver 64% of the apps in 4 months, but
those who did not use Low-Code could only deliver 49% of
apps in 4 months (OutSystems, 2019) [7].
b. Citizen Development
Citizen developers are non-professional developers
authorized by the IT department to use approved tools for
application development & delivery (OutSystems, 2019) [7].
Though citizen developers lack programming skills, they have
abundant experience and knowledge in other fields; since
programming skills are hardly needed when using Low-Code,
citizen developers could use the knowledge and experience to
develop applications that meet customers' needs better (Alsaadi
et al., 2021) [11]. When the enterprises have a dearth of IT
talents but with a myriad of demands of new web/mobile
applications from various departments, citizen developers in
each department could use Low/No-Code development
platforms to build needed business applications for their
departments (Richardson & Rymer, 2016) [3]. It not only
satisfies departments' needs but also releases IT professionals
from tedious low-level application development details. IT
professionals could then focus on more complex and essential
business application requirements. Outsystems (2019) assessed
the administration of citizen developers and found that 37% of
Low-Code practitioners could administrate and manage citizen
development attentively, which was 9% higher than that of
non-Low-Code users [7]. Therefore, Low/No-Code
development improves citizen development on the developer
and administrator sides.
c. Security
During digital transformation, the limited number of IT
talents makes it hard for IT professionals to manage a mass of
demands of business applications (Stangarone, J., 2019) [15].
In such a situation, people who cannot get solutions from the IT
department or IT professionals would look for third-party
solutions without the oversight of the IT department, which is
known as "Shadow IT" (Stangarone, J., 2019) [15]. Shadow IT
can endanger an organization's IT security and privacy since
the organization will have no knowledge and control of the
applications such as implementation details, data management,
and IT security threats (OutSystems, 2019) [7]. Low/No-Code
development platforms, authorized by IT personnel or IT
department, can help solve the risks brought by Shadow IT.
Users can build needed solutions on the platforms without
disturbing IT personnel constantly. Since the IT department
controls the data and applications, security and privacy safety
are guaranteed (Stangarone, J., 2019) [15]. Security concerns
about citizen development were similar to those about Shadow
IT (OutSystems, 2019) [7]. Low/No-Code development
platforms can address the concerns in the same way we
discussed above (i.e., the IT department can govern the citizen
development applications) (OutSystems, 2019) [7].
If each component or building block in Low/No-Code
platforms is secure, reusable, and optimized, the applications
built with them should automatically be secure and optimized
(OutSystems, 2019) [7]. According to respondents of
Outsystems's (2019) survey, 64% of them noticed the scarcity
of professional cybersecurity personnel and found that it is hard
to hire them [7]. Using Low/No-Code platforms can save time
Not Sure
Not Planned
Yes -Starting
Yes -Already
on testing security since IT professionals only need to test the
security of building blocks and the platforms themselves
(OutSystems, 2019) [7]. Thus, Low/No-Code can not only
avoid the security risks but also lessen the heavy testing
workload compared to the traditional development process.
d. Maintainability
As Outsystems (2019) estimated, 65% of the application
development projects were for maintenance, and the rest were
for innovation [7]. Moreover, maintenance activities took
approximately 75% of most IT resources of organizations
(OutSystems, 2019) [7]. Outsystems (2019) found that
organizations that use Low/No-Code development could have
more projects for innovation (40%) instead of maintenance
compared to those who were not using Low/No-Code
development (35%) [7]. Low-Code platforms provide a sole
and centralized environment for all aspects of application
management, which reduces the complexity and difficulty of
application maintenance since critical players in software
maintenance (e.g., IT professionals, business professionals) can
collaborate on the same platform efficiently (Richardson, C. &
Rymer, J. R., 2014) [2]. Moreover, by the nature of Low/No-
Code development, maintainers usually only need to maintain a
few lines of code, which makes Low/No-Code projects more
maintainable (Sanchis et al., 2020) [1].
Outsystems (2019) presented top reasons that some
organizations did not adopt for Low-code development,
including Lack of knowledge of Low/No-Code platforms
(47%), Worry about vendor lock-in with Low/No-Code
providers (37%), Worry about the scalability of Low/No-Code
applications (28%), and Worry about the security of Low/No-
Code applications (25%) [7]. We expanded several significant
concerns about Low/No-code development as we did for
a. Limited Customizability/Flexibility
The visualized building blocks in Low-Code platforms are
pre-implemented and fixed in most cases (Woo, 2020) [6].
Such inflexibility makes the applications less customizable
than those developed by traditional coding development (Tay,
N., 2021) [16]. It will be difficult and time-consuming to
develop complicated or customized features or functionalities
that are not provided on the Low-Code platforms (Tay, N.,
2021) [16]. Implementing these desired features using codes
and integrating them into Low/No-Code applications is an
approach, but it lacks consistency and efficiency (Brocoders
Company, 2021) [17]. Low/No-Code platforms usually
outperform the traditional development process in
implementing simple applications where the predefined
components address common needs or processes well (Sarabyn,
K., 2021) [18]. However, when it comes to projects such as
highly customized applications, data science models, or data
science workflows, Low/No-Code platforms are not
customizable enough for these tasks (Sarabyn, K., 2021) [18].
b. Limited Scalability
Most of the current Low/No-Code platforms are mainly
used to develop small-scale applications, while they are seldom
used for large-scale, complex, or crucial business applications
due to their limited scalability (Sanchis et al., 2020) [1].
According to Rymer and Richardson (2015), the average
runtime scale of applications reported by Low-Code platform
providers was between 200 and 2,000 concurrent users [14].
c. Security Concerns
Since most Low/No-Code platform users hardly do or
cannot customize the applications, they must completely trust
that the services do not generate vulnerabilities that cause bugs
or data leaks (Oltrogge et al., 2018) [12]. For example,
Mobincube, a paid Low-Code service, tracked users silently
through Bluetooth low energy beacon without clearly declaring
this in the terms and conditions (Oltrogge et al., 2018) [12]. If
organizations are dependent on their Low/No-Code platform
vendors, their data might be vulnerable to data breaches since
data security and source code are not fully controlled by
organizations (Tay, N., 2021; Oltrogge et al., 2018) [12] [16].
Moreover, if the platform vendors wind up, there will not be
further security updates, and organizations cannot fix new
security flaws later (Tay, N., 2021) [16].
d. Vendor lock-in
Warren (2018) defined vendor lock-in as a customer's
dependency on a vendor for their products and services, which
makes it difficult for the customer to switch to another vendor
[19]. In our context, the concern is that organizations will have
vendor lock-in with Low/No-Code platform providers. As an
organization invests more in an individual Low/No-Code
platform provider, the organization will cost more and be more
complicated for switching to another platform (Tay, N., 2021)
In the Low/No-Code development industry, besides many
emerging LNCD start-ups, tech companies like Microsoft,
Alibaba, Salesforce, and Oracle have their own Low/No-Code
development platforms (Woo, 2020) [6]. In this section, we
analyze several major LNCD platforms in the market for their
usage, features, and impacts on digital transformation.
According to the study of Kulkarni (2021) on industry
demographics of top LNCD platform vendors, we noticed that
20% of Microsoft users were in the manufacturing industry,
40% Appian users in the financial services industry, and 32%
Mendix & 30% Salesforce users in services industry [9]. It
shows that Manufacturing, Finance, and Services are the three
primary industries that utilize LNCD platforms (Kulkarni, 2021)
[9]. For the geographic demographics data of those vendors,
49% Appian and 52% users were in North America, 63%
Mendix and 50% Outsystems users were in Europe, Middle
East, & Africa, and 37% & 26% Microsoft users were in North
America & Asia/Pacific, respectively (Kulkarni, 2021) [9].
Outsystems established the LNCD platform market
(Outsystems, 2019) with over 1200 organizations in 52
countries using their platform (Alsaadi et al., 2021) [7][11].
Outsystems focuses on helping customers develop business
applications that automate business processes for nimble and
continual development & delivery (Alsaadi et al., 2021) [11].
Outsystems platform leverage AI and ML to generate
suggestions, automation, and validation of applications
developed on the platform (Alsaadi et al., 2021) [11].
Microsoft PowerApps is the LNCD platform provided by
tech giant Microsoft. It is integrated with many Microsoft
services such as Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Azure,
Microsoft Teams, and so on. It can be used for developing
automated business applications by connecting Microsoft
services in a workflow (Alsaadi et al., 2021) [11].
Salesforce provides a cloud based LNCD platform that uses
Lightning Framework to build business applications more
efficiently at a lower cost (Alsaadi et al., 2021) [11]. It gives
many customization options for users, such as themes and
colours, and those customizations can be reused, making
company branding more straightforward without coding
(Alsaadi et al., 2021) [11]. It was named a leader for LNCD
platforms by Gartner in 2019 (Duffy, 2019) [5].
The LNCD platform of Mendix accelerates application
development as other LNCD platforms do. It is outstanding
among competitors because it values business & IT
cooperation for refining business logic (Alsaadi et al., 2021)
[11]. The platform divides the design environment for citizen
developers (an environment called Mendix Studio) and
professional developers (Mendix Pro) for better collaborations
between departments by providing suitable tools for people in
different departments. Stakeholders can also cooperate with
developers on the platform to provide in-time feedback to boost
development and innovation (Alsaadi et al., 2021) [11]. It also
has a built-in AI assistant that checks errors and gives
suggestions regarding the application's quality, maintainability,
and scalability (Alsaadi et al., 2021) [11]. Such AI and ML
integration in the platform can give novice developers real-time
feedback to better learn the platform and application
Appian is smaller than many contestants in scale, but some
of its customers are government agencies (Alsaadi et al., 2021)
[11]. It is considered for the capabilities of building
complicated business processes and applications that require
advanced automation and analysis (Alsaadi et al., 2021) [11]. It
also has an AI & ML guide integrated to give users immediate
suggestions during the development.
We notice that most platforms integrated AI and ML
technologies to give real-time recommendations during the
development for making up some users' lack of programming
skills. The LNCD platforms providers with AI are usually more
competitive than others (Alsaadi et al., 2021) [11] since it
enhances user experience and reduces concerns about LNCD
platform usability. Though current LNCD platforms and
technology have defects and limitations (Woo, 2020) [6], we
can see the industry is rising, and they are conducive for
application development in many cases.
Chris Wanstrath, the CEO of GitHub, once said, "The future
of coding is no coding at all." (Peterson, 2017) [21]. Chris
Wanstrath claimed that automating the whole development
process can make coding easier so that people can focus on the
high-level strategies, designs, and architectures of software
(Peterson, 2017) [21]. GitHub has plentiful code repositories
and troubleshooting forums (Peterson, 2017) [21], which could
be used for training AI & ML that gives real-time coding
suggestions and error checking. Moskal (2021) argued that
Low/No-Code programming is deemed as the fourth generation
of programming, and it is also known as declarative
programming [13].
However, Thomas Stiehm, the CTO of Coveros, had a
contradictory opinion "Low-code is not the future of code. It
certainly has a place in the future and will be leveraged to make
many applications. It will not replace other ways of creating
software because low code breaks down when the solution's
complexity increases. We saw the same thing with Visual
Basic in the '90s. VB was valuable, and a lot of software was
written in VB. In the end, it was the complexity required by
some applications that caused VB to break down and no longer
be a good solution. Low code will be the same." (Brocoders
Company, 2021) [17].
It is true that Low/No-Code development has its limitation
and defects, but the analogy between Low/No-Code and VB is
inappropriate since VB is an actual product, but Low/No-Code
is a high-level concept. People can build their own variation
upon a concept but not upon an existing product. For the
argument that Low/No-Code cannot create high complexity
solutions, we have seen companies such as Appian, Mendix,
and Outsystems manage the complex applications well and
innovatively. We have also seen the utilization of start-of-the-
art AI & ML technologies make LNCD platforms more
intelligent and more robust. The defects we discussed before,
such as limited scalability and security concern, they can be
addressed as LNCD platforms become robust: (1) limited
scalability (Warren, 2018) [8]: both runtime scalability (the
capability to increase the capacity of deployed LNC apps and
to provide fast user experience for both large numbers of users
and heavy computation) and dev-time scalability (the capability
to use LNC for numerous business requirements, projects, and
developers) are proven to be solved in Outsystems' platforms;
(2) security concern (Warren, 2018) [20]: Warren argued that if
LNCD platforms are robust & well-structured, Low/No-Code
applications should be secure by its nature (just as we discussed
in Benefits sub-section). Therefore, for Low/No-Code to be
best utilized for digital transformation or even to change future
software development processes, LNCD platforms vendors
must improve the flexibility, scalability, security, and other
limitations so that people can accept this new technology
without concern.
Organizations' needs for digital transformation provide a
stage for Low/No-Code development to show its worth. As
digital transformation proceeds, the business application
requirements will become more complex and specific. Though
LNC has benefits that allow organizations to respond to trends
in the industry agilely, they need more flexibility and
customizability on the LNCD platforms. LNC provides secure
building blocks that can be used for creating secure
applications, but data breaches and lack of access to source
code raise security concerns. Although there is little or no code
to maintain and maintain LNC applications should be easy,
vendor lock-in is a problem when the providers no longer
support the platforms. Such contradictions show that LNCD
could be conducive and show space for LNC technology to
After analyzing current leading LNCD platforms in the
market, we found that AI & ML is a key to improving current
LNC technology. It is also a key for Low-Code converting to
No-Code. As Chris Wanstrath prospected, in the future, people
can focus on high-level software prototyping and designing
instead of writing lines of code and wasting much time on
implementation details. Such a future will come when Low/No-
Code technology has wonderfully collaborated with robust
coding AI & ML technologies. Thomas Stiehm compared LNC
with VB and wanted to conclude the future of LNC should be
the same as the one of VB. The conclusion is superficial and
unlikely to happen (at least not in the way Thomas predicted).
LNC platforms have many potential users, including children,
students, professional developers, and non-IT-professional
employees. Since it has such a wide range of users, the
community should also be large-scale. User community
ensures that it will be constantly refined and improved for
users' needs. VB did not have such a wide range of users and
use-cases, so LNC is not in the old path of VB.
Low/No-Code Development emerged only a few years ago,
the adoption rate is rapidly growing, which indicates an
optimistic prospect. Researchers around the world should do
more research and assessments to solve the limitations and
issues with current LNC technology. Organizations can
cooperate with LNC platform providers to improve their
platforms. It is not only for the providers but also for
organizations to have a better user experience. LNC platform
vendors should continuously research and address limitations
by studying competitors' work and seeking to combine the
latest technologies with the platforms.
In conclusion, based on our analysis in each section,
Low/No-Code Development will play a crucial role in digital
transformation and cause a turnaround in the software
development industry.
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Low-code development platforms were introduced as a solution to the dilemma of the gap between the high demand for applications and the low number of developers available to meet this demand. The low-code development platforms help the developers to build fast, efficient, and scalable applications with a minimal need for coding, which introduced the concept of citizen developers in the field of application development. This study explores the factors that attract the developers and programmers to utilize LCDP and discusses some of the problems and challenges that prevent other programmers and developers from using it. An online survey was conducted in Saudi Arabia among 49 respondents of professional developers from different departments of Information Technology in several kinds of businesses as well as students from the Computing and Information Technology faculties to understand the developers’ motivations to adopt low-code development platforms. A total of 19 respondents were using LCDP, while the other 30 were not. The paper also highlights the reasons why some developers are not interested in moving toward low-code and commit to the traditional programming approach. The results of this study explain the factors and advantages that prompt developers to use LCDP and identifies the concerns that prevent them from using it. Reducing development time is considered as an advantage by the majority of the sample that used LCDP. Additionally, the Minimum coding needed reduces the development time and make the application development much easier. On the other hand, some of the reasons for not using LCDP by the developers were the low level of scalability in these platforms, and a lack of knowledge about these platforms and how to deal with them.
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Background: In recent years, Low-code development (LCD) is growing rapidly, and Gartner and Forrester have predicted that the use of LCD is very promising. Giant companies, such as Microsoft, Mendix, and Outsystems have also launched their LCD platforms. Aim: In this work, we explored two popular online developer communities, Stack Overflow (SO) and Reddit, to provide insights on the characteristics and challenges of LCD from a practitioners' perspective. Method: We used two LCD related terms to search the relevant posts in SO and extracted 73 posts. Meanwhile, we explored three LCD related subreddits from Reddit and collected 228 posts. We extracted data from these posts and applied the Constant Comparison method to analyze the descriptions, benefits, and limitations and challenges of LCD. For platforms and programming languages used in LCD, implementation units in LCD, supporting technologies of LCD, types of applications developed by LCD, and domains that use LCD, we used descriptive statistics to analyze and present the results. Results: Our findings show that: (1) LCD may provide a graphical user interface for users to drag and drop with little or even no code; (2) the equipment of out-of-the-box units (e.g., APIs and components) in LCD platforms makes them easy to learn and use as well as speeds up the development; (3) LCD is particularly favored in the domains that have the need for automated processes and workflows; and (4) practitioners have conflicting views on the advantages and disadvantages of LCD. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that researchers should clearly define the terms when they refer to LCD, and developers should consider whether the characteristics of LCD are appropriate for their projects. CCS CONCEPTS • Software and its engineering → Software development techniques.
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Digitalisation is one of the major trends which changes society and businesses. Digitalisation include buying software helping in the automatization of business process. Gaining competitive advantage can be achieved by implementing dedicated (customized) IT solutions tailored to the specificity of a given enterprise. However, dedicated solutions are expensive, and many companies cannot afford them. No-code technology – the newest trend in the IT sector – are said to be the solution to this problem. The article discusses why no-code technology is gaining popularity. The paper also presents the differences between no-code and traditional programming approaches. A detailed description of no-code technology was based on the investigation of a no-code platform called Logotec App Studio. The article stresses the possible applications of no-code tools in companies’ digitalisation process.
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Currently, enterprises have to make quick and resilient responses to changing market requirements. In light of this, low-code development platforms provide the technology mechanisms to facilitate and automate the development of software applications to support current enterprise needs and promote digital transformation. Based on a theory-building research methodology through the literature and other information sources review, the main contribution of this paper is the current characterisation of the emerging low-code domain following the foundations of the computer-aided software engineering field. A context analysis, focused on the current status of research related to the low-code development platforms, is performed. Moreover, benchmarking among the existing low-code development platforms addressed to manufacturing industry is analysed to identify the current lacking features. As an illustrative example of the emerging low-code paradigm and respond to the identified uncovered features, the virtual factory open operating system (vf-OS) platform is described as an open multi-sided low-code framework able to manage the overall network of a collaborative manufacturing and logistics environment that enables humans, applications, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices to seamlessly communicate and interoperate in the interconnected environment, promoting resilient digital transformation.
Conference Paper
Mobile apps are increasingly created using online application generators (OAGs) that automate app development, distribution, and maintenance. These tools significantly lower the level of technical skill that is required for app development, which makes them particularly appealing to citizen developers, i.e., developers with little or no software engineering background. However, as the pervasiveness of these tools increases, so does their overall influence on the mobile ecosystem's security, as security lapses by such generators affect thousands of generated apps. The security of such generated apps, as well as their impact on the security of the overall app ecosystem, has not yet been investigated. We present the first comprehensive classification of commonly used OAGs for Android and show how to fingerprint uniquely generated apps to link them back to their generator. We thereby quantify the market penetration of these OAGs based on a corpus of 2,291,898 free Android apps from Google Play and discover that at least 11.1% of these apps were created using OAGs. Using a combination of dynamic, static, and manual analysis, we find that the services' app generation model is based on boilerplate code that is prone to reconfiguration attacks in 7/13 analyzed OAGs. Moreover, we show that this boilerplate code includes well-known security issues such as code injection vulnerabilities and insecure WebViews. Given the tight coupling of generated apps with their services' backends, we further identify security issues in their infrastructure. Due to the blackbox development approach, citizen developers are unaware of these hidden problems that ultimately put the end-users sensitive data and privacy at risk and violate the user's trust assumption. A particular worrisome result of our study is that OAGs indeed have a significant amplification factor for those vulnerabilities, notably harming the health of the overall mobile app ecosystem.
New Development Platforms Emerge For Customer-Facing Applications
  • C Richardson
  • J R Rymer
Richardson, C. & Rymer, J. R. (2014, June). New Development Platforms Emerge For Customer-Facing Applications. Forrester.
Vendor Landscape: The Fractured, Fertile Terrain Of Low-Code Application Platforms
  • C Richardson
  • J R Rymer
Richardson, C. & Rymer, J. R. (2016, January). Vendor Landscape: The Fractured, Fertile Terrain Of Low-Code Application Platforms. Forrester.
Software development trends 2021. Software Column
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McLean, A. (2021). Software development trends 2021. Software Column. Canadian Journal of Nursing Informatics, 16(1).