Will low-code tools democratize software development?

30 July 2021
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Why low-code does not mean DIY …

When Forrester analysts coined the term “low-code,” they seized upon something that captured the imagination. By obscuring the technical complexity of software development behind a graphical user interface, software development could be democratized. Absent the need to learn how to code, anybody could write software.

With Oracle’s popular low-code application development tool, APEX, aggressive pricing is also making software development more accessible, with the tool starting at just $360 per month as a standalone Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) service. From science teachers in Nigeria to entrepreneurs, it seems anyone off the street can access APEX on OCI and begin creating applications that solve problems too unique for commercial software to address.

Yet according to one study, most people using Oracle APEX to create software hold roles like back end developer, front end developer, or system architect. A large majority of 70 percent have never used Oracle technology before taking up APEX, but most have used other development tools. 

Still a developer without code 
What the data suggests is that APEX is not necessarily putting software development into the hands of the masses—rather, it is putting a more efficient tool in the hands of intelligent and educated IT professionals who may or may not know how to code.

These professionals still have other skills though, including, according to this new overview from Inoapps VP of Technology Dermot Murray, the ability to define a business process with suitable precision that it can be addressed by software and technical expertize to create software that will scale and perform in an enterprise-wide setting.

Developing software for the first time or without the right background, skills and experience—even with a low-code tool—will still yield sub-optimal results. In this VentureBeat article, Andrew Spanyi points out a few potential pitfalls:

  • Solving multiple problems with low-code systems may result in data silos and a lack of visibility and workflow continuity 
  • Security issues can result if security is not intelligently thought-out during development
  • Over time, integration problems may result between multiple stand-alone tools developed using low-code, lacking a proactive planning framework

Extending Oracle Cloud Applications 

APEX delivers tremendous flexibility, but the software that is created must still respect an overall enterprise architecture, security and data strategy. It must also successfully streamline business processes, which means the skills of a business analyst are also important. APEX’s highest and best use is probably to create software that extends existing Oracle Cloud Applications including Oracle ERP Cloud and Oracle HCM Cloud. This in turn requires a deep understanding of the Oracle application environment and the business logic, data structures and application programming interfaces (APIs).

This is where Inoapps fits in, as we have a deep bench in APEX development as well as famously strong skill sets and knowledge of Oracle applications and technology. In his overview, Murray lays out how we were able to create a prototype of an application running on an Oracle Autonomous Database (OAD) in a single afternoon. 
Wondering how Oracle APEX development can address open issues you have in your business? Read Murray’s overview. Or, just Ask Inoapps! 

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