In 2016, Oracle raised eyebrows at the Oracle World 2016 conference by talking about low-code software development and plans to push its own Project Visual Code cloud-based solution. Oracle representatives discussed the possibility of putting mobile app development into the hands of non-coders by giving them a set of tools that would be as easy to use as a typical drag-and-drop environment.
Since then, the near silent rumblings of low-code development have gradually become almost a dull roar. Everywhere you turn, there are companies coming up with low-code products aimed at small business owners, IT departments, and even average consumers who want to create their own mobile apps without having to go to college and get a degree.
The question is whether low-code mobile development will ever replace the full-service model. The answer is an unequivocal ‘no’. Low-code certainly has its place in the development arena. However, it can never replace full-service app development if, for no other reason, than the fact that technology moves at such an incredibly fast pace.
Lessons Learned from Web Design
Anyone hoping that low-code mobile app development will surpass the full-service model needs to take a look at the history of web design. Way back when the internet was still a novelty, a young company known as Netscape developed an all-inclusive browser package that included a WYSIWYG HTML editor. This tool made it possible for home users to create their own websites the same way they would use a word processor. The tool was functional, but by no means polished or deep.
Other companies followed until Netscape had plenty of competition in the WYSIWYG market. Did that affect full-service web development companies? No. The basic tools home users were employing to create their websites were never capable of the kind of functionality needed to build professional websites for corporate clients. Software development is no different.
Even today, there are lots of different content management systems that internet users can employ to build and maintain their websites. But you can tell the difference between professionally developed sites and those built by non-professionals. If you want the best possible site, you need to have a professional build it.
We Need Trained App Developers
The long and short of it is that we need professionally trained app developers to create those mobile apps that are driving the economy. We need developers with experience in angular.JS development. We need people with node.JS and Xamarin skills.
Software providers across the country are booming because the need is so great. iTexico, a mobile app development company in Texas, is but one example. They have plenty of work to keep them busy. So much so that they also have a nearshore outsourcing subsidiary in Mexico. They are not worried about low-code displacing them from the market. Nor should they be.
iTexico specializes in creating mobile apps via a model of nearshore outsourcing. Their operational model allows them to fully develop mobile apps for customers in-house or assemble nearshore development teams that can work directly for the customer on an as-needed basis. If they were worried about low-code software development overtaking the market, they would not be putting so much effort into doing what they do.
Oracle and a number of other smaller companies will continue developing new low-code solutions for mobile app development. And they should. As long as they can make money doing it, there is no reason to not to create low-code solutions. But low-code is never going to replace full-service software development. The complexities of software development will just not allow it.