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Workforce Enablement

Low-Code Platforms Gain Strength

More enterprises turning to low-code platforms to help close developer gap

One of the biggest barriers standing between enterprises and their digital transformation goals is the scarcity of experienced software developers.

To close this “developer gap,” more organizations are turning to low-code development platforms so their development teams and, increasingly, so-called “citizen developers” can more quickly deliver the apps they need.

For those already using software-as-a-service (SaaS) or platform-as-a-service (PaaS), low-code providers such as Salesforce, OutSystems, Appian, and Mendix are a way to bring many citizen developers into action. These companies continue to bring new features to their platforms so that more staff outside of the traditional development role can build software.

Still, companies can’t rely on citizen developers to close the gap; the apps built on these platforms often need to be brought under the governance of IT as well as receive enhancements from professional development teams if they are to be truly robust.

Last week, Salesforce announced Lightning Web Components, a programming model the PaaS provider says will make it easier for JavaScript developers worldwide to code on the Lightning Platform. Since it is standards-based, developers can create reusable components, Salesforce says.

The ability for professional developers to more easily create powerful applications with Lightning Web Components and Salesforce DX on the same platform where citizen developers can build apps using Lightning App Builder and Lightning Flow could provide some organizations with the best of both worlds. Citizen developers will be able to build the apps they need, perhaps with minimal functionality, and professional developers can step in later and provide deeper development when needed.

“The demand for digital solutions exceeds the supply of developer resources that can produce them,” said Arnal Dayaratna, research director of software development at IDC. “The model specific to Salesforce’s Lightning Web Components empowers developers to build Web applications using standards-based tools with which they are familiar.”

The low-code platform providers will continue to bring more power and governance to their services. In early fall, for example, OutSystems released OutSystems 11, which improved code testing, monitoring, container support, and security enhancements.

The market growth of these platforms is torrid. According to Transparency Market Research, the global low-code development platform market reached US$ 1.6 billion in 2015 and is anticipated to grow nearly 55 percent annually through 2025.

Lightning Web Components will be generally available in February.

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