JOB HUNT­ING

Yoav Abra­hami, head of Wix Code, ex­plains why low-code devel­op­ment plat­forms are set to boom

net magazine - - CONTENTS - Yoav is the head of Wix Code and head ar­chi­tect at Wix.com. His re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in­clude lead­ing the devel­op­ment of cloud-based prod­ucts for web designers and de­vel­op­ers.

Yoav Abra­hami ex­plains why low-code devel­op­ment plat­forms are set to boom

Build­ing for the web has not been an easy feat. Yet, in the last few years, dozens of com­pa­nies have cre­ated prod­ucts – of vary­ing qual­ity – that al­low al­most any­one to build on the web. These prod­ucts, re­ferred to as low-code devel­op­ment plat­forms, are look­ing to change how peo­ple cre­ate on the web.

A low-code devel­op­ment plat­form is a so­lu­tion that en­ables users with some tech savvi­ness to cre­ate cus­tom web ap­pli­ca­tions. This is a con­trast to cus­tom-built so­lu­tions that need de­vel­op­ers with sig­nif­i­cant ex­pe­ri­ence. Low-code devel­op­ment plat­forms typ­i­cally fea­ture a drag-and-drop in­ter­face that re­quire lit­tle or no cod­ing.

They build some­thing as sim­ple as an in­ter­nal em­ployee re­sources ap­pli­ca­tion or a data­base to col­lect user in­for­ma­tion. More com­pli­cated plat­forms en­able the in­cor­po­ra­tion of ad­di­tional func­tion­al­ity such as ex­ter­nal re­sources and APIs.

Re­cently, Wix an­nounced Wix Code, a new kind of low-code devel­op­ment plat­form cur­rently in beta that pro­vides dif­fer­ent lev­els of so­lu­tions de­pend­ing on the need of the creator. With­out us­ing any code, any­one can use the drag-and-drop in­ter­face to cre­ate el­e­ments such as cus­tom user in­put forms or tem­plate pages that en­able the easy cre­ation of hun­dreds of pages. Us­ing a small amount of code can build in­ter­ac­tions and cus­tomise how the site func­tions. Ad­vanced coded projects built with Wix Code can use JavaScript and third-party APIs in the back­end to build ro­bust web ap­pli­ca­tions.

What makes Wix Code dif­fer­ent is that it com­bines the ex­ist­ing ease of UI and fron­tend de­sign that Wix has al­ways pro­vided with the ad­vanced abil­ity of a low-code devel­op­ment plat­form. By tak­ing away the steps usu­ally needed to set up the en­vi­ron­ment or cre­ate the UI, de­vel­op­ers can fo­cus on build­ing the web ap­pli­ca­tion.

What makes Wix Code like other low-code plat­forms is that server setup and in­fra­struc­ture is han­dled from the be­gin­ning all within the same plat­form. These ben­e­fits have been driv­ing rea­sons why low-code plat­forms have been at­tract­ing more users.

The growth is es­ti­mated to be large, too. Ac­cord­ing to For­rester Re­search, the mar­ket for low-code devel­op­ment plat­forms will grow to $15.5 bil­lion by 2020.

The de­mand for busi­ness apps is grow­ing and it is dif­fi­cult for cus­tom code to keep up. As the cloud grew, it solved the is­sues with in­fra­struc­ture. It al­lowed peo­ple to build on the in­ter­net with­out need­ing to de­velop and main­tain servers. Along with that, SaaS com­pa­nies cre­ated out-of-the-box so­lu­tions for users need­ing to solve spe­cific prob­lems. The abil­ity for cus­tomi­sa­tion was var­ied, but they were meant to fix spe­cific is­sues and not to cre­ate with.

Plat­form-as-a-ser­vice is the next step, a seg­ment of which are low-code devel­op­ment plat­forms. The plat­form en­ables users to cre­ate within a built devel­op­ment en­vi­ron­ment. It com­bines build­ing with the tools needed to de­velop, run and main­tain.

Since the de­mand for en­ter­prise ap­pli­ca­tions is grow­ing and the sup­ply of coders is not able to keep up, these type of tools have em­pow­ered cit­i­zen de­vel­op­ers to take the reins. Sim­i­lar evo­lu­tions have democra­tised tech­nol­ogy be­fore, such as with web­site de­sign. From small busi­nesses to large cor­po­ra­tions, they are use­ful for any­one look­ing for fast so­lu­tions with­out the has­sle or cost of cus­tom coded prod­ucts.

The cost sav­ings are no joke, ei­ther. The sav­ings come from re­sources to build, de­ploy and main­tain. By en­abling cur­rent em­ploy­ees to build with­out the need to hire de­vel­op­ers, it saves on hu­man cap­i­tal. Since most plat­forms will han­dle server in­ter­ac­tions, server costs and de­ploy­ment be­come cheaper since many users are spread across sev­eral servers. Not to men­tion not need­ing the skillset re­quired to de­ploy servers.

For main­te­nance, good plat­forms will han­dle se­cu­rity up­dates and patches. This en­ables the user to only worry about what is be­ing built and not wor­ry­ing about plugin up­dates. Ef­fi­ciency is an­other rea­son. If a startup is work­ing to launch a prod­uct, then a low-code plat­form may be best to kick off. They en­able cre­ators to fo­cus on the prod­uct and not burn time set­ting up the en­vi­ron­ment.

Low-code devel­op­ment plat­forms will con­tinue to change how busi­nesses and ev­ery­day users in­ter­act with the web. The most ex­cit­ing part is see­ing how peo­ple will take these plat­forms and cre­ate en­tirely new prod­ucts and mar­kets with them.

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