Head in the Clouds: SaaS, PaaS, and Cloud Strategy

Sep 19 2016   2:10PM GMT

Who should build tomorrow’s cloud and mobile apps?

Joel Shore Joel Shore Profile: Joel Shore

Cloud Applications
Development tools

It hasn’t taken long — only about a year — for so-called no-code/low-code application development tools to go from loathed to loved. But, as someone who makes your living as a professional software developer, how do you feel about departmental, line-of-business employees using NCLC tools to build applications? Is NCLC a boon or a threat?

The opinions I’ve heard from developers span a wide spectrum.

The current thinking is that if we can shift the building of mundane reports, query apps, or other batch processing to LOB workers who have some understanding of IT, let’s go ahead and do it. The LOB department gets what it wants (or at least what it thinks it wants) and IT’s developers are freed from the mundane to do development on projects that are genuine more interesting or crucial.

Sure, this makes sense, but there will always need to be a degree of oversight from IT, perhaps to make secure connections to the corporation’s databases or implement access control. And there’s the matter of who pays for the compute resources and whether they are provisioned in the most effective and economical way.

Do this and, the theory says, everybody wins. That could be especially true for the IT director or CIO who can change his or her image from one of recalcitrant obstacle to forward-thinking innovator.

I’ve also heard opinions that building applications is the domain of developers and should remain that way. While that was nearly always the case in the ancient days of IT before the cloud, that view, in my opinion, is simply out of step with the times. In an era when apps are sometimes updated nearly daily (compared with perhaps every two years in the old mainframe world), whatever tools and staff get you there with speed and competence are going to win the day.

Python, Java, Swift, C++, R, Scala, and a horde of other languages are not going to meet their demise anytime soon, but it’s clear that NCLC tools , built on a foundation of templates, microservices, and APIs are insulating LOB departments from the raw plumbing that you and I know makes all of this go.

So, professional applications developer, let’s hear from you. What do really think of NCLC tools? Do they free you from tasks you don’t like doing so you can work on more-interesting projects? Are they threatening the security of your organization’s data and infrastructure? Are NCLC tools dumbing-down the art form of application development to a point where anyone can do it? None of that sugar coating — tell us what you really think; we’d like to hear from you.

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