Is Jmix a Low-Code platform?

The Low-Code application platform (LCAP) is one of the most popular enterprise software development approaches today. Today there are more than 300+ LCAP vendors worldwide and the amount of products is continuously growing. As an experienced player of the professional software development market, Jmix developers' team is tracking the trends trying to detect features that bring real business value. In particular, the idea of eliminating the gap between business technologists and professional developers sounds perfect. But looking closer you'll find various approaches having related pros and cons. Let's have a closer look at the Low-Code paradigm and see how companies can benefit from it.

What is Low-Code?

Basically, Low Code is the term describing visual application development capabilities with an option to use limited code or scripting. Low-Code application development systems descended from enterprise-class systems like BPM, ECM or CRM solutions created for particular purposes. Addressing the business request for flexibility, vendors created sophisticated instruments giving freedom to customize fields on the forms, design workflow automation and perform integrations with popular office software packages. That’s the typical way of how most of the Low-Code platforms evolved.

Nowadays the Low-Code market is growing and at the same time splitting into market segments. Vendors differentiate their products focusing on various user groups according to their requests in areas: application use-case, level of abstraction and developer skillset. Thus, some of the platforms cover a narrow use-case area and eliminate coding at all providing only visual tools to build the application. This type is called No-Code. Others are focusing on professional developer skillsets providing them with tools to automate routine operations in a broad spectrum of application use-cases. From some angle it brings excessive complexity when you're searching for your next application development technology - too many options. But from the other perspective you're able to find something which perfectly matches your needs.

What you actually get with Low-Code platforms

The first thing you’ll see in any Low-Code platform marketing description is the promise of high development speed, and for some cases it is true. Another advantage is that it’s very easy to become a low-code developer, since these platforms don’t require deep knowledge of programming languages or software architecture. The vendors offer ready-to-use blocks for different pieces of functionality, integration, UI components, etc.

However, when you need something beyond the features provided by a platform, you will most likely access the vendor again and use their additional services. So, the flexibility of Low-Code platforms is very limited, and No-Codes are even less flexible.

What is more, you do not own the application source code and have to run it in the vendor's runtime. The licensing is usually costly and depends on the number of your application end users. As a result, you’re totally locked in to the service provider.

Of course, those disadvantages don't make a real drama. If you work with a team of citizen developers aiming to get a next generation spreadsheet, Low Code is a great approach. But if your team consists mostly of back-end developers and software engineers who are deeply involved in the business domain, you may consider an advanced, more generic, approach. One just has to choose development tools carefully, considering the team skillset, the application purpose and environment.

The Less-Code Concept

Instead of learning a new Low-Code developer skillset, businesses can gain much more software development productivity by focusing on developers' efficiency. Professional software engineers can deliver more, adopting high-productivity tools automating routine operations and ready-to-use building blocks to be integrated into the project. They’d better control the code and work in a professional development environment.

Along with the high-productivity tools developers expect to get the following options:

  • 01
    Code inspection:
    the ability to review the code in an application.
  • 02
    Code debugging:
    the ability to use professional tools to debug the code in an application.
  • 03
    Code overriding:
    the ability to overlap some core functionality.
  • 04
    Collaborative development:
    the ability to utilize popular version control systems while working on an application together with the team.
  • 05
    Deployment freedom:
    the ability to make decisions on how to perform an application delivery.
And to meet their expectations, the Jmix team settled down a new concept.
We call it the Less-Code platform.

So, what do we mean by Less-Code?

Less-Code is a rapid application development tool for professional developers combined with a future-proof technology stack and enriched with a collection of ready-to-use business add-ons. Conceptually, it lies in between low-code application platforms and traditional development combining the development boost of the first and flexibility of the second. Less Code looks similar to Low Code but focuses on professional developers.

One of the popular mistakes the business makes when choosing a Low-Code is considering them in abstraction of the developer experience. The key question here is who will use it in your company? If the developer is the main user of the technology, then you’d better focus on their demands, and trust our experience — one doesn’t want to explore another technology separating him from gaining professional skills.

Less Code vs Low Code

Less-Code, though looking similar to the Low-Code concept, is a basically different approach to development. The main difference lies in the technological stack type. Low-Code implies a proprietary tool while Less-Code is based on the open-source stack. Hence, we have the following approaches’ aspects:
Low-Code provides an opportunity to apply your team’s skills within the rigid boundaries of the proprietary platform.
Low-Code guarantees the vendor back up.
Low-Code leverages the partnership abilities.
Low-Code offers their experience in the implementation of their platform to boost the development process.
Low-Code requires the vendor’s efforts for the implementation.
Low-Code expenses depend on the number of end users.
Jmix Less-Code provides both knowledge base and technologies to enhance your team capabilities.
Jmix Less-Code offers the open-source contributors back up.
Jmix Less-Code gives access to the open-source community experience.
Jmix Less-Code boosts the development naturally, by providing specific tools and experience of tens of thousands developers.
Jmix Less-Code requires a couple of weeks/months of learning.
Jmix Less-Code expenses depend on the number of developers in your team.

You can also find out that Low/No-Code lacks flexibility
in the following:

  • UI agility – level of multiple UI experiences support and ability to be highly customized. Low-Code doesn’t offer UI customization — only ready-to-use templates. Less-Code lets you customize the user interface or use the integrated templates.
  • Business logic agility – data model complexity, business processes engine and workflows complexity. Low-Code data models are usually simple, and it’s hard to make something more complex. Less-Code provides more flexible data modeling.
  • Vendor independence – ability to be utilized without the vendor runtime. With Low-Code, you pay for utilizing the vendor runtime. Less-Code allows users to use any runtime they are used to.
  • Integration capabilities – open platform API, ability to be integrated into enterprise IT landscape. Low-Code integration capabilities are limited by the vendor’s environment. Less-Code offers special instruments for integration and deployment.
Thus, Less-Code is a compromise between Low-Code and hard but flexible traditional technology. This term is used by our team to define Jmix — a rapid application development tool for enterprise development, designed for professional developers but using the power of ready-to-use components on top of an open-source future-proof architecture.

Jmix Less-Code takeaways

Low-Code approach is replaced with an advanced Less-Code concept.
Tools breaking down the web development complexity.
Less-code provides wider applicability while Low-Code is often coming from a certain business area.
Mainstream open-source as a basis.
Comprehensive documentation and free public forum.
Supercharge of developer teams with rapid application development tools and ready-to-use add-ons.
30K+ developer community worldwide.
Improved time-to-market.
Deployment freedom and vendor independency.