What is low code, and why do we use it?

  Pritesh Pattni


We have chosen a low code approach to building our software. This gives us added flexibility, helps us to keep development costs lower and means we can constantly update and add to our software reliably without incurring downtime.

But what is low code? In this article, we’ll define what low code is, explain why it is useful for software development in general, and why we choose to work with low code in our own development environment.

What is low code?

Traditionally, software coding is done by ‘hand coding’ – a process where software engineers write all the code by hand. In a world of digital transformation, where the demand for software is high, hand coding can be a time-consuming and potentially expensive way to manage technology development.

Over the past couple of decades, forward-thinking software companies have looked for ways to manage software development faster, without losing the skill or understanding that traditional hand coding offers. The result is low code – an approach that allows software developers to build good quality software faster and more efficiently.

According to Microsoft, “With a low-code development platform, companies can quickly create and deliver business applications without having to rely solely on traditional programming. This not only saves time and makes companies more efficient and productive, but it also allows you to focus on the apps that require the most attention, like customer experience apps and apps that automate important business processes.”

An article published by Forbes explains how low code can help enterprises to serve customers better.

“Low-code tools allow business users and developers to make their digital ecosystems more robust. These digital systems are things like applications, data platforms, machine learning models.”

How does low code work?

Low code uses a visual, drag-and-drop environment to help developers to build software faster. There are many low code platforms on the market, and they use built-in integrations and options that allow professional developers to design and build.

According to OutSystems – a global leader in low code – there are some key elements that you would expect to see from a low code platform. These include:

  • Automatic code generation
  • Reusable components
  • Ability to integrate with existing systems, such as databases and enterprise systems
  • Multi-platform deployment
  • Security and admin features
  • Collaboration and version control

It’s important to make a distinction here between ‘low code’ and ‘no code’. No code systems are designed to be used by people who have no experience of software development. For example, there are some platforms on the market that allow you to build your own website by using pre-made templates and drag-and-drop options.

No code is certainly useful in some contexts, but for software that requires more complexity, integration with other systems and the ability to adapt and scale for business requirements, you still need the expertise of professional software developers.

That’s because they understand the principles of software architecture – the way that a system is designed and built to meet the needs of the end users and the wider organisation. Low code simply helps these developers to build the software faster and more cost-effectively – it doesn’t override the engineering skills and experience of the development team.

Why do we use low code?

At ISB Global, we are a proud partner of low code specialist, OutSystems. We wanted to build software for the waste and recycling sector that was a full enterprise system, customisable to each business’s needs, able to integrate with existing systems of all types and that could be easily updated or expanded to make sure it always delivers the best experience for its users.

Low code helps us to deliver this. It helps our experienced software developers to build the best software without the need for time-consuming hand coding and testing – or the potential errors that can often happen when an entire system is hand coded.

We use the OutSystems platform because it has been developed over a 20-year period to unite design, code and deployment into a single approach, allowing developers to build a wide range of applications that come to market faster and are more reliable when deployed.

You can find out more about Waste and Recycling One (WR1) – our market-leading software platform for the waste and recycling industry here.

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