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Saturday, December 3, 2022

Low-Code and No-Code Are Making Developers' Jobs Better – Slashdot

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And it created very inefficient code that needed a lot of manual tweaking.
It’s just a slashvertisement for low/no code platforms. Probably somebody paid slashdot to have this placed here for SEO. If you ever Google low/no code, typically what you’re going to find are reddit, Quora, or other social media pages that are filled to the brim with comments from vendors trying to sell their low/no code platform talking about how great it is. Their target audience is inexperienced PHBs and possibly low-quality IT personnel.
I don’t know what they mean in this piece by traditional programming languages, but my guess is PHP, JavaScript, maybe even python. Basically languages that are really hard to scale or aren’t even languages at all, so the problems they’re used to solving don’t need to scale, and eventually get replaced by some dedicated solution from some other vendor.

I don’t know what they mean in this piece by traditional programming languages…

I don’t know what they mean in this piece by traditional programming languages…
The original article cites PHP, JavaScript, Python, HTML/ CSS and C / C# / C++.
See also, “frameworks”. If your application conforms to common use cases, it’s golden. Customize too much and you find yourself wanting to trash all the stuff that was supposed to make your life easier. It seems like frameworks get rediscovered every 10 years or so.
I’m no ‘Full Stack’ Engineer but I’ve heard there is a new “Framework” to replace them all every 10 months in the NodeJS world.
If you don’t like any of the existing frameworks, just wait a week. A new one will appear.
And, you can read all about it on Medium or Quota.
I remember at a job at a digital design shop, it seemed like a new, change-the-world JavaScript framework would come out every week. The boss liked to try them in production code. If it got the job done for that particular use case, it stayed. If it didnâ(TM)t, we rewrote everything.
Geez, that was, truly, the one aspect of the job I despised!
I’ve found this a lot in many areas, the new stuff is really only better for limited uses.
Ie, I’ve seen a zillion replacements for “make” but none of them are as useful as GNU make in overall power, and simplicity, the few problems (tab sensitivity in some places) are minor compared to the drawbacks in similar tools (specialized rules having to be written python, or you must change your directory layouts to match the tool’s templates, etc). Sometimes it’s the converse – many IDEs can make some very difficu

The best tthing about frameworks though, is that you can make an entire career out of being the expert on frameworks, learn something new every year or two, appear to always be highly productive to upper management, and yet never once supply any value to the an product. When someone starts to catch on to your scam, you just grab the latest framework and evangelize the team to adopt it and you’re indespensible again.

The best tthing about frameworks though, is that you can make an entire career out of being the expert on frameworks, learn something new every year or two, appear to always be highly productive to upper management, and yet never once supply any value to the an product. When someone starts to catch on to your scam, you just grab the latest framework and evangelize the team to adopt it and you’re indespensible again.
I think I have someone just like that on my work team. It’s sucks.
I’m surprised anyone uses Salesforce. It’s buggy and slow, the training materials are absolute garbage, and the support organization is awful. I’m halfway through a class on it now and I deeply regret taking it, because if I use those skills, it means I have to work with Salesforce.
On the plus side, it did get me to dust off Drupal again and hey… Drupal has improved by LEAPS AND BOUNDS since the last time I used it. It is still orders of magnitude harder to construct a report in Drupal than in Salesforce, but AFAICT that is the one and only thing SF has going for it. Gonna try actually completing a migration of my old D7 site and bring it back up on D9.
To your other point, Microsoft had nothing which could compete with Salesforce. The only thing I know of which credibly could is Drupal, and it definitely would need a major effort in simplifying report creation, and better sandboxing (there is a TON of stuff you can’t do in a workspace.) Otherwise it does the same stuff in general, only a lot faster. WordPress is a shit show, anyone who uses it for more than a blog is deluded. There are lots of other frameworks, but not enough stuff built on them that is modular and convenient.

It’s buggy and slow, the training materials are absolute garbage, and the support organization is awful.

It’s buggy and slow, the training materials are absolute garbage, and the support organization is awful.
Don’t forget “godawful expensive”. And the more you rely on it, the more expensive it becomes. If you go all-in like the company I work for did, you become beholden to whatever SF does or says, paying whatever they ask, because you’re entire business now relies on them. Extricating yourself is almost impossible. And every time SF acquires another company (Heroku, Click, etc) it’s yet another excuse to pay them more money and lock yourself in even more “for the seamless integration”.
Salesforce operates w

Salesforce operates with a level of vendor lock-in that Microsoft never even dreamed of in their wettest of dreams.

Salesforce operates with a level of vendor lock-in that Microsoft never even dreamed of in their wettest of dreams.
One of the things I discovered coming back to Drupal now was that there are Salesforce integration modules that let you get data in and out of Salesforce, and fire off stuff on one from the other via APIs. I haven’t messed with them yet since I’ve been busy doing other things. Obviously, it’s not reasonably possible to have a tool which will completely automatically convert salesforce Apps to Drupal, but a whole lot of it could be updated. There are direct analogues for a surprising amount of the functional
This is a very apt comparison. It absolutely is “VB for the web” — underpinned with a model-driven, graph-like database model.
What worries me about low-code aren’t the “citizen developers” it’s the next generation of real developers. To properly use low-code in an organization, one absolutely must, must know when to tell a stakeholder that that’s “just the way it works, sorry”, and when to break out the Apex classes and get to work. No training is going to tell you this. You learn it by building systems from the ground up yourself, understanding the strengths and weaknesses of things such as a model-driven architecture because you implemented it yourself.

visual basic for the web

visual basic for the web
I typically compare Salesforce to MS Access — a shitty UI on top of one huge and poorly-performing database. But it’s even worse because with Access at least you’re limited to using VBA. With SF, they add a new layer of shit every year so that they have something to show off to the drones at Dreamforce, and every layer hurts performance even more.
My company went all-in with Salesforce about 7 years ago and are now 100% dependent and inextricably stuck in that ecosystem. Pretty much everything is in SF a
Most of the problem with VB is that it made things look too easy, and non-programmers took it upon themselves to write code, and they did it badly. Ie, no error checking, testing, etc. It sped things up but it was terrible code. And it left non-coding managers with the false impression that the developers were sandbagging their estimates and slowing things down. I would say that 9 out of 10 VB programs I have used either crashed or had some other flaw preventing them from being used properly; the 10th

Salesforce – the product with such an absolutely shocking, abominable UI that they bought Slack to do a better job of it.

Salesforce – the product with such an absolutely shocking, abominable UI that they bought Slack to do a better job of it.
You’re understating the case. Salesforce has two absolutely shocking, abominable UIs, not counting Slack which is also absolutely awful.
That’s like complaining Python takes too many CPU cycles and needs C extensions to tweak it.
“Efficiency” is not the point for these tools.
From a business perspective the efficiency is that the app takes less time to develop and they can employ someone cheaper to do it.
The same complaints have been coming since the 1950s when languages like FORTRAN were invented. They were less efficient than assembler, needed more memory and more instruction cycles.
I don’t remember that complaint about Fortran. I remember hearing it about COBOL, and even C. Fortran was like magic (because it was the first serious programming language).
Works until you have a shopping site where people abandon their purchases halfway because it takes too long to buy a pair of socks online.
It’s like making a dress and you’re holding it together on the model with pins and staples. Then the customer says “I love it I want to wear it tonight!” Sorry, it’s just a mockup, it’s not going to hold together long enough to walk to the end of the runway and back, much less survive getting into a car or on the dance floor. And even when they have the spray-on dress it will come with the caveat that it will fall apart at midnight (fairy godmother coders can only do so much in a limited time).
The problem is that internet-facing sites are built with them, so performance matters. Not all of them have atrocious performance, though… Drupal is pretty good in that regard. Too bad it’s built on PHP, that alone has caused me numerous problems.
Python’s performance IS a real problem, because people are building performance-critical apps in it because they don’t know any real languages. Perl does the same job and is literally four times faster, so Python’s performance is objectively bad.

The problem is that internet-facing sites are built with them, so performance matters.

The problem is that internet-facing sites are built with them, so performance matters.
In web facing apps, if you have stateless code, then the performance is almost entirely bounded by the database accesses and query efficiencies. This is because you can basically replicate your server code as many times as you want with a decent load balancer.

Perl does the same job and is literally four times faster, so Python’s performance is objectively bad.

Perl does the same job and is literally four times faster, so Python’s performance is objectively bad.
And Perl is not fast, so if Python is slower, that is bad.
Stateless code can add additional performance problems merely by being stateless. Why search the database a second time merely because you forgot the original query results? Why send the data over the network when you’ve already sent it once before? I have seen people try to get this stateless web style of design into C code intended for low power sensor devices and that stateless design was breaking both the power budget and the code size limits.

Perl does the same job and is literally four times faster, so Python’s performance is objectively bad.

Perl does the same job and is literally four times faster, so Python’s performance is objectively bad.
Until you have to modify the code, and it takes a month for anyone to figure it out.
Nowhere in this summary or in the article is there even an attempt to define “low-code” and “no-code”. What do these terms mean?
Slashdot used to be great.
It’s like WordPress. It works great if your use case fits the targeted use case, and it doesn’t work otherwise.
Except that the ubiquity of WordPress enables developers to cut their teeth on building tools that will fit your use case scenario. No one wants to build a module for Drupal when it is used by 2-3% of developers when they could do it for a platform that has 60% of the “market”, and they can potentially break in to building a plugin that can make them some serious money.
And just like WordPress, it will be the equivalent of total job security for security personnel, picking the low hanging fruits of unpached, unpatchable glaring security holes that even the least configured automated scripts will detect but you can sell as big security findings to the same dimwit PHBs that bought the crap in the first place.
“…that even the least configured automated scripts will detect …”
“Automated scripts” are low-code, though.
I refuse to put more effort into finding security flaws than the programmer put into putting them in.
“It works great if your use case fits the targeted use case, and it doesn’t work otherwise.”
I hope you realize that this is true of literally everything in life. Hand coding included.
Nah, the best tools find a use far beyond their intended use case. Like Linux on picture frames.
It means that you program by drawing up flow charts and having to fight with an annoying UI along the way, rather than simply typing out the keywords and control flow.
Basically this article is spam intended for inexperienced PHBs.
No, it is accurate. Using low-code tools allow folks to get the day-to-day work of their jobs done faster if they are not needing to hand-code things.
Why should I need to learn CSS classes and how to compile SCSS when I can punch a few buttons to change a font and make it green?
Because your automated tool also introduces more security holes than I bother to find in an average pentest.
Seriously, these tools are one of the reasons I barely work anymore. What for, just throw some script at the program, end up with a dozen or two security findings that make it look like you worked your ass off, then watch the “programmer” die in horror when he realizes that he’s too stupid and incompetent to fix them because he not only doesn’t even understand what you’re telling him, he also has no idea how to make any changes in the black box he uses to create the page in the first place.
See, these low-code tools have increased your productivity and reduced your hours just like the article said!
Not really. I find security holes that I haven’t found, outside of IoT junk, since the early 2000s. I don’t have standard texts for those findings anymore, I have to write them by hand!
Exactly. I don’t understand what this fella is going on about. He himself uses low-code tooling ALL the time — we all do! And that is just fine, because, dang nab it, computers are supposed to make things easier. We’re not supposed to keep on suffering like it’s some badge of honor to show our scars.
The difference is that we use tools to make jobs that we know how to do easier. I know how to write exploits. The reason I use msfvenom is that it’s faster and easier, under most circumstances, to just have a tool do it instead of calculating jump addresses and fiddling with assembler instructions ’til they do what I want them to. Sometimes it’s necessary, though, to roll your own if you want to succeed.
And this is the difference between someone who knows what his tools do and someone who use it as a crutch
Libraries are the other problem. Chances are that if there’s code that does what you need, low-code will only make your job harder when you want to integrate it. Chances are that nobody has made an equivalent to that library available to YOUR low code platform, which leaves you SOL.
Likely because you’re in situations where are possibly hundreds of options to choose one, by the time you understand why you might pick a particular one, you’ve already spent enough time to learn the language behind it. And at that point, you’ll find it much easier to type what you want rather than sitting through endless scrollers or very deeply nested menus.
GUIs are good for some tasks, but if your task is more conceptual rather than visual, then a GUI is more likely to just get in the way.
No all of this strange, useless tools programmers play with all time doing no work…
being sarcastic of course…
Eh, I don’t think my job is the slightest bit threatened by this.
“Slashdot used to be great.”
When? You might have sepia-tinted memories.
Hah – I caught a ban once about 15 years ago. I suggested that maybe, just maybe, some cultures are not socially ready to be handed the responsibility of complete freedom, including speech. To go from zero to 100kmph for your first time driving likely means you end up in a ditch.
Nobody from the company IP could post for 30 days!
Slashdot used to be great, but then it got filled up with people who don’t know how to use Google and need their hand held for them through finding information on the internets. The summaries were always crap, but the audience used to be capable of finding a definition without detailed instructions.
Ouch
What is it? It’s “VB for the web”, as @rsilvergun coined it. Basically, coding that is simple and direct enough for power users to understand. A great recent example is Power Automate [microsoft.com] for Windows 11.
No, even lazier than copy/paste and cargo cult programming. These people don’t even know that.
Yes, that seems to be the one. Must be non-programming programmers that find this beneficial: https://blog.codinghorror.com/… [codinghorror.com]
No, no one is using Low-code or No-Code.
Someone is trying to pimp their investor bait.
Salesforce people use it. People who just want a website (like Wix) use it. People who use spreadsheets are usually using a no-code approach.
Yeah, so it’s basically a low-code solution.
I’m just still mad that Excel wasn’t built as a frontend on top of APL. It could have been way better and way more flexible.
has gained significant traction is among professional developers themselves”
Platform as a service is simply reusing a framework and UI, it is not low code. If I use, say, vis.js I am not doing low-code or no-code, I am simply cleverly using a library which exists and don’t need to reinvent the wheel. It isn’t low-code or no-code (which by the way sound like buzz word from sales people and manager). If I was using a platform and doing no code , I am not a developper, I am an offic
You can develop web apps with no-code. Click click click to create interfaces, workflows, validation, conditional processing, without ever writing more than a formula. And if you use a platform less crap than Salesfarce, like Drupal, you actually get something meaningful for your effort, like fallback to basic HTML so your site still works with Javascript is disabled and that kind of thing. It’s also extremely useful for headless operation where the user never interfaces with the site directly, because you

“Developer” doesn’t mean shit, “programmer” barely means anything.

“Developer” doesn’t mean shit, “programmer” barely means anything.
And “security” is the beefy guy that kicks the geeks around.
You can either spend money and time on programmers or you can spend it on the inevitable security breach, followed by more money for the security consult that finds out where your clickveloper failed, followed by you hiring actual programmers to fix the mess because the kids you had play with the Duplo bricks don’t even understand what your security consultant tells them.
I don’t remember the last time I saw an application of any size built without a framework. If the framework is insecure, then you’ll have the same problems whether your devs are coding or not. But if the framework is reasonably secure, then it’s harder for a schmoe to create a security hole than if they are writing code without knowing what they are doing since security is handled by the platform.
Even experienced developers create security holes all the time. We’ve seen it again and again.
For a big complica
Duplo programming has to be done in a context SO wide that it is near impossible to make it secure if it is supposed to have any semblance of functionality. Now add that the kid playing with it has zero idea of how to build it in a stable way and you’ll understand why security is the least concern in the whole process.
If the “developer” is already challenged with the question how to make it work, how much energy, effort or even ability do you think will be left for the question how to make it secure?
German to the rescue: “Wix” is basically the German slang for “wank”. As in self-pleasuring.
How much more honest can a company be when naming themselves, I wonder?
It’s used everywhere, for varying definitions of “code”
I no longer need to use each and every tool in the library of git commands to push code for a website live. Multiple high-quality platforms, like Acquia and Pantheon, allow me to do this within their environments by clicking buttons within a dashboard. Complex git commands are relegated to buttons that anyone can use, as long as they understand the concepts. THAT is what is hard, because the concepts of git, especially in complex instances, aren’t ea
That’s the problem with visual programming. It’s usually just slower than typing.
The problem with visual “programming” (if you’re looking for my tongue, it’s firmly lodged in my cheek) is that it’s only one step above playing with Duplo.
Have you ever played with LabView? I found it fun. And they have some nice bricks/libraries, especially well suited to National Instruments hardware.
The more competent the programmer the more he avoids low-code/no-code.
I personally run away from such solutions – usually they mean:
1. “power-users” who always know much better than you
2. very ineffective processing – cloud bills go up through the roof
3. change control nightmare
So if it is about some simple web form or file inbox – they may be fine – but anything more complex and it just lame then…
I’m in IT security. I have been DROOLING over these things. Please! Please make them more mainstream! I have still about 20 years to retirement, but this crap should ensure total job security for those 20 years and beyond.
If you think node.js and the webpage duplo-esque building kits were a godsend, you haven’t seen jack shit yet. This is a security el dorado. Low hanging fruits galore. It’s your ticket into the well paid, in high demand field of security. Because even a modicum of skill, talent and IT knowledge will be enough to find the glaring security holes in these shit stains in the disguise of computer programs.
Please, bring it on! If you think WordPress and node.js introduced a slew of talentless hacks to webdesign and ensured that you can redesign pretty much any webpage you want to, as long as it suffers from these atrocities, you are in for a treat when the same shit now happens worldwide on every computer running a single program that comes out of these crap factories.

And, importantly, it’s making their jobs better in two ways: providing tools for faster software development and deployment, as well as elevating their roles in enterprises to that of teachers and facilitators for potential citizen developers.

And, importantly, it’s making their jobs better in two ways: providing tools for faster software development and deployment, as well as elevating their roles in enterprises to that of teachers and facilitators for potential citizen developers.
First, ‘faster’ is not directly proportional to ‘better’. Sometimes it’s inversely proportional to ‘better’. Second, “elevating their roles to teachers and facilitators”, apart from being horrible corporate-speak, is nonsense. Coders know how to code, they like to code, which is why they are developers in the first place. If they saw being “teachers and facilitators” of some randos as an elevation of their job, they would be IT consultants instead of developers. This paragraph is written from a point of view of some low-tier manager who only understands how fast deliverables are signed off as a useful measure and sees anything that looks even a bit like supervision as superior to being a mere prole.
And yes, the whole thing is probably just an advert in (very thin) disguise
Wow, what a surprise that they came to this conclusion.
I build software, and I don’t mind systemd. Systemd unit files are not complicated to write and they work just as well as the equivalent SysV rc files.

it is also elevating the roles of technology professionals within their enterprises, to facilitator, educators, and consultants

it is also elevating the roles of technology professionals within their enterprises, to facilitator, educators, and consultants
In what way is facilitator or educator an “elevation” for a technology professional? If I wanted to be a teacher or (good) middle manager I would have aimed for that, rather than something that requires actual technical competence.
Consultant at least pays a lot better, but they too have a reputation for being generally incompetent at anything beyond extracting money from the company.
ComSci is no longer in the league of Science.
Automated, programmatically defined algorithms and code completion bots have made the computer field into assembly by machine. Little science, some maths and mostly engineering with solved solution sets.
AI, Deepmind, DOJO and other machines are ascendant replacing scientists, artists, writers and creatives whose work must conform to distribution media. That’s the new rules
It’s pretty much what WordPress is for content management. The promise that zero-skill kids can crank out professional content at 5 bucks an hour.

… “Low-code or no-code isn’t suitable for complex use cases,” Vyas cautions. “It’s easy to do basic things in low-code and no-code. But as soon as you get into more complex business logic, complex processes, or complex problem solving, it becomes really hard to continue to use low-code or no-code. …”

… “Low-code or no-code isn’t suitable for complex use cases,” Vyas cautions. “It’s easy to do basic things in low-code and no-code. But as soon as you get into more complex business logic, complex processes, or complex problem solving, it becomes really hard to continue to use low-code or no-code. …”
– quoted from the original article
One of the earliest implementations of this “low-code” concept that I know of — which I’m pretty sure predates the terminology now in use — was a little program called IconAuthor. Never heard of it, you say? Consider yourself fortunate. For someone who knows programming, it was annoyingly limited in capabilities, whereas for someone who doesn’t know programming, it was (apparently) mind-bendingly complex, in spite of its attempts to dumb down the task at hand. As I und

That low/no coding developer can be better in understanding the business requirements.

That low/no coding developer can be better in understanding the business requirements.
Not least because your business processes can be written in BPMN and imported directly into your no-code platform, then connected to your content. This lets you implement exactly the same processes on differing platforms.
Don’t listen to that man, we need more talentless hacks cranking out programs!
–Your Pentest Team
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