No code beats low code

04.06.2019 - According to the CIO agenda of market analyst PAC, a lack of skilled employees continues to remain a central issue for companies, especially those in the IT sector. The strategy proposed by the study to solve this problem is what are known as low-code platforms, which allow software to be developed using graphic modelling methods. tangro has been going one step further and has been doing so for over 20 years: with the patented tangro application architecture, reusable granular software modules and process modules are put together to form applications by means of process modelling (tpm – tangro process models).

Using the tangro platform eliminates the usual modal fragmentation between modelling, user interface, application logic, workflow and documentation. A key difference, although certainly not the only one, from the low-code approach is that granular software modules are reused. This does away with the need for the manual generation of program code, which consumes vast amounts of time and resources and is common in the development of applications.

According to Wikipedia, just as with standard manual programming, a low-code development takes place in an integrated development environment in various stages. This requires:

The tangro platform uses a data model too. But this doesn't have to be described explicitly, it is basically derived from the arrangement of elements (attributes) on the UI. Generating a data model does not require any cumbersome actions.

The application logic doesn’t have to be programmed, but is covered by the graphic arrangement of loosely connected, reusable granular software modules and processes. However individual software modules may well also be created if needed.

A user interface is produced by means of a UI designer which is intuitive to use and is linked instantly to the application logic without any further action. There is no need for mapping between the two layers.

 

Graphic modelling of processes

The tangro platform visualises business process flows in the form of EPC (Event Process Chains). This involves combining granular, reusable software modules and processes to form process flows. There is no modal fragmentation between modelling, development environment and workflow.

There is no need for interface programming, the graphic arrangement of symbols and relationships between them are suffice to define how a process runs. The process model is therefore a perfect reflection of the application, which in turn makes quick responses to changes or new requirements possible.

 

Agile software development

Agile software development describes approaches in the software development process to improve transparency and flexibility. In combination with graphic modelling, loosely connected, reusable, granular software modules and processes form the basis for great flexibility in the development and enhancement of applications.

The more flexibly applications can be adapted, the easier it is to individualise processes, integrate new functions later on and satisfy particular customer needs. The reusability and granularity of the software modules are key to this. Well-thought-out code, which has already been written, is an invaluable asset, which can be used again and again to drastically improve the effectiveness of software development. If the development process follows the principle of graphic modelling, it can be particularly simple and intuitive.

Graphic process modelling offers great transparency and a high recognition factor. Recurring symbols and events, which link the software modules with one another, make applications transparent and easily understandable. Spaghetti code, knowledge withheld by superiors and individual developer handwriting are consigned to history.

 

Reusability delivers high quality

The reusability of the software modules vastly increases the quality of the software as reusability increases with the granularity of the software modules. The reusability of masks is therefore naturally low while that of mask elements is high.

Retaining quality despite enhancements

Encapsulating processes also ensures that enhancements intervene as little as possible in existing processes. When enhancements are undertaken, they do not intervene in existing processes. Instead, processes or software modules are superimposed in a customer-specific manner. This stabilises the software and guarantees that companies receive precisely the functions they need – no more and no less. This approach minimises customizing work and allows implementations to be introduced rapidly.

Developing in technical terms

Here the tangro method focuses as much as possible on the language of the specialist department and less so on technical details. Rather than formulating requirements in UML, methods and classes, business terminology is used wherever possible. Process knowledge and a certain technical understanding are of course still needed to ultimately produce a functional application. The necessary know-how corresponds roughly to that required when working with Excel.

Benefits for customers and software manufacturers

The tangro development method offers customers huge benefits: The faster and more cost-effectively software can be developed with as few resources as possible, the more attractive it is for manufacturers to produce a tailored solution. Why is tailored software so important? Customers get exactly what they want – no more and no less. Tailored solutions reflect only the requirements of one industry or one business variant of the industry – for example, that of software manufacturers or consultancies in the IT environment. There is no need for elaborate customizing, as is unavoidable with solutions spanning several industries because so many more possibilities need to be taken into account.

However, only a software manufacturer like tangro, who achieves a high degree of reuse with its development method, can cost-effectively apply this customer-friendly approach.

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