Visual Programming (Low-Code) does not mean the end of developers

Visual programming technologies, also known as No-Code or Low-Code platforms, have greatly lowered technological barriers in the creation of web applications.

Many neophytes see these technologies as a way of freeing themselves from developers. More, some are convinced that there is no longer a need for developers to build applications.

Basically, I am convinced that this statement is false. As a follow-up to my last article published on Medium (Low-Code does not mean Low Expertise), I present below a short illustrated overview that shows that the use of technical development skills are (very often) indispensable to develop complex projects on the Low-Code Bubble.io platform.

Building an optimized application on Bubble requires the same mindset and good practices as in the development world.

Performance and scaling of a Bubble app are heavily impacted by how the app is built.

Let’s start with an example to illustrate the difference between a well-built app with good practices and a poorly developed one with badly optimized queries.

We have developed a basic interface on Bubble which aims to retrieve and display fake customers data from a unique set of database records (around 1000 lines). In our example, only contacts with a Canadian email address will be displayed.

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In the first case (right side on the capture below), the query is well-designed, with built-in data queries functions of Bubble. In the other case (left side on the capture below), we have deliberately burdened the query with bad practices (for the most expert, we have used “Adanced” query mode with nested calls).

Let’s analyse the performance results in real conditions:

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With this little example, we can clearly observe that data processing is faster with the optimised query (right side). The direct consequence is a much better user experience.

Building complex applications still requires the use of code.

Again, let’s take another example to better understand this point.

Let’s imagine we are a medium-sized industrial company that wants to develop an application to clearly identify different mechanical parts on a conveyor belt.

From a user point of view, the application only needs to display the number of pieces on the conveyor during the day and month, differentiating between the different types of parts. Data can be displayed in a very simple dashboard, perfectly feasible with Bubble’s No-Code capabilities.

Now, how to recognise the parts, according to their nature and shape. We can probably do this thanks to a camera and a visual and pattern recognition algorithm.

In this case, Bubble’s native capabilities are not the most suitable for processing images and data. Custom development will have to be considered. Then, it will be necessary to connect the two technological bricks in order to show the results on the interface developed on Bubble (easily via an API connection for instance).

No-Code + Code or how to get the best of both worlds.

Bubble is a great tool to materialize and iterate digital products. As we discussed in the previous example, sometimes it turns out that it is not the most suitable tool to implement certain functionalities.

But what is great about Bubble is the ability to extend the scope of possibilities by adding traditional programming blocks. Then, the fields of possibilities become infinite.

I am truly convinced (as part of Cube agency) that the future of development lies in an intelligent combination of No-Code and Code.

The result is a tenfold capacity to develop, test and iterate software products with high added value. Development skills are very often indispensable for the creation of optimised applications that do not reach hard limits inherent in a totally codeless approach.

Finally, without developers, how visual programming software such as Bubble.io would be built and maintained?

This is common sense. Without developers, platforms like Bubble would never have seen the light of day. Thanks to highly specialised developers, thousands of entrepreneurs, developers and citizen developers can benefit from the power of the tool to build their applications with less code.

And you, have you ever combined the flexibility of No-Code with the unlimited power of code?