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Developers need not fear the no/low-code movement

It’s actually an opportunity for IT and business alike, according to Salesforce exec

More and more vendors are making it easier for anyone and everyone to develop apps and services and, while this has caused some discontent between already skilled developers, they shouldn't feel so disgruntled.

So claims Anne DelSanto, general manager of Salesforce's Lightning Platform, who spoke to IT Pro during the company's annual Dreamforce in San Francisco this week.

"We are democtratising app development. Now, building apps is everyone's business," she said.

"The cloud delivered on the promise of democratising software and delivered on the promise of democratising infrastructure. There were people who were afraid of those revolutions and changes. With the democratisation of app development, the opportunity grows. Professional developers have a specific skillset is so needed. Our goal is to bring them together so when business users are building they're not building in a container that falls of a cliff. You want it to be extensible and bring that unique expertise professional developers have to bear to create that unique IP that companies are looking for. So when we say we welcome all, it's business users and IT."

She added: "Today, IT has a huge backlog as they're trying to do development of apps and processes that actually should be given to business users or admins or power users. This would give them the opportunity to really bring their unique skills to the table and be more productive. I'm a big believer that change is an opportunity. By being transparent and communicative with this, it does dampen down where there might be fear. This isn't anything to be afraid of. This is plenty of opportunity for all."

Salesforce says it has introduced a number of things to help make this transformation more seamless, including no-code builders, pro-code tools and out-of-the-box enterprise services.

This move to make app development more accessible to a wider audience also goes some way towards bridging the skills gap that IT faces and will continue to face as, ultimately, there just aren't enough developers to create what customers and employees are demanding, according to DelSanto.

DelSanto highlighted the recent introduction of Lightning Flow Actions, which enable the ISV ecosystem to create ready to use processes a credit check, for example - that others can take from the AppExchange and plug into their own apps.  Given that 88% of Salesforce customers use at least one app from the AppExchange, DelSanto is hoping there will be wide availability of and interest in these new plug-and-play offerings.

"We're trying to create a bridge between these business and citizen developers and IT and professional developers those using Heroku and doing more professional development so that they are working side by side with each other," DelSanto added.

"We want to, in a unified way, give [power] to the business, to bring development closer to them because they know what experiences customers are looking for. So, giving them these Lego-like components they can build with drag-and-drop builders is very critical.

"There are things they can't do on their own though so you want to also leave room for the professional developers to maybe come in and complete the experience." 

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