The QA Head’s View of Low-Code Application Development

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Last updated on August 31st, 2023

The world is now software-driven, and this is opening up the scope in terms of the kind of software products that need to be developed and tested. But with tens of thousands of skilled workers losing their jobs, including roles that many thought were essential, the impact on product quality is huge. 

The Low-Code Application Development Space Is Booming

With the pressure to undergo digital transformation only increasing, there is an increased need for high-quality software products. This has caused a massive spike in the demand for software developers. But with job cuts happening across every sector, this shortage of talent is restricting businesses from innovating their products and integrating new technologies. 

As organizations continue to build products with fewer resources, they are forced to make several compromises. But low-code is helping change all of that. Low-code platforms automate and streamline key development functions, allowing teams to deliver new apps quickly. By enabling teams to do more with less, they allow for quick integration of new features and changes – without causing developers to get bogged down in the more tedious aspects of development. 

With the low-code development market expected to be worth $45.5 billion in 2025, the technology is offering a way for enterprises to drive transformation and accelerate innovation, despite the growing skills gap. What’s more, the automation of code creation enables even entry-level coders to craft cutting-edge solutions and bring them to the market quickly. Not only does low-code development accelerate the delivery of software, but it also avoids burnout while allowing teams to stay engaged in meaningful work.

But This Is Leading to Several Testing, Integration, and Maintenance Challenges

Low-code app development, no matter how beneficial for organizations, is also extremely stressful and challenging for QA teams. Let’s look at the several testing, integration, and maintenance challenges of low-code development: 

  • With so many developers using different templates and approaches to spin up apps, the security of low-code applications is, unfortunately, not up-to-the-mark. 
  • Low-code applications that must handle many records or transactions often succumb under load, causing several user experience issues. 
  • Since new features and changes are developed in isolation, no efforts are put into ensuring the proper integration of these updates. 
  • Low-code environments also tend to leave data exposed, making the app or software extremely vulnerable to cyberattacks. 
  • Because low-code products do not impose a strict testing discipline, they lead to several errors that go undetected. 
  • Testing products that are built with a drag-and-drop functionality can take longer than building the feature itself, causing teams to consider skipping these expensive, time-consuming steps in the interest of faster delivery.
  • Although many proprietary low-code development platforms can handle common application defects like browser incompatibility, complex back-end issues like third-party API integrations are still a challenge.

Here’s How You Can Overcome Them with a Robust QA Strategy

With software becoming the foundation of every app or product today, there is much more code to test. And it’s not just about the need for speed. As a rule, the software is becoming more complex, and the infrastructure it resides in is becoming even more so. That means we need to test for an even more bewildering array of technological factors and conditions. Many more things can go wrong, and the downsides of failure are extremely steep too.

Although low-code tools pave the way for a highly responsive app design, traditional testing approaches can take longer than expected in complex low-code scenarios. Since any low-code application still contains a decent amount of code, organizations must develop a robust QA strategy that aligns with growth plans, addresses the risks, and outlines potential consequences. 

Here’s what you need to keep in mind while crafting your QA testing strategy: 

  • Use a mix of different types of testing, including manual testing, compatibility testing, performance testing, unit testing, and API testing. 
  • Embrace automation engineering to automate mundane, repetitive, and error-prone testing activities. 
  • Instead of testing low-code apps after they have been developed, carry out QA checks at every stage of the process of software creation to ensure quality is baked into the design and development from the start. 
  • Make DevSecOps an integral part of your QA strategy and integrate security into the low-code application development process. 
  • Drive efforts towards continuous integration to enable the holistic development and testing of new features and capabilities – and not in an isolated manner. 
  • Adopt reliability engineering to maintain the functionality of low-code apps under stated conditions and keep up with user expectations of software quality. 
  • Make security compliance an integral part of your QA strategy to avoid non-compliance fines and uphold your organization’s reputation. 

Despite how gloomy the job market is, companies have to find ways to run operations and keep their heads above the water. Low-code application development is enabling such organizations to build and release new applications quickly and consistently. But are these applications meeting the required quality standards? 

According to the Consortium for Information and Software Quality, the cost of poor-quality software has grown to an enormous $2.41 trillion, and the cost of rework to $1.52 trillion. If you’re responsible for product quality, the one question you must ask yourself is, “Are you testing your low-code applications adequately before releasing them?” 

The reasons for reduced testing efforts are many — from the pressure to meet release deadlines to the lack of skilled resources. But given the potential for catastrophic impact, there’s no real justification for testing less. As automation and now technologies (like generative AI) open several possibilities in the testing space, it’s time to take a relook at your QA strategy. 

If you want your low-code applications to perform at the highest levels of quality and functionality, we can help! Contact us today and learn how our range of QA services can help you build a quality culture and transform your low-code products! 

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