|Richard Harris in Enterprise Monday, May 7, 2018|
What if we never had to look at code to make an app
Visual development tools are what are needed for the future of mobile development says Nate Frechette, CTO and Co-founder of Dropsource, in an exclusive ADM Q&A he talks about why he understands some programmers have to be picky about which tools they use.
ADM: What are some of the key benefits of visual development?
Frechette: Some of the key benefits of visual development include the standardization of an organization’s mobile stack as well as the ability to innovate faster and get feedback from stakeholders to pursue or cease projects. This allows development resources to be better utilized by automating the mundane to make way for new ideas and creative problem solving.
At the same time, visual tools without vendor lock-in offer the added benefit of supplying code written by expert mobile developers, allowing development teams to grow and scale their apps the way they want.
Lastly, visual platforms can provide features that make updating mobile apps to new versions of iOS or Android much easier. This provides peace of mind to organizations who struggle to stay on top of new operating systems and the constantly changing mobile landscape.
ADM: What is the relationship between visual development and native app development?
ADM: What are some of the common misconceptions of visual development?
Frechette: Since not all visual tools on the market are built with the developer in mind, many professional developers hold a misconception that visual tools won’t give them enough control to do what they need to do. In some cases, this is correct, and it’s true that visual tools simply cannot give you the same amount of control as code can. That is a fact, and as a developer myself, I totally get that some developers are hesitant to try visual tools. What’s important for developers to realize is that visual development tools built with developers in mind provide value in their capability to optimize developer workflows for the majority of app development tasks while providing extensibility when needed. For instance, if the platform does not offer a functionality needed for an app, how does a developer remedy that? Can they edit the source code? Is the platform extensible where the developer can contribute to the core offering? Developers need to be able to do their main job; build and deploy the applications needed by business.
Ultimately, the best visual development tools are those that offer enough control while also providing options for extensibility for when the platform cannot keep up with developer demands. This is something I’ve insisted on being a core part of what we’re building at Dropsource: extensibility.
ADM: Many of the visual development tools currently on the market aren’t built with the developer in mind, which is why adoption rates remain stagnant. How can we make these tools more developer-friendly?
Frechette: I’ve said it before, but the problem with visual development tools on the market until now is that they often fail to understand a developer’s needs and preferences. Visual development must provide enough control for developers to do their job in addition to the tooling and integrations they’ve come to expect from other development tools available to them. This includes tooling for debugging, performance tuning, testing, sharing, change management, deployment and more.
Developers - myself included - tend to be particular about the tools they adopt so it’s important that visual development provide equal, if not greater, value that enables them to do their job even better than before. Visual development shouldn’t be looked at as a replacement for developers, however. Instead, it supplements their efficiency.
ADM: How do you see visual development evolving over the years?
Frechette: I see visual development evolving over the next few years to become more developer friendly - some already have, and it’s only a matter of time before we see additional tools embracing the way developers like to work. Consequently, I think you can expect to see more savvy developers embracing visual development over the next few years as well. Subsequently, I see visual tools being able to continue to abstract some of the developer concepts to enable business line developers to create apps.
ADM: How does visual development contribute to an organization's overall digital transformation?
Frechette: The combination of visual and truly native development technologies enable businesses to fulfill their app aspirations that are so critical to digital transformation. Fully visual app development solutions that provide for truly native development allow organizations to create on-brand and optimal digital experiences. Visual development platforms can eliminate some of the biggest barriers to innovation in the enterprise by giving productivity boosts to developers that allow resources to focus on critical problems.
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