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RAD Studio with Delphi – The Original Low Code!

These days low-code development is en vogue. Various research groups, such as Gartner, put the low-code application development platform market at ~$10M billion in 2019 and project CAGR to be greater than 20% from 2020 to 2027. In contrast, the market for developer tools has largely remained flat, and growth is estimated to be under 5% at best, largely driven by the wide proliferation of open source.

Why is this important for Delphi developers? Let me first start with a quick overview of low code, since many developers are not familiar with the concept. Low code is a software development approach that requires little to no coding in order to build applications and processes. A low-code development platform uses visual interfaces with simple logic and drag-and-drop features instead of extensive coding languages. Low code is hardly new. Twenty years ago, 4G scripting languages aimed to simplify development by abstracting low-level languages, such as C++, into more simplified scripting languages. Some of these were purpose built (e.g., SAS), and others were more generic (LANSA, UNIFACE, etc.). Many of the latter have now evolved into low-code platforms. 

Some of the most popular and relatively new examples of low-code platforms these days are Outsystems and Mendix. They provide visual IDEs and produce web applications that can be deployed on mobile. They have slick UIs, for sure, but what is important is that underneath they consist of Java/C# applications with JavaScript front ends. Indeed, almost always to implement complex apps, you have to go to the source code and program in these respective languages. 

Frequently porting these pieces of the app into the IDE is not that easy, or at least the low-code aspect is lost. For example, you can “expand” Mendix with Java.

What this means is that, to build a complex app, you suddenly may need a Java developer, JavaScript developer, and yes, an OutSystems visual developer. You can imagine the impact on speed of development and especially maintenance of applications.

While many low codes promise no-code approaches, this is frequently not practical for robust apps that are scalable and performant. It is no accident that all low-code platforms rely on armies of consultants and professional services.

Now, all of these remind you for sure of RAD Studio. What is great about RAD Studio is that you seamlessly move from Visual Development to coding to maximize performance. The resulting app is highly performant and ultimately scalable. Of course, if you want to build a web client, some approaches could send you to JavaScript, but it is not so different from a “fancy” low-code platform.

The main benefit of low code is that you need fewer developers, and people can learn the system fast. Well, that is the secret of Delphi. You need few developers, and learning Delphi is probably as easy as learning any one of these low-c-code platforms. The real Delphi experts know Delphi. The real experts for these other platforms have to know so much more. The Delphi community, which may not be as large as that of C# or C++, is vast compared to any one of these low-code approaches. Finally and importantly, RAD Studio comes at a fraction of the cost of any other low-code solution.

So next time someone asks you to explain why you love RAD Studio and Delphi, just tell them: It is just like having a low-code solution but much better!

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