I ♥ Lego

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Lately, I’ve found myself discussing the value and benefits of Low Code Platforms.

What’s a Low Code Platform? It’s technology that lets people build software applications without writing a lot, if any, code. Why would you want one of these? It allows anyone inside your company to build software applications to automate and improve your business.

I mean, let’s face it, software can do a lot of useful things. If anyone can build software, woah, that could seriously change the game for any company!

It got me thinking about my old friend Lego. We all love Lego, and here at ManyWho, we have a special kind of love for Lego. Here’s why:

Lego democratized the creation of toys

We’d hardly describe ManyWho as a toy, but we certainly like democratizing software. Let me draw out the analogy.

If you want a new plastic toy, you have a couple of choices – broadly speaking…

Option 1: Build

You can sit down and design out your toy. The plastics you want, the exact colors, the curves, the shapes, the assembly. Likely you need to be pretty good at industrial design – or at a minimum – you need to be pretty savvy with the 3d printer software. Once you’ve designed the toy to your specification, you can then get it manufactured or printed. Very likely you’ll get this wrong a few times – particularly if you’ve never done manufacturing and industrial design before. Each mistake will require you to manufacture the toy from scratch again. Equally, once the toy has been made, the only way to make changes is to start over again. It’s hard molded or hard printed to the design. It’s very hard to make changes after the fact. But the good news is that you get exactly what you want. The bad news is that you get exactly what you asked for.

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Bringing this back to software for a second – you’re basically coding your requirements from scratch.

You’re implementing at a very low level of abstraction

Sure. Typing in the code is easy enough. But if you’re like a huge majority of companies, you’re not really pouring over the architecture and assembly. The focus is “get it done” not “get it done right so we can support change over the long term and support this project as needs adapt”. Quite frankly – you don’t have the time or budget to worry about that unless your business is the business of software.

Back to plastics…

Option 2: Assemble

Bring in Lego. You don’t get the exact colors your want. You don’t even get the exact parts you need to assemble. But what you get is a design pattern. The smart people at Lego considered that people want to build a very broad range of things using their “platform”. So they put a lot of thought into the building blocks rather than the end result. That thinking allows anyone to pick up blocks and assemble them into anything they can imagine. Don’t like it? Change it, just move the blocks around. You can turn a space shuttle into an off-road vehicle – without starting from scratch. Lego adapts to your thinking. It wields itself to your imagination. It responds to your changes in direction. It does it fast, and it lets anyone take part.

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Lego is the quintessential “Low Code” Platform for toys.

Lego is engaging with you at a high level of abstraction

You’re assembling best practice implementations of blocks (that you didn’t need to create yourself) in a best practice architecture (that you didn’t need to design).

So going back to software…

If you want exactly what you want – and you’re very sure on what that is and you can justify the costs, choose to build. Engineering is more advanced than plastics manufacturing and you can work with skilled engineers to iterate to get exactly what you need. But be clear on this – you’re building a legacy of code that only professional engineers can change. You’re going to pay a hefty price. So do so on the basis that this code will be a core part of your business. It may even be your business.

But if you want to leverage software to make your company more agile, more adaptive, and more innovative, you need to take a Lego approach. Use a Low Code Platform, leverage existing implementation templates, re-use the architectural knowledge of professional engineers, assemble quickly and iterate fast. Feel free to build and adapt quickly – or even break apart and try again.

Put simply:

You get a best of breed architecture that’s built for change

That’s the power of a Low Code Platform. And that’s why we built ManyWho. Just like Lego, we want to unleash a new breed of innovators that create a legacy of awesome.

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