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May 25 2022 | by Vinaya Krishna

Key Testing Considerations Before Building Low-Code Applications

With the advent of creative applications, innovative ways of development demanded the emergence of low-code development platforms (LCDPs). Ever since Forrester coined the word “low-code” in 2014, it has shown incredible potential to enable application development for a wide range of users. Not just skilled developers, but to “citizen developers” or the users possessing little to no coding knowledge too, LCDPs helped build fully-fledged applications quickly and at a lesser price with an easy-to-use UI. 

But the low-code application development journey is not without pitfalls. Since low-code exposes even non-technical users to application development, there have been quite a lot of concerns regarding quality and security issues with the end results.  

Just like its conventional counterparts, users need to thoroughly research options, understand the business needs, and hit the bull’s eye by building low-code apps that display exceptional functional capabilities. But considering that not many non-technical users possess sufficient knowledge in testing, quality assurance, and scanning for security glitches, low-code testing mechanisms seem to contain the potential for significant problems too. 

What is low-code testing? 

Testing in traditional application development would involve unit testing, automation testing, security testing, API tests, and code reviews. The question is, would low-code apps require such testing protocols? 

End-to-end application testing does play an equally crucial role in building efficient low-code apps. The performance of low-code apps needs to be on par with the rest of them while making sure to meet user expectations, and align with company security policies and there are no two ways to do this. 

Why do low-code applications require testing? 

Since low-code apps are often built with a bunch of “ready components” and those components would likely have been tested by the platform, is there even a need to test the application? 

Well, off-course. Because the app integrates into a wider environment, it’s crucial to test it fully. 

In low-code, since the developer would have no access to the source code, testing would often get quite challenging. And ever since their inception, LCDPs have only gotten more and more complex. And this is when automated testing, API testing, and the use of testing tools play a significant role in producing fail-safe low-code apps. 

Here are other reasons why low-code applications need to face the brunt of testing: 

  • LCDPs might have security, privacy, and compliance limitations. 
  • Overlooked and unfixed bugs are quite common in low-code development. 
  • Performance testing is critical as LCDPs often prioritize ease of use over better performance.  
Testing considerations before building applications on the low-code development platforms 

Low-code development platforms have impacted many developers and their ways of work, and testing has especially been challenging for the QA team. Because, with most low-code applications, unit testing and writing test cases is sometimes less necessary. 

Here are 4 testing inputs that could fuel high performing low-code applications:

1. Automated testing 

Since most low-code development platforms like Mendix, OutSystems, SAP, Nintex, etc., are prone to frequent changes within their platforms, manual testing of low-code applications is an uphill task for QA testers. The agility and rapid testing capabilities make automated testing the preferred testing approach to build highly efficient low-code apps faster.  

Test automation helps in building smarter applications. Using automated testing options like Selenium, testers can create advanced and complex automation scripts quickly. Automating also helps to reduce the immense effort that goes into creating testing tasks manually. However, testers need to ensure the automated tests are up-to-date with the latest upgrades for stable and robust applications. 

2. Use of AI in testing tools 

With smarter applications growing, it’s interesting to consider the use of artificial intelligence in testing low-code apps. Thanks to AI’s exceptional learning capabilities, as platforms evolve, AI tools and software learn and adapt to them faster.  AI-driven tools like Sauce Labs, Testim, Test.ai, and more help with creating autonomous test cases and scripts as they possess deep-learning capabilities.  

Through powerful machine learning features, AI tools can automatically identify risk areas, analyze, and run suitable test scripts. Test-ai is one such tool that works quite well with low-code applications due to its simple and easy-to-access UI. Low-code or no-code AI testing tools especially benefit non-technical staff to perform QA activities seamlessly. 

3. Security testing tools 

Testing of UI, application’s data processing speed, or response is insufficient and pointless if the underlying security concerns are not addressed while building low-code apps. Since any failures at either user, data, or application level can cause severe losses for both parties, security testing is a must. 

Most low-code development platforms might be dependent on a 3rd party vendor or would not share their testing procedures with low-code developers. So, to build reliable and trustworthy applications, testers need to use security testing tools like Zap or SonarQube (to name a few) along with relevant test automation. 

4. Skilled QA testers 

Even after the onset of automation, having trained QA experts on board is necessary to perform end-to-end testing, review configurations, and business logic. Companies building low-code apps need to adopt a balanced mix of testing tools and automation with manual testing strategies. This is essential to guarantee test coverage across the application’s functionality and related processes.  

The bottom line 

Low-code applications have empowered organizations across the globe with rapid deployment, speed-to-market, and offer customer-centric solutions. But low-code is still a constantly developing area, and therefore thorough testing is highly critical for reliable applications and quality software. 

With expertise in building enterprise-specific low-code applications across industry domains using notable platforms like OutSystems and Nintex, at Novigo solutions we help design fully deployable low-applications rapidly. 

Drop us a message and consult with our in-house low-code development experts today to get started on the low-code journey. 

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