CWDN series: Dev-eXperience - Appian: How automation liberates & elevates 

This is a guest post for the Computer Weekly Developer Network written by Jennifer Durina in her capacity as director of solutions consulting at Appian.

Durina writes in full as follows…

It’s clear how automation helps all end users – consider how macros speed up the painful process of copying data from one Excel sheet to another.

This helps people go beyond repetitive tasks and spend more time on value-add projects that benefit most from human input.

The same benefits of automation apply to developers.

Design libraries

By automating repetitive coding tasks, developers can focus their creative energy on solving complex problems. Using low-code platforms, generative AI and ‘design libraries’ gives developers a jump-start that boosts their productivity, enabling them to channel their time and expertise to drive innovation.

The benefits of a good developer experience also lead to a good user experience. If I’m building a message functionality, I want users to know what a message functionality looks like and have that be the same (i.e. provide the same functionality) everywhere. If that feature looks and works differently in different places, the user experience becomes more painful, disjointed and potentially discombobulated.

By using tools such as low-code design libraries and automation, previously-built elements automatically become foundational blocks for new programs. This aid to the developer experience helps developers maintain quality and consistency, resulting in better user experience and feedback.

Regardless of the tools available, developers are smart people solving complicated problems. Automation and low-code tools will not replace developers, but they do augment developers’ capabilities and enhance their productivity. Reducing the burden of repetitive tasks results in a premium for advanced critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Cross-functional collaboration

Increasing business innovation requires that developers collaborate with teams across the business. Less technical professionals are becoming more empowered to contribute. Good technology should facilitate that collaboration and teamwork, which are vital aspects of the modern successful developer experience.

By embracing collaboration, developers can tap into diverse skill sets that spur innovation and drive the development of high-quality applications.

These applications will also be more likely to cater to different user needs. Sharing and documenting ideas, knowledge and best practices ultimately leads to improved outcomes for individual contributors, teams and the business.

Project (process) lifecycles

Let’s look more closely at time management and aspects of a project’s lifecycle.

Process mining is a trusted automation tool for continuous improvement. It helps management understand business processes as they are – including all the variants and deviations – and provides suggested explanations for why process problems are occurring. Developer teams benefit from using automation tools to collect and keep comprehensive metrics that evaluate the ease and efficiency of building, testing, starting and debugging software. Moreover, using platforms with in-built security prevents developers from making common mistakes, such as exposing cross-site scripting (XSS) attack points.

With the time saved, these insights allow teams to identify bottlenecks, streamline processes and allocate resources more effectively with data-driven decision-making.

For developers, tasks that would have taken a couple of weeks can take a couple of hours or even minutes with these accelerators. Companies and coders still committed to building apps from the ground up with lines of manual code will be left behind.

With the right tools, support and a strategic approach to collaboration, organisations can create an environment where developers thrive and deliver exceptional results at an accelerated pace.

Embracing these advances is crucial for companies to stay ahead as the market and competition shows no signs of slowing down. By embracing and upgrading the base elements, organisations can make sure that developers do what they do best, facilitating a developer experience that allows organisations to foster innovation, improve efficiency and drive the success of their applications.

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Data Management