No- and Low-code platforms are all the rage these days. And it’s obvious why — they empower non-IT subject matter experts to become “citizen developers” by creating automated business processes. This allows for companies to be more productive and responsive since more individuals are able to automate business processes. No and Low-code also enables the IT department to devote more time to other technical challenges, while others are able to seamlessly modify software with No and Low-code platforms, which means that companies are efficient and focused on the IT areas that make the most impact. Since anyone can code with No and Low-code platforms, the use of these type of platforms are growing. The research group Gartner projects a 23% growth in the worldwide low-code development technology market.
The promise of no-code and low-code platforms is very appealing to say the least: technical employees can increase their productivity through use of these tools, and even non-technical employees can automate processes through self-service, easy-to-use applications. Often this involves choosing triggers and actions from a palette of pre-defined actions and locations. Then when trying to put together selected triggers, it’s as if the user is physically connecting them together through a visual canvas. The details of how those bits work can be abstracted from the user, allowing them to focus on the business logic and not on the nit-noid details of each and every step.
What Is Old Is New Again
As with many things in technology, this “hot new technology” is anything but new. Ideas are created, improved, recirculated, and relabeled all the time. These iterations lead to improvements that make the concepts easier to implement and more user-friendly, powerful, and cost-effective. Just like cars today are better than those from 20 years ago, low-code and no-code platforms are better now than yesteryear. But it is a mistake to think these are completely new technologies.
As early as 1976, academic researchers were publishing papers on “no-code” or “low-code” systems, without using that vernacular. For example, a publication by IBM Researcher Moshé Zloof in 1976 proposed the “System for Business Automation,” or SBA, which is a system that allows non-programmers to “describe and execute their applications on a computer.” This researcher also created the “Query By Example” (QBE) system, which allowed business users to perform complex queries on relational databases without knowing SQL syntax and was released in 1978. By 1981, Dr. Zloof had proposed “Office Procedures by Example,” (OBE), which empowered “nonprogrammers who wish to interactively automate their applications.”
By the 2000’s, web services were gaining momentum, primarily through “Simple Object Access Protocol” (SOAP) and the web services standardized by OAISIS. In 2003, industry saw the need to automate business processes around these web services, and the “Business Process Execution Language” (BPEL) was born. The Web Service extension “BPEL4WS” was proposed and finally standardized by OASIS in 2004 as “WS-BPEL 2.0“. Although this standard aided developers in building orchestrations among distributed web services, it failed to address the need for human interactions required by many real-world business processes. Thus, one of the best rhyming standards in this industry was created: “BPEL4People” (great reading for those nights when you cannot sleep!).
By now, you should see the parallels. We live in a world of REST-based web services these days, not SOAP Web Services, but the orchestration of services to automate processes is what we are still talking about with no-code and low-code platforms. The players may change, but the song remains the same.
Diplomat MFT Is An OG No-Code Platform
With this in mind, consider Diplomat MFT: a software solution that allows business users to easily define file transfers from one location to another. Simply specify the files you are interested in processing and choose the source and destination locations. File system, FTP, SFTP, E-Mail, Cloud Storage … just pick from a list and provide the basic parameters for the locations. Do you need PGP encryption, decryption, signing, or verification? Just tick a box. Compression or decompression of ZIP or GZIP files? Check a box. Need to send emails upon success, failure, or both? Just check a box. Set your schedule for execution, and you are off to the races.
The Diplomat MFT user does not need to know the complexities of the protocols involved. Nor does the user have to create retry loops for failures, or account for the differences between implementations of SFTP protocol by various vendors. The user does not need to drag boxes and connect lines between elements, because Diplomat MFT addresses a single purpose: automating secure file transfers. There are many constant moving parts to take into account when dealing with file transfers, that could range from hundreds to thousands of transfers a day, such as all different types of servers, file systems, and network firewalls. But that’s our expertise.
Those of us here at Coviant have been able strengthen Diplomat MFT through all the adversity that we have encountered in all our fifteen years of MFT experience. We’ve baked all our sweat and tears into Diplomat MFT so that you only need to fill out a few simple configuration elements and everything else is taken care of. And, of course, everything is backed up with automatic auditing and the ability to archive files for data retention policies.
Our solution, that has delighted hundreds of customers for fifteen years, gives you everything you would expect out of a no-code solution when dealing with file transfers. And with its own built in REST API, it can easily integrate with other no-code and low-code platforms to extend their capabilities into Managed File Transfer. Just Request a demo or download a free trial of our best-value solution to see for yourself.