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Declarative for developers: why Skuid was created.

Declarative, no-code app development is fast becoming the tool of choice for unifying data and apps in the enterprise. As we enter the era of “citizen” developers, it’s important to know why declarative also makes sense for vocational developers.

To understand that, look no further than the reason Skuid was created. Though anyone can use Skuid to rapidly create made-to-order apps, it was originally designed as a tool for developers.

A platform is born.

Tired of and frustrated with writing repetitive, boilerplate user interface code, engineers Zach McElrath and Ben Hubbard created Skuid so that they could spend more time on bigger challenges, and complete more projects faster. The result was a robust platform anyone could use to unite disparate data and create bespoke apps—all through the ease of drag and drop.

Hear how our developers use Skuid to make their lives easier—and more productive.

Make the common tasks easy, and the uncommon tasks possible.

Declarative can be a developer’s best friend. No-code app development abstracts and simplifies “common” engineering tasks.

With declarative development, you can set up connections to data sources, create models, arrange and assemble user interface (UI) components in a page, deploy them to users, and set up sequences of actions to run in response to user interactions—without losing the degree of control that code provides over UI customization. It’s the same level of detail and complexity, made faster and easier.

“We built Skuid to let you do the work that should be declarative using our drag-and-drop composer,” says co-creator Zach McElrath, “which lets you connect to data sources and create ‘windows’ and ‘views’ on your data using our ‘models.’ Then, you can assemble pages using our “components,” which connect to models. All of this can be done without using any code—completely declaratively.”

J.D. Bell, senior software engineer at Skuid, says declarative tools like Skuid are ideal for projects that primarily involve data input and/or visualization.

Skuid makes it easy to build standard input forms that require validation and some data-aware enhancements (like date dropdowns and lookup record selectors). This would generally be very, very annoying in Bootstrap or anything else, because it’s a lot of repeated boilerplate code.

J.D. Bell
Senior Software Engineer

With the drag-and-drop ease of no code app development, developers spend less time writing repetitive UI code and more time doing the work they want to do. Even with a no code app development platform, developers can “drop down into code” and inject JavaScript logic in the midst of declarative processes—which you can do through Skuid’s JavaScript API. This approach works for more difficult, “uncommon” actions, where writing code just makes more sense.

For example, you can access and interact with any of Skuid’s models or components using JavaScript APIs to dynamically generate new models or components in memory. You can also create custom components through Javascript. Skuid hands developers a Document Object model (DOM) element, a component Extensible Markup Language (XML) configuration, and a component object reference, and then lets users go to town.

“I think that is a huge reason for developers/programmers to use Skuid, as well as business users and non-technical folks,” says Zach.

Streamline the development process.

Writing code is time consuming. Code is also difficult to update without errors or artifacts, so when requirements change, you might have to start over again from scratch. And if you’ve got time to do all of that, coding works. But what if you don’t?

“The tighter your deadline, the more you want to use Skuid,” says J.D.

Because of how quickly you can create apps using Skuid, it’s a tool well-suited for rapid development needs. And that goes for rapid iteration, as well. If your project is dynamic and might be heavily revised multiple times before and after “the end,” using Skuid keeps you from starting over. Instead of rewriting code, “you just move stuff around with your mouse,” J.D. says.

To realize the benefits gained through declarative development, the relationship between declarative and programmatic development should be seamless. Need a formula or action to do something that’s not out-of-the-box? Skuid works to make sure there are various hooks exposed, where you can run Skuid “Snippets” to inject JavaScript logic within pages, as well as create custom components.

No code app development and programmatic development go hand-in-hand. In addition to making a developer’s job faster and easier, declarative development can help move some of the effort off of the developers and onto skilled business analysts. For many enterprise companies, this is a more than viable option, as there’s so much work to be done. With declarative development, that work can be conquered much faster and more efficiently, with each employee bringing maximum value.

Ready to learn more about how developers use Skuid? Check out our documentation portal!

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