Securely extending and running low-code applications with C#

by   Lennart Brüggemann, et al.

Low-code development platforms provide an accessible infrastructure for the creation of software by domain experts, also called "citizen developers", without the need for formal programming education. Development is facilitated through graphical user interfaces, although traditional programming can still be used to extend low-code applications, for example when external services or complex business logic needs to be implemented that cannot be realized with the features available on a platform. Since citizen developers are usually not specifically trained in software development, they require additional support when writing code, particularly with regard to security and advanced techniques like debugging or versioning. In this thesis, several options to assist developers of low-code applications are investigated and implemented. A framework to quickly build code editor extensions is developed, and an approach to leverage the Roslyn compiler platform to implement custom static code analysis rules for low-code development platforms using the .NET platform is demonstrated. Furthermore, a sample application showing how Roslyn can be used to build a simple, integrated debugging tool, as well as an abstraction of the version control system Git for easier usage by citizen developers, is implemented. Security is a critical aspect when low-code applications are deployed. To provide an overview over possible options to ensure the secure and isolated execution of low-code applications, a threat model is developed and used as the basis for a comparison between OS-level virtualization, sandboxing, and runtime code security implementations.


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