Low-Code Development Platforms – Launchpads to Build Powerful Apps Easily
April 17th, 2018 • low code
Low-code development is all the rage. Whether you call it the democratization of app creation or putting the power in the hands of ‘citizen developers’, there’s no denying that the market is responding to low-code development platforms.
But are these low-code tools as revolutionary as some think, or is it just clever marketing and insider jargon to justify a new whitepaper? Let’s take a deeper look.
What is a Low-Code Development Platform?
Platforms that enable rapid delivery of business applications with a minimum of hand-coding and minimal upfront investment in setup, training, and deployment.
Low-code technology offers easy-to-use interfaces and incredible flexibility to build applications faster, even for people with very limited knowledge in coding. Forrester dubs the new group of neo-coders “citizen developers”—non-IT business users who have all the reasons to build their own apps but don’t have the technical knowledge required.
What Does a Low-Code Development Platform Look Like?
One example of an early predecessor to low-code is in web content management. The language of the web is HTML, but not many people can write or program fluently in HTML. To code your own web page from scratch takes a lot of experience and time.
When a platform like WordPress first came on the scene, it was a game changer for many people. In order to manage the content on a website, someone could use WordPress, which required only a minimal amount of coding. WordPress introduced different modules that took care of the most common requirements like creating and editing new pages, changing headlines, and adding images.
Knowing HTML is still necessary to do any kind of custom work in WordPress, but it is a good example of how to think about a low-code development platform. Except that with a low-code platform, you are making full applications, not just web pages.
What’s the Hype Around Low-Code Development Platform?
Applications might be written in a variety of programming languages, but unlike web pages, they might require thousands of lines of code to produce even a relatively simple tool.
A more inclusive change occurred in the early 2000s, when low-code application development overtook long hours of manual coding. Low-code platforms lowered the ceiling for coding requirements for non-IT developers to create, customize, and control the entire cycle of application development with little to no dependency on IT services.
Low code technology has consumerized IT skills among non-technical teams and allowed them to reap the benefits of rapid application development (RAD), a methodology where business can build multiple applications at great speed.
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How Does Low-Code Development Compare with RAD and aPaaS?
aPaas is Application Platform as a Service, a term invented for development platforms on the cloud. Typically, these are of two types, depending on their functionality. They are high-productivity and high-control.
Low-code platforms are a part of aPaas, but there’s a difference. They don’t fall into any particular category, with each platform differing. Some platforms can be high-productivity, whilst others can be high-control.
In terms of RAD model, low-code platforms would fall into the high-productivity side of the aPaas distinction. Low-code platforms are designed to maximise productivity, enabling rapid prototyping with quick feedback.
The Rewards of Using Low-Code Development Platform
Following low-code application development has serious advantages.
Reduce application building time. Even for professional programmers, coding by hand takes a long time. A good low-code app development platform will allow them to dramatically reduce the time taken to build an application from scratch.
Enhance team collaboration. Earlier, low-code app development was a single-person job. Lots of people might have insights on how the app should function, but it was basically just one person who would build it. A low-code platform lets multiple people be a part of the process and have greater visibility into how it functions.
Less oversight burden on IT. IT is responsible for all of the technology in a company, including all the small applications needed for daily functioning. This is a massive responsibility and no IT team has enough people to manage everything. A low-code platform means that the IT team doesn’t have to be 100% involved in every project. They can come in and provide additional customizing help when required, but need not do everything.
Lower risks. Great low-code development platforms usually will prevent common errors from occuring. When you don’t have to hand-code everything, you can ensure that the app will function as intended without any hiccups. Low-code development is a much safer and secure way to reduce errors.
Increased ROI. Low-code development platforms are not extremely expensive, but they may seem so compared to open-source tools, or starting from scratch. However, when you consider the amount of time it takes to build with these tools and the cost of hiring talented people to program them, the price of low-code application development seems like a no-brainer.
How Easy is it to Use Low-Code Development Platforms?
Low code app development platforms give citizen developers a simple layout to build applications. They present a “What You See Is What You Get” (WYSIWYG) interface. This speaks to them in a language they can understand.
One of the most common themes among low-code app development vendors is the use of a drag-and-drop design interface. This technology makes most complex problems in low-code development intuitive and simple.
Many low-code platforms also give the option to write custom codes in case the platform doesn’t offer a feature or functionality that users want in their application.
The Right Mix in a Low-Code Development Platform
All low-code platforms are not equal. Many seem promising, but don’t have everything customers expect. Here are a few pointers to identify the best low-code platforms:
- Easy Visual Configuration. UI/UX is king when it comes to low-code development platform. If it isn’t intuitive from the first screen, it isn’t worth your time.
- Ready Integration Options. Low-code development platforms should easily integrate with major software, especially for process management.
- Mobile Compatibility. While low-code development is still best done on a larger screen, apps should run well on any device.
- Scalability. The strength of a low-code platform is measured on how it can keep up with demand without faltering.
- Full Lifecycle Support. Market leaders offer support for low-code app development platforms that spans app design, deployment, maintenance, and future configurations.
Ready to See it in Action?
If you want to see what a low-code platform looks like, start a free trial of KiSSFLOW. KiSSFLOW is a great example of a low-code platform that lets you create automated processes with forms and workflows. It has an industry-leading user-interface and simple design techniques.
Try it today and catch the bug for low-code development!