October 9th, 2018 • Low Code
With major funding rounds and merging announcements in the news, you would think that the entire world is headed towards low-code application development.
Platforms are getting better by the day, and new functionalities are allowing developers to do more and more at a faster speed. Low-code platforms also promise to bring in citizen developers (business users who have only a basic level of technology knowledge) to build the applications themselves.
Low-code development platforms are built on the idea that you can modularize and visualize many aspects of coding, reducing the need to write out every line by hand.
You can build nearly any kind of application you want on a low-code platform. With new advancements, it’s become even easier to add functionality to a low-code app that wasn’t even considered before. But they aren’t the end-all of app development.
There are certain areas that even low-code may not be ready for. Hard-core programmers who like to control every aspect of an application will struggle with these platforms and find them restricting. For some customer-facing applications where design is of the utmost importance, these platforms just can’t give the same kind of functionality. The same can be said for highly detailed UI/UX requirements.
In fact, if you are developing the kind of app where you are constantly shifting items one pixel at a time and doing deep dives into the source code, low-code may not be the best decision for you.
You may find yourself deep into app development only to discover a new limitation of the low-code platform, forcing you to change how the business operates rather than changing the technology. Integrations with legacy systems will always be a challenge for any modern platform, and any time you build apps on someone else’s tool, you have opened another door for security risks.
But just because low-code isn’t for every situation doesn’t mean it isn’t the perfect solution for others.
Low code does best in the following areas:
Workflow automation is a great candidate for using a low-code platform for many reasons.
You can’t build a workflow with a spreadsheet. There’s really no way around creating an automated workflow solution without an application. While certain scripts can be added here and there, when it comes down to it, you are going to need to level up from email and spreadsheets.
Workflows don’t need to be super-shiny. While the design is always a consideration for any software, workflows don’t necessarily need to win any best-in-breed competitions across all software applications. Simple layouts benefit the flow of work.
Workflows use forms. Drag-and-drop form design is in a pretty advanced state at this point in history. Even free tools will have many different types of fields, advanced auto-calculation, and connection to a database. These tools are easy for even a non-developer to master.
Workflow design can be modularized. When actually planning out the sequence of tasks in a workflow, there are certain elements that can be made quite easily into a low-code platform. While quality workflow design isn’t as ubiquitous as form design, tools like Kissflow make it as easy as possible and removed complicated technical jargon and concepts.
Workflows are normally internal. The majority of automated workflows in a company revolve around finance, HR, marketing, and supply chain management. While some procurement and supply chain processes involve external partners, for the most part, these apps can be maintained internally without any customer involvement.
Business users know the workflow better than a programmer. When creating a highly unique and complex application, it takes a partnership between the business user and the developer to know what is possible and make the app together. With workflow automation, the business user knows exactly what she wants and it’s just a matter of getting the work done. Handing development over to this kind of citizen developer is ideal.
While automated workflow apps are a great use case for low-code platforms, it’s even more true that if you want citizen developers to play a bigger role in making their own apps, you may as well go with a no-code platform. These speciality platforms require no coding at all and let business users make their own applications extremely easily.
By turning over the power of workflow app creation to your business leaders, you not only free up your IT team for other projects but also allow for faster development and easier maintenance. And, even low-code platforms may be too complicated for many business users, which means you need to look for easier solutions.
Armed with so many new tools, IT leaders need to know how to make use of all of them. Hand-coding is still important when creating custom, essential, customer-facing applications that need to look and act perfectly. However, you don’t need to spend the same amount of money on simpler applications like workflow automation.
Try out Kissflow to see just how easy a no-code application can be to create your own automated workflows.