Open Source Low Code Platform
What is Open Source Low Code Platform?
An open-source low-code development platform refers to an open-source solution that enables users to create and launch applications through a drag-and-drop, graphical interface, instead of a traditional coding method.
The need for new applications will continue to grow dramatically over the next few years as the software makes its march to eat up the known world.
But IT departments at most organizations are stuck with two options: buy the best tool available on the marketplace, or build it from scratch.
The buy option is great if you find the perfect product since the cost of using someone else’s software is generally much cheaper than building your own. You can be up and running in a matter of days. However, you are stuck with what the vendor gives you. No matter what they promise in a product roadmap, you never know how the product (and the pricing) will change.
If you have a very specific use case or need something more tailored, your best option has always been to build it yourself. But this is very time- and talent-intensive and requirements often change a lot during the development cycle.
Benefits of Open Source Low-Code Platforms
IT teams across the world are finding a better solution called low-code development platforms. Low-code platforms remove the need for intense line-by-line coding and instead replace it with visual tools you can drag and drop. These platforms allow developers to work faster, build applications with fewer errors, and even open the door to citizen developers (business users with a knack for technology) to make their own applications, in addition to many other benefits.
Low-code also fights shadow IT, when users build/find and manage their own software outside of the knowledge and control of IT. By producing applications faster, low-code lets IT teams stay on top of what is used in the company.
Learn more about low-code platforms here.
Recent reports from IT departments show that 34 percent of respondents are already using a low-code platform, with another 9 percent ready to start. Forrester reports that 40 percent of IT leaders have been able to see notable or significant improvement in how they meet the demand of custom app development with low-code.
Low-Code vs. Open Source Low Code Platforms
Before low-code platforms came on strong, many IT departments used open source software. Open source software is generally free to download and run on your own server. The software might be released from a company that doesn’t have plans to market and sell it, or it may be essentially a free trial before adding on other paid features. Open source software allows programmers to have a jumpstart when building custom applications.
Low-code platforms are different from open source software because you still start from scratch on a low-code platform (although many provide helpful templates), and you are building the apps visually. Even if you use open source software, you still need to go in and change things line-by-line with code. In a low-code environment, many of these changes happen graphically through drag-and-drop tools.
Of course, you can also have an open source low-code platform.
A low-code open source platform is released in the same spirit as other open source tools. Some offer the core system as open source and then sell you add-ons later if you require. Others give a “forever free” community version that is unsupported by the vendor but allows you to have a perpetual free trial until you really want to use it across the business. Open source low-code platforms are a bit rare, but can be found and might be a good solution.
Open Source vs. Licensed Low-Code Software
Open source low-code platforms have a lot of advantages, the main one being they are extremely affordable compared to other options. They can be customized heavily, and many of the true open source versions have very reasonably priced add-ons as well.
However, low-code open source tools are really only for the extremely serious programmer. It takes a lot of work to customize a low-code development open source platform, and how many developers out there want to spend time working on someone else’s platform so that they can then make other applications faster? They can work, but only in very specific cases when you have the right and committed talent.
Licensed low-code software makes more sense because the whole reason you need low-code is to build apps faster. So, if you are spending all your time fiddling with an open-source product, you lose the value. Licensed also means better support and a more polished product that can not only give your developers a breath of fresh air but also opens the door for citizen developers to potentially use the platform.
The downside of licensed low-code platforms is mostly the cost and the fact that different platforms will charge in different ways. Some will charge per application you want to make, others for how many developer accounts and others based on usage or users of the app.
In the end, choosing a licensed version vs an open source low-code platform makes the most sense.
Types of Open Source Low-Code Platforms
Before you run out and download the first open source low-code platform you can find, be aware that there are different types.
General purpose low-code platforms can make just about any kind of application you could dream of but are usually the hardest to use for non-IT developers.
Some low-code platforms are specific to where the application will be run. For example, you may find platforms that are exclusively for web-based applications, or for mobile applications.
Still others (like Kissflow) specialize in a particular use case like workflows and process automation.
Not every use case has an open source option. Before you pick out an open source low-code platform, make sure you can build what you want to with it and that you understand the limitations of the open source option. Are there restricted features? Are there limited seats? What are the paid features? How soon will you need them?
Why Open Source Low-code Platforms Should Not Be Your Choice
Using an open-source platform has its advantages. They’re free to use, easily customizable, and have a lot of people investing efforts into improving the source code. But they also with some limitations.
When you’re looking to choose a low-code platform for your business, you have the option of choosing between an open-source tool and a closed-source or proprietary alternative. Going for the open-source option can pose many challenges. Let's examine why open-source low-code platforms should not be your choice and why you should choose proprietary software instead.
Why open-source low-code platforms should not be your business choice
The top concern with open-source low-code platforms is the risk of vulnerabilities. Open-source platforms feature freely-editable sources available for anyone to inspect and modify. The implication is that people with malicious intent can also see this code.
The implication is a heightened risk of the deliberate creation of viruses to infect hardware or software, steal data, or commit fraud. Security breaches of this sort are less likely with proprietary platforms since there are more stringent protocols to keep the platform secure.
Integration problems with no-code platforms can take different forms. Open-source low-code platforms depend on the integration of several third-party components to work optimally. The resulting complexity can be challenging to manage.
But for open-source projects, the opposite of this situation arises. Many open-source platforms do not have the standardized protocols needed to connect with the business tools you’re already using. Proprietary software is often designed with integration in mind and can integrate seamlessly with other software products with relative ease.
Reliable support from whatever platform you sign up on is a must-have. This way, you can always contact the vendor if anything goes wrong. With an open-source platform, no one takes responsibility for support. This means if anything goes wrong, there’s no one specifically to call for help. Many open-source low-code products have an active community of developers that may offer support when you need it, but this isn’t always as robust as what you get from a proprietary tool.
Many open-source platforms prioritize functionality over ease of use. While they may work as intended, they’re not very user-friendly and there’s no incentive to make the platform easier to navigate for users.
With closed-source platforms, usability is always a priority. The company behind the company includes user-friendly features and an intuitive interface that is simpler for users at all skill levels.
What are the alternatives of open source low-code platforms?
Kissflow is a perfect example of a closed-source low-code platform. It has higher benefits compared to the open-source low-code platform in many areas. As an alternative to an open-source platform, Kissflow is a secure, highly flexible, and highly intuitive platform. This proprietary software solution prioritizes ease of use. But more importantly, it offers 24/7 support to help users troubleshoot issues and navigate the platform seamlessly.
Since this is not an open-source platform, no one but the vendor can make changes to the code, add features or upgrade it. It offers enterprise-level security and the latest encryption to secure the platform from hacking and other cyber attacks.
Unlike open-source platforms, closed-sourced solutions are built for profit. This provides an incentive for frequent updates and feature upgrades to keep up with industry standards, ensure customer satisfaction and compete effectively with other low-code.
Benefits of using a closed low-code platform
Low-code development platforms simplify app development by allowing users to build fully-functional enterprise applications without writing a line of code. While there are several open-source and proprietary solutions for building apps with no coding, Kissflow is a best-in-class option for several reasons.
Some of the features and benefits of this proprietary no-code platform over both open-source and closed-source alternatives include:
Unified development toolkit
Accelerate the process of building and deploying enterprise-grade apps by using a solution that streamlines and centralizes app development. Kissflow offers everything you need to manage your development lifecycle from start to finish but without the hassles of writing custom code from scratch. Kissflow also simplifies app development, allowing you to modify your apps and release new builds without stress, all from the same place.
Build with no limit
Build, test, and launch unlimited applications for different use cases using Kissflow. Businesses across various industries will find Kissflow useful for their unique development and business process management needs.
Kissflow helps you build functional apps on the go with a simple drag-and-drop editor. You can also expand app functionality, and update and upgrade your app on the go. It is handy when you want to focus more on performing your best work rather than wrestling with complex lines of code.
Kissflow helps you build apps with widgets, advanced forms, and powerful workflows. Additionally, the platform supports integrations with multiple platforms to further extend the core functionality of your low-code app.
Insights and analytics
You can build real-life apps with Kissflow and keep track of your app through a robust reporting and data-management feature and advanced data visualization and analytics.