Low-Code Platforms: Where They’re Headed
Everybody loves custom. Why get something for the masses, when you can get something that’s perfect for you?
That was the mission of many software platforms that launched in the last decade or so. They offered the place for you to make what you wanted without having to start from scratch.
But then, people with just a little bit of technical knowledge like Amy said, “Hey, I want to do that too!” But customizations and creation on the platforms required Amy to know full coding. So, instead of getting her app built, Amy had to wait for her IT team to finish up on other important projects.
Seeing an opportunity, these platforms said, “Let’s simplify the process so that someone like Amy can make whatever she wants on our platform.” Amy didn’t need to learn a full coding language, she just needed to learn a few hacks and shortcodes to manage. All of a sudden, Amy could create what she needed, without anyone else’s help, and without becoming a full developer.
The low-code platform was born, and all was good. [ Try for free now ]
What is Low-Code Development?
In a nutshell, low-code development is a process that aims to make development of software easier than the traditional method of hard coding each and every line of a program or software.
This approach minimizes hard coding through the use of prepackaged templates, graphic design techniques, and drag-and-drop tools to make software.
The term “low-code” was first coined by Gartner in 2014, to denote platforms which had heavy GUI based development interfaces, which could do the work of traditional hard coding, without needing to explicitly know the programming language in itself. The term low-code was used to denote this fact, and it quickly caught on.
In addition to using a graphical user interface, they also removed the necessity of creating frameworks, linking databases, and other tasks that are typically attached to hard coding. This made development simpler and easier, such that even people without coding knowledge could develop applications.
One of the biggest reasons why companies are switching over to low-code application development platforms is because that IT departments tend to have huge bottlenecks to clear before a new implementation or software can be made. With low-code platforms, people who have an idea for a program or software can build it on their own, even if they aren’t well versed with coding.
What Features Do Low-Code Platforms Have?
Low-code platforms are functionally different from traditional hand coding, since it does use a number of methods to make it easier and faster to develop applications. Taking advantage of these features, developers can create applications in days, not months.
Drag-and-Drop Interfaces: One of the biggest pulls to low-code platforms is the easy user interface where modules can be dragged and dropped as required to create the software. This means very little hard coding to make the modules work.
Visual Modeling: This is the ability to visually represent processes and models in your code before you finalize implementation. With a visual model to guide you, using a low-code platform is easy for people who aren’t familiar with hard coding.
Security and Scalability: Although there were a few hiccups for low-code in the beginning for scaling and security, the right low-code platform makes it easy to create enterprise grade software that is secure and scalable.
But What About Databases?
There’s a solution for that too. In the old days, you had to learn Oracle or SQL to learn database management and administration. The days for that are long past. Now, there are low-code database solutions which allow you to create your own databases, add or remove data, modify fields, and keep track of all your data, all without having to learn a query language.
It works in the same principle as low-code development platforms. You can visually create databases as you would low-code apps. Instead of learning query commands and scripts, the functions you need are already programmed into low-code database solutions.
This saves you from having to employ an entire team for database management. Buying low-code databases is much less expensive than having to constantly have a team on staff.
What Are the Benefits of Using a Low-Code Platform?
Low-code platforms are a great benefit to both Amy and the IT team. There’s lot of benefits they can get out of them.
Low Risk and High ROI: Development isn’t as expensive on a low-code platform as traditional coding. The risk of undertaking a new project is low, and there’s a good chance of getting high returns.
IT Skills Aren’t an Unsurpassable Gap: Traditionally, developers and programmers did software implementations. But with a low-code platform, even non-technical stakeholders like Amy can build software.
Scaling Through Multiple Apps: Low-code platform solves the backlog issue with IT departments, and allows use for a common platform to develop multiple apps. This reduces lead times, eliminates backlog with the IT team, and means that companies don’t have to outsource work when there’s a requirement.
Deploy on Multiple Platforms: The best low-code platforms are designed to cater to a variety of environments. This means that you only need to develop an app once, and you can compile to work on different environments.
Maintenance is Easy: Software doesn’t end with deployment. Throughout the life cycle, the software has to be updated, debugged, fixed, and changed according to requirements. Low-code platform makes this easy and quick, instead of having to develop updates and fixes for weeks.
How Low-Code Platforms Aid in Business Transformation?
Low-code is a huge market right now, and it’s going to get bigger with time. According to a report from Forrester, the low-code platform market is going to become a $10 billion dollar industry by 2019. That’s a lot of money. But there’s got to be a good reason why.
It can be broken down into three simple benefits.
Cost effective speed-Instead of time consuming code, low-code platform uses visual models and syntaxes. This allows for lesser time to be spent on a particular program.
Flexible to meet customer requirements – Out of the box solutions don’t work as well as they should. That’s because no company is exactly like another. That’s why custom solutions are the name of the game. Low-code solutions help do just that. By being flexible enough to meet customer needs without being exorbitantly expensive, they meet customer requirements whilst being extremely flexible in their use case.
Streamline business processes – Using low-code platforms, companies are realising how easy it is to keep their business process streamlined and optimised. This means less time wasted in trying to get things to work, and more time spent in actually getting them done. Win-win.
Low-code platforms are changing businesses all over the globe, and it’s not done yet.
Types of Low-Code Platforms
Depending on what your requirement is, there are different categories of low-code platforms that can be more suited to the task at hand. Broadly, they are classified into five different categories.
- General Purpose
- Request Handling
- Mobile First
Forrester has categorized all low-code platforms into these five categories, depending on what they’re designed to do. But for the most part, general purpose low-code platforms are what most people will need, since they’re designed to replace low level coding platforms like .NET and Java.
But this is where the low-code train starts to slow down. Since there is one obvious flaw in low-code platforms.
Low-Code vs No-Code, What’s the Difference?
The low-code platform era lasted exactly until Jeff heard about it.
Unlike Amy, Jeff has no technical skills whatsoever. He can barely manage his email. But he has managed the Administration department for the last 35 years and knows exactly what he wants. He heard Amy talking about the app she built on a low code platform, and then he wanted it too. But when he got on the system, it was still too confusing for him.
The major difference between low-code and no-code is as the names suggest. Low-code platform has very minimal coding requirements, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely exclusive of hard coding. If your implementation or software is highly complex, then there will be some necessity to do some hard coding.
That’s the major difference between low-code and no-code. No-code is specifically designed to be without any hard coding.
Very little coding is good for Amy who has some background. But no-code development means that Jeff, and everyone else in the company can use the same platform to build their own apps. With the advent of no-code based platforms, low-code platforms are quickly making an exit from the stage.
Should You Move To No-code?
Low-code is past its life cycle. More and more companies and developers are growing disinterested with low-code platforms, and fast moving to no-code. This is because No-code is clearly the better option to take.
Unless you’ve got some talented developers on staff all the time with the ability to freeze time and accomplish a limitless number of projects, it doesn’t make sense to stick to low-code.
But there is a caveat. You don’t technically need to jump ship to no-code right now. Low-code platforms is still very much relevant to today’s market. If you have some simple implementations that can easily be done in low-code, then it makes sense to stick with it.
The overlap here is that most no-code platforms can still solve most of the problems that low-code platforms solve. This overlap means that there’s still a valid market for low-code platform products, even if they are diminishing. Only very few and exclusive projects require coding, and those are the projects where no-code cannot be implemented in.
Without a doubt, low-code is definitely on its way out. But it’s significance cannot be overstated. Low-code platforms have made software development that much easier for all companies. With platforms like Kissflow making no-code app development easy, it might be worth taking a look at if you have software requirements that you think are solvable by yourself. Make Amy and Jeff into superstars by choosing a no-code platform like Kissflow today.