The low-code platforms are developed to minimize the amount of native code needed for business applications. It is easy for both non-developers and experienced developers to use this new approach to develop applications without coding and to accelerate the process.
This article gives the readers a better understanding of the low-code development platform and how to make use of it efficiently.
What is a low-code development platform?
A Low-code platform, also known as Rapid Application Development platform (RAD platform), or no-code platform, is a software development tool that allows an organization to distribute fast and negligible hand-coding applications. It gives permission to the users to do block-based programming instead of hand-coding which results in a simplified development process of application. The low-code development platform also promotes the use of a graphical user interface and configuration set up by the developers instead of going behind the traditional code. This not only simplifies development – but also makes it accessible to non-IT professionals – speeding up the development process as applications are built from existing visual blocks. Though it does not need codes, it is still feasible to affix manual code. These are the features that make the use of a low-code development platform efficient. Now let’s move to the selection criteria.
How is a low-code platform different from Traditional Coding?
Traditional Coding vs Low-code Development: There are architectural and fundamental differences in developing and deploying an application using a low-code/ no-code development platform, when compared to the traditional coding programme. A real low-code product will be purely based on a metadata-driven development platform which means, the functions of applications created by a developer will be maintained as metadata. A designer interface is the main element of a no-code platform driven by metadata, where the users can perform any function using the drag and drop experience. Whereas traditional coding involves complex coding programmes to perform any task.
How to choose a low-code platform?
While choosing a low-code platform, you have to search beyond the development speed and make sure that the platform employs standard technology and meets all other necessary operational requirements such as security, scalability, visual modeling, etc. Choosing an appropriate low-code platform is similar to that of using it effectively. Let us go through the checklist for selecting a low-code platform.
- Visual modeling – The low-code platform visual modeling interface enables you to see what your application will look like when it is built. Since the visual models are much easier than the coding process, it helps the non-developers to understand the design of the application quickly. This makes it easy for commercial users as well because they already have a logic of what they want to build.
- Drag and drop configuration – Low-code platforms provide simple drag-and-drop interfaces that allow the developers and users to build applications visually, leading to rapid deployment. Moreover, controlling the code through the visual module is easy and fast.
- Multi-device deployment – Creating an app compatible with multichannel allows employees to access it from anywhere across the globe, thus making things easier. You need to create an app once only, which should be available on any device, and no need to code every platform and operating system when you are using a no-code platform. Since all users are not on the same platform, multi-functionality is very crucial in the app development process.
- Scalability – When the users are huge in number, it is quite difficult to allow access to the users on the basis of their job roles but this is easier with the low-code platform. You can determine whether a user is an administrator, an expert user, or an end-user, and what they are doing in the case of end-users. It also allows you to allot roles and permissions to the employees on the basis of their position in the organization.
- Connectivity – The platform should allow access to databases, data sources, and internal systems easily. It should be inclusive and no additional charges should be levied on access to the system.
Apart from that, there are also low code solutions tailored to the particular requirements of enterprise customers. When choosing a low-code development platform that best suits your needs, it’s best to consider two major factors: what do you want it to perform and who is using it.
How to make use of a low-code development platform?
The low-code platform provides ideal options for many businesses looking to introduce their innovative digital efforts. If your needs and skills are conducive to low-code development, then the chances of getting benefits to your company by exploring no-code platforms are high. By using a low-code platform, enterprises are able to develop any websites or mobile applications. On such a platform, any employee can quickly install and deploy the app within minutes, often in a pre-defined and controlled environment by the IT department.
No-code platforms provide rapid and flexible digital transformation of large organizations. They also strengthen individual experts and small enterprises who do not have their own IT resources and skills to take advantage of advanced software innovations. There are different low-code tools that range from classical development and business process management (BPM) platforms managed by IT professionals to platforms that allow other IT-savvy employees to build apps, create business processes, and integrate data sources.
Organizations use low-code to develop a wide range of applications for their employees, partner companies, and customers. Most of the applications built using low-code fall under 4 categories:
- Innovation Apps – The idea of innovative apps buds from the components of a digital business such as products, business models, and channels. Ideas are the key factors responsible for the existence of these apps. Therefore, more involvement is required from the business side during the complete process of development. Innovative apps typically take benefits from the latest technologies such as artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things to open new ways of value assessment. Low Code platforms allow businesses to have an “experiment and learn” approach towards innovations and explorations quickly and easily at a low cost. Once ideas are approved, businesses can move on to improving applications with advanced knowledge and integration, allowing it to focus on faster improvements and better results.
- Customer-facing Apps – Customer-oriented applications help customers and partners engage in business transactions, increase satisfaction level, retention, and profits. These applications usually exceed the expectations of the users in terms of functionality and stability. While these apps give the business a clear idea of itself, the development process must be subject to various optimizations. Various basic performance improvements are needed to support customer-facing processes and system integration is also necessary to keep up existing processes. Some examples of customer-facing applications include broker portals, customer portals, human resource portals, claims management, and university student service portals.
- Operational Applications – Operational efficiency applications are created for employees or partners to minimize costs by automating/reducing the processes associated with manual work. These apps often avoid costly fines given the compliance demands of certain organizations. These applications aid processes in various departments across the company. Operation efficiency applications are often integrated with central systems and the performance of these apps will become more important as they integrate with central systems.
- Legacy migration Applications – the application developed to replace outdated apps that do not support the latest software or provide a good user experience. Most legacy immigration projects were initiated for business conversion purposes. This means replacing legacy apps instead of upgrading and replacing the existing process. When replacing legacy systems, low-code platforms allow institutions to take a user-first approach. It adds new functionality and enhances the user experience as well as ensures that it does not create a legacy system of the future.
Benefits of implementing a low-code development platform
Now we are familiar with low-code platforms, the selection criteria, opportunities, challenges, and many more things. It is time to go through the benefits of installing low-code development platforms.
- Rapid development – The main effect of low-code is the rate at which software development occurs. The ability of this development platform to influence the distribution of new software by using previous material and developing solutions is remarkable. Low-code can help the development team save valuable hours. After all, apps built with a low-code platform can help businesses grow faster which in turn helps the users’ needs without interruption.
- Increased productivity – The use of low-code platforms allows the development team to stay proactive while avoiding trivial and time-consuming tasks. Thus, the team will be able to dedicate more time and concentration to the area where human skills and creativity are essentially needed. This enhances productivity for business users and as a result, projects can be carried out faster, effectively, and at a higher level.
- Low risk – The right low code application development platform helps in reducing the amount of risky data. They allow you to make rapid changes to meet needs and move forward in a timely manner by authorizing the control of the entire risk management processes on a central platform. The development process is transparent, meaning end-users are already involved in the project, and any discrepancies or other issues will be quickly identified and resolved. It means low-risk and letting your organization focus on its business goals.
- Low cost of production – the production costs decrease when the app is built in less time. That is not the only thing the low-code development platforms reduce the number of developers needed which eliminates the hiring cost from the list.
- Better customer experience – the adoption of low-code applications promotes faster growth in the IT and business sectors which results in the rapid adaption of changes as per new market conditions. This attracts more customers and helps in enhancing the overall customer experience.
Low-code Application Development: Main Challenges
While low code is certainly an attractive aspect, there are also challenges.
- The relative simplicity of low-code platforms is at stake: developers using low-code may be tempted to use faster solutions rather than innovative solutions developed by IT professionals. Using low-code can easily create unwanted shortcuts.
- It uses a cloud-based architecture that is scalable and based on a flexible low-code platform design (web-scale architecture). This architecture enables an organization to develop systems that provide dynamic, high-level availability and flexibility, and support continuous delivery. This is a critical necessity for any associate partner, promoting any program. Scalability and flexibility are an integral part of platform performance, so it is important to consider them before choosing a low-code platform.
- The proficiency and certain tooling development in choosing a low-code platform include the risk of vendor lock-in. This can be avoided by performing risk analysis.
- It is highly important to develop a strategy and align with the right partners as developing a low-code platform involves wide-ranging consequences.
To sum up
Low-code development is an interesting hybrid technology. As these platforms play an important role in the world of business, the way IT collaborates with other departments is facing crucial changes. This is a great time to invest in low-code development platforms and use them to build the digital workspace for a better future of careers.