What is Low-Code Development: Features, advantages, and more

Coding using computer

If you think about it, your kids might be using low-code development even before you have heard of it.  If your kids have ScratchJr installed on their tablet or smartphone, then chances are they started well ahead of you.

What is low-code development? It’s a graphical way to create programs without needing to write a lot of code. It helps companies save time and makes them more agile.

That simple answer, however, does not encompass everything you need to know about low-code development. There is so much more to it, and you might find it really interesting once you learn more about its basics.

Low-code development meets today’s businesses

For years, CIO and IT teams have been relying on DevOps and Agile programming to develop applications and software faster. Now, they can also rely on low-code development platforms.

With low-code development platforms, you only drag and drop elements you need in your application. You can liken this to LEGO blocks, but instead of snapping them together, you move them with your mouse and then include them in your creations.

A developer may sometimes need to come in and do some coding for the app to do stuff such as reporting, accessing other applications, and other special requests from the user.

Enterprises can really see how much time is saved with low-code programming. Business and IT can work together to create and deploy repeatable programs. As such, you can release an app in a fraction of the time you need if you go about it the old way.

What’s more, there are several apps that may be created using low-code development, from tools that you use to upgrade your legacy applications to apps that use the Internet of Things.

It’s not no-code development

They may sometimes be interchanged, but low-code development is different from no-code development.

These platforms both use a drag-and-drop interface. Instead of writing lines and lines of code, you can rely on a visual interface.

In no-code development, however, someone with little programming experience, or none at all, will be able to use the drag-and-drag interface to completely create an app.

Because everything is presented in a graphic user interface, even non-programmers can create their own programs depending on what they need. That means Annie from Accounting will no longer have to wait for IT to come up with a simple accounts receivables program that she can use.

In practice, however, no-code programming is challenging to achieve. This is because you will really need a coder to finish the application.

You may be able to complete some portions of the app, but some portions will need codes. What are the areas that need coding the most? It’s integration, user interface, and reporting.

So don’t fire all your programmers just yet.

Features of low-code platforms

What are the features you can expect when you use a low-code platform?

1. Visual modeling

Every process is presented visually. The graphical interface makes everything easier to understand than lines of code and programming syntax. This makes it easier for developers to create their applications.

2. Drag-and-drop interface

Low-code platforms have a drag-and-drop interface, so you don’t have to type anything. You save time this way.

3. Mobile-ready out of the box

Low-code platforms automatically allow your applications to run anywhere, even on mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones.

4. Declarative

Low-code platforms implement declarative tools using different methods, such as business rules and visual models. You no longer have to write customized code. This means that it will be easier to change or add things in the future, while also taming down development.

5. Scalability and security

Low-code platforms are enterprise-grade, which means they’re secure and scalable. If you choose the right platform, you won’t have to worry about security.

The future looks bright for low-code platforms

Forrester Research estimates that total spending for low-code platforms will grow to $21.2 billion by 2022. That estimate puts the compound annual growth rate at 40 percent.

In addition, more enterprises will be using the platform for their operations. According to Gartner, by 2024, three out of four large corporations will use four or more low-code development tools. And it’s not just the regular business users who will benefit from them; your IT too.

Gartner also says that low-code development platforms will be used for at least 65 percent of apps being developed.

All of these are because of the inherent benefits you get from low-code programming.

The advantages of using low-code platforms

There are a lot of benefits to using low-code platforms.

  1. For one, you will be more agile when it comes to your programs. Development using visual design is much faster than coding.
  2. It will also decrease cost. As you know, the faster you take an app to market, the fewer expenses you incur. You can even hire fewer developers.
  3. The time you save when using low-code platforms is significant as well. You don’t need to wait months, just weeks, days, or even minutes. This also means that you get real innovations out in no time. If you are operating in a regulated industry, you can use the time saved to make it easier for you to comply with regulations, even if you work on a global scale.
  4. You will also like how easily you can change one element of your app without having to pore through lines and lines of code. If you need something changed, you just look for the block that you want to change and modify it.

In short, low-code platforms allow you to transform quickly. Without complexity, you save time and money. The faster you get your app out to market, the better it is for everybody involved.

Some use cases

Here are some real-world examples of how you can use low-code development at your organization.

  • Companies that are looking into mergers and acquisitions can benefit from this development. Both companies will have legacy programs to bring into the partnership. But with low-cost development, employees of the new company will be able to update the legacy systems and make it usable.
  • Oil companies that are seeing fast changes as they transform will appreciate how they can get new apps. They can easily make data more accessible to employees with a few drag-and-drop modules.
  • 7-Eleven also uses low-code programs to make their sales data accessible to their managers. They no longer have to rely on long Excel sheets, which most of their employees cannot access on their phones.

You want in? Here are the companies to call

If you are impressed by low-code platforms and what they can do for your business, there are several companies you can call. The list includes Caspio, Zoho Creator, OutSystems, and Airtable.

Photo courtesy of Christiaan Colen.

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