A Complete Guide to Low-Code Development

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We are living in an era, where rapid Digitalization is revolutionizing the market and business prospects. Any business must compete with the digitization pace and evolve itself to remain relevant in this highly competitive world.

Your business size and domain don’t matter anymore, what matters is the ability to understand modern technologies and transform itself accordingly. 

While we were using the traditional methods to solve business problems for so many decades, the mobile app trend has been changing rapidly at least in the last decade.

We have witnessed the emergence of innovative technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, IoT, Big Data, and many more.

These pathbreaking technologies are infusing the freshness in the problem-solving techniques and assisting businesses to tap the unprecedented and unheard opportunities. 

 

 

At the same time, we have seen the evolution of the software development paradigm, as we can see new methodologies such as Agile, Scrum, and Low Code.

The ease of application development offered by Low Code has established a whole new section of developers known as ‘Citizen Developers’, who are non-developers but still able to utilize low code platforms to develop various kinds of applications.

In this article, we will discuss and cover all the aspects of Low Code Software development methods, that has indeed paced up the software development process and enabled developers to write less code in comparison to the conventional methods.

 

What Is Low Code Application Development?

As the name suggests, it is a software development approach that enables developers to write less or no code to build a software solution.

The low-code application development platform leverages a visual interface with an easy-to-use drag-and-drop feature to develop software, while also offering compatibility of many programming languages.

A Low code Such application development tool allows developers with no formal knowledge of coding to develop mobile applications.

 

The low-code application development platforms are increasingly getting traction among developers as an alternative to the conventional software development methods.

Developers are using the low-code platform to build applications of different complexity to cater the business requirements and pace up the digital transformation.

 

Benefits of Low-Code Application Development

Organizations across the world are using low-code tools to build applications in a fraction of the resources and time resources they used to spend with traditional methods.

Low code offers the following benefits to the software development companies and developers to build apps rapidly.

Faster Development

A low code platform allows the development and evolution of applications faster, which means developers will reduce their backlogs easily, the application will be available in the market earlier and realize its business value quickly.

Seamless Integration

Low-Code platforms offer smooth and efficient integration with our existing systems or legacy systems. It also supports the development of APIs to enhance the overall functionality of applications.

Advanced Architecture

It supports cutting-edge architecture to offer the much-required scalability and flexibility to scale and customize the applications. It ensures high performance, process transparency, and efficient application management.

Captivating Ui/UX

With low-code application development, we can design a solution from scratch, customize it with in-built templates, to make a captivating user interface, all this while ensuring no compromise on functionality or performance.

Fortified Security

Low-code platforms impose robust security processes, technologies, and auditing mechanisms to equip your solution with utmost security. It offers this ability regardless of the hosting solution, which makes it a better choice for development organizations.

Flawless Deployments

It helps developers to conduct pre-deployment impact assessments while simplifying the staging across various platforms and environments to ensure successful application deployments.

Accelerates Digital Transformation

Low-code platforms enable organizations to utilize their core competencies to accelerate their digital transformation. It helps them to enhance their transformation cycle, adapt to the challenges, and innovate rapidly.

Cost-Effective

Low-code development platforms suppress the requirement of hiring extra resources. It also offers many pre-defined components, that reduce the time to develop an application.

It also incurs lower maintenance charges, which reduces the overall cost of app development.

 

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Low Code is the Best Strategy for future – Market Stats prove it

Low code is gaining popularity and it is being touted as the best strategy for the future due to its ‘Citizen Developers’ and Reduced time to market capability.

While organizations across the world are working on cost management mechanisms due to the COVID-19 pandemic and putting more emphasis on remote production, the low code adoption is only going to swell in the future. 

  • As per Statista, the revenue of the global low-code platform is expected to touch 65 billion USD by 2027.
  • According to Gartner, by the year 2024, close to 75% of big enterprises would be utilizing at least four low-code development tools to support their IT services initiatives.
  • The global low-code development industry is witnessing a healthy 22.6% growth rate to reach $13.8 billion by the end of 2021.
  • The global low-code development market may fetch a revenue of about $187 billion by 2030.

 

Low Code Market Stats usa

 

revenue of global low-code platform

 

Low Code App Development Principles

Here we must understand the underlying principles of Low Code application development. It is important to know that It uses a high degree of automation, but the development platform and processes are not automatic. To obtain the best development results, you must strictly follow the basic principles of low code application development.

Here are the basic principles of Low Code application development : 

Avoid Unnecessary Customizations

Low code offers pre-defined components that can be added to the workflow by an easy drag and drop method. These are generic components and can fit several use cases.

We can certainly modify these components to improve their functionalities, but it may increase the application development time and effort. Hence, it is always recommended to avoid unnecessary customizations. 

Reuse Customizations

An application may need specific customization to address your unique business requirements. It is important to plan the customization and re-use them in other parts of the same project or other projects, to keep the development cost and efforts in check.

Effective Low-Code development platform selection

It is important for all stakeholders to actively evaluate, choose, and utilize the correct low-code app development platform to ensure a perfect development strategy. It is always recommended to effectively participate in researching available tools, understanding their limitations and features before deciding the correct low code tools for your app development project.

Remain available for the low-code team

Though low-code software development is quite easier than the traditional software development methods, that doesn’t mean the project development team won’t have any concerns or issues about the project details. All key stakeholders must always be available to address potential queries.

Always keep the Project on track

While Low-code development offers an easier way for developers to accommodate features and functionalities to make tasks seamless and faster. However, it is important to layout a robust project roadmap, that could be followed by all the stakeholders.

 

What Are Low-Code Platform Features?

Now, we will discuss some important features of Low-Code platforms that assist developers to build applications with ease :

Low code app development features

Visual Development Tools

Low code development platforms offer more visual tools, which makes it easy for developers to work on code modules visually and link them together wherever it is needed.

Adequate Security

Low code development platform puts more focus on providing adequate security to secure the applications you are building. It uses robust security mechanisms and protocols to fortify the security of applications.

Seamless Scalability

Scalability is the biggest concern these days as it helps the application and enterprises to cater to the needs of an increasing number of users. Low code platforms are equipped with adequate abilities to scale the applications with ease, while not putting any impact on the existing operations.

Cross-Platform Functionality

It offers strong cross-platform functionality, which ensures your application work on different platforms with no extra efforts, resources, or dosing. It allows you to develop once and deploy on multiple platforms to tap more users.

Drag & Drop Interfaces

Coding long strands of modules is not only time-consuming but challenging as well. A Low-code platform allows the use of drag-and-drop functionality through which you can incorporate different components to develop applications visually.

Module Reusability

Low code platforms offer Out of Box functionality that reduces the need to write core modules of apps from scratch. It offers pre-defined modules and functions to be used for app development. These modules are equipped with standard features and could be reused by developers to craft an application faster.

Application Lifecycle Management

Low-code platforms ease and streamline various stages of the software development lifecycle, such as testing, debugging, and deployment. They also offer the users the version information to ensure effective app lifecycle management.

Monitoring and Reporting

Low code platforms offer robust monitoring and reporting capabilities so that developers can track the performance of an application and take appropriate course corrective steps wherever required.

 

What are the challenges of Low-Code development?

low code code development challenges

Well, not everything is so rosy with Low-code development. It comes with its own set of challenges as well. You must take care of these challenges while performing the Low Code app development.

Here we have a few challenges of Low Code development :  

Debugging Challenges

It may be slightly difficult to debug the frontend and backend components of a low code app. In traditional app development methods, developers can access all the algorithmic states, data structures to identify the issue and mitigate them.

Whereas the low code apps usually hide this information from the developer, which makes it difficult to debug the code.

Time Investment and Learning Curve

Although low-code app development is not too difficult to learn, it is a new environment and could prove slightly complex for a few developers. It is based on JavaScript, and one must spend a good amount of time to understand the platform and its unique development approach.

Visual Development may not handle complex Use Cases effectively

When you develop a complex business logic using visual languages, then it becomes more chaotic and complicated than writing a code to resolve a problem. In such a situation, the low code development approach turns out to be a hurdle for the entire process.

Challenging Integration

Calling an API or integrating 3rd party components is so common with the traditional app development approach, even if they don’t provide it out-of-the-box. Developers can integrate them by adding the required code and modules. Whereas this functionality is not possible with low code app development.

 

What type of Applications you can develop with the Low Code platform?

 

Low code development platform

 

So far, we have covered the abilities and challenges of low code app development. However, how would you determine if low code can fit the purpose of your organization? 

Here are the various types of applications that can be developed using low code app development : 

Core Systems

Low Code platforms can be used to develop core systems, which are multi-cloud and cloud-native portable in nature by default. The apps developed using low code platforms are highly secured, could be scaled easily, and enjoy higher uptime.

Web-Based Customer Portal

A customer portal is an effective digital tool, which delivers a self-service experience to the customers. Low code platforms can be used to develop apps, that can assist customers to fulfil their routine tasks without interacting with anyone.

B2C Mobile applications

Low-code enables organizations to develop fit-for-purpose mobile applications apps to cater to business requirements. It allows developers to use React Native framework to build native apps for Android and iOS platforms with exceptional features.

Business Process Management apps

Low-code BPM provides easy methods to develop business process management app if we compare it with other BPM platforms. Low code helps both citizen and professional developers to build apps that automate the processes efficiently and swiftly.

Budget Request and Approval App

Low-code platform equips business developers and software professionals with speed, collaboration tools, and flexibility, to develop robust budget request and approval applications.

Low code ensures that apps could be accessed on multiple devices while providing an immersive user interface.

CRMs

Low code enables developers to build apps that can automate and optimize their customer relationship tasks. Low code also incorporates lead management, marketing management, and customer management tools to ensure full-fledged CRM app development.

SaaS applications

Developers can leverage the collaborative nature of the low-code platform to develop feature-loaded SaaS applications. It provides cost-saving, enhanced speed-to-market, and a perfect environment to experiment with innovative cloud technologies.

IoT applications

Low code allows developers to seamlessly integrate IoT platforms to build web and mobile applications that can turn the IoT captured data into contextually aware and actionable insights for end-users. 

 

Traditional Coding or Low Code: Which one to Choose?

Every organization faces unique challenges and problems that push it to develop a custom solution to address those concerns. Traditional development methods are used to develop custom applications, but they need a high budget, more effort and resources to build, higher time to develop, painful maintenance, and excessive time to market. Therefore, more organizations are moving away from the traditional coding methods.

On the contrary, the low-code application development platforms help organizations with effective and faster tools for app development. It also improves the overall productivity and process efficiency within an organization.

Let’s differentiate between Low code and Traditional coding platforms based on certain parameters.

 

 

Parameters Traditional Coding Low Code 
Tools Availability  We have ample tools and functions to develop highly complex and scalable applications. We don’t have a plethora of tools or functions, but it still allows hassle-free app development.
Agility It is less agile. Due to complex system codes and configuration, it is very time-consuming to learn it and perform app development. It offers a higher degree of Agility with its innovative drag-and-drop features. It helps organizations to reduce the overall app development time and efforts.
Cost It attracts higher resource and maintenance costs. Here the cost is incurred only to access the platforms, not for developing apps, which makes it extremely cost-effective.
Application Quality Due to complexities and technical challenges included in custom app development, it leads to the generation of bugs, which makes it difficult for developers and users. Usually, low-code platforms don’t generate bug-related problems.
Maintenance It requires 3rd party or in-house development team to take care of app maintenance and support. The platform owners are responsible for running and managing the maintenance and support functions.

 

Popular Low-Code Application Development Platforms

 

 

Let discuss the most popular low-code application development platforms available in the market. Each of these platforms has its own set of advantages and features. You must have your application vision and requirement plan in place, then assess these low code platforms and select the one that suits your requirement the best.

Appian

It is a highly popular low-code app development platform due to its variety of features and functionalities. It comes with a free trial period and offers 100% automation of your application development lifecycle.

It is an able application builder that makes the app development process faster by whooping 20 times. It could be used to improve the consumer experience, manage risks, and develop excellent low-code solutions.

Google App Builder

It is a fresh entrant in the market, and it put more emphasis on mobile applications. It enjoys the strong support of the Google ecosystem, which enables it to offer some exceptional abilities to the developers. This platform is still evolving, and we can expect some out-of-the-box capabilities from it in the future.

OutSystems

It is another massively popular low code application development platform that allows developers to build apps and upgrade them to meet business requirements. It enables developers to build full-stack applications without prior having prior technical knowledge and it offers single-click deployment as well. For experienced developers, OutSystems has more to offer, it allows usage of custom codes in-application scripts and strong security protocols.

KissFlow

It is a Workflow as a Service platform, that helps developers to automate the existing business process workflows of an organization.

It enables developers to build an unlimited number of business applications to cater to the ever-increasing needs of your organization. It also supports monitoring of the app performance, so that necessary changes could be made.

Zoho Creator

It is among the most popular low code app development platform for building business transformation and analytics tools.

It provides strong cross-platform app development abilities and could be utilized to develop mobile and web applications from scratch. It enables developers to develop and publish applications for both Android and iOS platforms.

PowerApps

It is a trusted low code platform that is backed by Microsoft. It comes with robust features and wide-ranging integration abilities.

It allows developers to build feature-rich and complex applications with ease. However, it comes with a steep learning curve, which makes it a bit difficult for not-so-technically inclined resources.

 

Criteria while choosing Low Code Development Platform for Your Company

 

Low code development platform

 

You must consider the following criteria before choosing a suitable Low code platform for your organization : 

Skillset Required

Before selecting a suitable low code app development platform, you must evaluate the technical skillset and type of end-users in your organization.

You must opt for the platform that allows developers of any skillsets to use it and develop apps. Get a platform that could be handled by both experienced and citizen developers.

Level of Governance

You need to determine the level of governance Low code platform renders to the IT department of your organization. You must connect with your apps (hosted or non-hosted) and monitor the performance and availability of external API endpoints to ensure an adequate level of government control.

Reusability

Low code platform not only speeds up the app development but also encourages reusability. Always select a low code platform that offers better business components, pre-defined templates, plug-ins, widgets, and several other connectors to enhance the reusability of app code.

Cross-Platform Support

This is an important criterion that must be considered while choosing a suitable low code solution platform. Make sure that you select a capable low code cross-platform that can help you build desktop, web, and mobile applications. 

Use cases

It will be great to assess the existing apps and organization-specific use cases and determine if the platform is capable enough to extend beyond them. If possible, then ask the platform vendor to showcase its implementation in a similar industry as yours. It will help you to judge if a platform can handle the business-specific complexities.

Support

A robust support and maintenance mechanism is a must for any Low Code platform. You must enquire from the platform vendor and validate their support and maintenance track record. It is a critical parameter and must be fulfilled without any compromise. 

If you have assessed all the above parameters and got an affirmative response, then you can go ahead with a particular Low code platform that has ticked more boxes.

 

Top low level code platforms

 

Conclusion 

Low Code application development is influencing all industries and pushing them to use it to avail some unprecedented benefits. By making the entire development workflow visual, the low code has made the app development process quite simple and effective, while offering cost-effectiveness as a bonus. 

While understanding the numerous benefits of Low code, we must also understand that it should not be treated as a full-fledged alternative to traditional app development methods to build custom software. However, in various circumstances, it can provide a game-changing proposition for businesses. 

You can refer to this article as your go-to guide for Low Code app development, and always keep these observations and recommendations in mind before initiating the next low-code project.

If you are planning to venture into low code development, but are not sure about how to execute it, then Arka Softwares can certainly assist you.

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