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What is Low Code Development And Why Is In Your Future?

Low-Code Mobile App Development Graphic | Alpha Software

Businesses operate in three speeds: fast, faster, and fastest. But development — and mobile app development in particular — often seems stuck in the slow lane. In order to speed that up, there’s a growing trend towards what are called low-code development platforms. If you’re a mobile developer, low-code development platforms are likely in your future. In fact, if you want to be able to quickly create and deploy mobile apps, using a low-code development platform  -- or rapid application development platform -- should already be in your present.

As detailed in a related Alpha blog post, “Low-code app development set to accelerate software delivery in enterprises,” Rob Marvin, in an article for SD Times, does an excellent job of describing low-code development, detailing its benefits, and outlining the tenants of low-code development platforms. I highly recommend reading both the blog and the article. I was interviewed for the piece, and you’ll find in both the blog post and the article a summary of what I believe are the benefits of low-code development platforms.

What is Low Code Development?

The term low-code was first used by the research firm Forrester, and refers to app development platforms that allow developers to speed the development of business applications by using  simple-to-use visual tools for routine coding, affording very little hand-coding and custom work. Low-code development platforms also allow for custom coding when required.

Low Code Platforms & The Need for Speed

There’s a simple reason why low code development platforms are becoming popular with development teams and business users. They both have a need for speed. Demand for mobile applications has been skyrocketing, and IT and developers can’t keep up with it. But management is no longer willing to put up with long development cycles and slow deployment. Low code development not only speeds up app building by cutting down on the code developers are required to write, but also functions as a kind of central command post for configuring, delivering, and maintaining apps. 

The rise of low-code development environments are also giving rise to other digital transformation trends, such as citizen development and drag and drop interfaces and visual models for mobile app development.

Three "Neighborhoods" of Low Code Development Platforms

Forrester says there are three “neighborhoods” of low-code development platforms: a business-process management (BPM) neighborhood, a Web content-management neighborhood, and a general-purpose app platform neighborhood. In particular, Forrester noted Alpha Anywhere as being notable in the app platform neighborhood. Alpha Anywhere’s low-code development platform not only makes it easier to write apps and customize them when required, but also controls both the front- and back-ends. That makes it easier to meet a business’s needs for such capabilities as offline and authentication, and turn on a dime and change an app when required.

Pillars of Low-Code Development Platforms

Low-code apps improve business practices, create better experiences for their customers, and increase the productivity of their partners and employees. Often developed by development  business analysts with little IT or programming support, these apps enhance worker productivity. With these apps, firms increase profits, cut costs, and drive business value by mobilizing the moments of engagement – the points of contact where work gets done.

Download the Low-Code Whitepaper:
To help buyers understand the 4 critical factors for low-code app development, Alpha produced the white paper: “How a Low-Code Development Platform with Built-in Capabilities Can Speed Mobile App Development.”

But there are 4 critical factors that these task-oriented business apps need, and they are often complex and costly to implement. Thy include offline capability, data integration, security and cross-platform UX — enabling developers or line of business professionals to bring apps to market faster at a significantly lower cost. To better understand these critical success factors, download the white paper “How a Low-Code Development Platform with Built-in Capabilities Can Speed Mobile App Development.

Benefits of Low-Code Development Platforms

What kinds of benefits can enterprises expect when they adopt low-code development platforms? Often developed by It developers tech-savvy business analysts with little IT or programming support, these apps enhance worker productivity. With these apps, firms increase profits, cut costs, and drive business value by producing more valuable business apps – or by mobilizing legacy business apps for employees in the field on mobile devices — faster.

Real-World Examples

Here are two real-world examples of organizations benefitting from low-code development:


1. “When I discovered Alpha Anywhere, I was very impressed with its low-code approach,” said John Azzara, Founder, Fast Mirror.

Fast Mirror Founder John Azzara wanted to build a self-service Software as a Service (Saas) solution for clients that would help human resources organizations address some of the challenges they are currently facing with performance feedback and professional development. He built the Fast Mirror subscription-based service by himself, using the Alpha Anywhere low-code development platform, and cut his development time in half with low-code:

“When I discovered Alpha Anywhere, I was very impressed with its low-code approach,” said Azzara. “With it I can build what I want in just a few clicks, and when I want something more advanced, I can write the code myself.”

“With Alpha Anywhere I built a complete SaaS, cloud-based subscription service in half the time than if I had used a different solution. Alpha Anywhere’s low-code capabilities helped me quickly design and launch it, but allowed me to dive in as deeply as I wanted when I needed to do hand-coding myself,” said Azzara.


2. Jeremy Scrime, Senior Programmer Analyst, Warren County IT Department discusses the benefits of low-code development platforms at Alpha DevCon 2016.

Warren County Senior Programmer/Analyst Jeremy Scrime needed to find new tools for building and maintaining approximately 80 web-based apps to perform a variety of tasks for more than 20 county departments including building permits and renewals, certificates of occupancy, real-estate tax collection and repossessing property. He was looking for a platform with a low-code approach to building apps, and that would work with web standards, including HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript. Once they adopted a low-code development platform, Warren County reaped significant benefits, including reduced costs, increased productivity, and offering improved services to its citizens.

“Alpha Anywhere is great that way,” said Scrime. “Its low-code approach was extremely important as well. We have a small IT staff here, and Alpha Anywhere gives us more bang for the buck because it lets a small staff build web apps quickly.”

Get Started with Low-Code Development | Alpha Software

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About Author

Dion McCormick
Dion McCormick

Dion McCormick, Lead Solutions Engineer at Alpha Software, is a recognized expert on agile application development. He helps enterprise development teams around the world transition from slow legacy approaches to high-performance mobile, web, and desktop development using the Alpha Anywhere platform.

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The Alpha platform is the only unified mobile and web app development and deployment environment with distinct “no-code” and “low-code” components. Using the Alpha TransForm no-code product, business users and developers can take full advantage of all the capabilities of the smartphone to turn any form into a mobile app in minutes, and power users can add advanced app functionality with Alpha TransForm's built-in programming language. IT developers can use the Alpha Anywhere low-code environment to develop complex web or mobile business apps from scratch, integrate data with existing systems of record and workflows (including data collected via Alpha TransForm), and add additional security or authentication requirements to protect corporate data.