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Building Mobile Apps with a Low Code Platform Isn't Enough. You Need Offline Application Capabilities as Well.

Low-code development is a big buzzword these days --- and with good reason. It refers to platforms that allow developers to build applications with very little hand-coding and custom work, frequently with simple-to-use visual tools. Custom coding can be done when required. They're popular because they can save time and money. That's important at a time when demand for custom mobile apps has been skyrocketing,  but IT and developers can't keep up with it. Forrester noted in a report that low-coding platforms are particularly well-suited for customer-facing apps. The report concluded: "Hand-coding is too slow to develop and deliver many of the applications that companies use to win, serve, and retain customers. Some firms are turning to new, 'low-code' application platforms that accelerate app delivery by dramatically reduce the amount of hand-coding required. Faster delivery is the primary benefit of these application platforms."

You Need Offline App Capabilities as Well

All that's true. But low-code by itself isn't enough. Developing apps that are built from the ground up for working even when the device is in offline mode is important as well. People assume that we live in an always-on world, but that's not the case. Mobile's dirty little secret is that we live in a world with 3G and 4G dead spots, in which WiFi doesn't reach every part of an office or home, in which WiFi networks go down, and in which online access often isn't available when traveling, particularly on airplanes. Companies recognize this and the need for offline access in a mobile app. A survey by mobile app platform provider Verivo found that 78% of enterprise architects have plans to build apps that require offline support or data caching. That means that when you're choosing a development platform, merely choosing a low-code development one isn't enough by itself. Building an app quickly won't do the job if the app can't properly handle offline access. You need a platform that can build apps that work offline as well. Alpha Anywhere has been recognized by Forrester as an important low-code development platform in its June 2014 report, "New Development Platforms Emerge For Customer-Facing Applications." And Alpha Anywhere will soon include robust support for offline applications. We've got plenty of help for those interested in low-code development and in offline access. For those interested in offline, I suggest Alpha CTO Dan Bricklin's useful article, "Dealing with Disconnected Operation in a Mobile Business Application: Issues and Techniques for Supporting Offline Usage." And for low-code development, Bricklin's explanation of how it can produce enterprise-level apps fast is worth a read as well.  

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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.


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.

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