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 WellAll 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.