Understanding Low Code 

Do you remember those big, bulky computers, devices, and machines that filled up gigantic rooms?

To create a piece of software, you needed math, digital logic expertise, and proficiency in more than one coding language. Computing languages have come a long way since then but each new language requires specialized knowledge and long development cycles.

Inputting layers of code to create business/mobile applications or automated workflows can be very arduous. Every line of code needs to be perfect as even the tiniest error can cause an application to stall. 

By contrast, low code application platforms equipped with drag-and-drop modelers or point-and-click interfaces make building apps faster. Using these platforms, you can draw a flowchart, and code gets created.

Low code development is a way to assemble software applications and workflows quicker by minimizing hand coding. 

How Does Low Code Compare To Traditional Development?

Low code uses a user-friendly interface meaning you don't need much coding expertise to create business apps. On the other hand, using a traditional approach requires coding and programming language knowledge to create applications.

Digital transformation is an important priority for many business leaders. Organizations that fail to adapt risk falling behind their competitors. It's worth investing the time and resources to find the best platform for your needs. 

By using low code solutions more widely and leaning on custom development processes when needed, companies can accelerate digital transformation.

One of the main advantages of low code solutions is their speed. Low code eliminates the need to code for such considerations as screen sizes, traffic routing and scaling. However, some low code solutions do have drawbacks.

Benefits of Low Code

  • Quick and simple and prototype development. With traditional coding, you need to write each line of code. Since many low code platforms include pre-written modules it makes it easier and quicker to create web and mobile app. Reusable templates and components also help developers build prototypes.
  • Decreased maintenance time and cost. Low code platforms have fewer bugs and integration issues enabling developers to focus on innovative work that drives business value.
  • Increased Productivity. As low code development has less extensive coding requirements, business teams can focus on smaller development projects usually assigned to IT.
  • Rapid Innovation and development. Lower app development requirements allow people without a developer’s level of expertise to create applications quickly. However, developers need to ensure that security and in-app protection are built in from the design phase. 

Limits of Low Code

  • Restricted Integration Options. There are numerous tools and products that you can combine in your digital transformational strategy. You'll encounter issues if your platform outdates your systems and hardware or doesn't play well with other popular software. 
  • Limited Flexibility. Some components of low code platforms limit custom development. Once you immerse yourself in a new system, you may decide to change a part of it to meet your needs. New platforms may require changes to your business processes. 
  • Reliability Uncertainties. What will happen if you commit to using a specific low code solution and someone acquires the company that made it? Plan ahead so you don't find yourself managing complex vendor issues you didn't expect.

Evolution of Low Code Development

James Martin first introduced the idea of low code applications in his 1982 book, Application Development Without Programmers. At the time, people thought they would not have to wait too long before his idea came to fruition.  

Martin assumed that fewer programmers would naturally lead to solutions that helped end-users build applications without coding.

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In the '80s or 90's vendors pitched solutions that promised to shift the production of new applications to end-users.

These innovations included: 

  • Rapid Application Development Tools (RAD) 
  • Fourth Generation Programming Languages (4GL) 
  • Computer Assisted Engineering Tools (CASE).  

There were three core reasons why they weren't adopted at that time. 

  • Unrealistic Expectations. Software vendors set unrealistic expectations that these solutions could not meet. However, they still offered a glimpse into a better future for businesses and IT. Unfortunately, they just couldn't live up to the hype and were difficult to scale.
  • Increased Security Risks. Empowering users to create apps seemed like a novel idea at the time, but it did not work in practice. The main reason was that users did not have the skillset to build and deploy applications with suitable security and governance. This increased the security risk for companies.
  • The Changing Focus Of Software Development. In the mid-2000s, the focus of software development changed to the development of web applications. Business' priority became the delivery of cloud-based solutions that increased productivity instead of traditional IT solutions for everyday problems.

James Martin's idea wasn't wrong, the timing and many technology solutions simply did not meet today's standards. They planted the seed for the growth of today’s citizen development platforms. 

Now, the demand for low code solutions is growing, and is not likely to stop. So, what do current solutions have that their precursors did not?

The answer lies in advancements made to low code platforms. 

  • The best low code development environments predict mobile features users want and build those capabilities into their platforms. Moreover, the majority of solutions are web-based, meaning users don't need to worry about updates.
  • Organizations can deploy low code solutions with confidence that they have appropriate controls in place to meet security and compliance standards. 
  • In the last decade, there have been a growing number of companies using low code platforms to power their unique processes.

How Does Low Code Development Compare to Traditional Methods?

Defining Requirements:

Traditional and low coding approaches differ when determining which operating system the development should focus on.

Traditional Development: Before writing any code, you'll need to select a specific programming language, environment, and device before starting the project. Businesses that use traditional development methods also need the capacity to create an app for several devices. If you are creating an app for android, it won't be easy to update it for other operating systems.


Low Code Development: Using low code avoids this issue entirely. Visual interfaces are made to work seamlessly across numerous operating systems and can adapt to varieties of devices. 

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low code compared to traditional methods

Dev-Ops Automation

Traditional Development:Standard application deployment is complicated because every line of code requires non-production testing before going into production. Then applications need to be checked to ensure that they work in their allocated configurations. Because of the attention to each detail required, it can be arduous to deploy apps using this method. 


Low Code development: When employing a low code approach, you can omit some deployment steps. Low code has prepared, pre-tested modules and functionalities. Because low code's development environment is cloud-based, it simplifies and streamlines testing.

Building Mobile Apps with Low Code

mobile app low code development platforms

Low code platforms cater to two user types: business users with little coding experience (no code) and skilled developers (low code). 

Both have different skill sets and preferences. The citizen developer needs a friendly user interface (UI) to guide them step-by-step in creating a business app. 

For a skilled developer, an app needs to offer a range of custom options. They must include the capacity to pull in things from additional data sources or data models and third-party services. Advanced users may also want to layer on added security and compliance.

However, not every platform can meet both users’ needs. Some low code app building solutions offer intuitive guided experiences. This makes it easy for business users to create task-oriented apps that measure project progress or track activity.

The latest mobile app development solutions satisfy both business users’ and developers’ needs. They offer easy to follow UI's. They provide complex components and database objects that a developer can pull into a leading-edge visual process modeler. 

build apps with low code

What to Look for in a Low Code Platform

As you select a low code platform, below are some crucial considerations: 

Who Is It For?

Low code development solutions fall into two market sectors- professional developers and business users. When selecting a low code development platform, you need to decide who is going to use it.

Low code platforms enable developers to create more software in rapid turnover times. For citizen developers who may lack programming experience, low code platforms help them create software.

what to look for in a low code development platform

Be sure that the low code software platform you select fits the experience level of the people developing the apps.


Can It Deliver On Complex And Simplistic Projects?

When looking for your ideal low code platform, you must ensure it can deliver on complex as well as simple projects. Many businesses use low code solutions for one-time data entry or data gathering projects. However, these solutions can't manage sophisticated process management, case management, or rules management. 

Does it integrate with your existing systems?

When assessing a low code platform, its integration capabilities should be a priority. You want a solution that is powerful, quick, secure, and two-way.

Can it adapt to meet the changing needs of your organization?

You may use a low code platform to create a first-time app. However, most solutions aren’t able to adjust and adapt to the continuous change and improvement.

What is No-Code Development?

Like low code platforms, no code features a visual development environment. Unlike low code solutions, they are for business users who do not have much app development knowledge. No code vendors attempt to build into their products the basic development tools a business user needs.

Advantages of no code
  • Speed. No code can create basic apps that solve urgent problems, such as mobile data collection, when a developer isn't available.
  • Simplicity. Anyone in your organization can build an app to solve an issue enabling IT to focus on critical work.
Drawbacks of no code
  • Security. No code platforms allow any user in your organization to craft an app without proper supervision. This can result in security concerns, compliance, and integration issues. Not all solutions provide IT with the tools they need to secure these no code apps.
  • Vendor lock-in. Some low code platforms are designed to build apps in specific cloud-based environments, leaving users locked in. However, agnostic platforms don’t lock you into a particular framework or programming language.
The Growth Of No Code Platforms

Forrester Research predicts no-code / low-code development platforms to expand from $3.8 billion in 2017 to $21.2 billion in 2022. Forrester analysts define low code as products for application development that use visual, declarative techniques instead of programming.

In contrast to low code development, which needs some coding knowledge, no code development platforms require very little. Vendors ensure that the platform has all the tools and modules that a user will need.

With all this optimism surrounding the future of no code development, what are its benefits and limitations?

Community Edition Screenshot
Low Code or No Code - Which to Choose 

The main advantage of both low code and no-code solutions is speed. So how do you decide which one you should use?

  • Mobile and web apps. Low code platforms are ideal because they are likely to need integration with other systems. 
  • Sophisticated critical systems. Systems that integrate with multiple external data sources are more suited to a low code platform. Front-end user cases will find no code suitable for their needs.
  • Intuitive and responsive apps. No code is the simpler option, though both are faster than traditional development.
  • Coding experience level. None is required for no code. However, without experience, using no code may result in security risks or compliance issues in the future.

Some solutions have Low Code and No Code components. These platforms give IT control of back-end integration with existing systems and security. At the same time, they enable business users to quickly create and update simple apps that meet their needs.

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The Bottom Line...

Low code development is far faster than the traditional approach to writing and debugging code a line at a time. Low code platforms enable all skill levels to create business applications, which they can modify without further development or app rebuilds.

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The Best Software for Low Code App Development

You'll find Alpha Anywhere is the best low code development software for building web and mobile apps for business.  We've made it easy get started with Alpha Anywhere Community Edition, a full featured and FREE low-code development environment. We have a team of experienced app designers and developers, and offer mentoring and tutorials on how to build mobile apps.