Understanding Low Code 

For a long time, if you wanted to automate your business’s processes, traditional development was the only option. That was not affordable for many business until today’s low-code platforms came along. So, what is low-code?

The low-code approach allows users to create applications that automate routine tasks without hand-coding. Low-code platforms are affordable, which makes them more accessible for businesses, especially smaller ones. Drag-and-drop interfaces, reusable components, and visual modeling allow technical and non-technical employees to quickly create and deploy solutions.

Even for employees who have minimal coding knowledge, it is relatively easy to learn low-code platforms. Both individuals and teams can work on rapid application development that contribute to a company’s digital transformation.

According to Gartner, by 2024, more than 65% of application development will be done by low-code platforms. The number of applications created will also increase dramatically. Between 2018 and 2023, over 500 million apps will have been created. That's more than in the last 40 years combined.

What is Low Code Development and Why is it Important?

Low-code development (also known as rapid application development) refers to process development solutions or software tools.

Low-code platforms have embedded code that allows users to create solutions without typing out code for every command or action.

In the last 20 years, the availability of low-code tools and technologies has skyrocketed. As a result, IT departments are able to focus on building diverse and complex applications and workflows.

As low-code environments and applications have evolved, so has IT. Here are several reasons why low-code development’s importance continues to grow:

The Importance of Low-Code for Business

  • Digital Transformation: For companies seeking to scale and automate their processes, low-code development plays a critical role. To remain agile and adapt to constant change, businesses need to build user-friendly applications that automate tedious tasks. Alpha Anywhere or Alpha TransForm platforms empower organizations to create solutions that require minimal to no hand-coding.
  • Democratizes Application Development: Low-code democratizes application development. Business users can learn low-code development without prior training to create apps on demand. Rather than working in silos, citizen developers and IT collaborate using low-code platforms. Knowledge is then spread throughout the organization.
  • Mobile and Desktop Applications Increase Productivity: Low-code applications automate repetitive, time-consuming tasks and so accelerate employee productivity. Alpha Software allows employees to build applications that capture information and monitor inventory and equipment usage without Wi-Fi connectivity.
  • Enhanced Collaborative Efforts: Collaborators make in-app updates, incorporate feedback in real-time, and use visual interfaces and models that are understandable by all.

Low-Code Development's Importance to Developers

  • Quickly Extend Application Use Across all Devices and Channels: If you want to reuse app components, low-code platforms are ideal. Reuse increases app development productivity and allows you to meet end-user requirements.
  • Bridges the Technical Skills Gap: Low-code platforms help companies bridge the gap between their technical capabilities. It's much easier to build custom applications without the need for an army of skilled programmers. Business users can create application specifications visually and make changes independently.
  • Build Applications Without Needing to Know Multiple Programming Languages: Development teams can build applications without researching, writing, and testing code. IT professionals who use low-code platforms do not need specialized knowledge of each tool or technology to build enterprise-standard applications.

Important Features of Low-Code Development Platforms

Modern low-code platforms streamline software creation throughout the development lifecycle, from version control to software testing to change management.

Low-code platform users expect not only to design an application quickly, but to scale easily, and build solutions securely.

Some low-code and no-code platforms have point-and-click and drag-and-drop components. This enables developers to build applications visually resulting in faster to launch times.

Most of the benefits come from developing specific solutions that focus on:

  • Business Process Management
  • Enterprise Operations
  • Case Management
low code application facts to know

In addition, low-code platforms are designed to offer IT and development teams the option to add custom code when required. Here are some crucial features of low-code platforms:

  • Streamline the Entire Software Development Lifecycle: Low-code platforms are designed to perform debugging, integration testing, app performance assessment, and deployment. They should also allow developers to revert to previous versions of the application from development and testing to production.
  • Build Once and Deploy Everywhere: Low-code platforms allow users to build applications once and deploy them across all channels and devices.
  • Scalability and Security: Low-code platforms allow users to build enterprise-standard applications to automate business processes. They have all the needed security components built-in and are able to develop large-scale initiatives.

Low-code's visual development approach makes it easy to create applications and configure process logic and business rules into intuitive formats.

Using low-code platforms, developers can meet tight delivery deadlines and urgent business requirements.

Here are a few additional critical features that low-code platforms should have:

  • Pre-Built Blocks of Code: Out-of-the-box functionality is a basic requirement for low-code platforms. Developers should be able to choose from a selection of pre-built UI components without having to create them from scratch.
  • Cloud Architectures: Today's low-code solutions and developing tools are based on native cloud architectures. Large government organizations and financial institutions have leveraged the cloud capabilities of low-code for mission-critical projects.
  • Declarative Tools: Low-code platform's declarative tools are implemented through visual models and business rules. Since there is no custom code to write, changes or modifications can be made to applications more easily, reducing development time.

Who Benefits from Using Low Code Platforms?

Low-Code Benefits

Companies are constantly striving to improve their customer experience. Using low-code platforms provides the opportunity to create targeted, customer-centric applications. Here are some other benefits:

  • Accelerated Application Development Time: With traditional development, it can take months to build finished business applications. However, with low-code platforms that include pre-built templates, it only takes weeks to complete an application.
  • Increased Employee Motivation: The simplicity with which you can create a business application that speeds up manual tasks increases employee motivation, productivity and efficiency. Low-code platform’s powerful tools and intuitive user interface give citizen developers full control over the experience.
low code benefits
low code customer engagement and business efficiency

Customer Engagement and Business Efficiency

  • Multi-Experience Made Easy: Customers engage with businesses at many different touchpoints. Low-code platforms offer better user experiences through chat boxes, built-in templates, and automated refactoring.
  • Reduces Business Costs: Low-code platforms allow employees who do not have much programming experience to participate in application development. This means you do not have to hire a large, specialized development team. The cost of use also goes down, as you can develop more applications in less time.

Encouraging Innovation By Using Low-Code Platforms

understanding citizen developers and low code

In the case of typical start-ups, the founders are the drivers of innovation. They understand the business processes and problems that need resolving.

Training Employees to Become Citizen Developers

In large companies, this responsibility is often the employees’. Training employees to become citizen developers empowers them to devise novel solutions.

Citizen developers are closest to the business, so have a keen understanding of its processes. So it’s more likely that they will come up with some great ideas. By improving the technical skills of your workers, you are unleashing innovation into your organization.

Unlock Your Workforce’s Innovation

There is a greater demand for digital skills in today's professions. Companies benefit as much as their employees do when they train them to become citizen developers. Businesses rely on low-code to empower their employees to prototype systems and understand how technologists think.

A Younger Workforce Means Innovation Comes Naturally

As more twenty to thirty-year-olds enter the workforce, this increases the scope for innovation. Learning how to build an application or automate a process is second nature to most of them. 

Citizen Developers Provide Added Resources For Low-Code Innovation

With a workforce made up in part of citizen developers, companies can bridge the tech skills gap. For example, the CIO of a manufacturing company can leverage a low-code platform to create high-quality applications.

low code and workforce automation

How to Choose a Low-Code Platform

When choosing a low-code platform from the myriad on the market, you must know what you need it for. Some questions to consider when doing your research could be: Will the platform help you achieve your application delivery goals? Or, will the platform help you build applications to solve a specific problem?

Faster Delivery

  • Does the vendor provide a platform that allows you to build applications quickly, in weeks if not days?
  • How quickly can you build complex enterprise applications, not just simple ones? Remember that vendors who claim it only takes a few hours to build solutions are usually referring to simple applications.

Not All Platforms Are Created Equally

  • Low-code platforms have different strengths. Some are ideal for mobile apps, others are better for building workflow apps or focusing on solving data-related problems.
  • If you want to buy a low-code platform, you need to think about your future needs. Maybe you need a mobile-device-focused platform now, but what happens when you need to build reports or workflow applications in the future?
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.

low code use cases

Specify and Assess Multiple Use Cases

Low-code platforms should speed up application development and easily support extensions. When exploring the low-code market, consider multiple use cases and app development requirements. Understand what a platform can or cannot do, as well as its scope, strengths, and weaknesses.

Choosing a low-code platform for one use case doesn’t mean it will be suitable for all. Platforms are built for different users. Some platforms that market themselves as low-code require minimal programming skills that are best suited for professional developers.

Some platforms call themselves no-code. No-code is suitable for users without any programming knowledge and not typically used by professionals. These allow business users to develop and support application development. However, there are platforms that are suitable for both citizen developers and professionals.

Other Things to Consider When Selecting a Low-Code Platform

There is an exhaustive list of what to look for in a low-code platform. Here are some additional critical points to bear in mind:

  • How to Identify Enterprise-Standard Platforms: The best low-code platforms offer customer satisfaction evaluations. They can also be found in Gartner Magic Quadrant or Forrester Waves online reports.
  • Vendors Price Platforms Differently: Some platforms’ prices are based on the number of users, others on the volume of applications. When evaluating a platform, it is important to consider all financial factors.
  • Platform integration: Low-code platforms integrate easily with enterprise systems, APIs, cloud and data center databases, and third-party data sources. By using low-code, businesses avoid building applications that require complex integration or ongoing maintenance.
  • Security and Compliance: Businesses need to understand how a low-code platform manages role-based administration, data masking, and other security issues.
Things to consider when selecting a low code product

Another crucial consideration is reviewing DevOps capabilities especially for supporting the development lifecycle across dev, test, and other environments. In addition, it permits an agile development process with connections to tools that manage backlogs and roadmaps.

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The Bottom Line...

There are some important things to know about low-code platforms and app makers. Our top six of these are:

  1. Low-code platforms speed up your application development cycles and make your business more productive.
  2. Most low-code platforms have built-in security components. In addition, you can build an application once and automatically deploy it to your other devices and channels.
  3. Everyone in your organization benefits from low-code platforms. They ensure your business is more agile and responsive to changes. Low-code automates time-consuming, manual tasks for employees. Customers also benefit from a company that serves them with greater efficiency.
  4. Low-code platforms automate tasks, which reduces human error.
  5. Low-code encourages innovation. Low-code is easy for your employees to learn and encourages them to come up with creative solutions.
  6. If you decide to go low-code, be clear about your goals and what solutions you want to develop. Think long-term. It's not just about today's solutions, but how the platform can help you grow in the future.
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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 the Alpha Anywhere Community Edition app maker, 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.