What is low-code development? Here’s what every company should know!
In increasingly competitive economical conditions, low-code will soon take an important place in every modern company. Low-code systems allow you to create applications without programming or with a minimum amount of it. Such a product can be configured by a business user themselves almost immediately.
Low-code platforms meet modern requirements for flexibility and speed of set up. Strong competition and digital business transformation demand more and more from software solutions for business to be able to stay on top of the market.
See a short introduction to low-code development here:
The introduction to low-code by Mendix YouTube channel
The main concepts of low-code
Low-code platforms solve the main problem of digitalization – acceleration of the following cycle: from business need to workflow processes.
Low-code is LEGO for IT solutions. From a business point of view, low-code allows businesses to increase the speed and reduce the cost of development.
This can be achieved due to two factors:
- Time. It takes just weeks to train an analyst to work with low-code. While training a traditional programmer takes years.
- Flexibility. Operating with larger blocks gives huge flexibility to the final software solution and also reduces the number of bugs.
The complete low-code definition can be presented as follows:
A low-code development platform (LCDP) is software environment for programmers. It gives the ability to create application software using graphical user and configuration, instead of traditional computer programming.
How low-code platforms differ from other solution
More and more systems are beginning to position themselves as low-code platforms, while they are actually BPM, CRM or ERP solutions or just simply a tool for drawing flowcharts.
Let’s try to figure out – what is a real low-code solution? Here are some of the things to look for:
- Availability of a visual scripting tool, which can process data in real-time;
- The minimum requirement for programming new modules;
- Availability of tools for data integration from external IT systems;
- Availability of the life cycle management mechanism of developed applications as separate microservices.
3 main advantages of low-code applications development
Visual Designers of low-code platforms are used for development, allowing user to set up applications without programming. It accelerates and reduces the cost of their creation and support. This makes the company-owner of a system less dependent on developers – it is much easier to learn low-code tools and to understand its options rather than provide support for program code.
Why low-code is better:
Work in the “background”: you can develop the system continuously, make small changes that do not require massive training for staff. This can be done very simply – the low-code platform should have management tools that allow you to work simultaneously with multiple versions of the solution, which eliminates the complexity of global update releases.
Another advantage of the low-code platform, which is rarely taken into account when choosing an approach to development, is the single means of authentication and access differentiation, work routing and scheduling, links, end-to-end search for all applications. Also, it is a common navigation structure and interface style for all applications.
This reduces development time and simplifies the introduction of new applications within the platform. And the availability of common user management systems, access differentiation, and organization of backup reduces the cost of any low-code platform maintenance.
Manufacturers take into consideration development in terms of data volumes, the number of users in the process of operation, and geographic scaling. The platforms have tools for replication and creation of distributed solutions, and clients for remote access to applications. Typically, such features are not embedded in the base tools of applications developed from scratch.
These advantages may make the choice of using low-code platforms seem like a no-brainer in comparison to traditional development.
How low-code app development differs from other solutions
Expansion of the application model and achievement of maximum design flexibility
Standard set is a thing of the past. Here there are only forms, views and navigation pages. Modern systems allow for the describing of the:
- life cycle of objects;
- model of operations (for example, providing changes of an object condition);
- client and server events and scenarios of their processing;
- work with various objects of system and realization of server logic a role of the user and object metadata, and also Report Designer, etc.
Interface customization is no longer limited
The arsenal of tools is constantly extending. There are different application models and sets of designers. HTML5 technologies made it possible to customize the system design using familiar web tools – without restrictions and without programming.
No more restricting languages and development tools
To develop different extensions, modern low-code platforms allow the use of languages, such as C# and Java. They also implement the maximum set of APIs (REST, .NET, etc.), connect compiled assemblies to implement complex business logic, bring the software code of solutions in a separate project, apply modern tools for group development, create specialized APIs for creating tests, etc., making development much more flexible.
Fact: low-code development platforms are gaining popularity
Low-code business process management software becomes more and more popular. There are several reasons for the expansion of low-code platforms.
Speed. Acceleration is possible due to the fact that development on a low-code platform is made at a higher level in comparison with usual programming. Most of the routine operations that programmers and DevOps engineers used to perform are “hidden”. All the work on setting up the infrastructure is excluded.
Flexibility. Experience shows that it is impossible to think through all the details of a future solution in advance. The system has to be flexible. Low-code provides a very high level of flexibility. Instead of rewriting entire pieces of code or configuring inflexible solutions from the box, analysts simply change the script settings using the same intuitive visual interfaces.
Microservice architecture. Modern business is heterogeneous, that’s why IT solutions should not be one big monolith. Modern low-code platforms allow each solution to be developed as a separate microservice – independent, with its own project team. But at the same time, all microservices are integrated on a single bus-line, connecting all parts of the IT landscape into a single system.
Integration with the existing IT landscape. In any company, the basic processes, or part of them, are already automated. As a rule, this is done with the help of inflexible traditional systems (e.g. SAP or Oracle). A significant advantage of developing new applications on low-code is the ability to integrate with the legacy-park and use data from existing IT-systems in new digital products.
Variety of low-code software platforms
Due to the growing demand for low-code business process management, software vendors offer different terms of purchase and use. Let’s consider the most popular, modern low-code apps.
Here are a few examples of the major suppliers of low-code systems: OutSystems, Microsoft PowerApps, Mendix, ProntoForms, Pega, Zoho Creator, etc.
Low-code web application development is on the rise because every modern company needs a better way to create enterprise applications. Low-code platforms solve this issue, cover their entire app development lifecycle, automate changes, and provide all the conditions for quick integration.
In the next article, “Why low-code development is becoming so popular: trends and benefits” you will find out why companies are increasingly choosing low-code development platforms.