Low Code Development Platforms- What You Should Know

By Nicholas Barone
Published: 15/11/2021
definition backgroundLow Code Development Platforms- What You Should Know

Are we in the middle of the future of IT programming? Will low code, and as a result no code, replace professional developers? However large these questions might seem, there’s actually a real technological opportunity for businesses, to create software without having to program. 

In their last study, Gartner predicted a 23% increase in low code development in 2021. Furthermore, they predict that by 2024 65% of applications will be developed with low code

In this article, we’ll cover what low code and no code mean, and the opportunities and benefits they have.

What is Low Code? 

Definition 

As its name implies it’s a programming method with very little manual coding and development. Meaning you don’t need to have years of IT experience to create an application. 

The goal of low code is to democratize app development, including non professional, or citizen developers.  

Difference Between Low Code and No Code 

The difference between low code and no code is slight, as the names indicate, low code is programming with a little code, and no code is programming with no code. However, low code tends to be for more professional developers, and people who like programming. No code is more for “citizen developers” or the general public, even people without programming knowledge.

Specificities and Opportunities of Low Code 

The interface of low code platforms tends to be fairly simple. Low code and no code platforms are even based on the underlying principle that their applications should be easy to understand and use for everyone using them. Most of these platforms work with a system of blocks, where you drag and drop different functionalities and aspects of the application you want to make. By dragging and dropping you can pick the blocks you need and then adjust them to get the desired design. 

The End of Professional Developers? 

Low code or no code does not mean the end of professional developers or that all programming will be automated. Just like how self checkout didn’t bring about the end of cashiers, but just changed the way they work, low code and no code are introducing: 

  • A new need for more programmers to develop these kinds of low code applications 
  • A need for developers to maintain and improve these low code platforms

Benefits of Low Code and No Code

1- Develop Faster 

One obvious benefit of these platforms is the time and energy they save developers. These platforms allow you to save days, months and even in some cases years in making an operational application.

In the case of low code, the workload of developers is dramatically reduced, and limited only to efficient tasks. You won’t have to spend hours staring at code looking for a tiny bug, you’ll be able to focus on the important features that your users actually care about. 

And with a no code platform it’s even easier, you can have an application up and running in a matter of hours

According to Redhat, low code/no code solutions reduce the total time it takes to develop a functioning app by 90%.

2- Test an Idea at a Cheaper Cost

A lot of people and organizations have ideas for applications, but have no way to test it without spending a considerable amount. However, with no code platforms just about anyone can design and develop an app fairly quickly and cheaply. 

You can even have a landing page up and running in a couple of hours. For example, to run tests on a POC (Proof of Concept). You create an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and are able to test a market without pushing too hard. Then you go through iterations to continuously improve the product based on your test results. Only then should you consider hiring a professional developer.  

3- Reduce Development Costs 

Building on the last two points, if you’re spending less time manually working on programming an application, you dramatically reduce the development cost. A low code or no code tool is easy to use: you reuse pre existing visual blocks and save time on learning how to code or use a complicated platform. 

Even according to a study done by Mendix, 70% of users that reported zero experience with these platforms got the hang of them within a month, and even 28% within two weeks.

4- Respond to Precise Needs with More Flexibility

One of your business teams has a specific business need and calls on your technical team to meet it. However, your technical team has its own roadmap to follow with more “important” developments. What company has never experienced tension with this kind of scenario?

5- Elevate the IT Department 

As we saw before, opting for low or no code alternatives has the potential to elevate your IT department of extra work, and let them focus on the tasks that really matter. 

According to AppSheet, citizen developers reduce the amount of requests or questions received by an IT department by 80%. 

When Should I Use It? Use Case Examples 

The sky is the limit, there’s really no case where you can’t use it. Low and no code platforms can be used by everybody, all the time, even by those without any developing skills.

However, just to give you ideas of how low and no code platforms can fit into your business, these are the most common use cases: 

  • Data collection via questionnaires, and the gathering of that data (58%)
  • Apps that manage business processes and workflows within apps (49%) 
  • Apps that replace paper, emails or spreadsheets (42%) 
  • Customization of app interfaces for current applications (22%) 

A good example of low code and no code, Schneider Electric was able to make 60 applications in 20 months. The majority of those apps were made in 10 weeks or less

Low Code/No Code, The Future of Programming? 

No one has a definitive answer to the question. However, many people have real hesitations towards low and no code, like the fact that it’s too expensive, not detailed enough to make a powerful application and not personable enough… The limitations are real. 

However, wouldn’t a low or no code project be like any other? Otherwise said, it’s up to you to define your precise needs and come up with your budget before starting to make an app. 

  • Is low code too expensive?  - It all depends on the low code platform you choose to use, the features you need for your app, time you’re going to spend on it and the amount of professional development you’ll need. Come up with your budget and compare the platforms that are out there, and see if low code is really less expensive than hiring a professional developer. 
  • Not customizable enough? - If your main goal is to make a landing page just to test it in the real world, then customization isn’t a real problem. After you’ve made a landing page you can then hire or consult a professional developer team if your main concern is a highly customizable app. 

In sum, low and no code offers almost an infinite amount of possibilities for businesses to create and innovate in record time. What you do with those possibilities is up to you.  

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