Low-code development lets you create software code through a graphical user interface (GUI) and configurations, instead of traditional hand-coded computer programming. It gives people with limited or no programming knowledge the ability to develop an entirely operational application. A game-changer in the software world, low-code development speeds up the delivery of applications and optimizes development teams.
According to Outsystems.com, more than 300 vendors and platforms offer various types of low-code solutions. As Steve Hasset of GT Software states:
It’s well known that low-code platforms increase agility in app development. Low-code platforms are also available for the integration of legacy mainframe systems. They bring the same benefits, including faster development, more resilient solutions and the ability to adapt to new requirements quickly.
Benefits of low code
This new era of application development comes with numerous benefits:
- Speed. Drag-and-drop functionality and GUIs help build applications faster and it’s easier to integrate third-party tools using API connectors.
- Flexibility. The flexibility to make immediate changes and customize the platform can deliver significant time and money savings.
- Business agility. Quicker project delivery and prebuilt APIs help automate and refine business processes.
- Lower costs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of a software developer was over $105,000 in 2018 — and that’s not even mentioning additional expenses, contributions, and the costs of hiring, onboarding and training. Low-code platforms reduce overall development staffing and IT costs.
- Reduced maintenance. Simplified development processes and ready-to-use templates lower software maintenance requirements and reduce bugs.
- Increased productivity. Keeping up with new requirements from customers and new market demands requires rapid iteration. Low-code applications can meet business needs without waiting on developers, aiding in customer retention. According to Gartner, by 2024, 75% of large enterprises will be using at least four low-code development tools for both IT application development and citizen development initiatives.
No code vs. low code
“No code” and “low code” are two different terms but are often misleading. No code is used for the development of front-end applications that require no coding. On the other hand, low code is feasible for someone who wants to build an application with a bit of customization while making it user-friendly. Both solutions offer a visual approach to application development, empowering non-technical users to easily build, manage and develop without knowing a high-level programming language.
Software development lifecycle vs. low code
Software delivery lifecycle (SDLC) is a common term used in the software world – a process of designing, developing and testing to get high-quality software applications. SDLC has been a successful method; however, several challenges have arisen over time.
One major challenge is the amount of time taken to develop software. SDLC follows a linear and sequential flow of application development, which requires a large team with strictly defined roles and technology skills. The process becomes more stringent with wait times, rigid methods and review at every development stage, leading to high costs to develop a single application.
With the accelerating pace of digital transformation, businesses and IT teams need rapid development of solutions that can quickly adapt to ever-changing market needs. The SDLC circle can quickly become obsolete compared to the enhanced features of low-code development platforms. You don’t need to be a developer or need to know any programming language and can still develop and automate applications in less time.
But, is low code the future?
Low-code development works best with businesses that want to develop their applications. Most small businesses struggle with funds and can’t afford to hire expensive developers. A market study by Forrester expects the market for low-code development platforms to increase to $21.2 billion by 2022, up from $3.8 billion in 2017.
With ever-increasing and evolving market and customer demands, many organizations have already started adopting low-code solutions. In early 2021, Google announced that it had acquired AppSheet, a no-code mobile-application builder. With this acquisition, Google aims to help companies create mobile apps without writing a single line of code. As Amit Zavery, VP/GM and Head of Platform, Google Cloud, states, “This acquisition helps enterprises empower millions of citizen developers to more easily create and extend applications without the need for professional coding skills.”
While time and reduced efforts remain top scoring points, it’s undoubtedly essential to know a few factors before purchasing a platform for your business. Here are some other things to consider:
- Can your existing systems integrate with the solution?
Most low-code platforms allow existing services to be called through APIs and provide their APIs to access data and services. It should have good cross-platform compatibility.
- How much will it cost?
Pricing models vary. Some companies charge annually, while others charge on a per-user basis. It’s essential to understand these requirements to prevent bill shock.
- Who will use it?
Each organization may or may not have a developer on board to take care of application integration. Based on who would be fulfilling this duty, you will have to make a wise decision on which low-code platform best suits your personnel situation.
- Is it adaptable to the changing needs of your customers?
Even though low-code platforms can help you build applications in no time, it’s essential to recognize that some of them may not be customizable for your business needs.
For organizations looking to create applications, adopting low-code development into the work environment provides significant advantages. Considering that low-code platforms are getting better with each version, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that this type of rapid application development will continue to grow. Understanding the advantages of low-code development and starting testing and implementations can help organizations progress their digital strategies quicker and easier than ever before.