Low-code application development is a method to create applications with very little to no coding. Low-code app development platforms enable businesses to develop custom solutions with advanced functionalities that serve particular business models. These platforms offer ready-to-use code fragments, instinctive visual builders, in-built connectors, and form templates that accelerate the process of development and boost the ability to revolutionize. Users can start building their apps, as these platforms get rid of the conventional coding processes, such as designing frameworks, modeling data, and creating user interfaces.
What is Low Code?
Low code is a contemporary attempt at developing software that gets rid of the need to enter complex software codes. With low code, it is possible to develop, change and test custom business apps through point-and-click and visual tools instead of coding. Low-code platforms allow anyone to build applications, even those with inadequate development experience or technical knowledge. Low code elevates the whole process of development and accelerates application delivery. With low code software platforms, it is possible to automate each step of the app lifecycle to simplify the deployment of a wide range of solutions.
How Does Low Code Platform Work?
Low code development is often dependent on drag-and-drop functionalities, together with straightforward logic-focused visual interfaces, in place of comprehensive coding associated with conventional development methods. Thanks to simpler functionalities and ease of use, the low code approach is today turning out to be the desired alternative to old-fashioned methods of software development.
Low code platforms can be used as effortlessly by non-professional developers as by their skilled colleagues to build software apps of differing degrees of intricacy. All this boils down to an enhanced ability to automate processes, rapidly fulfil changing demands and speed up digital transformation – seamlessly aligning with the pursuit of agility.
What are the Key Features/Capabilities of Low Code Platform
Low-code integration platforms boast many unique features that make the whole development experience enjoyable. Here’s a list of some of the major features:
- Visual modeling tools: Developing apps with the help of visual tools and models is faster than developing using software codes. Driven by visual modeling skills, low-code platforms leverage built-in modules to embody information in a readable manner for ordinary business users having no tech skills as well as for skilled developers. Low-code platforms include a straightforward modeling interface with instruments like a drag-and-drop designer. The user interface makes it easy to develop complex UIs. The platform also allows the creation of widget libraries and extensions using HTML, JS, and Node.js.
- Reusability/Out-of-the-box functionality: Top low-code systems offer out-of-the-box functionality that gets rid of the need to develop core modules for applications from scratch. These modules have familiar underlying functions required for many apps, and they can be used many times to build different solutions faster. It’s important that a low-code platform enables users to reuse newly developed modules, entire applications, and plug-ins to build the essential apps faster. For instance, a few low-code platforms incorporate modules for customer-facing apps or modules for data management, such as sales processes management or service management.
- Smart libraries: Smart libraries are arcades of predefined app themes and templates that help jump-start an application. Smart libraries are an unavoidable feature of low-code development platforms, and they help in the seamless integration with legacy applications.
- Drag and drop interface: All major low-code platforms boast drag-and-drop ability. It is a key feature that ensures easy development. Both professional developers, as well as citizen developers, gain from the expediency that the drag-and-drop feature offers during app development.
- Data remodeling: Low code offers the ability to build and rebuild data relationships, data models, and data structures without impacting the database directly.
- Cross-platform accessibility: Compatibility with multiple devices is a key feature of low-code platforms. Besides having the capacity to use low-code platforms on any device running significant operational systems, cross-platform compatibility enables users to develop apps that can also operate on all fundamental devices and platforms.
- Cloud-ready: With low code platforms, it is possible to develop cloud-ready Enterprise Applications (EA) without any major obstacles. Apps are multi-tenant and can inhabit any cloud infrastructure.
- Security: Even if a low-code tool is extremely user-friendly and functional, insufficient security will make it an untenable solution. It is important to ensure that a low-code development platform extends appropriate security to safeguard the apps you are developing and the platform as a whole before you contemplate its use.
- Mobile ready: Apps built on low-code platforms get automatically optimized on all devices. These mobile apps do not require coders to write and preserve distinct code bases for different devices.
- Scalability: Low-code systems must be scalable and have the ability to create new apps that can manage a spurt in users as the business grows, whether that be fifty employees or a lakh.
- Reporting & monitoring/Real-time analytics: Low-code platforms make use of several data streams from different devices, websites, and apps to enable analysis, reporting, and monitoring. The platform additionally offers reports and analysis through monitoring. Apps developed through low code can observe processes and workflows to track their efficacy. They can also follow the performance of other applications and are helpful for the purpose of analysis.
- Cognitive features: Low-code platforms make use of AI tools such as Microsoft Azure and IBM Watson to help develop machine learning abilities onto the applications.
- Application lifecycle management: Low-code tools restructure and simplify multiple phases in the software development lifecycle, such as testing, deployment, and debugging. They provide users access to data about the applications built and their progress and give them the power to return to earlier versions if required for improved application lifecycle management.
What Can You Build/Create with Low-Code?
With low code, both web and mobile app development are possible. Here is a list of some of the most common usages of low code platforms:
- Customer engagement applications: It is possible to develop any enterprise-grade application for various business tasks. These applications can be anything from complex business processes for effective customer engagements to customer-facing apps. For example, the point-and-click tools offered by Yellow.ai can help you create your own feature-rich CRM solutions. The solution can automate customer workflows, obtain new contact information, create professional reports, produce interactive sales pipelines, set active notifications, and a lot more.
- Digital asset library: Yellow.ai enables development teams of all sizes to develop advanced cloud applications much faster than coding. We deploy bug tracking systems, asset management apps, document repositories, helpdesk portals and other custom IT applications to a client’s exact requirements without any need for an infrastructure setup.
- Web-based customer portal: A web-based portal is a potent digital instrument to provide a self-service experience. Customers can perform tasks without having to talk to a customer agent. Despite the immense value, many businesses struggle to start a customer portal. At Yellow.ai we use low code to address the pain points by letting developers in the business work together and deliver customer portals with consumer-grade UI in a fraction of the time it takes with conventional development.
- Operation efficiency optimization apps: Build applications that automate processes to boost operational efficiency. These apps offer many benefits to a business such as lower cost and restricted risk of error through automation.
- Monoliths to microservices: Microservices are modules built around business capabilities. They run separately but are independently deployable. When applied accurately, microservices improve a business’ time-to-market for new updates and functionalities and foster cross-functional partnership. However, breaking down a monolith into microservices is complicated with no one-size-fits-all approach. Low-code platforms help phase out monoliths faster. Businesses use low code to accelerate the development of transactional microservices apps.
- Mission-critical applications: Contemporary core systems offer businesses the ability to move quickly to fulfil their employees’ and customers’ preferences, adjust to new business circumstances, and scale effortlessly as the business expands. Low code employs a collective, agile methodology for the full application lifecycle. This approach ensures IT and business work together to lower the risk of a botched project and deliver mission-critical applications in quick time. Applications built on established low-code platforms are multi-cloud portable and cloud-native by default.
- Business process: Build processes and identify workflows for assignments of any complexity to automate tasks across different units.
- Budget request and approval app: Spreadsheet or paper-based processes for approving budgets are susceptible to errors, lack transparency, and are time-consuming. Practices built on legacy systems have their own set of concerns. The user interface is intricate, usually with a form asking for plenty of information, making it mobile-unfriendly. On the backend, it’s not easy for IT to quickly update the system to adjust any new business changes or to expand it as the users rise. Low code enables developers with flexibility, collaboration tools, and speed to digitize approval processes and capital requests on a single platform.
- AI-based solutions: Develop applications that use AI and ML algorithms to process data efficiently to accelerate efficiency and reduce manual operations.
- WFH applications: Low code platforms help manage tasks across multiple units in a central database in addition to the apps used to handle employee tasks such as task management, approval software and time tracker.
- Line of business applications: A company’s supply chain must work like a well-oiled machine to provide top quality products to consumers. But it also exposes a chaotic web of disparate systems, erroneous data, spreadsheets, and manual processes to manage suppliers. A web-based supplier portal delivers a decent solution to supply chain inefficiencies. By integrating the entire app lifecycle, low code platforms streamline the ability to develop a mobile-first supplier portal with a consumer-grade UI.
Major Benefits of Low Code Platforms
Whether it is business users developing an application on their own or streamlining the process of development for coders by automating manual processes, low code development makes it much simpler to build flexible apps to get certain tasks done. Here’s a list of some of the key benefits of low code platforms:
Benefits for Businesses
- Accelerated app delivery and faster time to market: A powerful ecosystem of insightful visual builders, form and report templates, built-in connectors, and ready-to-use code snippets helps in rolling out new apps fast. With the tremendous speed at which business transformation is taking place, developers are finding various means to be more productive and deliver the apps, they need faster and low code platforms in an effective way to accelerate app delivery.
- Enhanced customer experience: Customers today expect a superior experience. Low code platforms offer the flexibility to adjust to customer needs and market changes rapidly through fast delivery of up-to-date applications or uncomplicated updates of prevailing apps in accordance with the latest customer experience trends.
- Enables digital transformation: Enterprises must automate processes to keep pace with contemporary demands and the shifting business ecosystems. Low code BPM platforms offer the core technology for firms undertaking digital transformation, helping them speed up their transformation cycle, modernize, and adjust faster.
- Streamlined operations: Low code lets enterprises integrate their data in an online database that serves as the basis for the apps that automate and streamline data management. For instance, rather than examining various Excel spreadsheets to evaluate team performance each month, managers can just build web dashboards that reveal visually dazzling charts based on real-time data.
- Purpose-built solutions: Several businesses manage with costly off-the-shelf software suites typically meant for a mass market. Frequently, these bulky “solutions” present tons of features but cannot handle the precise needs of a department. With low code, professionals can create custom applications that fit their unique workflows. Through testing, the tool adjusts to the process, not the other way around.
Benefits for IT teams
- Successful governance and security: Low code platforms offer all the essential security frameworks, governance controls, and authentication mechanisms for your apps under one roof, making security easy to handle for the whole business.
- Lower cost: Low code entails limited formal programming capabilities that help narrow the IT gap many firms face without forcing them to employ more IT experts in their teams. Low code platforms allow citizen developers to build apps without the involvement of anyone from the IT team that cuts backlog while lowering resource expenses.
- Help get rid of shadow IT: As business users can develop their own solutions on an IT-approved low code platform, the use of unapproved software can be reduced. The demand for new custom solutions is growing rapidly which can overburden IT units. The large-scale IT backlog this causes pushes users to adapt third-party applications outside their IT infrastructure. This leads to frequent security threats and produces data silos as a result of app proliferation. Low code solutions enable citizen developers and users to build their own apps without turning to IT, eliminating the need to use unsafe apps and share vulnerable data with third parties.
- Business-IT alignment: Business users can bring groundbreaking concepts to life by dropping low code components. These models ease the task of software developers who can use them as a point where they can begin their tasks while developing enterprise software. Businesses have to automate their operations in a timely and cost-effective manner. To deliver the apps quickly through existing IT resources, enterprises must remove the IT delivery gap. With the help of powerful capabilities of professional developers and an intuitive user interface, low code BPM platforms enable anyone within a business to speak the same development language and build apps of any complexity in a single platform.
- Lower project backlogs: Low code takes the pressure off overworked IT teams. As professionals can now develop and deploy custom apps on any portal, website, CMS or through direct links without coding, IT talent can concentrate on larger, more important projects for which they are needed more urgently.
- Massive scalability: Low code platforms permit IT teams to scale and respond to urgent business requirements in real-time, something that’s impractical with inadequate on-premises infrastructure. With business-grade cloud systems enabling low code databases and apps, you will be ready for any surge in usage.
Low-Code Vs Traditional Programming
Often people consider conventional and low code development as an either/or notion, but in fact, they are more intricate. Low code and conventional approaches to software development often have several similarities within workflows. Here’s a primer on how low code compares to the conventional application development practices:
Support available: In traditional coding, a large quantity of money is needed to get widespread support for the application while the low code approach offers lifelong support at a small percentage of the cost through AMC.
Cost of development: The traditional approach requires an upfront investment for developer fees, setting up the infrastructure, and continuous maintenance, while with the low code approach license-based pricing lets you pay as you develop and save on the enormous amount required for infrastructure.
Scalability: With the traditional approach, scaling after deployment is a burdensome assignment that requires the participation of many teams such as production, development, and testing. However, low code platforms offer the flexibility to collect feedback, make changes, and revise low-code applications in real-time.
The pace of development: As several teams are involved in building applications from scratch with the help of broad-based coding and numerous prototype revisions, development may take months to finish with traditional programming. With low code platforms, ready-to-use templates and code blocks enable you to develop 10 times faster. Creating an active framework in low code is much faster than writing, fixing, and assembling traditional code.
Application updates and maintenance: With traditional programming, it is difficult to execute modern technologies across different platforms after an application is deployed. In contrast, managed by the hosting firm, low code tools regularly roll out the latest features and updates to all apps built on them, without a third-party vendor.
Multiplatform: With the traditional approach, applications must be developed independently for each OS, and the software codes can’t be shared between iOS and Android. On the other hand, with low code, you create the app once, and it works for mobile, desktop, in the cloud, and on-premise.
Enterprise application integration: Traditional programming entails intricate testing and scripting of compatible code to combine with new external apps, while low code platforms’ smart integration tools and out-of-the-box APIs allow easy coupling with existing and external systems.
Security/Privacy: In the traditional approach, developers will have to rewrite the code behind each module in each app to develop the essential defenses. However, all the apps operating on a low code platform inevitably inherit the most recent security protection, user controls, automated threat evaluations, and audit logs, guaranteeing complete data safety.
10 Best Low Code Platforms in 2022
Despite many software developers being sceptical at the thought of deploying low code development tools, they are here to stay. These automation tools have already progressed to a point where using them in contemporary app development is unavoidable. Particularly now, when accelerated app delivery is a key business advantage, product teams are leveraging all possible tools to deliver simplified software solutions in a considerably shorter time than before.
C-suite executives are seeking low code development tools to enhance delivery speed and establish a nimbler enterprise. Low code tools are based on “ease of use” for all sorts of developers – professional or amateur. Read on to learn more about some of the best low code development platforms today:
- Yellow.ai: Yellow.ai has recently launched pre-built dynamic AI agents that need little training and come with the advantage of low code installation for quick deployment across multiple verticals. The agents are built to connect chats across text, chat, and voice in various languages. The agents will be offered in Yellow.ai’s open library of solutions and will have the following pre-built capabilities:
- Pre-built integrators for over 30 channels such as Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, Slack, Wechat, MS Teams, Instagram, and Twitter.
- Pre-built solution templates intended for use cases across tasks, including support, conversational commerce, and customer engagement.
- Pre-built industry templates meant for use cases in certain verticals such as automotive and retail.
- App Builder: App Builder is a low code WYSIWYG app development tool that simplifies all aspects of development from design to code. It is made for enterprises of all sizes so they can create contemporary software rapidly, simplify collaboration, build a single source of truth for all, undergo digital transformation smoothly, and make data-driven outcomes by automating vital processes using DevOps and DesignOps.
- Retool: Retool offers a quick way to develop internal tools with visually conceived apps that interface with any API or database. It offers the ability to switch to code almost anywhere to modify how your apps appear and work. With Retool, it is possible to ship more apps and move your business forward in less time. Thousands of teams at large and small businesses work together around custom-built Retool applications to address internal workflows.
- Betty Blocks: Betty Blocks is a no-code drag-and-drop business app development tool that lets users develop app workflows via a visual interface. It supports quick development, and flexibility and allows parts of the app to be reprocessed for other tasks. Betty Blocks is completely web-based with no need for deployment.
- Quixy: The cloud-based no-code platform of Quixy empowers users to develop simple to complex company-grade apps and automate workflows for their tailored needs much faster without writing any code. Quixy helps get rid of manual processes and instantly turn ideas into apps making businesses more productive, transparent, and innovative. Users can modify pre-built apps with Quixy in minutes.
- Mendix: Mendix is a low code business application platform, meant for bootstrapping apps from scratch while delivering data-driven architecture. It offers agile development and multiple integration capabilities to get rid of the complexity involved during the software development life cycle. A key benefit of this low-code platform is that it permits several apps to be used in a component-based platform through microflows, enabling co-creation.
- Zoho Creator: The cross-platform app builder of Zoho is useful in building native mobile apps faster. Develop web, publish, and use them on Android and iOS devices with multi-platform access. With more than 7 million users globally, Zoho is flexible and powerful in adjusting to varied business needs. Zoho has also been showcased in Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Low-Code Application Platforms, 2020.
- OutSystems: OutSystems is a full-stack AI-driven app maker that integrates visual model-led development capabilities with the simplicity of low code functionalities. OutSystems helps build custom UX, restructure business processes, and enhance app logic via the drag-and-drop feature. It comes with an intuitive interface, a Rapid Application Development model, and awesome product performance.
- Web.com: Web.com comes with all the essential tools needed to build a website without writing any code. There are about 100 templates, all placed as per industry type together with multiple layout design options and themes. The drag and drop builder also enables users to add or eliminate elements from the site with a simple click. It also features site restore and automatic backup functionality that keeps the website data secure without the need for any intervention.
- Pega Express: Pega Express is part of the integrated enterprise-level CRM platform Pega CRM that enables digital process automation via a patented personal bot. Pega is primarily used for RPA that automates tedious tasks and combines legacy systems, for low code UI development as well as for case management.
The popularity of low code is likely to grow among citizens as well as professional developers as it will help them with everyday programming tasks.
Today workflow applications, customer-facing applications, and mobile front ends are some of the key areas where low code is being used. However, low code is quickly becoming a standard practice for fast application development, as demonstrated by employee contract tracing apps in the pandemic’s aftermath. Experts foresee that ultimately low code will expand into larger areas such as technology stacks and reengineering.
Yellow.ai offers one of the leading low-code development platforms that seamlessly integrate with third-party applications and flexibly handle structured and unstructured processes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Low-code development platform offers a Graphical User Interface for programming and develops the code rapidly by lowering the conventional programming efforts. These tools ensure the quick development of code by reducing hand-coding efforts. These platforms help with coding as well as with quick setup and deployment.
Yes, BPM is one of the primary apps of low code technology and helps citizens as well as professional developers to build apps that automate processes easily and quickly.
All citizen developers having a fundamental understanding of coding can employ logic to develop custom apps on their own with the help of the low code development platform market.
Low code development is normally dependent on drag-and-drop functionalities, together with straightforward logic-focused visual interfaces, in place of comprehensive coding, which is associated with conventional development methods. With simpler functionalities and ease of use, the low code automation platform is a desired alternative to traditional methods of software development.
No code is the process of developing feature-rich, dynamic apps without penning a single line of code. It’s something platforms endeavour to attain with point-and-click, drag-and-drop, and visual tools.
Low code, in contrast, offers the alternative to enhance apps by modifying code through CSS, HTML, SQL, etc. This can lead to more advanced and strong systems built largely by “citizen developers” with some assistance from technical users.
Low code platform enables users to develop apps 20 times faster, compared with conventional software development. The process of debugging and hand-coding takes a substantial amount of time from any development sprint, so getting rid of that from the equation enhances development timelines.
Yes, integrating low-code platforms with an existing system improves its functioning and gives more flexibility and functionality.
Low code platforms enable large firms to develop the applications they require for all their business processes. This streamlines the scalability, governance, and application security of enterprise apps.
Yes, a few vendors deliver CRM modules as a part of low code platform functionality. This provides firms with an advantage over those using CRM solutions exclusively without low code capabilities, allowing them to develop necessary apps to enrich and automate their sales, service, or marketing processes.
With one-click deployment, visual development, alignment with Agile methodologies, and reusable components low-code development platforms enable development teams to create and deploy apps faster. This lets firms accelerate time-to-market and augment IT output, while increasing ROI, and optimizing IT productivity.