What is low-code development?
Low-code is a way to quickly design and develop software by reducing the number of lines of code that need to be created. As a result, it allows skilled developers to create software more easily, quickly and reliably. Moreover, low-code development platform makes it possible to combine traditional code with a certain number of already pre-coded modules. Consequently, low-code makes it possible to assist developers (back, front, DevOps, …) in their tasks effectively.
Firstly, for a better understanding, lets consider a visualized example: In the aeronautics industry, a good part of the construction of an airplane is automated. For instance, robots assist the experts, but they still need advanced skills to ensure that everything is manufactured correctly. It is exactly the same with low-code: Small prefabricated modules help the developers to perform their tasks faster. However, the developers still need to know how to code, in order to integrate and link these modules together.
Low-code or no-code ?
- Low-code is for developers with strong software development skills. It allows them to choose from a number of modules which they won’t need to develop themselves. This can reduce the development time by a few weeks. However, using a low-code platform requires to keep a traditional organization, whether in agile mode or in V-cycle.
- No-code does not require any particular computer skills. No-code platforms have very simple interfaces (e.g. drag and drop, easily understandable graphical elements, etc.). These interfaces allow everyone to create customized software in just a few hours. Getting started with such a platform requires very little time and allows the user to be completely autonomous within a few minutes.
- Creating software with a low-code platform takes a few months. However, the same outcome can be achieved within a few hours with the usage of a no-code platform.
Some key numbers
The market for low-code development platforms, offered by companies such as Salesforce.com, Appian, Mendix and others, will likely reach $ 21.2 billion by 2022, with an estimated annual growth rate of 40%, according to a report published by Forrester in November 2017.
Who is this type of platform for?
Low-code development platforms aim at developers or development teams who want to produce their software faster. They can also contact agencies and IT development providers to speed up the fulfillment of their customer orders.
How to choose a low-code / no-code platform?
No-code vs low-code
Before you decide to use a low-code platform, consider the benefits you would gain from the use of a no-code platform. Too often, users choose low-code platforms whereas they would be better off with a no-code solution. Consider your options carefully and make no mistake! Using a no-code platform can save you a lot more time and money than a low-code platform. Certain companies which first decided for a low-code tool, notably renowned insurers, have now abandoned them in favor of a no-code tool and have gained up to 30% in productivity in very little time.
User experience is a priority
For developers to be truly assisted in their tasks, it is necessary to have a low-code platform with an impeccable user experience at their disposal. Otherwise, the use of such a low-code tool could be counterproductive and might cause a loss of precious time.
A really useful low-code platform has to be well supplied at all times. Make sure that it has a substantial number of modules useful for your purpose. Moreover, ensure that these modules are not too difficult to configure. Also make sure that they comply with your security policies.
Ensure that the tool you choose has a number of predefined graphic templates. This will allow your developers to focus more on high value-added code and less on the production of graphical user interfaces.
Make sure the tool you choose has the visual tools to help and support project management. Some tools also include collaborative work tools that allow for the inclusion of end users in the construction of the software. This can be a very interesting feature to prepare for the conduct of change.
Deployment in the cloud
It is important that your chosen low-code platform gives the possibility of easy deployment in the cloud without having to configure lots of tools and connectors beforehand. Also make sure that it handles changes on the fly and upgrades properly.
Bugs and technical debt
Choose a tool that has a bug management and self-correction module as well as a technical debt management tool. A must have are the tools that offer a test and recipe automation tool, saving time guaranteed!
Personalization and connectivity
Make sure that the chosen tool is connectable with your existing ecosystem in a simple way. It is not desirable to spend too much time on the data connection.
Training and support
A low-code tool without training is totally useless. In fact, unlike the no-code, getting started often takes quite long and requires extensive training. Make sure that the supplier of the chosen solution has a satisfactory training program, face-to-face and with educational trainers. Without it, your developers may simply not adopt low-code.
Support is also very important. It is not imaginable to wait more than an hour for an answer to an urgent question. Do not hesitate to call the customers of the targeted solutions to ask them how they feel about customer support.
Don’t forget the basics
It is very likely that any supplier you choose will meet these requirements. However, scalability, availability (for example, a 99% service level agreement), and security are important factors.
- Find out more about no-code development and the benefits it provides for your business. Everything you need to know about no-code development platforms.
- You want to improve your SME with the help of no-code? Explore your possibilities here.
- You are a project manager? Read here how you can make use of no-code development.
- You are an IT leader? Find out more here.