As technology continues to develop throughout the years, so does the need for apps and websites that stand out from the crowd. They need to deliver high-quality experiences and innovative features to their users in order to stay ahead of their competition. But that is easier said than done. With the way that technology is rapidly taking a larger role in both our personal and professional lives, it is important that businesses find an easy solution to their development needs without having to rely solely on developers or their IT infrastructure. And that is where low code development comes in. But what does the future of low code development look like?
Not only are IT leaders using the platforms as an integral part of their efforts to keep up with the demand for high-tech applications, but normal staff members that aren’t as familiar with coding are using them to directly create them. With the popularity of apps ever-increasing, it is clear that low code development platforms are here to stay. Filled with user-friendly structures such as drag and drop modules and visual modelling, the development platforms fill the gaps that normal staff members in the past, wouldn’t be able to fill without the help of an experienced app developer.
There are five main types of low code platforms – which are each suitable for different reasons. These are:
- Request Handling
- Mobile First
- General Purpose
All of the low code platforms use the same type of technology, such as an application lifestyle manager, AI, collaborative visual development features etc, that allow businesses to create platforms in a short amount of time – meaning that their customers can start to use them sooner rather than later.
Current progress in the market
With the market of low code development growing, it is clear that more and more platforms are being created to keep up with demand. One example of a technology platform which enables low code development is OutSystems – which removes the traditional coding interfaces. In their 2019 State of Application Development report, that conducted a survey on 3,300 IT professionals, it found that there are currently 41% of the IT professionals that use low-code platforms, with indications that more are going to start to use them as time goes on. This is a drastic increase of 7% since the last report came out in 2018.
In an article that was posted last year, it was predicted that by 2022 the market is expected to grow to USD 27.23 billion – a huge increase from the USD 4.32 billion that it was in 2017. As low code development grows, alongside no-code development, traditional code development is starting to decrease in popularity – this, however, doesn’t mean that it won’t continue to be used by millions of organisations around the world that may favour the complexities and unique websites/apps that are created from using normal development practices.
Industry successes that are actively using low code development in their organisations
There is a wide range of organisations in a variety of industries now using low code development platforms. They are an ideal solution when a business wants to create their own applications in order to sell their product/service to their customers without using a developer. Perfect for large and small businesses alike, they can result in applications that are hugely popular globally. The top platforms I will pay attention to in this article is Mendix, Microsoft’s PowerApps and Appian – three huge giants within the industry that have thousands of customers.
Firstly, Mendix’s low code development platform is used by 1000’s of organisations across the world. A platform that’s designed for all skill sets, with multichannel app and collaborative visual development features, it is one of the most affordable platforms that you can utilise. Mendix is used by organisations such as Aegon, ING and Harvard University, to create apps that are easy to use and accessible for everyone. Popular organisations in their own right, it indicates the variety of industries that can utilise low code development to create platforms that stand out and that are fully functional.
Secondly, Microsoft PowerApps. A low code development platform that allows you to choose from a large selection of different templates, to connect your app to data and enhance your apps by using AI, the popularity of the platform has grown and grown throughout the years. Used by companies such as Aklevon, Insight and Artisan (amongst 100’s of others), the simplicity of this platform is perhaps the reason as to why many organisations are utilising it. It is also used by smaller, start-up businesses who are looking for an easy to use platform that requires little coding to set up – which makes it perfect for those who aren’t that familiar with coding language. It shouldn’t be confused with a no-code platform, however, which can be set up by anyone with no coding knowledge whatsoever.
Thirdly, Appian. Focused on the uprise in digital transformation, the low code development platform that they offer is used by over 1000 companies internationally, including Aviva, Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp and CollabraLink Technologies Inc. Combining business process management with AI and robotic process automation, it allows you to integrate all of your data into one system.
Low Code Development Vs. Traditional Code Development
When you are running a business and are looking to develop apps, websites, etc. it is important to weigh up the pros and cons of low code development in comparison to traditional code development. To make the decision a little easier, here are the top benefits/disadvantages for each:
Low Code Development
- It is faster than traditional code development: allowing you to make software within a matter of minutes, rather than hours (through the use of the drag and drop functionality, integration with other tools, a clever one-click application delivery tool etc).
- They allow for multi-channel opportunities
- There offer high ROI opportunities
- They are affordable and easy to use
- They allow a business to streamline their processes
- Safety: There are some concerns as to the safety of third-party low code development platforms – as they are essentially the holders of your businesses data. It’s essential that if you do choose to use a low code development platform, you read reviews about them from other companies and check that the site offers a strict privacy and security policy.
- You have to have basic coding knowledge: With low code development platforms, it is also vital to remember that if anything goes wrong in terms of the coding, you/the staff member that is in control of the platform is aware of basic coding practices in order to make a quick fix. Many think that low code development platforms can be used by people with no knowledge of coding and this is simply not the case.
Traditional Code Development
Just because low code development holds its own benefits, it doesn’t mean that it has completely overtaken traditional code development. Traditional code development is still a successful movement in its own right and holds an array of benefits that an individual or business can reap:
- Ideal for those looking for a complex website/app
- It is more flexible than low-code, giving you a unique and bespoke look – which is not always possible from a low code platform
- You can get all of the functionalities/features you want by using a developer to create a platform with traditional coding practices
- The coding used in traditional code development can be adapted as time goes on
- You will have ownership of the code
- It can be expensive: as you have to have qualified and experienced developers
- The process can sometimes lack in efficiency: meaning that it takes longer than need be to fix any errors that occur
At the end of the day, it is your decision as to which you choose – and your decision could be based on a variety of factors, including the amount of time you have to develop them, the money that you have to spend on the project, if you want an automated process, etc. You should also consider what you want to create and how bespoke you want to make it.
Once you have made a decision as to what you want to achieve from your app/website/or another form of platform, you can start to think about which type of code development is most appropriate for your business – either hiring an experienced developer or using a developer within your business to create it or utilising a low code development platform in which you/an IT professional within your business will use to create them yourself. There is one thing for certain though – and that is that low code platforms will continue to thrive as technology continues to develop. Whether it overtakes traditional code development is something that only time will tell.