Low-code Application Development Platform

Understand the key characteristics of a low-code platform and the benefits for enterprise app delivery. Also, learn the key questions to ask when choosing a low-code platform.

Definition of Low-code Development Platforms

Low-code development platforms can be defined as platforms that help in building enterprise-grade applications with minimal coding and almost half the investment in training, development and set up. Low-code development platforms drive innovation, involving business and technical teams to work together towards digital transformation.

Low-code platform and its common myths

Myth #1: Low-code is only for citizen developers

Business analysts today use low-code platforms to build and deliver custom apps. This has created an assumption that low-code development platforms are not for someone serious about development. The truth is, enterprises employing low-code strategies do so because developers can build sophisticated low-code apps in a fraction of the time it would take with traditional agile development methods.

Myth #2: Low-code means no code

Low-code platforms allow developers to drag and drop components onto a canvas and then integrate the components using popup dialogs and plain language. The simplified interface leads meany to believe that low-code is no code. But at times, these components need to be extended by coding. It may involve enhancing a form with JavaScript or writing custom algorithms or even building integrations not supported by the platform out of the box.

Myth #3: Low-code means small scale

Due to the lack of complexity and ease of usability, low-code platforms are often considered not suitable for building large-scale business applications. Reality is quite the contrary. Today’s state-of-the-art low-code platforms are capable of building anything from simple forms and workflows to composite line-of-business systems capable of servicing hundreds of thousands of users. They’re powerful and are dramatically less expensive than traditional development methods.

Key characteristics of a low-code app development platform

We could also break the above definition down into the following key characteristics that an application development platform must exhibit to be called a low-code.

Visual Development

The fundamental expectation from a low-code development platform is to offer a WYSIWYG development environment where developers can drag and drop components to design responsive user interfaces that adapt to a device’s screen resolution. Some low-code platforms go so far as to offer out-of-the-box templates for commonly used layouts and screens such as dashboards. The demand for enterprise mobile apps has meant that low-code platforms have also started to offer cross-platform mobile app development with access to native mobile device features.

Simplified Integration

Virtually every business application depends on data to create a meaningful application. But data is available from disparate systems ranging from proprietary enterprise systems to APIs from external entities and everything in between. Hence, data integration consumes an inordinate amount of time and resources during enterprise application development. A low-code development platform is expected to provide a visual approach for developers to connect to these data sources and embed data elements directly into the application. Some platforms also allow professional developers to design data models and configure business logic directly

Instant Deployment

Beyond the need to reduce application coding, low-code platforms are expected to streamline and speed up the application delivery process itself. One key characteristic is the ability to instantly deploy an application with zero DevOps. Such platform also offer a single point of control for app maintenance and updates. While other low-code app development platforms extend the capabilities to security, governance, version control, infrastructure autoscaling and more.

Benefits of Low code development Platforms

Business-IT Alignment

Business-IT Alignment

Low-code app development platforms enable close collaboration between developers, business analysts and subject matter experts. This greatly benefits enterprises as rework is reduced and cost overrun can be avoided to a large extent.

Clear IT Backlog

Clear IT Backlog

The linear approach of conventional software development models presents significant opportunities to reduce waste and fast-forward delivery. Low-code platforms streamline and speed up the development and delivery process, achieving substantial reduction of the IT backlog.

Democratization of App Delivery

Democratization of App Delivery

With the ever-rising demand for applications, enterprises are expanding their internal talent pools, for building noncritical or long tail apps using nontraditional developer talent like technical business users.

Consumer-grade Business Apps

Consumer-grade Business Apps

Today, customers and employees expect to access apps from various devices, putting additional pressure on developers. Low-code platforms with modern frameworks can provide consumer-grade applications using enterprise-grade technology at a fraction of the cost.

Speed Innovation

Speed Innovation

Competitive advantage lies with companies that focus the most on ‘Systems of Innovation’. Low-code platforms are ideal for such systems that require the most experimentation and experience the highest rate of change.

4 Questions to ask before choosing a low-code platform

Before you choose a low-code development platform, make sure you ask these questions and discuss with key stakeholders at your organization.
(click on a question to learn more)

While most low-code app builder platforms claim ‘No Vendor Lock-in’, the reality is that most of them use proprietary technologies and application stack. Applications developed on the WaveMaker RAD Platform are based on proven open source technologies that are trusted by millions of developers and users around the world. More importantly, the WaveMaker RAD Platform uses best-of-breed application stack for developing full stack applications – ensuring an open and extensible low-code platform.

Ensure that low-code platform vendors don’t get away with merely providing a hosting and release management solution. Check for the ability to scale applications and handle private cloud needs. For instance, WaveMaker provides a Private Cloud environment that supports deploying applications into Docker-based lightweight containers, allowing for rapid and continuous provisioning, deployment, instant scalability and maximum utilization of resources. WaveMaker low-code platform provides ability to build custom software stacks, deploy API-driven microservices based apps and orchestrate IT infrastructure effectively.

While most vendors offer decent visual development capabilities, it is extremely important to look for features that ease external integration of data and services as most business data is stored in disparate, proprietary systems. For instance, WaveMaker provides a host of out-of-the-box integrations to instantly add powerful functionality to your apps. You can also create custom integrations, called Prefabs, and reuse them across apps.

Today, APIs are at the front and centre of business applications and architecture. Most low-code platforms support APIs as an afterthought at best. However, one must choose a platform that takes an API-first approach to application delivery. For instance, using WaveMaker low-code platform, developers can simultaneously create both applications and APIs. APIs can easily be imported from any service and their data can be seamlessly bound to UI components. WaveMaker also supports auto publishing of REST APIs for the application business logic.

Discover more about low-code platform

Accelerate digital transformation using low-code platforms

In this era of digital transformation, enabling employee innovation is a must. Assisting in this process are low-code platforms, allowing IT to take control of employee empowerment. WaveMaker – a low-code development platform – helps in legacy app modernization using its unique drag and drop interface. Here in this webinar, we give you a quick tour of the digital reality and take you through the process of building a business app using WaveMaker.

WaveMaker RAD vs traditional development

In this whitepaper, we talk about the various difficulties an organization faces while developing applications using conventional development methods. This costs more time, money and effort – obstacles which can be easily solved using WaveMaker, an open standard low code rapid application development platform. This low-code development platform takes a unique visual approach to app building which requires fewer resources and a shorter time span. Read more to know about instant testing, continuous deployment, and other features of WaveMaker low-code platform.

Low-code and the third way of app modernization

With digital transformation gaining rapid pace, demand for applications grew exponentially. Traditional hand coding approach to application development failed to deliver the desired result and led to the emergence of low-code platforms. Advantages – application building required less coding, less time, and can easily adapt to different environments. In this blog, we discuss in detail how low-code opened up a new approach to app modernization.

Paving the Way for Modern Enterprise Application Delivery

The emergence of low-code platform took place when traditional application delivery methods could not keep up with the demands of the digital age. In the face of this struggle, low-code development platforms came up as the key enabler to innovation by simplifying the development and deployment of custom enterprise apps. Read our detailed ebook here to know about the new trends impacting enterprise application delivery today.

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