Have you ever heard of low code, a simplified proposal for application programming? Clear your doubts about this type of development.
The application development market (here and in the world) is heated and growing strongly. According to research by consultancy Data.AI, a person spends an average of three hours a day using apps.
Thus, companies are developing apps to meet user demands, generating a high demand for qualified IT professionals. This situation made necessary to accelerate application development time and optimize the available workforce.
One solution to this challenge is the low-code platforms. In this article, we will learn how they work, what are their advantages, disadvantages and understand their uses in practice.
Let’s get started!
What is a low-code platform?
There are several ways to develop apps and software. Some require simpler coding, as is the case with low-code programming. With it, visual interfaces with drag and drop capabilities are used on a development platform. Thus, less experienced programming users can build applications in less time.
Low-code emerged in 2014, primarily used by the consulting firm Forrester to create GUI (Graphical User Interface)-based platforms. Besides her, Gartner, another corporate consultancy, adopted the term and contributed to its popularization.
Today, low-code platforms are the technological trend. A survey by Globe Newswire points out that the market for LCPDs (Low CodeDevelopment Platform) should reach an accumulated value of US$ 187 billion by 2030.
Low-code streamlines development through accessibility
Imagine a scenario in which an IT professional can create apps or software immediately, without extended and complex codes, using mostly visual resources. It is the reality provided by low-code platforms.
Of course, some knowledge of programming languages is still required, as it may be necessary to integrate systems and data sources. Either way, low-code brings simplicity to the design.
The low-code platform provides a pre-built infrastructure that allows you to rapidly develop applications using visual drag-and-drop tools and form builders. It has a variety of ready-to-use components. It brings easy database connectivity, system security and workflow automation.
It means that the developer can spend more time developing the application itself instead of coding common application features line by line. LCPDs often include collaborative features such as team editing environments, code sharing, and version control. It allows teams to work together on projects and streamline application development.
Although it has many advantages, low-code still has its limitations and, therefore, experienced professionals will always be needed to complement the development, work on security and create more complex and elaborate systems.
Low-code vs no-code: what are their differences?
As we have seen, a low-code platform is make with little code. But there is yet another way to simplify software creation. We are talking about no-code platforms, without code, in literal translation. Understand:
- Low-code platforms: simplify the development process by offering visual builders and graphical interfaces for application development. They involve the use of platforms or tools that require a minimum level of coding to create apps and software. Thus, these platforms are aimed at developers. It makes possible for professionals to configure applications quickly, optimizing application time-to-market and development costs. Managers work closely with developers to build solutions that meet business demands.
- No-code platforms: There is no manual editing of any code in this type of platform. These are cheaper and simpler platforms to use, since all the codes are ready. Its interface is friendly and safe. These platforms are aimed at business managers who, even without programming skills or knowledge, can create their own software solutions. With no-code systems, users can design, edit, and publish applications without having to code anything. The focus here is on “what the user wants” rather than “how to do it”. Just tell the system, and it runs.
Low and no-code platforms simplify UX issues and automate workflow. They may be limited in some functions and require more experienced IT professionals to apply improvements.
How is low-code used in practice?
Low-code platforms make professionals more agile. With them, you can develop:
Specific applications for events and meetings
One of the main applications of low-code development is the creation of applications for specific events, for viewing agendas, information about speakers, comments, among others, with mobile or web functionality.
Registration processes for purchasing or sending documentation
With low-code it is also possible to create apps to request documents and data for a purchase, for example.
Integration of collaborators
Do you need a system to onboard new employees? An app created in low-code can meet your needs. In it, you can place tracking functions, management of training exercises, tutorials and even requests to send documentation.
Imagine an app to control the logistics of a restaurant’s meals: it can show when it is prepared, when it is sent for delivery, how long it takes to reach the customer’s home. It is possible to integrate with GPS, making life even easier for the delivery driver.
There are still many other uses for low-code applications. Overall, you can rely on this type of platform to create:
- Applications for customers;
- Applications dedicated to UX;
- Business processes;
- Data integration;
- Testing platforms and application management;
- Data processing.
Advantages and disadvantages of low code
Despite bringing a lot of advantages to companies and programmers, the use of low-code platforms also has some weaknesses. To understand some of the benefits and harms of using them, see this list:
- Efficiency: It is possible to create applications in a short time. That’s because the platform offers ready-to-use features like interface templates and integration tools that allow development to happen quickly. And this without the program’s creator needing to have a lot of skill in development, which lowers the cost for companies and even speeds up the process.
- Flexibility: Allows applications to be easily customized according to users’ needs. It is thanks to the possibility of integrating codes and scripts into them, ensuring that they can be adapted quickly and efficiently.
- Responsiveness: Enables developers to deliver solutions in a timely manner. In addition to being fast, this platform is highly scalable, allowing the application to grow along with user demand.
- Integrability: Allows developers to create applications that can be accessed by different devices and platforms. Furthermore, these apps can be easily integrated with other solutions. That way, people using them have a more fluid and efficient experience.
- User interaction: they provide a consistent customer experience, as they are usually simple to use.
- They make life easier for even experienced professionals: many low-code platforms are extensible. It means they have building blocks for developers to customize.
- They increase profitability: they generate savings for the company, since the apps can be developed in-house, and it is not necessary to outsource development teams.
- Basic knowledge required: While low-code development is easier than building traditional apps, it still requires some basic knowledge to navigate development software. It means that people who are new to programming may encounter some challenges.
- Incompatibility with more complex systems: although they are compatible with many systems, they may not be compatible with some more complex ones, such as those in large corporate networks.
- Limitations on functionality: In general, low-code development is more limited in terms of the functionality of the applications that can be created. It depends on graphic and visual resources for its creation. Some apps need more advanced features.
- Security: In order to understand the data protection levels of the created app, it may be necessary to contract a security audit.
In summary, this type of development is useful for managers and professionals, it facilitates daily tasks, and reduces development time, but it will always need IT guidance, especially if the manager wants significant customizations.
Advantages and Disadvantages of No-Code
As we are also talking about no-code for comparative purposes, we will see below some of its advantages and disadvantages:
- You don’t need to develop any code;
- App development by anyone;
- All functions necessary for development are already integrated into the platform;
- Quickly create apps, thanks to predefined templates.
- Difficult customization, if the project is more specific;
- Solve only quick business challenges;
- It is not platform bound, i.e. updates to the platform may break your app already in use.
When to use a low-code platform?
Now that we understand the advantages and disadvantages of low-code platforms, let’s understand when it is useful to use this approach.
First, analyze the needs of your company. If you need an application or software that is complex to use, 100% customizable, low-code may not suit you – or you may need to make a design adjustment. The second point is the available budget. Low-code platforms, despite their limitations, save budget with hiring external staff and development time.
We hope this article was useful to answer your questions about this development team!
Are you interested in this approach? Learn more about how BRQ uses low-code in its projects.