“Software is eating the world,” Marc Andreessen, the American software developer and investor, wrote in an essay back in 2011. Ten years later, the top five most valuable brands are tech companies – software does have an insatiable appetite. All our devices run on software which, in turn, runs on code. Coding is now so ubiquitous that some demand that it be part of the school curriculum. Is the ability to code really that important?
Imagine you need to create a mobile application for your customers. Management has given the green light to the project, but all your developers are snowed under, and you are working to such a tight deadline that you simply don’t have the time to find a skilled professional developer. So what do you do? First, you panic when you realize that the teeny bit of programming knowledge you have is not going to cut it. But what happens once the panic has subsided? If you let low code platforms help you, the next thing you’ll do is breathe a sigh of relief.
The promise of low code
Traditionally, in order to develop some software, you needed to master one or more programming languages and have a good grasp of digital logic to boot. Lacking those skills, you might as well not have bothered. With low code platforms, however, you can build applications and processes even as a so-called citizen developer, i.e. someone with little to no coding experience. Whether you’re an accountant or a sales manager who has never written a single line of code, these platforms will provide you with a collection of tools that you can use to create the unique application your business needs. They don’t just help you cope, they’ll make you flourish – fast and easily.
How low code platforms work
Think of software development as drawing. At the core of low code platforms are graphical user interfaces with simple drag-and-drop features, themes, and layouts. Application development processes and workflows are represented as visual models which are much easier to understand than long strands of code. Unlike the traditional development process where you start from scratch with every new project, low code lets you take shortcuts. No more hand-coding, no more dealing with programming framework issues; instead, you can focus on the application you want to build.
With the help of the out-of-the-box functionality you can use (and reuse) pre-configured modules and plug-ins whenever you are developing. Having that at your fingertips, you can forget about the ins and outs, and focus on your ultimate goal, the solution that you want to create. You know best what functionality you require; explaining it to a developer would take too long and use up valuable resources. With low code you, the end user, can take part in the process of developing the software you will use on a daily basis.
How your business benefits
In addition to their two most obvious advantages – being fast and easy to use – low code platforms offer a host of other benefits that may have a profound effect on your entire business:
- employees can create and modify their own tools
- workflows are simplified and routine tasks (e.g. sending emails) are easy to automate
- boundaries between IT- and non-IT teams are removed
- organizations improve their agility
A word of warning, though. Given the wide range of options available, choosing the ideal platform can prove tricky. Are you looking for a cloud-based platform or one with offline working capabilities? Would you like to develop a consumer app or a business app? There is no one-size-fits-all solution, some features, however, are absolutely essential. Be sure that the platform you decide on is scalable, secure, and allows you to own your code so that you’re not locked into the platform.
But let’s say you have the platform that meets all your requirements. Creating your app is supposed to be a cinch now, but one technical challenge has you stuck. How can you get help?
Low code platforms for collaboration
Companies that provide low code platforms can help non-programmers who wish to develop internally. However, that doesn’t mean ignoring professional developers. Indeed, some low code platforms target both citizen developers and pros, offering tools that facilitate collaboration. While the focus on rapid, simplified development is a universal feature of low code platforms, they have a number of approaches to support the software development lifecycle. A platform that offers integrated capabilities enables citizen developers and professionals to work together on application development.
Though you can build an entire app by yourself, you might find that certain aspects, such as a tricky integration with your ERP system, do need a developer’s touch. The good news is that you’re not left alone: whenever you need some support, you can get it from a professional developer. For true collaboration you need a low code platform that generates code developers can edit in a standard integrated development environment (IDE). In this way your app can be extended to do anything you need it to.
The VisionX platform was designed exactly for such collaboration. Visual tools and a library of pre-built functionalities make it easy for citizen developers to create the apps they need. VisionX is the only low code platform with 100% open source framework support: Java code is generated, which a developer can extend or edit in their IDE of choice. Live sync with the popular Eclipse IDE even makes real-time collaboration possible. Whether changes are made visually by you or in the code by a pro, you can iterate quickly and easily. You can work together with your own in-house developers or we can help you on a consulting basis. As a result, your low code development truly has no limits.
Would you like to see just how easy it is to build your own professional grade business apps? Get a personal demo today!