What Is Low Code?
The first question is probably the most important. What is low code? What does it really mean? The phrase describes a type of app development platform. Low code platforms are designed to help people who aren’t software engineers make successful mobile apps.
There are many low-code platforms to consider, and looking at a few examples will help paint a picture. One of the newest platforms in the space is Microsoft PowerApps. It’s a powerful platform that allows users to make Microsoft apps with very little coding. A graphics-based user interface takes developers through the process, and many have found success with it. Of course, PowerApps is limited in its scope, and the interface can be overwhelming for beginners, but it’s a good example of how these things work.
A better example is Lumavate. It’s actually designed for no code development — which is a perfect platform for anyone who wants to build a mobile app, regardless of one’s coding experience.
If you still have questions like “What is low code development and why is it important,” you can find more information in the Mobile Matters podcast. This episode features Guilda Hilaire and is illuminating with the ways you can reach your audience on mobile.
Low Code No Code Gartner
What is low code no code Gartner? It’s a resource for analyzing and ranking application development platforms. The Magic Quadrant, in particular looks and low and no code platforms in great detail and assess how they are challenging markets, leading sectors, catering to niches or providing visionary innovation.
Just being included in Gartner analysis is a bit of an honor. They don’t randomly select or attempt to provide an exhaustive analysis of all platforms. Instead, they look at market share, install base, and additional market conditions to assess which platforms are worth analyzing in the first place.
Once in Gartner’s eye, the analytical process is intense. Platforms are judged by their products (or services), viability, sales execution, pricing, and market responsiveness. All of that is plugged into their process, and then platforms are placed on the Magic Quadrant. The low code 2019 quadrant went over some of the biggest names in app development. They assessed which platforms were leading the charge, who was challenging those leaders, and who were producing viable visions of the future.
You can view the Gartner hype cycle to get a good overview of the 2019 findings and learn more about PWA platforms.
How Does a Salesforce Developer Use a Low Code Platform?
In case you aren’t familiar with the Salesforce Lightning platform, it’s a prominent, low-code development platform that caters to members of sales groups and teams. The ideal Salesforce developer is someone with strong marketing skills, but they might not be an expert in coding. That’s the point.
So, to use Salesforce low code development, how much experience do you need? Well, it’s more than zero. While the app is user-friendly and geared towards beginners, it’s not a no-code option. User reviews across the board suggest that Salesforce requires heavy investment to make work. Development times are long, and careful planning is necessary to navigate the platform, which makes it a challenge to use Salesforce in rapidly changing environments, and it means that newcomers will struggle before they have the experience necessary to create quality apps on demand.
Compare that to development with Microsoft PowerApps. It is also intended for low-code use cases. PowerApps intends to be friendly to inexperienced developers, but it has separate hangups. While Salesforce gets bogged down when coding becomes necessary, PowerApps bogs users down with an overwhelming GUI. Over time, users can master the GUI and become proficient without having to learn too much code, but that time investment is substantial. The downtime in planning a Salesforce app or overcoming PowerApps’ burden of knowledge can be significant, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Another case to make in PowerApps vs Salesforce is cost. Salesforce low code pricing is pretty cheap for entry. It works on a subscription basis, and prices can be as low as $25 per user per month. PowerApps pricing is similar and ranges from $10 to $40 per user per month. In both cases, access to the platform is not cost-prohibitive. That said, both cases will likely see an initial cost period with little to no app progress as users learn to navigate and utilize the platform resources.
All of this considered, finding the most economical approach to low code development will require you to consider lag time related to mastering a platform. It makes platforms with templates, app examples, and extremely easy development tools more valuable.
Outsystems Low Code
Another case study looks at Outsystems, another low code platform. Run out of Georgia, it has been in the developer space for years. It frequently makes top lists in terms of popularity and overall usage, so it’s worth getting to know.
Despite how frequently Outsystems is used, it has some review problems. The latest Gartner Magic Quadrant showed problems for Outsystems. Citizen developers had massive complaints about the platform. Those included testing frameworks and documentation. More specifically, Outsystems testing frameworks are partially outsourced. That makes it more difficult to run a new app through the gamut of tests necessary before deployment.
As for documentation, Outsystems is severely lacking in several areas. For one, it is difficult to find a native Outsystems tutorial. Third-party tutorials may exist, but the company itself offers little help to developers — especially new developers. Also, Outsystem references are largely third-party. The best resource for the platform is the Outsystems Wiki. Despite the name, it’s run by users, not the parent company.
When you compare Outsystems review problems to the well-known benefits of Lumavate, it creates a stark contrast. Outsystems is designed for developers. That’s why so little help is baked into the system. Lumavate is designed for marketers. It’s assumed that Lumavate developers will be starting with little app experience. The Lumavate templates and libraries are baked into the pie. Help is abundant and easily accessed, and it allows developers to focus on the functions that they need.
Most importantly, Lumavate combines powerful tutorials and built-in help with the robustness of an open-source library concept. The Library has more than 100 items for makers to choose from when building their apps. You can browse through the many Components and Features of the Lumavate Library here. Once you rapidly learn to use the platform, you’ll never have to write a line of code. Lumavate’s developers have already done the legwork for you.
Low Code Examples
A few more low code examples will highlight everything you need to know.
Let’s start with low code Angular. Angular is supported by Google. It’s open-source (like most of our examples), and it’s designed primarily for front-end development. The first iteration was AngularJS that was released in 2010. Several years later, Angular 2+ was released as an upgrade to the platform. Even though Angular is supported by Google and is marketed as low code, it isn’t friendly to new developers. It has a notoriously steep learning curve, and it is mostly used by software engineers and developers of similar experience.
Appian is next on the list. Appian low code solutions are competitive. Unlike many other platforms mentioned, it really does perform in the low code space. Conceivably, you could build an app without touching a keyboard (although many developers still write some code during the process). Appian is designed to make native mobile apps. That funnels it into a specific channel of application and it dictates the developer experience. While you can develop through the GUI, developing native apps requires a stronger understanding of the root systems that will be used to run the app. It can provide substantial challenges for new developers. As such, Appian tends to be a favorite among IT professionals who want to save time by writing less code.
Amazon Web Services is another powerful option. AWS low code development is a bit different from the platforms listed above. It really serves as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). AWS focuses more on hosting, cloud services, and web services as a whole than app development. It can be used to make web apps, and much of that can be done without writing a lot of code, but as an offshoot application of AWS, developing web apps can feel awkward. More importantly, AWS is priced as an infrastructure service. If you only need development resources, it’s easy to overpay by using AWS.
Last is the Microsoft low code platform. We’ve already discussed PowerApps, so we’ll keep this brief. The primary drawback of PowerApps is that it can only be run through the Microsoft store. That limits availability and applications.
Regardless of the platform you choose, low code solutions are a fantastic path to take for citizen developers. You can skip months to years of learning the hard coding skills necessary for app development otherwise. Try building an app on Lumavate’s platform today!