The days when IT teams relied on clunky software development processes and labor-intensive hand-coding to build tangible, reliable and modern applications are coming to an end. With the rise of new automation technology, rapidly rising expectations and demands from innovation-craving customers and end users and a shortage of developers, the software sector has been forced to seek approaches to not only deliver their alternative services and products but to also remain digitally -current. Now, overcoming this challenge is possible with low-code development platforms.
What is Low-Code Development and Why all the Fuss?
Low-code development is a software development practice that empowers digital product teams and citizen developers to build apps without time-consuming hand-coding. In general, a typical low-code platform includes a visual integrated development environment (IDE), connectors to various backends or services, an application life cycle manager and an integrated design-to-code system.
With these features and attributes, low-code platforms:
- Abstract away the code behind complex commands and actions
- Streamline how projects are being innovated and distributed in the span of weeks, not months
- Enable citizen developers to build apps
These tools are so effective because they break the mold and automate the app development cycle by providing reusable building blocks. These building blocks can easily be assembled into an entire app, allowing both experienced and beginner technical minds to handle a bigger volume of projects faster than ever. This flexibility is handy, especially when the digital world expects over 500 million apps and digital services to be built and agreed by the end of 2023, according to IDC FutureScape. That is more than all of the software solutions created in the last four decades.
A report by Gartner forecasts that by 2024, low-code adoption will be so widespread that 75% of the software solutions built around the world will be made with the help of such tools. While these tools won’t entirely replace traditional software development, they deliver a contemporary, simpler and faster approach to building apps.
Benefits of Low-Code Development
Whether it is automating individual manual tasks, eliminating old development models like waterfall methodology or making it easier for a tech newbie to build a prototype or a flexible app, low-code development has many benefits.
The benefits of low-code software include:
Innovative projects can be assembled by a non-technical audience
Low-code app builders are game-changers. The need for experienced coders is reduced as this type of tool provides the necessary components and building blocks for non-technical audiences to be involved in full-cycle app development. Another recent Gartner report said that 80% of technology products and services will be created by people outside of tech-driven fields by 2024. And in times when the demand for commercial software, new progressive solutions and skilled developers exceed the supply, low-code tools are a perfect fit for citizen developers, designers, professional developers , non-technical stakeholders and others.
Velocity and optimized development cost
Today, speed is everything. IT businesses and clients require their software to be built within short timeframes and within a strict budget. Legacy systems need rapid modernization without a big investment. One of the greatest advantages of low-code tools is that they let people build at scale without incurring heavy costs or consuming too much time. Automation apps, mission-critical systems and mobile applications can all be created with low-code software.
Reinventing traditional processes and reshaping how software is built
Using these automation tools, you don’t have to worry about HTML/CSS, scalability, coding rules, page layout, branding or screen sizes. As mentioned above, some low-code development platforms come with a system that covers everything from design to code and generates production-ready code at the end. Designers and developers come together to use a single platform that simultaneously:
- Allows them to create solutions that are easy to maintain and that scale on cloud-native architecture
- Modernizes and facilitates their work
- Improves productivity and collaboration
- Fits their workflow and skills
Low-code/no-code tools are quickly becoming the next prototyping tools in the enterprise—without needing the technical skills in traditional UX/visual designer-focused tooling. With low-code or no-code tools, screen design is typically done using drag-and-drop, WYSIWYG design-time experience; it’s usually as simple as making a PowerPoint deck. The main difference between this and a UX/visual design tool is that the low-code/no-code tool is building a running app in the background, with real code, connected data, real screen interactions and more. This means that any team member with an idea can express the design, not just a person who has access to a designer.
No special skills are needed to build something tangible and real—while at the same time going beyond what a mockup or prototype can deliver.
The future of tools in this space will include connectors and adapters to popular design tools, such as Sketch, Figma and Adobe XD. These connectors and adapters will enable digital product teams—designers and developers—to use a design process and then import designs, interactions, branding and themes into low-code tools, while still obtaining the considerable benefits of time and cost savings of not having to re-build screens that have already been designed pixel-perfect.