You may have heard about tools that suggest the creation of mobile applications or websites with little or no programming knowledge, but how true is this? In this article we’ll help you understand the true scope and usefulness of this type of technology and, most importantly, we’ll show you how to use it to boost your business idea.
Low code: in English, please
The main thing is not to confuse the concept of Low-code with No-code. The first one refers to the generation of software applications with little programming knowledge, where the tool will take care of the core of the application and the user will only focus on improving some visual or integration details. The second concept, No-code, is oriented to users with 0 programming knowledge and in this case the platform will be in charge of generating 100% of the application code, providing visual tools commonly known as Drag & Drop.
Do you have some basic programming skills?
Do you enjoy exploring this type of technology?
What is the purpose of your application?
How complex is your application, what availability does it require and how many users are going to use it?
How quickly do you need to get your application up and running?
What is the budget for your development?
Do you plan to extend your application in the future?
But how is it done?
Let’s suppose you need to generate a web application that allows you to display the description of your company’s products. When you have the answers to the questions in the previous section, you can choose the tool that best suits your needs. There are multiple tools to choose from such as Adalo, WebFlow, Bubble, AppSheet, to name a few. Before deciding, you should take into account elements such as:
- The subscription price
- The number of applications that can be generated
- The consumption limits of both forms and integrations
- The cost of integrations within the platform
- The number of users that can use it
- Deployment mechanisms according to the chosen plan
Once you have chosen the tool, it’s essential to find a template that suits your tastes and needs. These tools allow an easy configuration of templates from the Drag & Drop of components that you will be able to integrate and style.
Currently, most applications on the market offer a wide variety of alternatives to integrate with your company’s source systems (databases, web services, ERPs, CRMs, etc.). Therefore, when selecting them, you should define the viability of the integration and its associated costs, so that you do not have any surprises later on.
What if my users are mobile-focused?
Don’t worry, many of these platforms allow the creation of Progressive Web Applications (PWA), which are nothing more than web applications that simulate the behavior of a native application that is normally downloaded from the manufacturer’s stores. But be careful, this is another world with many considerations to take into account, such as browser dependency, access to native device features, performance, and more.
Also, there are other platforms focused exclusively on the generation of mobile apps, which simplify both development and deployment in stores, which can often be a real headache. Some of the most recognized are AppSheet for simple apps or FlutterFlow for apps with a higher level of complexity.
Overview of the advantages of Low-code
By this point, you have probably already identified a large number of advantages, but let’s take a look at a few concepts:
Agility in the creation of applications
Democratization of application development, anyone can do it.
Easy integration with information sources (in most cases).
Assisted and easy to execute deployments, both for websites and mobile apps.
Some platforms offer code extraction
But not everything is rosy
Unfortunately, this type of technology also has its dark side, here we list some cons:
Limited flexibility, many times the platforms don’t offer enough dynamic components to fully develop your idea. That is, sometimes you have to adapt to the functionalities of the templates they offer.
Scalability is often a problem. Especially if your application grows considerably, the resulting performance problems could affect your business or incur high maintenance and/or deployment costs.
A marriage? By choosing a platform you accept their payment mechanisms and the features they offer within their plans, migration to other platforms is very complex and in most cases, non-existent.
Security can be affected. By having standard features, these types of applications are public knowledge, which makes them more vulnerable to attacks.
The prices of these applications can be quite high and with limited capabilities.
The simple features of an application are usually very easy to generate, but the sophisticated ones can take a long time (even longer than traditional development) and in fact sometimes cannot be developed at all.
In a nutshell 🌰
If your application can be adapted to conventional standards, the number of users is not very high and you need to get value quickly, Low-code can be a great choice. It is often the perfect scenario to validate your business idea and generate a rapid prototype (MVP) that allows you to collect and validate your application in a short time.
After demonstrating the great value of your idea, you can move on to a second phase with a custom development, which will help you reach new audiences and ensure the scalability and quality of your application.
Don’t forget that programming is only one step in the creation of your product. Therefore, it’s key to prioritize the discovery phase and the validation in the market you will face.
We know it seems like a long road, but don’t worry, you don’t have to go through it alone. At Activeone we can help you through the whole process of developing your app, wherever you are. Schedule a free consultation with us today and save you a lot of headaches.