Low code app development is the phrase of the moment right now. There are even some tools which fall into the low code category which use artificial intelligence to help develop solutions better although not without some controversary. Yet, the terms used are not clearly definitive, which can lead to confusion. This article will first define a few key phrases such as citizen developer, visual apps development, no and low code application development, and so on. Then we will discuss the pros and cons of such tools in detail. Finally, we will see why low code app development platforms can be helpful for business users.
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Why are the terms visual, no, and low code development so confused?
The software development lifecycle starts with a fairly clear definition of every term used. Compilers compile code, linkers link intermediate or object code, and IDE is a development environment which usually contains both those things. This application development terminology makes things clear and precise. Sadly, this is not true for other terms related to software. For example, some marketers and low-code platforms can conflate or even misuse some terms. This can make it tough to understand what low-code, no-code, and visual apps development really are.
What is a citizen developer?
A citizen developer is a person who creates custom apps either for their own use at home or in their office or for colleagues and friends. For example, a user may want to test a business idea or automate a business process. Typically the term is used to mean someone who produces apps with little or no specialist coding knowledge. Low code platforms can help enable the ability for citizen developers to do this. The emphasis on a graphical user interface for low code development platforms makes the development process easier for them than traditional specialist coding environments which might require a higher level of technical skills, an innate ability, or knowledge gained through traditional software development and design education. According to Gartner, 52% of firms support the role of citizen developers.
What is visual development?
As you might expect, a visual development environment allows us to create applications visually by clicking, dragging or drawing elements of the app rather than writing program code to create design elements. It also allows us to automate processes. Visual development often uses icons and graphics on a palette of tools to represent various tasks and packages of functionality. Users can drag and drop icons in the app maker to build their own apps. Some low code systems also also users to connect and modify these ready-to-use apps once they have been created. Features like import and export of low code app designs can make them reusable.
Despite its importance, it is not a new concept. Development teams already know it through visual modeling tools. For example, Delphi’s Visual Component Library (VCL) is a pioneer in such development tools.
What is no code development?
No code development allows app creation from pre-defined templates. It can involve an element of visual development. Usually, you can drag and drop from available pre-built apps. However, this method is more doable for well-defined problems. For example, we can filter emails in some email clients using no code ‘rules’ to automate workflows of inboxes. Sadly, the World is an intricate and varied analog place and it’s not possible for all issues to be anticipated and well defined. Thus, complex app development is generally not possible with this method. The good thing is that firms constantly add to the available apps pool and, over time, more solutions are found for problems.
What is low code app development?
Although low code app development is a relatively new term, the concept itself is not new. A low code development platform makes DIY software development possible for many users. Its visual low code capabilities can be easier to come to terms with than the more demanding rigors of a programming language’s syntax. However, because it often requires some coding, the low code platforms are generally unsuitable for non-developers for anything other than very trivial apps and even then it can require some practice and self-education to understand technical concepts. Still, low code development tools can allow many users to create apps.
How does low code app development help citizen developers?
Business process management is generally easy for experienced business users. Thus a user weak in traditional development skills but experienced in business might know business processes well and have a clear understanding of the elements involved. Also, a user may know traditional coding, but can’t pursue the traditional coding route due to time and resource constraints. Low code app development makes application development possible for them. This kind of shift from highly skilled development toward more citizen development is one of the keystones of the ideas behind Tech Democracy.
It’s unlikely citizen developers will replace a specialist IT development team any time soon. Instead, low code enables and enhances teamwork between developers and business users. For example, low-code application platforms allow users to develop applications quickly. IT people may then optimize the most often used solutions. This type of co-work is probably only possible in low code space.
How do no code and low code platform functionality differ?
There are many things common in these app creation methods. Both allow us to automate workflows. Both help rapid application development. Yet, despite these common traits, contrast also exists. They differ in features like difficulty, speed, flexibility, and chance of error. Let us discuss these issues of low code tools in detail.
How do low code platforms differ in ease of use?
No-coding solutions can accelerate application delivery because using them requires very little knowledge of the underlying system. But on the other hand, low code development demands more knowledge. Thus no coding is easy to use. But No Coding can only solve more accessible and well-understood problems. So we must move towards a low code platform for anything more complex.
How do low code development platforms differ in terms of speed?
Zero coding solutions are like tin-packed meals. They are pre-cooked and ready to eat. Thus, their service delivery time is short. Moreover, their range is getting wider as systems add more custom applications. Sadly, the same is not valid for low-code custom solutions. They need some code, and thus the time to develop them is longer.
Why are low coders more error prone than no coders?
No coders have limited access to the system, so they produce very few errors. But a low coder has to accelerate development and solve complex processes. So it forces them to go deeper on the system level. Sadly, this extra mile raises the error ratio. Thus native mobile applications have more chances of mistakes than simple process automation. That is why debugging is a must in enterprise-grade applications for professional developers.
How do no code and low code app development differ in flexibility?
The more one knows, the more flexibility one can have. Thus low coding solutions are more flexible than no coding ones because they need more knowledge. Yet, at times flexibility is related to cost. For example, G Suite Business offers better digital transformation with more enterprise features. Hence, you must know more or pay more to have more flexibility. Yet, a low-code solution is more flexible when the price is constant than a no-code solution.
Which design studio is best for low code app development?
Right now many businesses are facing a lack of professional developers or are experiencing upheaval as the job market recovers from the effects of the global pandemic. Enabling other users to create apps and solutions via low code applications can ease this issue. In addition, letting many users build business applications can boost progress and open doors for digital transformation.
Learn more about this easy-to-use tool called Kissflow which is one of the most popular low-code tools available today.
Low code app development is vital for business success. Whether in mobile app development or creating business apps, low-code application development can help you along the way. Why not start your journey now by downloading one of the best low-code app development platforms for free and see what it can do for you?