What is low code?
Low code is a software development approach that uses minimal coding to build websites, applications, and processes. Rather than writing lines of intricate and complex code with traditional computing programming, low-code development uses drag-and-drop visual modelers and point-and-click interface creation to create completed apps rapidly.
A low-code platform helps eliminate repetitive tasks by automating time-intensive and complicated development areas. Low-code applications make app development easier for everyone, from experienced to citizen developers, that are business users with no formal coding experience. As low-code tools help enable less technically savvy employees to make positive organisational impacts, it can also provide experienced programmers flexibility when working on more complicated work. When teammates can move past the application creation bottleneck, you can shorten the development lifecycle and accomplish more in less time, so that they’re able to focus on more significant projects.
By helping collaborators of all levels deliver solutions faster, businesses can create more experiences for their users. By implementing low-code application development into your business processes, you’ll be able to:
- Engage and respond to customer demand through all of your digital channels.
- Elevate your company’s standing in the industry.
- Introduce new, innovative products to the marketplace.
- Set the industry standard for your product and customers’ expectations.
The rise of low-code development
The business world moves fast, and the marketplace needs to be able to keep up. Users want consistent experiences tailored to their needs, available now. By having only developers take on the task of building these items, it’s overwhelming and inefficient. IT spends much of its time simply maintaining current systems, so delivering in-demand solutions with the latest technology customised to users’ needs could be a challenging house of cards.
Low-code development tools help non-developers build complex business solutions without coding experience. Since low-code tools can help anyone build apps, processes, and websites, there’s less pressure on developers to build, code, execute, implement, and troubleshoot each app. These tools were always an integral part of application development, but as time-to-market and innovation have taken centre stage, businesses need to be able to deliver these solutions rapidly.
Due to the pandemic, more businesses shifted to hybrid and remote environments. The convenience of fostering a cloud-forward approach means all teammates will have access to any knowledge needed to complete tasks, and developers are not the bottleneck of each project. With a variety of methods to help non-programmers and non-developers build custom applications, low-code platforms offer processes that can adapt quickly, solutions that can deploy faster, and the implementation of new solutions without any complexity.
The benefits of low code
Low-code development not only makes it easy to build apps fast, but also benefits your organisation. Some advantages of using low-code development tools include:
- Launching products or solutions faster. With low-code tools, business partners can create websites and applications much more quickly than using traditional coding and skilled developers. This allows for more agility and less time spent developing. Solutions are tested, evaluated, and adjusted without needing any formal coding experience.
- Ease of use. For non-developers, it can be hard to understand coding language. With low–code tools, you don’t have to learn programming language, frameworks, use cases, and workarounds to complete projects. The development process is reduced to simple drag-and-drop movements and its logic by simply checking a few boxes.
- Less maintenance. Because low-code application development uses standardised components, there are fewer bugs, integration issues, and complications when building apps or processes. Since you spend less time maintaining your platform, your team has more time to develop more products.
- Aligning solutions with overall business goals. By aligning technology with your organisational goals, you can use citizen and professional developers to fill in the gaps and work seamlessly together—through staff shortages, increases of work, and the development of low-complexity automated process flows.
- Reducing organisational costs. Many small business owners can take advantage of the fact that they wouldn’t need a developer or team to build their website or mobile app. Low-code app development offers a way to make digital solutions without the costly IT overhead, which also means reduced third-party costs.
- Better governance. By modelling consistency within the environment, IT teams and development operations experts can maintain all applications created with complete governance capabilities and compliance. This includes updates, security vulnerabilities, performance analysis, compliance checks, and data.
Building applications with low-code tools
Built on the foundation of coding modulization and visualisation, low-code platforms appeal to demographics of all levels, regardless of skill or familiarity with business procedures and operations—anyone can build on low-code platforms.
Many industries can utilise and benefit from low-code development: healthcare, education, eCommerce, retail, and finance, to name a few. But low-code app development isn’t a catch-all tool for every process—business leaders need to know when they’re helpful or a hindrance. Low-code platforms work best for apps, workflows, or processes using simple functionality, high-use applications, and internal applications. Some use case examples include:
- Complaint management
- Employee lifecycle management
- Expense claim management
- Purchase management
- Marketing budget management
- IT incident management
- Sales lead management
Low-code development platform examples
There’s not a single use case in which you use for low-code tool. Though low-code platforms use simple techniques to write its code, they make simple to more complex apps for all levels of designers.
Use case examples include:
- Process improvement for building applications. Low code helps support business and IT teams by building apps without writing new code. Low-code features help workflow management by automating processes in real time and reducing training time as there’s no need for intensive programming training.
- The integration of legacy systems. In the most requested use case of low-code, it helps seamlessly combine many different platforms and applications into a single cohesive system.
- Rapid application development for web and mobile apps. With user-friendly drag-and-drop editors, it’s easy to build inventive apps that quickly connect to the cloud.
- Business process automation within workflows. In creating and customising workflows from scratch with user-friendly components, low-code platforms help import data and existing workflows.
- Customer relationship management within apps. Low-code platforms manage customer relationships through customer service requests and cases, as well as automating business processes. Your team can build a self-service portal and online stores for your customers and produce custom reports from the data captured throughout those sales.
Nine principles of low-code development
Low-code development can be a great addition to your current and future processes. Embracing this technology for your business can open your world to possibilities you hadn’t even dreamed of yet. As you decide to move to a new low-code development platform, you’ll need to understand the fundamental principles to allow your team to make the best solutions and products possible.
- Agility. Agile and low-code processes both share the idea of prioritising human interaction, working quickly, partnerships, and responsiveness to change. By optimising the process and ensuring that everyone is working together step-by-step, the business can respond to competitive pressures from its customers and the industry at large. When the agile methodology is rightly applied, you put the right solutions or products in the right hands at the right time.
- The cloud. As a central form for all forms of software development, the cloud is ideal for low-code development. It’s almost impossible to execute any digitization plan without leveraging the advantages of ease, speed, focus, and agility that the cloud can provide. As low-code tools combine the use of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, new technology, and augmented reality, having access to data and processing power make implementing cloud services a must. The cloud provides flexible, scalable resources so your team can deploy apps fast, automate processes with ease, and build applications that last.
- Collaboration. By sharing a visual language that everyone can understand, you’ll easily explain and transfer ideas. Because the consequence of miscommunication is vast, and you could waste more time than your project allows, it’s imperative to have enterprise-wide synchronisation, a versioned-control platform, and a shared language that everyone can understand in the same virtual space. Teams can work autonomously but still be in complete communication at every stage. When you have the same language as a visual model, no translation is necessary. Everyone is invested from start to finish, with collaboration enabling your team to create the right solution quickly.
- Community. When teams share the same language, it’s easier to ideate, map, track, and complete their shared goals. Community is a critical element to low-code development as it forms connections, shares knowledge, and inspires others—erecting a democratic platform that enriches everyone. An engaged and active community invests in its technology, lends legitimacy to its platform, visualises its own strengths and weaknesses, and minimises risk.
- Experimentation and innovation. Low-code platforms need to provide an environment where users can experiment, explore, and innovate without boundaries. When you embrace the openness of your Low-code platform, you’re free to find new and exciting ways of enticing customers, trying new products, improving functionality, or creating the best interface for your users. By staying innovative, you stay ahead of the crowd.
- Governance and control. There are at least three types of low-code governance: conforming to internal rules, meeting external rules and regulations, and ensuring your business strategy yields calculable results. Vigorous governance, control processes, and protocols are paramount to ensuring constant compliance. Making sure you have strong guardrails in place means you can design freely while your low-code tool configures an app that results in fewer errors. Adding intelligence to your apps guides developers into making the best decisions and constantly checks the work. Every task can be automated to ensure quality, consistency, and compliance, giving you complete control.
- Model-driven development. When building your next app, you need a team that collaborates and speaks the same language. Model-driven development helps create a shared language between groups so your expert designs and plans how to solve problems. At the same time, the developer understands the stakes and builds what’s needed. Since both the expert and developer know what’s required at every stage, there’s less confusion, more alignment, and processes are completed faster. And the final product helps transform your ideas into applications that deliver value to your business.
- Multi-user development. Low-code platforms are built on the idea that anyone—literally anyone—can build an app. Analysts, developers, domain experts, designers, team members, and more can coordinate and work together in real time from multiple locations to create a single solution. Your platform needs enterprise-grade, multi-user development capabilities to support and synchronise from every workstream, so you can still deliver a refined product or solution.
- Openness. If your platform isn’t open, creating an application that reaches many people is almost impossible. Low-code platforms blend core and legacy systems to succeed in complex landscapes and are architected to accommodate any future connections. Build new connections when you need them, so you’re able to stay open to all possible integrations with no limitations on what you can create. By embracing the technological landscape and staying genuinely open, you future-proof your low-code platform.
Develop your next app with a low-code tool
Once you’ve chosen which low-code tool to integrate into your organisational processes, you’ll be able to empower your team to build their own apps with little teaching. Microsoft Power Apps provides the platform to help your professional and non-professional developers do more with less—create and design professional-grade apps, leverage intricate templates and features, and manage data, all with a few clicks.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does low code mean?
Low code is a software development approach that uses minimal coding to build websites, applications, and processes.
What is an example of low-code development?
An example of using low-code development is enriching the customer experience through engaging UI tools like self-service portals and mobile and progressive web apps.
What is low code vs. high code?
Low-code tools use minimal coding to build apps and can be used by anyone while high-code tools provide a code-driven experience reliant on a developer.
How can you use a low-code tool?
A low-code tool is used for building websites and mobile apps, management processes, and workflows.
Why is low-code development the future?
Low-code development is the future because it helps non-developers create solutions that can deploy easier, faster, cheaper, and without complexity.
Will low-code tools replace developers?
While popular, low-code tools will not replace developers as it helps them work faster by jumpstarting their code, allowing more free time to explore innovative aspects of the development process.
What is low-code AI?
Low-code AI is the utilisation of complex programming to build websites and apps that deploy machine learning and AI without code.
Can low code and APIs work together?
Yes, you can integrate low-code development for an API, but you need to ensure that it works with your organisational strategy first.