Determine Your Readiness for Low Code Platforms
Low Code is simply the concept of “no coding necessary” to build software applications. It’s a way for non-engineers to build apps in the cloud using visual drag and drop modules provided by a number of platforms available in the market. It’s also a way for developers to shorten development timelines and programming costs.
Much like web development platforms such as Wix, SquareSpace or WordPress dominate over 54% of the web development market, Low Code platforms are expected to reach 65% market share over the next 4 years, according to Gartner.
Over the past few years, Low Code platforms have been disparaged by traditional software developers. Criticisms include Low Code’s app enhancement limitations, black-box effect, inefficiencies derived from code bloating, extra costs related to adoption, unforeseen coding requirements, data management issues, and integration capabilities. However, these challenges have all been successfully addressed. Low Code platforms are now positioned to become the standard for not just small customers, but professional developers as well.
Current market trends in which the average app lifecycle is getting shorter, combined with the constant shortage of app developers, is fueling a Low Code movement. This is evidenced by the recent increase in M&A activity. AppSheet, Mendix, AppMakr, and Infinite Monkeys are examples of Low Code platforms that have recently been acquired, indicating that the Low Code segment is already undergoing market standardization.
As Low Code becomes more and more standardized, it’s important to keep in mind from a user/customer standpoint that Low Code serves mainly two types of customers: those requiring a very simple app and the ones where the app can be built using a Low Code platform but a limited amount of additional custom coding is or will be required. Customers still need to evaluate the long term goals of the app early on before deciding which Low Code platform to engage with, if any.
While cross-platform mobility and compatibility is available within the Low Code space, the long-term risk/cost factor can be high. User retention can be sensitive to major UX/UI app changes as opposed to gradual, and data migrations require a fair amount of sophisticated technical planning prior to execution. Knowing early where one wants to go with a particular app should determine if the use of a Low Code platform is viable and if so, which particular one is most suitable. While many projects can be done by non-programmers using a Low Code platform, it’s highly recommended to have a consultation with a reputable software development expert such as Opentrends in the planning stages to derisk the long-term viability of the app.
You can think about this like buying a home. If you have shopped for a home you know you have three choices: purchase a lot and build your own, buy an older existing home to fix/remodel, or buy a home that is turnkey.
- A custom home takes longer to build but provides the most customization options and flexibility: You can decide the size, position, and design of the entire structure.
- A fixer-upper can take a while before it’s move-in ready but provides a fair level of customization: you can change the size of some rooms, windows, countertops… but you can’t change the structure without incurring major costs.
- The existing turnkey home is fast to acquire but will require more compromises: you may change the paint color and flooring, but any major change will cost you dearly.
Deciding to develop an app in Low Code is like buying a fixer-upper or a turnkey, it may require compromises, but it may serve your needs just fine. The reason it’s important to know early on what the long-term plan is with the app and to consult a software developer such as Opentrends is that, unlike a home, the app can’t be sold and exchanged for a new one. So if the app becomes limited, expanding it may not be worthwhile and a brand new custom one may be required.