The world of business is one of constant evolution and change, but today, the world as a whole finds itself dealing with a faster rate of change than what it is used to. The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally disrupted day-to-day business activities, and work-from-home guidance has become prevalent among many companies. While these protocols help fight the pandemic, they make routine work more challenging to complete, especially for those who are used to having convenient access to all office resources and data.
Low code development platforms have been steadily growing in popularity as a solution to numerous business concerns. However, in today’s uncertain climate, this software development method is more advantageous for companies than ever before.
The Limitations Of Traditional Development
Low code development platforms are a fairly new approach to software development. The traditional or legacy method that is still at the root of software development is high-level programming. Computer software is typically created by typing in direct commands in a sophisticated programming language. Programming languages have evolved from the earliest iterations such as machine language and assembly language to today’s modern languages such as Python and C++.
Typically, traditional programming requires individuals to undergo years of training. Once they have become experts, they work in large, resource-intensive teams. It takes a lot of time and money to create software this way. This means that most companies, even those with their own IT departments, are often forced to turn to other vendors if their staff members lack the programming expertise required to create the software they have in mind.
If the first option is too expensive or not possible for certain reasons, the other alternative is to go for generic solutions and make do with what’s available. Programs such as those that are part of the Microsoft Office suite are examples of this off-the-shelf approach.
How Low Code Development Platforms Have Changed The Market
If traditional software development requires years of expertise, large teams, and significant financial investment, low code development platforms require the opposite. As its name suggests, a low code development platform does not trigger the need for years of schooling and programming fluency because there is minimal coding involved.
Low code development platforms make that possible by taking the functions that typically require high-level programming and “embedding” them into blocks of functionality. This usually takes the form of icons in a graphical user interface (GUI) that allows users to choose the functionality they want, drag it to the location they want, and drop it in.
Where a programmer was previously required to create input fields that an employee needs to file an invoice, that same employee can now create those fields themselves for invoicing purposes. All the technical heavy lifting is done in the background, so non-programmer employees have the ability to generate the functionality they require in their work.
Low code development platforms are faster, easier, and more cost-effective to use, allowing startups and medium-sized enterprises to come up with their own software rather than rely on contractors. But how exactly does this work? Even if there are many low code development platforms available on the market, the most effective ones all share a few key features, such as:
- Visual Modeling
The critical component of this technology is the GUI. Visual modeling gives anyone without programming experience a good idea of what the software they are creating will do. Similar to the way flowcharts in slideshow presentations indicate the steps in a specific process, good visual modeling provides much-needed guidance to non-programmers.
Combined with the drag-and-drop ease of creating software, a user can assess the progress of a program and see whether it is doing its intended purpose. The user can just as promptly address any issues or provide additional functionality and see those changes implemented in real time with good visual modeling.
- Device Compatibility
Technology operates on different platforms. While the Windows PC is the dominant technology platform for many businesses, it is not the only one. Some people use Apple computers and Chromebooks. In contrast, others may need to utilize different types of technology due to the nature of their work. For example, someone repairing electrical equipment in rural areas may only have access to a smartphone or a tablet.
Good low code development platforms aren’t limited to a desktop or a laptop with the Windows operating system. Multiple devices are often used by management and employees alike, and low code development platforms can accommodate all of them. It’s even possible to take the functionality from legacy software on a PC and transpose it to new platforms so that tasks such as invoicing can be done on a smartphone.
The most important concern for businesses is security. Data is one of the most valuable resources a business has, whether it is internally generated company data or confidential financial or identity data compiled from clients. Data in all its forms must be protected at all times.
A low code development platform may make claims about providing excellent security. Still, the proof in the pudding is whether there is certification to back up those claims. If you see a low code development platform that promises cutting-edge, world-class security but doesn’ have ISO-207017 or ISO-207018 certification is not a platform you can necessarily trust.
Low code development platforms provide an opportunity for small and medium-sized enterprises to create custom software that meets their specific needs. Whether they’re in finance, education, the public sector, or health care, there are custom software solutions available to those who are willing to invest in and learn about low code development platforms.