Top Low-code and No-code Platforms to Use for Rapid Software Development
Reduced spending, the highest demand for rapid app development and deployment the IT world has ever seen, and changing business demands on a daily basis have created the perfect set of circumstances that urge businesses to capitalize on the market’s need to improve productivity with solutions like low-code and no-code development platforms as opposed to traditional software development.
We are currently living in an age of digital disruption, one that is heavily focused on digital transformation, hyper-automation, and application modernization, so it’s really no surprise that the demand for software developers is through the roof.
The Covid-19 pandemic brought acute levels of uncertainty that pushed businesses to re-prioritize their short-term and long-term digital transformation initiatives, which in turn, has significantly exploded the use of low-code application platforms. While this trend started mainly with existing platform customers on a short-term basis, IT industry indicators now suggest long-term usage, which would be surprising if it weren’t for the shift in industry behavior over, let’s say, the last 5 years.
IT decision-makers are focused on acceleration at scale so their business can be responsive and flexible enough to overcome any downturn as a result of the pandemic or any other factor that’s affecting their particular industry. And it’s not only about overcoming shortcomings but also meeting demand while working with tight budgets. It’s a tricky road, to say the least.
With emerging technologies and trends making an appearance regularly, we will focus on performing a full-blown comparison between low-code and no-code tech vs traditional software development so you can determine what option works best for your teams.
Let’s get started!
What are low-code platforms?
According to research, spending on low-code development technologies will grow to a whopping $30 billion by 2025. The need for low-code interfaces is bigger than ever before as it’s poised as a facilitator to build more applications. This is in line with the rapid demand for new applications and especially for Software as a Service and Platform as a Service consumers.
Nowadays, we’re seeing an unprecedented number of digital acceleration initiatives for projects that were originally slated for delivery in two or three years but that now need to be realigned for quick delivery, going from years to months, or even weeks. In response, traditional software development using professional software developers is sometimes not an option many can afford.
Cue low-code platforms. But, what is low code, you may ask? Low-code dev platforms are an application that supports rapid application development, one-step development, and quick setup and deployment using high-level programming abstractions including metadata-based programming and model-driven programming. Low-code application technologies are mostly used to develop user interfaces, data services, and business logic, and have been adopted with improved performance and as a cloud-based offering.
All in all, low-code platforms help reduce the time and skills needed to develop both web and mobile applications, offering process automation features to quickly orchestrate tasks for simple processes.
What are no-code platforms?
No code? Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, we can safely say that there’s always code and software running somewhere, but maybe it’s just hidden very well.
As of late, you may have heard the terms low-code and no-code being overused with great confusion. With many other terms to keep up, software engineers need to quickly understand which development tools further their capabilities, which means they need to focus on evaluating these tools based on their fit to unique use cases and skill sets, instead of labels used to describe the product.
So, what is the difference between no-code tools and low-code tools? In short, no-code is more or less a marketing term for platforms that offer drag-and-drop elements to assemble applications, allowing non-developers to practice rapid application development with tailored workflows and capabilities, geared towards businesses in need of quick outcomes at scale. No-code platforms are packed with workflow templates, element libraries, and customization tools to create a fully functioning interface with no code.
In contrast, low-code tools support scripting for capabilities beyond what a no-code approach could achieve. No-code tools offer less functionality and customization options than low-code platforms, as they’re geared for speed and offer no source code access or code modification capabilities.
As you are bombarded with promises of great benefits such as speed and ease of use through low-code or no-code development tools, you need to focus on what your project needs, its underlying architecture, and the technology needed so you can wisely choose which platform suits you best.
How can Low-Code and No-Code Platforms be effectively compared to Traditional Software Development?
If you were worried about what would happen to traditional software development with the rise of low-code and no-code platforms, well, save your worries for another day. Traditional software development is alive and well, and will be for the foreseeable future as the need for this approach is simply too high. The only worrying aspect of it all is the real shortage of software engineers which is expected to exceed demand by 2026, according to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics.
With that being said, corporate-level, enterprise-grade, and massively-used web and mobile applications require traditional software development under normal circumstances, and we can expect it to continue as is. While many web projects are now completely done with low-code or now-code platforms, the use cases for traditional software development are still present and will continue to be present for many years to come.
The manual approach to traditional software coding leverages web frameworks and programming languages to hard-code web applications from scratch. For it to work, traditional software development requires highly-skilled developers with advanced programming skills and superior knowledge of multiple frameworks and technologies.
The main downside of traditional software development is how slow it is as projects can exceed months-long periods of time, but in the end, it’s more prone to yield better results in terms of performance and quality. Unlike no-code and low-code offerings, traditional software development can be customized to meet the unique needs of a project and is free to deploy on any and all platforms.
In terms of quality, traditional software development is still chief among the other two development offerings as the software project is easy to integrate with all systems and is highly scalable thanks to superior performance and high-quality outputs with dedicated teams focused on maintaining and updating code as needed.
In short, traditional app development requires professional software developers to manually design and code a customized software solution from the ground up, whereas off-the-shelf solutions like no-code and low-code simply don’t cut it.
Low-code development platforms
- Salesforce. A giant of its own accord, the Salesforce platform is an app development platform that extends a user’s CRM reach and functionality. With drag-and-drop simplicity, Salesforce makes it possible for nearly everyone to create apps that automate business processes or help customers find information. The platform is language-agnostic, allowing fully customized application development. Apps developed on Salesforce, regardless of their complexity, can be fully deployed on mobile, tablet, and web, and can connect with nearly any data source.
- Microsoft Power Apps. One of the more robust low code platforms out there and known as the low-code programming platform for everyone, Microsoft Power Apps empowers developers, business users, and administrators create native and customized web and mobile applications as it connects data sources at the cloud and on-premises.
- Zoho Creator. With more than 14 years in the market, Zoho Creator is one of the most prominent low-code application development platforms that lets users build custom apps, mobile apps, web apps, online portals, AI-powered apps, integration workflows, and more, with superior speed. Zoho Creator’s low-code application development platform gives users the power to consolidate all their data management, workflow automation, and business intelligence needs in a single place. With 600+ pre-built connectors in its arsenal, Zoho Creator is packed with data visualization and analytics to convert data into reports and dashboards.
- Appian. Low-code development platform that combines key capabilities in a unified setting, offering process mining, workflow automation, and more, all with the goal of helping developers create enterprise-grade applications with ease.
No-code development platforms
- Bubble.io. Known as a leader in the no-code revolution, Bubble is a no-code dev platform that offers its users a powerful point-and-click web editor and cloud hosting to build fully customizable web applications and workflows. From simple prototypes to complex marketplaces, Bubble gives non-developers the tools to create technology with simple yet effective web elements.
- OutSystems. No-code application builder platform that provides visual, model-driven development with AI-powered tools that improve the entire application lifecycle. OutSystems lets users quickly and easily build, deploy, and manage software development to ensure apps are built in days or weeks instead of months or years.
- Quickbase. Known as one of the best no-code tools, this no-code development platform is known to provide operational agility for organizations looking to improve operations through real-time insights and automation across complex processes and disengaged systems. Quickbase unites business and IT teams of any technical background to work together and sustainably to accelerate and continuously improve complex business applications minus the costs of traditional deployment, maintenance, or deployment.
No-code website builders
- Wix.com. One of the most prominent no-code web builders out there by far, Wix is user-friendly and makes it possible for users to build a professional-looking website without the need to know anything about coding. With simple drag-and-drop features inside the Wix Editor, Wix is beginner friendly.
- Bubble. Advanced no-code web builder platform that gives users the tools to build SaaS, marketplaces, and social networks with simple clicks. The platform offers a drag-and-drop interface that is packed with customization tools, privacy rules, and more than 800 plug-ins including Facebook, Stripe, Google, and more.
- Webflow. Website designers can leverage Webflow to build customized and professional-looking websites with no code and in a reliable hosting setting. Webflow is powered by Amazon Web Services and comes with built-in SEO tools, zero maintenance effort, and powerful design tools. Its feature-rich approach offers superior performance.
- SquareSpace. SquareSpace helps non-developers like artists and photographers build professional websites with tools that help create a professional portfolio. It has built-in SEO tools, integrates with social media, shipping, marketing, and payment tools, and includes a free logo maker.
- WordPress. Probably one of the most popular website-building platforms, WordPress is successful thanks to its drag-and-drop design tools, extended functionality with sites and plugins, customization features, and built-in blogs. With WordPress, users can scale sites with ease and access over 54K plugins.
Top platforms to build a mobile app with no code
- BuildFire. Branded as one of the easiest solutions to create mobile apps, BuildFire helps non-developers create professional-grade iOS and Android mobile apps with a DIY platform that lets them customize every aspect of their app without writing any code. Users can build an app from scratch or use one of the site’s templates to finish the job.
- Appy Pie. No-code solution to start, manage, and scale businesses with a full-fledged mobile site builder. Appy Pie also offers a no-code web app builder, no-code chatbot builder, and no-code workflow automation builder. With over 200 features to add to mobile apps, non-developers find it easy to create sleek-looking apps with great ease.
- Adalo. No-code platform to build mobile apps with drag-and-drop building blocks to create the app’s interface with ease. Users can create mobile app prototypes and turn it into real apps with simple database spreadsheets. With more than 25 pre-build design components like lists, charts, forms, payments, navigation, and more, the platform also includes dynamic actions to bring apps to life like push notifications, user authentication, Zapier integration, and more.
- AppGyver. No-code professional platform to build apps for all formats including mobile, desktop, browsers, TV, and more. Thanks to its Composer Pro offering, AppGyver lets users leverage style properties with easy drag-and-drop style controls. Part of SAP’s solution offerings, AppGyver produces highly optimized React Native apps with access to native device capabilities. The platform also combines hundreds of logic functions, over 500+ core building blocks for all aspects of an app, a large library of user interface components, and a REST integration wizard.
The low-code/no-code development market has seen dramatic growth across the last few years and we can expect to see low-code and no-code technology offerings re-shape the way businesses run to become more efficient, responsive, nimble, and tactical when it comes to programming efforts. In fact, the need for business-driven hyper-automation is slated to be one of the top three drivers for low-code adoption at the end of this year and will be responsible for more than 70% of application development by the end of 2025.
The adoption of low-code and no-code technologies is gaining momentum across industries and geographies as consumers and organizations demand digital solutions in the blink of an eye and in a rapidly changing environment as if the pressure wasn’t high enough. Skilled developers are often in short supply, which is why low-code and no-code platforms are expanding their capabilities including user experience design, integration, and workflow automation to support consumers more broadly.
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