We all know the image of developers. They’re weaving magic by writing endless lines of complicated code. But today, developers are also creating wonderful things in a different way: “low-code development.” The term refers to a highly visual approach to software development where coders use a graphical interface instead of the standard hand-coded approach. It replaces raw code with a drag-and-drop, shape-based methodology.
In recent years there has been an increased demand for low-code development platforms for a variety of good reasons. We’ll explore the important characteristics of low code, the benefits, and how it’s being used today.
Features of Low-code Development
Low code is primarily a visual means of “coding” a system. Low-code development platforms typically have a variety of menus (point-and-click, drag-and-drop, pull-down, etc.) that give users clear options for features to implement. This eliminates the need for developers to build out all of the functionality and design with code. This also allows them to visually see their work as they proceed.
We’ll look at the benefits in greater detail in a moment. But an obvious feature of low-code development is speed. Projects are accomplished faster. It also can spread out the workload within organizations because low code makes software development much more much more approachable for the average, non-technical person. That’s because the programming skills required to be successful are minimal.
Applications of Low-code Development
One leading analyst firm predicts that low code will be responsible for 70% of application development by 2025. But how is it most commonly used?
Consider these use cases:
- Designing user interfaces: UIs often must work across a variety of devices and platforms, which can make design a challenge. Low-code development can significantly simplify the process, facilitating a UI experience that can be easily changed to meet user preferences.
- API creation: Manually creating an API can be a lot of work – especially for an untrained programmer. Low-code development makes quick API development possible based on templates.
- Platform integration: Low-code tools help developers easily integrate platforms such as CRM and ERP systems in ways that would be far more difficult to accomplish manually.
- Process management: Low-code tools are frequently used to develop applications that manage and analyze data.
The Benefits of Low-code Development
The many benefits of low-code development make it clear why there has been such a surge in demand for this functionality. Here are just some examples of the ways low code is helping businesses.
- Reduced complexity: Low-code development is about simplicity. It makes coding approachable for even inexperienced developers. That allows organizations to move faster, become more nimble, and see more success when embracing digital transformation initiatives.
- Cost savings: Because low-code development reduces the amount of time needed to build apps and connect digital systems, costs also decrease. Also, at a time when valuable software programming talent is scarce, organizations don’t need to look for additional, expensive developers.
- Improved productivity: The increased efficiency and speed of low-code development results in higher productivity. For instance, the Boomi platform uses low code to reduce integration development time from months to weeks, days, and in some cases even hours.
- Easy changes: Low-code development makes it easier to make changes when needed. Nothing ever stays the same, right? Organizations can make quick, painless changes when there’s no need to worry about deciphering complex code that might have been written by someone who is no longer with the company.
- Better user experiences: Because the simplicity of low code enables companies to move fast, applications can easily be updated to meet market changes or new expectations of the user base.
Low Code Versus No Code: A Distinction
While low-code development drastically simplifies coding processes in app development, it’s important to note that there is still some code involved. That creates a distinction between “low code” and “no code.”
Low-code software enables customization of that application with a minimal amount of programming. But it still requires coding by someone with programming knowledge. It’s just a faster, cheaper, and more streamlined process than traditional coding.
No-code software goes even further by catering to people without any programming knowledge or experience. And typically, they are reserved for more basic use cases.
So while these two types of development are frequently lumped into the same category, there are distinctions. It’s important for anyone thinking about low-code development to understand there is still at least a small amount of coding involved.
There are a variety of solutions available on the market for low-code development – including Boomi. One specific example is the Boomi Flow functionality.
Boomi Flow is a tool for easily building workflows between applications. It’s designed with simple and highly functional drag-and-drop tools that hasten the speed of development and boost productivity. Boomi Flow allows developers to focus on the innovation required to build extraordinary things rather than the nuts and bolts of writing lines of code. In fact, Boomi is the only integration platform as a service (iPaaS) vendor to provide a native workflow tool. It’s just one way that Boomi’s unified platform harnesses the full power of data through discovery and cataloging, synchronization, connectivity, API management, EDI management, and more.
Questions Frequently Asked About Low-Code Development
Here are some common questions about low-code development:
Are there security concerns with a low-code platform?
Short answer: no. Don’t confuse simplicity with security risks. These platforms feature significant security and privacy controls to ensure proper protections and governance.
How much programming knowledge is required to use a low-code development platform?
You can develop applications with relatively minimal coding knowledge. The shape-based nature of low code makes development much more accessible to a broader range of people.
Is low-code development expensive?
One of the biggest benefits of low code is that it costs significantly less than standard coding.
Can I build cross-platform applications with low code?
You can create apps that work on iOS, Android, and web. You will have access to third-party APIs and other modules to ensure your app can be used across multiple platforms.
Is a low-code development platform bad for software developers?
The increasing size of the low-code market will not put any developers out of work. Quite the contrary. Developers are needed in greater numbers than ever — and the demand keeps growing. Low code helps them become even more efficient. It helps them get projects out the door faster so that they can focus their efforts on initiatives that really drive their businesses forward.
Learn more about why the Boomi AtomSphere Platform is the ideal low code platform for professional and citizen developers.