What to Look for in a Low-Code Application Development Platform

6 minute read | 13 May 2019

By Boomi

In our eBook “6 Signs You Need a Low-Code Application Development Platform” we explained the advantages of low-code development, which replaces hand coding with visual development tools and reusable components that reduce the time to create applications.

A low-code development platform allows faster, iterative development cycles. That means your IT team can:

  • Build applications faster
  • Extend the functionality of existing applications
  • Connect and unify disparate applications

All good, right? But not all low-code platforms are the same. In this post, we’ll discuss the key attributes of the best low-code platforms — and how Boomi Flow meets those requirements.

You’ll learn that while you don’t need to be an expert software developer to use Boomi Flow, the tool also provides advanced capabilities for more advance software development tasks. And we have free, on-demand training that can help you get started using Boomi Flow in one to two weeks, not months.

A Drag-and-Drop Development Environment for Non-Technical Business Users

One of the main attractions of low-code development is speed and the opportunity to take IT out of the loop for simple workflows and applications. With a drag-and-drop interface, business users can build workflows and applications on their own.

Boomi Flow’s interface allows you to “componentize” your workflow, which means you don’t have to manage the various pieces of your infrastructure at the 1s and 0s level. Flow manages that for you. And once your application is componentized, future deployment is accelerated. Your application can wrap easily into new applications and workflows.

The Boomi Flow interface is also browser-based, with structured, menu-driven navigation, which means you can easily access, build and modify apps anywhere.

Get hands on with Boomi Flow — sign up for a free trial today!

Advanced Development Tools for Software Developers

Besides being easy to use for the non-technical among us, a low-code platform should also be extensible so that more sophisticated developers can create advanced functionality. And that requires advanced tools for developers.

For example, some applications built by business users can become so successful that the development team needs to extend their capabilities beyond what can be achieved with just the drag-and-drop interface. This could require taking data from multiple backend applications like Salesforce, SAP and Workday to offer it in a single workflow application that maps to a business process.

Boomi Flow supports this through its:

  • UI widget framework: Boomi Flow apps are largely distributed as HTML5 apps. Our standard UI is built using two of the world’s most popular HTML5 frameworks: Twitter Bootstrap and Facebook React. We’ve used these frameworks because they’re battle-tested by billions of users. There’s a huge ecosystem of developers that works with them.
  • Software development kit (SDK): We offer SDKs for Java, C# and Salesforce Apex to accelerate the development of microservices for connecting Boomi Flow apps to third-party applications.
  • DevOps friendly architecture: This feature supports agile DevOps practices for rapid iteration of new versions with minimal reliance on code.
  • Open user interface API: Flow users want control over the user interface, so Boomi Flow relies on industry standard web development techniques for creating user interfaces, rather than a proprietary language like Salesforce Apex. Web developers can customize the Flow interface to their hearts’ content using the same languages and techniques they’re used to — HTML, CSS, JavaScript and React.

These features not only allow developers to extend application functionality, they also provide the control to “brand” applications with the color palette, typeface and imagery that fits the organization.

Extensibility is also achieved with a variety of deployment options, including web, intranet and offline, as well as embedded within applications such as CRM, supply chain management, IVR telephony, etc.

Simplified Collaboration Across Teams

No application is an island. Most, if not all, workflow applications cross functional boundaries, rely on multiple data sources and include several stakeholders.

Boomi Flow facilitates collaboration between personnel in headquarters, branches, field locations and customer organizations by allowing multiple authors to edit apps.

Boomi Flow makes this possible by:

  • Visually representing app functionality: Boomi Flow’s design interface accommodates complex layout logic including multiple columns, tabs, rows and nested layouts. This makes it easy for anyone to visualize the exact workflow required to meet application goals and improve performance.
  • Supporting printable designs: Workflow charts can be shared and printed so that everyone involved in the development process can see how the app works. This promotes standardization and reuse of existing assets across the organization.
  • Providing an API-first architecture: Boomi Flow uses an API-first architecture, which increases flexibility for replacing, improving and extending application services. Its user interface and tools are built as layers on top of the platform and interact with the platform through APIs.

So regardless of your application project, Boomi Flow lets you move fast to create apps that are integrated seamlessly into business workflows. You can build them fast, thanks to Boomi Flow’s low-code environment. And you still have all the flexibility you need to enrich and refine your applications with custom coding.

In other words, you can have your cake and it eat too with Boomi Flow. Delicious.

Get hands on with Boomi Flow — sign up for a free trial today!