Mobile phones have evolved with time. They are no longer limited to calling. It all began when mobiles introduced a few features like a calendar, contact book, and calculator. However, they were never called “apps”.
With time, mobile introduced gaming apps in-built on the phone. Among them, the most popular one was the snake game. They have always created a sense of excitement among the users. The ebullience with the term “apps” made it the word of the year in 2010 by the American Dialect Society.
Later, third-party apps have come into place. These increased the demand for mobile app development. The developers in the field used this mobile app strategy and technology for almost everything. From beauty apps to task management, mobile apps built fascination and assisted users to solve their everyday tasks.
Soon, mobile apps were not just used to pass the time or as assistants, they helped businesses to increase their customer engagement and reach their customers easily. It created a platform for businesses to communicate better with their customers, provide services/products on mobile platforms, and automate processes.
However, it was only top-notch companies that could afford the exorbitant prices involved in the app development processes. It took more time than anticipated. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) considered mobile apps as an additional investment. They were hesitant to consider this platform ‘cause of investment as well as the time it took.
Meanwhile, digital transformation became a necessity rather than a luxury. Large to small-scale businesses have to inevitably digitize their business and build their online presence.
With the technology innovations across platforms, app development also integrated recent technologies from cloud computing to artificial intelligence in the process. Using the same technologies, app developers sought a way to build apps faster with less investment. This is when “Low-code” platforms have emerged.
What are Low-code platforms?
Programming/coding is the major part of developing an application or software. These low-code platforms remove the burden of coding from development. They minimized the manual coding up to 95 percent and delivered robust products that are both efficient and effective.
Developers can skip the usual developmental patterns of coding and directly work on the application. The low-code platforms automate hand-coding which is often time-consuming and error-prone. Most often the tools employed in this platform have their roots in fourth-generation programming language and Rapid Application Development tools. They are focused on:
- Automatic Code Generation
- Visual Programming
- Model Specific Design
With these, developers can focus on the important dimensions of an app such as GUI (Graphical User Interface), features, and integration with the latest technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, etc.
Key Components of Low-code
Every step in app development in the low-code development environment does not employ any traditional SDKs. The environment facilitates the deployment of apps faster and gives cutting-edge apps. The crucial components of Low-code include
Often involved in the very beginning of the development process, visual modeling creates the graphical representations of the app layout and the processes. This makes it possible to comprehend and simplify the design and development.
Drag and Drop Interface
These components remove the pain-staking job of development. Instead of coding for hours and days, the developers can build an application by simply dragging the desired features for the app and drop them on the interface. This allows to accelerate the process and launch faster.
Unlike the traditional waterfall development model, the low-code platform gives developers the flexibility to add updates or updates at any time in the development cycle. Depending on the feedback at an instance, the iterations can be made easily (close to Agile procedures) and refine with requirements regularly.
Low-code development cross-platform mobility. It does not take any additional time. With no extra effort or coding involved, the framework automates the process.
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Low-code App Development Process
Pre-project Plan: In this step, the development schedule, risk mitigation strategies, data models, tools, and technologies to used are collected.
Requirement Analysis and Planning: The crucial part of this process is identifying what the client wants to achieve with the app and derive a strategic plan that complements the business goal.
User Design: Visual tools are used to represent the prototypes of the application. Using a low-code platform, this step takes as little as five minutes to the graphical representation.
Implementation: The prototypes are made functional by integrating them into the server and the system. The automation coding is the chief process in this step.
Deployment: The app is tested at various levels including response time and overall performance. Removing identified bugs, the app is deployed.
The end-product is always ready for upgrades or modifications.
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What low-code platforms offer businesses?
Low-code platforms have eased up the process of digital transformation for all businesses. These frameworks allowed businesses to get mobile apps and enhance their performance. The most common areas include
With the digital transformation on the go, it is important that businesses are constantly updated with digital technologies. A Low-code platform allows businesses to integrate with any of the technologies maintaining complete flexibility.
The app allows to improve the performance of the app with personalization with Machine Learning, be scalable with cloud technology, and others when required. Technology innovations can be added to the app without involving lengthy processes.
Decrease Development Time
As apps have become a necessity, businesses demand faster deployment which is exactly a low-code platform offer. As the development does not involve any code or less coding in a few cases, the time takes to create an app is reduced dramatically. Moreover, the development process is significantly automated giving quick results.
Businesses do not have to invest huge amounts in getting an app. As the development time is decreased, businesses do not have to invest in additional resources. Most often these platforms offer SAAS business models.
This gives businesses the option of a pay-as-you-go model where the admin only needs to pay when required. For instance, businesses need not invest in making modifications to the app rather they can focus on adding features that can allow increase engagement and bring business growth.
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Low-Code with AI is a boon
Automation of code in the low-code platform is invariably linked to cognitive technologies. Limited use of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence are employed in the process. However, integrated AI at diverse levels of app development advances the process a step ahead and refines the process further.
From visual modeling to upgrading, AI can transform the rapid app development process. It reduces the dependency on the client (business) to obtain requirements for the app.
Artificial Intelligence uses its algorithms to acquires the data on the color that best suits the business, identifies the target audience of the app, gets feature extraction in seconds, and allows an interactive UI.
Machine Learning and Deep Learning, being an integral part of AI, allows apps to learn from the user behavior and personalize the app from User Interface to User Experience that caters to the specific needs of the users.
Low-code platforms have evolved as frameworks to make appification faster, flexible, and reliable. The tools used are adaptive and agile allowing developers to experiment and explore more. It will not be a surprise if low-code platforms are the future of enterprise apps and enhance efficiency.