If you are an Apple user, you have about a variety of 1.85 million apps to choose from. Android users have even more, with 2.56 million apps available to download at the Google Play Store. In other words, the app market is booming, and applications are no longer seen as pure entertainment. Instead, they play a gradually growing part in various businesses across industries, not to mention apps have significantly eased the burden of social distancing and isolation during the recent pandemic.
It sounds like developing an app may be a good idea. However, like everything in our material world, an application's development has a price tag on it. Several main factors determine the eventual outlay, but you can't expect a decent app without finding substantial investments if your budget is limited.
The budget issues are heartrending for startups. But there’s an answer. Nowadays, everyone strives for simplicity, reduced costs, and automation. The domain of mobile development is no exception. Therefore, to meet their application development needs, SMEs have turned to alternative resources, including low-code and no-code development platforms. These platforms target Internet entrepreneurs and startups who want to test their idea's relevance but do not have a five-figure bank account for an app.
Initially, low code application platforms (LCAP) emerged in response to the complexity and diversity of modern software development tools. Low-code platforms allow you to get a working prototype and form a future system vision with less effort.
When developing apps, the low-code approach is the synonym of speed. You may close routine tasks faster and skip several steps in the process of app development. For example, your design team can come up with an app UI without any help from developers (yet there are low-code platforms that still allow adding custom code manually).
Thanks to their practicality, low-code apps development platforms are at the forefront of the global digital transformation for many companies in various industries. Chris Vanstrat, CEO at GitHub, sums it up perfectly: “The future of programming isn't coding at all.”
In a nutshell, the pros of low-code platforms are:
- fast delivery of applications
- minimal hand-coding.
- saved time and funds
Taking into account the benefits the low-code / no-code approach provides, here at Akveo, we use the platforms such as Draftbit, Airtable, and Firebase for our projects. Such tools cover all parts of the application development and minimize manual coding as much as possible.
Here’s Caroline Lee, the growth marketer and co-founder of CocoSign, on the matter:
“We had to adopt a low-code approach to catch up with competitors who adapt rapidly to industry changes. It provided a perfect opportunity for our non-technical team to initiate changes in business processes. The primary benefit of low-code software development is speed. It eliminates most of the coding tedious and time-consuming processes such as the coding rules, traffic routing, screen size, testing, and scalability. Additionally, many platforms enable modular integration, meaning you can develop numerous smaller applications that can later work in unison and achieve an overall goal.
When development time decreases, it directly translates to cost. Since a low-code approach enables rapid software development, the cost is highly reduced. Despite providing the quickest way to create software, its capabilities are limited. Firstly low-code modular components limit your customization options. Secondly, you’re more likely to encounter integration issues down the road. Above all, vendor lock-in is one of the biggest surrounding low-code platforms. Low-code approaches indeed allow non-technical people to be part of software development, if not making it faster. However, the possibilities are limited to some extent. Maintaining such an application in the future may be risky and unable to meet users’ growing demands.”
Let’s talk about costs. Nate Nead, CEO at DEV.co, comments:
“We consistently use no-code or low-code strategies for saving money and valuable time in iterating toward a solution for our clients. In doing so, we combine open-source and out-of-the-box solutions that make it easier to get to market more quickly at a fraction of the cost. The speed and cost advantages cannot be understated. However, in some cases, the code may not be quite as extensible as desired, and open source may preclude business owners from fully using the software in a commercial setting like they would like. In addition, open-source and low-code solutions are often more prone to outside and third party hacks and security vulnerabilities. Finally, there is typically an extended cost for managing these solutions through on-going support that our team can pass to the client in the form of patch and update work. As a general rule, our team and our clients have had great success in utilizing low and no-code options for fulfilling customized software development needs”.
Jack Zmudzinski, a senior associate at Future Processing agrees:
“This approach does, without a doubt, help to keep costs down. It’s also a good way of speeding up production - even cutting down a six-month project to a matter of weeks in some cases. It also allows for modular integration through multiple platforms. What about the disadvantages, if any? The main disadvantage is the lack of customization options. There are limited integration options. You may find yourself being tied to a low code platform. Besides, there are security issues”.
Bethan Vincent, the Marketing Director at Netsells, a UK product and technology consultancy.
“While it's not low-code, I'd like to put forward the case for using Flutter, Google's new cross-platform mobile development framework. Flutter allows you to build native apps on iOS and Android from a single code base. This allows developers to develop apps at greater speeds and share code from a single base without having to create duplicate apps in two programming languages.
Flutter has dramatically increased the speed of mobile development, alongside reducing the costs associated with delivering new features/platforms across mobile, web and embedded applications. When it comes to downsides, cross-platform apps built-in Flutter may lack a native “look and feel” which feels natural to each platform, e.g. Android users may observe that the app looks like it was built for iOS and simply copied and pasted into the Android ecosystem. This is because Flutter utilizes native components, unlike classic hybrid web view technologies”.
When testing the application, pay attention to the following things. Here’s how we do it at Akveo (kudos to the head of services and QA Nikolay Vashkevich for the tips). First, you need to prioritize testing and implement automation for regression testing that should be run as often as possible. Try to:
- Minimize efforts for less important tests.
- Test automatically those test scenarios that you run in smoke and also acceptance test runs.
- Resort to automation testing to identify regression bugs quickly and deliver in time (especially for 1+ year development).
Undoubtedly, having significant funds at your disposal can contribute to your company’s growth in the short term. However, spending, say, $80.000-100.00 on an app doesn’t necessarily translate into an instant success. That’s when the low-code comes in handy. The market is literally blooming: its size is projected to grow from $13.2 billion in 2020 to $45.5 billion by 2025.
The benefits of using Low-code/No-code platforms are obvious: programmers do not need to start creating software from scratch. By eliminating the extra coding, the development process becomes much faster. This is especially valuable today - many companies and startups lack development speed and thereby lose competitive advantages. Equipped with the expertise in low-code / no-code development, we’re positive that such tools can be used in any business area to make the entire development process much less resource- and time-consuming. Feel free to reach out to us: we can consult you on specific questions or perform the entire process.
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