We invite you to an extensive tour of the low-code and no-code development world. Once you finish reading the article, you will enrich your understanding of the low-code platforms and learn how to use them properly. Here’s what's inside.
- Learn what the internal tool builders are;
- Internal building frameworks benefits;
- How to use internal tools builders right;
- 10 examples of top internal tools builders frameworks in 2022;
- How to choose the right ITB network for your business workflow.
What is low-code development?
Low-code & no-code platforms are like software constructors where you can drag and drop the UI elements and features you want to see in your app. Usually, low-code software builders’ graphical user interfaces have a component-based structure with a certain number of ready-made templates and connectors. Additionally, low-code platforms allow developers to add custom elements while writing code. Using them, you can build internal tools, mobile apps, or web apps and automate workflows in no time with little coding experience.
The type of software you can create depends on the low-code platform you are going to leverage. Some focus on a particular software type, while more complex platforms allow users to develop various software. Moreover, there are low-code platforms for making the digital infrastructure for their low-code applications.
Benefits of low-code platforms for businesses
The benefits of the low-code development approach revolve around its accessibility.
Low-code platforms are the go-to choice for those who need to digitize their business activities quickly. Low-code platforms accelerate the development process in many ways. Firstly, they free you from the necessity to spend time searching for developers if you aim at a simple app or workflow tool. However, complex business systems and mobile/web apps require the help of low-code development experts that know how to work with the platform of your choice. Secondly, they include developer workflow tools, IDEs, and no-code app-building interfaces that accelerate the software development process. The app’s production time can be reduced from years to a couple of months when developing a sophisticated solution and from months to hours if you need simple workflow tools and applications.
The subscription to a low-code platform costs much less than a software development team. By building your app with low-code tools, you can get the same result for 50-100 bucks instead of paying thousands of dollars of salary for a team of developers, let alone all the related expenses on the law procedures, bonuses, and insurance.
The low-code app building is quite flexible, thanks to the reusable components and code. It means that you can scale up your system easily. Depending on a low-code tool, you can add new functionalities, app pages, and other elements almost as quickly as copying and pasting. Of course, it may bring additional costs for the more expensive platform service pack. But anyway, scaling with low-code development platforms would be much faster than custom development from scratch.
With low-code platforms, you can easily adjust your app’s functionalities to comply with market changes and regulations. In the world of rapidly evolving technologies, it’s an extremely valuable asset to have. Outsourcing developers or employing them just to make minor code changes definitely won’t be cheap.
Low-code development platforms are concentrated on business logic and fast UI development. Such platforms have plenty of pre-built components and intuitive interfaces so you won't need front-end developers to create a UI for your app. Above that, most of the low-code tools allow developers to build custom business logic and user journeys.
“Build internal tools remarkably fast”
At the moment, Retool is the most popular low-code platform on the market. The Retool platform has a wide range of templates, allows for multiple integrations, and offers many options in terms of internal tool development. You can integrate Retool’s software with almost any existing API. When we speak about such staples of low-code development, easy-to-use interfaces, single sign-on, and drag-and-drop functionality come as a must.
Also, the platform allows using custom code, so you can easily switch to manual coding to add unique components. Retool has an impressive range of customers that includes Amazon, Brex, DoorDash, and other enterprises that create their internal workflows using the platform.
“Build, ship, and maintain internal tools”
This low-code development tool stands at the forefront of the sphere being the first ever open-source low-code platform. Appsmith offers lots of pre-made components, a drag & drop interface, and many other great features to make effective internal tools. For the platform customization in terms of integrations and unique components, you will probably need to hire professional Appsmith developers.
Unfortunately, the platform offers no custom roles and permission to add to its internal tools. Among other flaws of the platform is the absence of audit logs.
"Build stunning internal tools, blazing fast"
Another low-code internal tool builder that has more components than the mighty Retool itself. The platform offers a free plan that is enough to build a quick and simple app. Unfortunately, the DronaHQ platform is incapable of integrating with GraphQL which is detrimental to the app's range of functions and performance.
Also, the freedom of creativity is dimmed by the strictly positioned app-building canvas. But there’s compensation: developers can add overlap components on top of each other.
“Internal tools built with ease”
UI Bakery is one of the fastest-growing low-code platforms for internal tools development. This year, the tool was the product of the day on Product Hunt and got into the Q2 2022 quadrant of the most rapidly evolving low-code platforms. The Bakery platform focuses on robust front-end development and offers drag-and-drop functionalities along with several dozens of pre-made templates. UI Bakery will suit beginners as well as professional software developers, offering an intuitive user interface along with vast customization capabilities.
Unlike all the other low-code platforms in this top, UI Bakery offers a white-label app creation option. Another feature that makes this platform stand out is the ability to use ready-made webhooks.
Appian is a low-code BPM tools development platform for creating applications, workflows, and automation tools. The platform allows developers to boost their development speed up to 10x fast owing to the accelerated learning curve and user-friendly interface. The Appian platform provides businesses with an opportunity to connect all their data sources, bots, and AI to orchestrate multiple business processes from a single application.
The platform has a version history feature that allows developers to compare the different states of an application and restore the features of the previous versions. Above that, you can create custom plugins for other 3rd party systems and connect them in a matter of a few clicks. Appian apps can be deployed in the cloud, mobile, and on-premise. Finally, the platform provides developers with the CI/CD and custom UI components creation using JS programming language.
“Go make it”
Mendix has an extremely wide range of app development capabilities. You can create web-based customer portals, B2C mobile applications, workflow automation tools, and project management environments. The Mendix platform provides a large number of data sources to integrate including REST and GraphQL APIs, databases, and SDKs. The development process is quite smooth and easy with reusable components, automated development backup (prevents losing code clusters), and a visual drag-and-drop interface. For large teams, there is a functional IDE (Integrated Development Environment) for more productive collaboration and integration activities.
You can deploy Mendix low-code apps anywhere you want - cloud, on-premise, or as SaaS.
“Low-code - high performance. Let’s go.”
OutSystems has detailed app creation guides that make it very easy for citizen developers to start creating their software fast. The platform is mostly used for customer service and case management. The Outsystems platform has over 400 pre-built connectors with drag-and-drop functionality to create apps rapidly. The user interface is powered with AI automation, visualization tools, and a console for extensible C# code for a smooth app development experience. Additionally, the platforms have separate runtime environments for development, testing, and deployment.
You can host either on OutSystems’ cloud environment or on-premise. OutSystems is a high-performer that offers elite-level CI/CD, vast integration capacity, and the ability to build sophisticated apps on short notice.
“Build any internal tool fast”
Internal is a great platform to save time while creating workflow tools for data representation and management. Low-code developers leverage internal when they want to connect different databases, APIs and 3’d party tools in a single application and automate processes around those elements. The platform is accessible to non-technical business staff having the beginner-friendly UI and pre-made elements. At the same time, customization is quite simple so you can only customize some modalities regarding business logic.
“Build powerful solutions faster”
The platform aims at process-based apps, routine task automation, and business data management. The visual drag-and-drop interface allows you to create various BPM tools that can serve businesses of all sizes. It’s also easy to scale Zoho low-code apps with new features, adding new elements on top of the previous ones. It significantly reduces expenses on maintenance with its system health analytics system. Zoho Creator low-code tools can be deployed on-premise, cloud, and in mobile environments.
You can integrate Creator’s apps with REST APIs by augmenting them with the old and new system parts. The platform offers exceptional support with knowledge bases, developer training courses (included in the more advanced pricing plans), and 24/7 customer service.
“Dream big, work with a purpose”
ServiceNow is a SaaS platform that employs low code for the creation of process automation, and web and mobile applications. At the same time, customization capacity allows the developers to build other applications. ServiceNow is a cloud-based solution that makes it easy to integrate with the businesses’ legacy systems. To enhance the internal operations of an enterprise, the ServiceNow platform has a large number of integrations with APIs, online services, and other vital business applications. It has tools for no-code, low-code, and pro-code development that enable corporate workers with tech expertise to manipulate the system at their level of competence.
As ServiceNow caters to businesses, it has a proper level of security for its applications, introducing app-side data encryption, and SecOps tools, along with complex authorization and permissions.
How to customize your low-code software
Regardless of all the simplicity low-code frameworks provide, there are several instances where low-code development gets complex. Often, it happens when a company already has an internal system but needs to level it up with a few additional apps or services. In this section, we will review the ways you can pair your low-code application with your existing system.
Choose the right integrations
Installing the internal tools and adjusting them for your business goals is definitely not a trivial task. It requires the meticulous and informed choice of a framework, a deep understanding of how the frameworks work, and the ability to adjust your tool with code and integrations.
Seek professional help
The main challenge in pairing a low-code tool with your existing app is that it demands advanced coding skills along with experience with low-code development. Ideally, you need to find professional low-code developers that specialize in the custom of low-code tool creation.
Consider your legacy system
If you are going to integrate new solutions with your previous system you should carefully consider its metrics during the platform selection. Keep in mind the programming language, platform’s integration capacity, scalability, and deployment options. So, check the table at the beginning of the previous chapter to get your low-code development right.
Professional low-code development services
If you feel like you need a deeper consultation regarding your particular project and what platform will be the best option for you, contact us. We are an international software development company with more than 7 years of experience in low-code development. Some of our developers actively participated in the development of the UI Bakery low-code platform you’ve read about previously in the article. We work with all the listed platforms to provide various low-code app development services, legacy system modernization, PoC development, and low-code consulting.
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