Lines of code are the building blocks of which applications are made. Using these bricks, developers build different functions, operations, and designs, which are then put together into a solid solution. But writing thousands of lines of code is not an easy task.
Fortunately, in low code platforms there are tools that can make application development easier and faster: low-code development platforms, or LCDPs.
In this article, we describe some of the most popular low-code development platforms. Our top ten list includes platforms that can be used to build web, mobile, and desktop applications.
What are low code platforms?
Low-code development platforms are intended to simplify the process of building an application. For that reason, they are also called rapid application development platforms.
LCDPs are primarily used to build simple process applications. They allow companies to automate repetitive processes, such as those related to hiring, and build simple applications without the involvement of developers.
Traditional application development relies on manual coding and meeting strict system requirements. LCDPs, in turn, are drag-and-drop environments where different features and functionality can be put together like Legos: you just pick what you need and build your app from it.
The main benefit of low-code development tools is that they eliminate the need to hire a professional developer. low code platforms
Low-code development is the best option for non-coders and junior programmers who are not yet qualified to create high-quality software from scratch. These platforms are also a perfect match for organizations that want to build business applications without spending too much time and effort on it.
Here low code platforms are the top low-code development platforms that can be used to build all kinds of mobile, web, and desktop apps. This article will help you find an LCDP that meets your requirements.
In compiling this list, we tried to build a basic app on each of the platforms. Nearly all of the platforms listed below are cloud-based, while most of the market leaders also have an integrated development environment (IDE) for desktop-based development. Most platforms also monitor application performance in real time.
These platforms deploy their code themselves and don’t make it available to developers, so the whole process is more like no-code web app development. Basically, you don’t code an app but configure it by choosing from a large set of templates and ready-made solutions.
1. Out Systems
Out Systems is a powerful and professional LCDP with a large number of features, third-party libraries and templates, as well as its own IDE with great functionality.
With Out Systems, multiple users can develop a module simultaneously. Out Systems makes it easy to manage application users and roles. It also eases the development process by taking care of the standard but difficult parts of website or application development, allowing the development team to focus on solving real-world problems.
Regarding databases, developers can use officially supported databases or work with any other database using standard code, Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) / Database Connectivity (DBC) drivers or proprietary APIs. Large repositories of data can be accessed through REST APIs.
In low code platforms
Out Systems also provides options for user interface (UI) customization: You can create HTML elements and change their styles with CSS. The backend can also be customized.
The Out Systems platform enables application performance monitoring and makes it easy to identify performance bottlenecks and take action to address them. Furthermore, the platform ensures a high level of performance by optimizing the automatically generated code.
Out Systems controls its product and offers boot camps and an online community so everyone can find the information they need.
Out Systems is one of the most expensive tools on our list. The Enterprise version starts at $5,400 per month. For small businesses, there is a free version with limited functionality.
Appian, which comes with its own IDE, is one of the market leaders in low-code development platform software. It is a business process management (BPM) platform used to build applications and deploy them as services for internal corporate use.
Unlike other similar platforms, Appian can only be accessed from certain countries. In Appian, you can link legacy applications through APIs and create dashboards and reports. Appian also provides a set of tools for application testing.
3. Microsoft PowerApps
Microsoft PowerApps is easy to use and has an intuitive workspace that resembles Microsoft Excel. With PowerApps, you can create an app:
- Using models
- Database based
- Right from the start
- The main advantage of PowerApp is that developers can give employees access to corporate development tools so they can independently create the services and applications they need. Developers can then further develop these web-based apps, mobile apps, and APIs using Azure services.
The PowerApps platform provides a rich set of free templates, making it a good choice for those with little or no programming experience.
PowerApps does not offer direct styling options with CSS code, although this option may be implemented in the future.
PowerApps also allows you to create your own elements using HTML. Also, you can use the built-in features for interface customization.
PowerApps in low code platforms
PowerApps allows you to monitor the performance of applications and provides information on ways to improve it manually. Additional recommendations for improving app performance are provided in the official PowerApps documentation and on the community blog.
You can get Microsoft PowerApps by purchasing it outright or as part of your Office 365 or Dynamics 365 subscription.
4. 4. Appendix
The appendix is a convenient and easy-to-use platform that guarantees a high level of fault tolerance and can be deployed in a single click. It provides a great set of controls and is fully customizable. But most importantly, unlike other platforms on our list, Medix is an open platform and not locked down by a manufacturer.
Medix is written using CSS/Sass and supports integration with Bootstrap. It has a fully customizable user interface, and you can customize the entire framework using only CSS.
You can also create custom widgets and completely custom themes. Additionally, there is a built-in visual user interface customization tool that includes an option to create personal styles and color schemes.
The backend can also be customized in various ways, including using the REST APIs and with your own Java code.
Compatibility with existing systems is easy to set up. Users are also given flexibility and control over system development.
To monitor application performance, three monitoring tools from the appendix can be used:
- Application quality monitor
- Automated test suite
- Application performance monitoring
- For those without much development experience, Medix offers a rich library of technical documentation with detailed examples.
The cost of using Medix depends on the number of users of the application and not on the number of developers or the complexity of the application. Currently, the platform offers four pricing schemes: a free version, Single App, Pro, and Enterprise.
5. Quick foundation
Quick Base is a perfect match for those who want to build an application to collect and store data or automate regular processes. With the low-code development tools provided by this platform, you can build applications even if you know nothing about table-based programming.
Using pre-built application connectors, Quick Base enables integration with some popular cloud-based solutions:
- Sales force
- Cash register
- Security and management features include granular roles and permissions and corporate user management. The user interface can only be customized with the help of built-in tools that offer a limited set of customization options.
This is what you can do with the help of Quick Base:
Monitor application performance
Display important information such as network boot speed and Quick Dock server response time
Analyze current application performance
Quick Base can also provide you with recommendations on how to improve application performance manually.
6. Zoho Builder
Zoho Creator is an easy to use and flexible platform with an intuitive and attractive interface. Using Zoho Creator, you can build simple applications that meet your requirements.
Zoho Builder is a good alternative to build a perfect customer tracking database. The platform can be quickly adapted to any team.
While Zoho Creator is written in Java, you will have to use Deluge, a programming language developed specifically for this platform, to write your own code in it.
Zoho Creator allows you to import data from databases, files stored on your computer, and files from cloud storage. To integrate Zoho Creator with an existing database, you may need to install additional software.
Built-in tools allow you to customize the user interface to your needs by changing page layouts, forms, themes, and icons.
For backend customization, the platform supports REST APIs and a special code tool called Deluge Script Builder. This tool allows you to add your own logic and change user settings.
Zoho Builder is not best suited for writing serious and complex projects. However, the platform offers one of the richest set of templates for app development. There are many ready-made solutions that you can customize according to your needs.
It also offers one of the most affordable pricing plans, starting at $10 per user per month.
Custom web application development services & Solutions
7. Google App Maker
Google App Maker can help you create a simple app in less than half an hour. With Google App Maker, you can manage access roles and create client and server scripts.
The platform provides a large set of templates for application development. However, it is preferable to have at least basic programming knowledge, as it may be necessary to write some parts of the code by hand.
App Maker can integrate with some of Google’s most popular apps and services, including Google Drive and Google Analytics.
One of the drawbacks of this platform is that Google’s app builder doesn’t offer performance monitoring and improvement tools, at least for now.
Kissflow is a service platform for automating business process workflows. It is tightly integrated with Google Apps and provides a rich selection of tables and dynamic forms for data collection.
Although Kissflow does not have a built-in tool for database integration, you can add an existing database with the help of third-party solutions.
There is no official support from the Kissflow community, but there are many guides and detailed technical information on the project website.
One of the main drawbacks of Kissflow is that it does not provide any tools for application performance monitoring. Also, we couldn’t find any useful recommendations to improve performance.
Kissflow is well suited for small businesses as it offers both great functionality and an affordable price. There’s a standard 14-day trial, while the paid service starts at $9 per user per month for organizations with 10 to 100 users.
9. Sales force platform
The Salesforce platform is a useful tool for developing low-code applications. It supports the Salesforce Object Query Language (SOQL) database. But to integrate the Salesforce Platform with other databases, you’ll also need to use the APIs. It supports the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) and the Representation State Transfer (REST) protocol.
The Salesforce platform is a great choice for automating repetitive processes in small and medium-sized businesses and integrating your application with external applications.
Unfortunately, there is one big problem with this platform: an overloaded user interface with too many options. The interface may seem too complicated for less experienced users. Fortunately, if you have enough knowledge and experience, you can fully customize the Salesforce platform to your specific needs with the help of APIs.
Working with the Salesforce platform will cost you $150 per month for each user. A free trial is available.
Although Redden is more of a desktop application than a low-code development platform, it surely deserves a spot on our list.
Redden generates angular applications and allows you to get generated code that you can then customize the way you want. However, you have to understand what exactly the platform has generated and how it has been done, which makes Redden a tool more suitable for experienced developers and not for novices.
The Redden platform has moderate performance, so the UI may lag from time to time. All logic is implemented in C# partial classes and methods, which can make application development a bit more complicated. The good news is that the platform is constantly improving, so current performance issues may be resolved in the near future.
Radzen has three pricing plans:
Free version (with limited capabilities)
Professional ($50 per month)
Enterprise ($109 per month)
Radzen is a good choice for small projects and applications that don’t need any complex functionality.
Outsource software development in C/C++
In this article, we have brought you our own pick of the best low-code development platforms for 2019. As you can see, each of these platforms has its exciting features and disappointing limitations.
LCDPs will be useful to developers and non-programmers alike. These platforms help you build applications faster and customize them to your specific needs, even if you don’t have strong development skills. However, if you want to build a complex business application from scratch and equip it with a huge selection of features, you’re better off turning to professionals.