If you’ve never heard of the low code approach to app development before then get ready because you’re about to start hearing it everywhere. The streamlined approach involves rapid design and development with minimal amounts of coding, often relying on third-party application programming interfaces (APIs).
There’s not really any individual definition of low code development because it’s more of a mindset than something that’s directly measurable. But the very fact that it’s a mindset has led to a community springing up around the mentality, and low code innovators are increasingly disrupting all sorts of different industries.
And it’s easy to see why. There are all sorts of benefits to low code platforms and we’ll be looking at just a few of them in this article. Let’s go.
One of the most obvious reasons why you’d opt for low code platforms is that less code means a lower cost. Let’s say that a traditional bespoke app for a large business would take six months to develop and cost a million dollars. Taking the low code approach could cut that down to a couple of months and $50-100k.
This is good news for companies, of course, but it’s also good news for developers. It cuts out the middlemen and while they take in less income, they also use far fewer resources and come out on top overall. And let’s face it – it’s also more fun, because it stops developers from finding themselves stuck on the same project for what seems like forever.
Less code means fewer bugs: simple. The bug testing phase is a huge part of modern application development and even then, it’s inevitable that issues will creep through if there’s enough code there. But the good news about low code platforms is that there’s less to test and when they tap into APIs, those APIs have been tested by other people.
Fewer bugs is good news for both users and developers because less time will be taken up with troubleshooting and bug-fixes. Better still, the fast pace of low code development means that if a bug is found, it’s often better just to build a brand-new iteration than to stick a metaphorical plaster over it.
The less code that an application uses, the less bandwidth is required to download and run it. This is good news for people based in rural areas or in developing countries where internet access isn’t as prevalent as it is in the United States.
On top of that, because low code apps can be created much more easily than traditional applications, they can be released more quickly and at a lower price, or even for free. This will help to increase uptake of their applications because it reduces the barrier to entry for everyone from low-income families to bootstrapping entrepreneurs.
One of the most promising examples of a low code platform comes to us from a brand that you’ve probably heard of. It’s called Uber, and the application taps into Box for storage, Google for maps, Braintree for payments, Twilio for messaging and SendGrid for email. And that’s not all they use, either.
What’s interesting about this is that the APIs that Uber relies upon are available to anyone who wants to use them. Uber’s genius is that they took those APIs and used them to create something new without needing to develop each of those individual elements themselves. Then they built their own brand on top of it by looking at how they could differentiate themselves from others. It’s a strategy that seems to have worked.
The great thing about this is that it forces innovation. In today’s world, the marketplace decides and the best apps float to the top. Low code development just allows app makers to iterate more quickly and to have more shots at becoming the next big thing.