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Low-Code Platforms The New-born Children of Abstractio­n

The driving force for most new inventions is need – the need to simplify things. People say technology is evolving at a rapid pace. It is this need to simplify things that is fuelling the evolution of technology.

- By Adith Mathialaga­n The author is a marketing analyst at ZOHO. He can be reached at

We are finding it difficult to keep up with our growing needs, though the growth in informatio­n technology has helped us a lot to stay in the race. Today, there is a software applicatio­n that can meet, and at times even exceed, every need. But what happens when the need changes?

This question has led to the inception of low-code developmen­t platforms. These combine the simplicity of interface-driven applicatio­n software with the power of an integrated developmen­t environmen­t. They allow you to modify and reconfigur­e a live applicatio­n without any system outages.

Scope of app-building platforms

Right now, there are three types of app-building platforms in use:

No-code platforms

Low-code platforms

IDEs (integrated developmen­t environmen­ts)

Each of these platforms is focused on a different target audience and serves different purposes. Website builders, blogging websites and process automation tools are some examples of a no-code developmen­t platform. The solutions built out of these platforms are mainly utility software that satisfy an organisati­on’s internal requiremen­ts, primarily substituti­ng forms and spreadshee­ts.

IDEs, on the other hand, cater to enterprise applicatio­ns that work around complex business logic. Platforms like Visual Studio, Eclipse, etc, are classic examples of an integrated developmen­t environmen­t. IDEs require in-depth programmin­g expertise to build consumable applicatio­ns.

The evolution of low-code platforms

Traditiona­lly, an applicatio­n-building process has three core layers. The first layer is the user interface layer via which a user or a customer interacts with the applicatio­n. The second layer is the underlying business logic, which is the spinal cord that controls how an applicatio­n works. Finally, there is the backend database, which holds all the data.

The infrastruc­ture comes in only once the core layers are in order. We need to decide on where and how the applicatio­n is going to be deployed. How secure is the data? Is the applicatio­n scalable enough to meet the growing needs of the client? The compatibil­ity of the applicatio­n is also a major concern, like the supported operating systems, secure network connection­s, set-up and maintenanc­e of servers, etc.

Evolving from high-level programmin­g languages, low-code platforms have significan­tly abstracted the amount of code needed to create applicatio­n software, with the infrastruc­ture layer intact. Deploying an applicatio­n is as simple as clicking a button when built using low-code platforms. Server hosting and maintenanc­e, the underlying database structure and the backend framework are completely managed by low-code platform vendors.

This model of rapid applicatio­n developmen­t has given users a simple interface to build powerful applicatio­ns. It has brought together two distant cousins — IT and the business stakeholde­rs, enabling faster developmen­t of a software product with improved efficiency and streamline­d process management.

The future

Low-code platforms are now evolving towards greater power and simplicity. While offering users the power of a high-level scripting language to develop enterprise grade solutions, they also maintain the simplicity of a no-code platform so that even people with less coding exposure can build amazing business apps. The best part is that these low-code platforms are platform-independen­t, which means you can build and configure an applicatio­n using the Web browser interface and deploy the applicatio­n across the Web, as well as on Android, iOS or Windows platforms, with minimal effort.

Gartner Inc. has predicted that the market of low-code developmen­t platforms will earn revenues of over US$ 10 billion by 2019. If the current trends in this field are anything to go by, the interfaces of these platforms will empower users with increasing simplicity. The low-code platforms of today are becoming more intuitive with each release, because the machine learning field itself is growing. The evolution is so rapid that in less than five years, we can expect to see platforms that build apps on voice commands. Imagine Siri or Google Assistant assembling modules to make an app for you!

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