What you can achieve with Low Code: Overview and examples

The attractiveness of low code in a nutshell: Individuals and teams can create professional software without in-depth programming knowledge. The usual effort of writing countless lines of code is eliminated. We show you how a low-code platform makes your business life easier.

Low-code development is also playing an increasingly important role in the DACH region. No wonder: Who wants to wait months or even more than a year for an application when it can be launched in a much shorter time? And the shortened time-to-use / time-to-market is only one advantage. But let's put Low Code in its place first!

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Picture of Oliver Bodenhaupt

Oliver Bodenhaupt
Feb. 12, 2021 - 5 min. read

What is Low Code?

The term low code describes a type of software development. Here, the building blocks of an application are assembled visually with prefabricated elements. The actual code required to run the complete software/application is then generated in the background by a low-code platform. Via software deployment, your application is made available in a public or private cloud environment.

The motto is "low code" and it is implemented the same way: There is no need for highly specialized programming. This means that, as a rule, syntax, command formations and commenting are no longer necessary.

This significantly reduces the complexity of software development. Where yesterday an expensive team of developers produced vast amounts of code, today one person with basic IT expertise can be enough to familiarize himself with the subject matter in a short time. This person can implement the data model, operational logic and even the user interface using visual design tools.

The initial investment for system setup and training is comparatively low.

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Low-code approach: Where does it come from?

The low-code approach is the logical further development of Rapid Application Development (RAD). Perhaps one or the other reader still remembers study and training, where he converted first programs with Delphi or Visual Basic. The individual program elements were logically combined on a user interface. This kind of visualization made the access to the understanding of software development much easier. Beginners in programming could build useful and/or funny applications.

Prerequisites for Low Code Development
Basically, anyone with IT savvy can create low-code applications.

Citizen Developer

The term is gradually spilling over into the German-speaking world. It describes employees from specialist departments who get involved in software development. Where previously only cryptic code was to be seen, they can now click together their requirement software themselves with the simplest of means. Or they can support the professional developers in an eye-to-eye exchange. What they see on the screen, they now understand.

Professional developers

Professional developers from a corporate IT department can increase their output enormously with low-code platforms. Their job is to solve problems and enable others to work efficiently. A low-code environment provides such professional developers with just the right tools. They can do basic work much faster and add code to special requirements and finally experience data handling comfortably. They can deploy small software tools and desired customization in the shortest possible time without large special development budgets. 

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The difference of Low Code Development versus Conventional Software Development:
A Concrete Example

To illustrate the difference between low code and conventional development, let's look at an example.

Example: Below a data table, a button is to open a window. In the window there is a selection menu with the possibility of multiple selection. Depending on the type of selection, a data set can be exported as a PDF. The user is only allowed to do this if he is logged in to the system - i.e. has a user account.

After a development team has received the order, it plans the data model and the implementation of the functionalities of the future software. Regardless of whether agile software development is practiced using the Scrum method: Subsequently, either conventional development or low code is used.

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Our example with conventional software development

Now the programming team has to code each functionality of it itself. The work in the Integrated Development Environment (IDE) begins.

And that takes time. Even if there are already some components to fall back on - for example, an outsourced PDF solution: The way the components work together is first created in code. And a user system with a login barrier in the background also has to be created first.

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Our example with low-code development

However, if you want to implement our example from above with a low-code platform, you will not only find the required components already present. You can also simply call the interaction options. You combine, usually by drag-and-drop, where which component meshes with another. Which action is executed when.

By the way: User management comes with "Low Code Platforms" ex works. This means that areas can be created right from the start that can only be accessed via login. Further functionalities can be found under the menu item Features.

Our example with the PDF export can be realized via Low-Code without any programming effort!

More concrete application possibilities of Low-Code can be found under Testimonials.

What are the advantages of low-code development?

We see the benefits by looking at the obstacles caused by conventional software development. What are the reasons why companies can no longer cope with an existing software solution?

Reasons to abandon an existing software

  • Further development takes too long.
  • Further development is too expensive.
  • Maintenance is time-consuming and expensive.
  • The software is rigid and no longer reflects the current work processes / needs.
  • Important interfaces are missing.
  • The solution does not meet current security requirements or is even demonstrably vulnerable to certain threats.
  • There is no one left who really knows and understands the code.

Comparison of conventionally developed software vs. low-code platform

Pain due to insufficient inventory software Advantages of a low-code platform Application example
Further development takes too long. You can make adjustments to your software yourself. You don't have to wait for anyone and can do without external development teams. You need three new charts with download function in your web application. You can implement this in-house and have it ready for use in the shortest possible time.
Further development is too expensive. Since you can do without external software developers, the costs are reduced, sometimes dramatically - especially when implementing new functionalities. You want to customize your Process Automation and need a few new steps and features. Instead of having this coded, it can be "self-built" via low code in a traceable way and exactly as required.
Maintenance is complex and expensive. First, with low-code, they can be hands-on with all the data and components while always having your vendor "at your fingertips." Secondly, a low-code platform is regularly maintained and supplied with updates. Your web application is used by more and more users and needs more power. Instead of manually expanding local servers, more resources can be conveniently ordered from the platform provider. The platform provider also ensures that the basis of your Web application - the low-code platform - is technically up to date.
The software is rigid and no longer reflects the current work processes/needs. The low-code platform allows you to change almost every aspect of your web application yourself. You want to move buttons in your software, restructure whole functionalities and adjust the work flow. You can make such changes at any time in the backend of your low-code platform, without coding.
Important interfaces are missing. A good low-code platform offers interfaces via API and convenient data import. You want to continue using your existing CRM, but process data from it in a specific way. With the connection between CRM and your low-code platform, this is possible by tapping the data and performing data handling in the low-code platform.
The solution does not meet current security requirements or is even demonstrably vulnerable to certain threats. A low-code platform usually offers a strong security concept ex works. It relies on current frameworks and it is in its own best interest to provide a secure environment for your users. Your software is based on low-code components. These are maintained on a regular basis.
There is no one left who really knows and understands the code. Your web application is not presented to you as code, but in the form of well-controlled components. You don't need programming expertise to understand it. You will find your Web application well organized, e.g. in the form of tables, triggers, actions. You visually organize components and processes in a way that suits your needs. You can understand everything and usually do not have to read any code. In addition, you as a customer always have a contact person.

Exactly as needed and with feedback:
How your departments can get involved in development

We know cases where German companies have sent the next development steps for their software to other countries via Excel spreadsheet. It took time until it became clear what exactly was needed. The implementation took a long time. Finalization took even longer: all the control and improvement loops had to be completed.

You can experience the complete opposite in everyday life with low-code development. You have one or more IT liaisons (not necessarily: developers) in the company who can implement change requests agilely and in-house. In doing so, you can always get in touch with the business departments during the short process: Is this what you need? Does it fit like this? 

Collaboration and rapid deployment

Every intermediate state can be deployed and tested in "real life" without much effort.  This not only saves a huge amount of time, but also leads to positive synergy effects between the development team and the employees from the specialist departments. A whole new efficient collaboration can be established.

Get the best out of your team: Realize your low-code applications in the shortest possible time with the features of a low-code platform!

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Basic qualities in low-code development

When evaluating software quality, 4 criteria are used - both in normal software development and in low-code development.

Correctness
The developed instruction sequences of the platform are correct and error-free executable.

Robustness
The system reacts meaningfully to errors, presents e.g. an error message, which is helpful, and does not crash completely.

Performance
Running times and resource usage are the focus here. As a rule, a lot of emphasis is placed on this in order to be able to map all possible software requirements via low-code development.

Maintainability
Good source code possesses last also a simple error removal. If the work has been done cleanly, any errors that subsequently occur can be removed from the system precisely and quickly.

Examples of low-code applications

  • Web portals
     
  • Web-based applications (SaaS applications), public or for a restricted group of users
     
  • Customer portals with multiple functionalities, e.g. depending on user roles or licenses
     
  • Data handling in companies incl. visual evaluation and export
     
  • Digital mapping of workflows (internal, everyday work software)
     
  • Software for structured capture of information (also on tablets on the go)

You can find concrete, already implemented examples under Testimonials.

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Difference: Low Code versus No Code

The possibilities with low code are unlimited. On a low-code platform, code can always be used when a highly specialized solution is needed.

This is the strength in contrast to no-code platforms. No-code solutions, by their very concept, cannot provide a solution for everything. It is de facto impossible to already prepare all conceivable possible applications and the smallest subtleties in software development. This is because people always have new ideas - and sometimes they cannot be realized with the templates that are currently available.

A no-code platform always runs after the inventiveness of humans. The low-code platform leaves a back door open that makes every software project feasible. Specific requirements are not a problem.

Low-code platform and data protection in Germany / the EU

For companies in Germany, user data is considered particularly sensitive. Compliance with the GDPR should therefore be an important criterion here when choosing a low-code platform. Providers who offer their platforms via non-European IT do not guarantee compliance with the DSGVO / GDPR (Regulation (EU) 2016/679).

Kettufy is GDPR compliant.

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Conclusion

The bottom line is that low code is interesting for anyone who wants to launch a professional application these days. Whether for closed in-house use in the company, as a globally accessible web platform or even just for the digital mapping of a specific company process: Low Code makes development easier, cheaper and faster.

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