What Is A Low-Code Digital Experience Platform?
Jul 23, 2019
By: Alexandra Barcelona
In today’s tech-savvy world, brands need to be more digitally nimble than ever before. Consumers and businesses alike expect cutting edge technology, speed, and experiences. At many companies, however, the demand for new projects is five times the capacity of the IT team. Reliance on IT teams creates a bottleneck that slows digital transformation.
Low-code platforms streamline website, application and software development. What might have taken months in the past, can be deployed in a matter of days or weeks using low-code tools. Let’s look at what low-code development is, some of the features and benefits of a low-code platform, and why NoCode is even better.
What is Low-Code Development?
The term “low-code development” refers to software development in which developers, or even less technical staff, can create application or website functionality through graphical user interfaces (GUIs) rather than writing code in complex programming languages. Some low-code development environments require minimal scripting knowledge, while others allow users to create unique and fully functioning applications with no coding at all - but more on this later.
Features of Modern Low-Code Development Platforms
Modern low-code development tools have come a long way since the days of Microsoft’s Visual Basic and Power Builder. While those platforms helped with basic app design, they didn’t reduce the work of other crucial aspects of the software development lifecycle such as testing and deployment. Some of the features of current low-code development platforms today include:
- Pre-built components: including everything from user interface elements (buttons, links, form fields, etc.) to database connections that users can drop into new applications seamlessly. The pre-built components can be used like building blocks to form much larger, more complex applications.
- Development cycle management tools: including features for debugging, version control, integration testing, performance analysis, scalability assessments, and server deployment. It’s not just the design of applications that’s simplified, but the entire software lifecycle that’s streamlined.
- Collaborative tools between business needs and IT requirements: communication tools to ensure smooth collaboration between non-technical business users and IT staff. Both teams are needed to develop better customer experiences, so facilitated communication between them shortens development times significantly.
- Cloud support: modern low-code environments often have built-in cloud support to make deployment and maintenance even easier. It’s no longer an option to move to platforms that won’t be scalable in the long run, so most modern low-code platforms are cloud-native.
Benefits of Low-Code Development Platforms
The reduced learning curve for low-code environments also brings its share of benefits to nearly every aspect of enterprise development. These benefits can include:
- Faster development cycles: While most experienced developers can build applications from scratch, low-code development tools can greatly speed up the process and let developers focus on creating the unique business logic necessary instead of reinventing the wheel. Projects that may have required weeks of pre-planning, months of development, and additional time for testing and deployment can be completed in a fraction of the time by using a low-code platform.
- Easier maintenance: Since the components in a low-code platform have already been tested to work together out of the box, the time required to maintain and build on current applications is greatly reduced. Stable platforms also have components that have been well-tested by different implementations and clients, so the chances of bugs or security flaws are greatly reduced. Low-code is much less error-prone than developing apps from scratch in complex programming languages.
- Reduced reliance on IT staff: For users who want to create simple applications, but lack extensive knowledge of programming languages, low-code development tools give them the power to build what they need quickly and easily without IT support. Low-code platforms, therefore, take much of the load off IT teams and empower non-technical business users.
- Improved return on investment: By reducing the amount of time and resources needed to develop new projects, enterprises can increase productivity, lower costs, and increase their ROI. Less-technical users can help, so overburdened IT teams don’t have to turn to costly third-party development or implementation teams to get software into production.
How Low-Code Platforms Aid the Customer Experience
The benefits of low-code development can translate into an improved customer digital experience. With the widespread use of mobile technology, users’ expectations from their favorite brands has grown dramatically. Enterprises that fail to meet these increased expectations may fall behind their competitors who are better able to adapt to the “new normal”.
Digital transformation means using technology to focus your business on rapidly evolving customer demands. Without utilizing a low-code approach, companies will struggle with digital transformation because traditional software development is costly and time-consuming. Most businesses can’t afford to ignore their customer demands, so using low-code tools for rapid development can help companies keep pace with or even get ahead of the competition.
Low-Code is Great, NoCode is Better
The logical evolution from low-code applications is, of course, applications that require no coding at all to build. Like most low-code platforms, nocode tools utilize drag-and-drop components that work together seamlessly to create new applications. These nocode solutions eliminate the need for specialized coding knowledge and empowered business team members to create their own unique and powerful applications without developer support.
Here at dotCMS, we’ve adopted this NoCode philosophy as a core pillar in our product vision.
dotCMS’ latest release includes drag-and-drop features, a WYSIWYG editor, and Edit Mode Anywhere, all of which empower marketers to modify the layout and design of front-end applications without needing to write code or scripts. Edit Mode Anywhere specifically, which empowers non-technical content authors and product managers with codeless page and layout modification, drives a faster time to market by reducing development requirements during implementation, therefore increasing ROI. The Lebron James Foundation, for example, benefited from dotCMS’s NoCode tools to build a single page application in just three weeks.
If a traditional development cycle can deliver a well-crafted digital customer experience in months, and a low-code platform can do the same job in weeks, then image how quickly a nocode platform can do the same. Nocode solutions take the burden away from the IT team, and give more control to marketers, all while creating a digital experience platform that better connects businesses with their customers. A modern no-code platform sparks digital transformation through accelerated app development, streamlined business processes, and high scalability to meet future business needs.