Every time I think of coding, I just get this mental image of a Hollywood hacker.
So basically, green text on the screen, smashing the keyboard, and the classic “I’m in” in under 30 seconds. Now, I am not an expert, but I know that just doesn’t work that way, and neither does coding.
If you know anything about coding, you know it’s a long and painful process, especially if you are not Jeff Goldblum from Independence Day. That is why low-code is a thing now. Let’s find out what it is exactly.
What Is a Low-Code Development Platform?
A low-code development platform presents a visualized experience for developers to build apps. Basically, it is someone coding for you beforehand so that you won’t have to rewrite all the duplicate codes and double-check everything.
The low-code approach is all about visualization but at the same time, coding is still present. Unlike no-code tools.
But, what exactly is the difference between low-code and no-code tools, apart from the general idea the names suggest?
Low-Code vs. No-Code
Of course, it is very obvious that no-code involves no code while low code involves some code.
No-code users don’t really come face to face with code. Instead, they drag and drop or use buttons to do certain things. On the other hand, low-code platforms require basic knowledge of coding as they are designed to make coding easier.
But there is another difference between the two.
Who can use Low-Code Tools?
While no-code is basically for everyone, low-code is more directed at developers since there will be coding in the process. So, I can use no-code, but if we are talkin’ low-code I will let a developer have center stage.
Then there arises the question; why you should use low-code platforms, especially when there are no-code ones that require no coding at all. Let’s talk about why low-code is for you.
Why Should You Use a Low-Code Platform?
As I said earlier, low-code platforms are usually preferred by developers. So when a developer needs to ease his/her workload they wouldn’t go for a no-code tool. No-code is cool but it cannot possibly offer the flexibility a low-code platform can offer: they aren’t even of the same caliber.
But still, there is a handful of reasons why developers prefer low-code tools and not just go dive into coding from scratch.
Here’s three of ‘em.
Possibly the best thing about using a low-code platform is that it gives you high speed and high flexibility. When developing applications, being agile is crucial, and with a low-code platform, you can keep it quick and flexible even after launching the app.
A flaw in the code is the last thing a developer would want to fix and it is not easy either. For example, low-code platforms could come in handy when faced with a design fault or bug post-launch.
Low-code platforms are built to save time, effort, and money.
This means you will need less time working on an application, possibly fewer people will be needed, and overall you will save money just by doing these two. And even if you decide you want more time and people working on the project, it’ll still save you money by doing the legwork.
Now, I am not a coding expert but I know how it works, and let me tell you: it can be a hot mess.
I’m not saying every code will look like that green code from Matrix but code doesn’t always shape up the way you want and even looking for a bit of data may be tiring at times.
And when that happens, low-code platforms are there to make it easier for you.
Now that you know what and why is low-code, we can move on to some of the best low-code platforms that are killing it.
Best Low-Code Platforms to Build Apps
Even when the task is clear, not all low-code platforms work the same way.
App building is a complex process and each platform handles it differently. One can focus on a certain feature while another one tries to get the best of several features.
At the end of the day, what matters is what you need.
And that’s why we have the upcoming list coming up. Let’s pick you a low-code platform.
1- Claris Filemaker
Claris Filemaker is among the top players in the low-code industry. Taking pride in bringing together strong features and an easy-to-use interface, Claris helps you create, share, access, and integrate the apps you built – like a walk in the park.
Why use Claris Filemaker?
Users report that Claris has immaculate customizability and that is something worth the money.
Oftentimes people prefer low-code over no-code because of more advanced features and more freedom, so you know Claris is in the right direction. Plus, Claris’ customer support is highly acclaimed.
Although, be prepared. Users might find themselves in quite a hassle if they start using Claris for its ease of use. While it is low-code, you still need to know basic coding and that is the number one reason citizen developers might have trouble getting used to Claris.
Claris Filemaker offers two plans and a 45-day free trial. ‘Cause who wants a 30-day trial when you can get 45 days, am I right?
- Essentials – $19 per user/ month (5-10 users)
- Standard – $39 per user/ month (5-99 users)
2- Visual LANSA
Low-Code. High Control. No Limitations.
That is the tagline Visual LANSA has and it sure does sum it all up. Visual LANSA is a powerful low-code platform that lets you develop apps faster than ever. If you are tired of the IBMi green screen, it’s just the right time to switch to Visual LANSA.
Why use Visual LANSA?
With users reporting high ease of use as well as great customer service, Visual LANSA is a platform you can trust with your coding needs. Plus, you can basically integrate it with anything while keeping it fast and simple.
Visual LANSA goes for the win for the length of its trial period of 90 days. That’s right, hop on that free plan, y’all. And when you are ready to play big, Visual LANSA offers three tiers:
- Entry Level – Starting at $16.66/user/month (up to 100 users)
- Mid-tier – Starting at $13.34/user/month (up to 250 users)
- Enterprise – Starting at $8.34/user/month (up to 1000 users)
OutSystems is a fan favorite and one of the most popular low-code tools out there. Wonder why? ‘Cause they got it all figured out.
OutSystems scream ‘no BS’, and I think it’s true looking at how users feel about the platform. OutSystems brings together the ease of use of a no-code tool with drag-and-drop and the advanced settings you could only expect from a low-code platform. And the outcome works wonders.
Why use OutSystems?
OutSystems has a unique set of features like single-click deployment and full-stack visual development. To top it, OutSystems’ ease of use is also top tier. But as is the case with most of the other low-code platforms, the low code might not be so low for some. Keep in mind that this one is designed for developers.
OutSystems has a forever free version with up to 100 users but if you want to be a paid customer, let me warn you for this one: nothing good in life is free.
- Basic – $4,000 / month (1,000 end users)
- Standard – $10,000 / month (limited end users)
- Enterprise – Custom (limited end users)
4- Salesforce Lightning
In it for the Salesforce guarantee? Get in.
Salesforce Lightning’s number one principle is doing things right, fast, and anywhere. Whether you are coding or clicking, in the office or at home, Salesforce Lightning is there to help you make a change. With the Salesforce integration and team collaboration options too.
Why use Salesforce Lightning?
One of the best features of Salesforce Lightning, according to users is how you don’t always need the code. With many ready codes and an easy-to-use interface, Salesforce Lighting offers a smooth process.
Salesforce Lightning comes with different prices for different use cases. For example, if you are looking for a solution for your sales team, or customer service department, the prices will be different from those offered for a small business. For now, let’s take a look at small business pricing.
- Essentials – $25 user/month
- Sales Professional – $75 user/month
- Service Professional – $75 user/month
- Pardot Growth – $1,250 up to 10,000 contacts/month
Mendix is a jack of all trades.
An all-in-one low-code platform with a comprehensive set of features, Mendix lets you automate, integrate, connect to AI, and of course, build applications. What’s more, is that you can pick no-code IDE or low-code IDE according to your specific needs. Get the whole team on board!
Why use Mendix?
Users report that Mendix is not only a great platform for fast and safe app development but also one of a kind in terms of growth and updates. Launching a new and better feature every month, Mendix could easily be one of the most customer-aware low-code platforms out there.
The pricing of Mendix is based on how many apps you want to build, the options are one, or unlimited. Pretty straightforward, huh? Let’s see the one app plan.
- Free – Limited use
- Basic – Starting at €50/month
- Standard – Starting at €800/month
- Premium – Starting at €1600/month
6- Zoho Creator
Zoho creator is has three initiatives: Build, integrate, extend.
And knowing Zoho, you can trust Zoho Creator in these goals for your next project. Zoho Creator not only steps it up with great mobile interface but also offers unique integrations with QR codes and images. If you are looking for a quick app solution Zoho Creator is what you need.
Why use Zoho Creator?
Especially small businesses report great performance and reliability with Zoho Creator. Although it is one of the more affordable picks among the other low-code tools, it offers relatively more than other smaller low-code tools. Plus, knowing Zoho, you know you can trust Zoho Creator with keeping your data safe.
15 days is more than enough to realize you need Zoho Creator, and that’s all that you get. After the 15-day-trial period, you can upgrade your plan to:
- Basic – $10 /user/month billed annually
- Premium – $25 /user/month billed annually
- Ultimate – $40 /user/month billed annually
With its comprehensive paltform, WaveMaker is one of those low-code tools that can leave a good impression even on enterprise level customers. WaveMaker operates on a 4-step process: Build, Integrate, Secure, Deploy.
Although these steps are basically what all low-code platforms prefer to use, WaveMaker makes sure to differentiate each stage with high quality features and open standards.
Why use WaveMaker?
WaveMaker has one thing special to it: it was designed with developers in mind.
It is a common problem in low-code platforms that most of these tools are designed with a mindset of ease of use and they end up being almost no-code tools. Wavemaker leaves enough room for custom code and loyal customers appreciate this greatly.
WaveMaker offers a free trial that requires an internet browser and no credit card. When your trial is over and you decide you want to continue working with WaveMaker, here are the plans.
- Solo – $500/ monthly (unlimited apps and app users)
- Small Team – custom (with team collaboration option)
- Enterprise – custom (with enterprise integrations)
8- Zudy VINYL
Zudy’s VINYL is a low-code platform dedicated to a combination of the functionality of low-code and the simplicity of no-code tools. VINYL’s working process is based on three layer: Design Layer, Business Logic Layer, and DataAccess Layer.
Why use VINYL?
More than an easy to use user interface, VINYL’s interface displays data from different platforms in one place to make your experience even smoother.
Zudy does not offer fixed prices for VINYL, but there is a free version as well as a free trial option.
9- Oracle Application Express
Oracle Application Express can help you develop enterprise apps 20 times faster and with 100 times less code.
Oracle Application Express, or APEX, is one of the low-code tools that focuses on fast, safe delivery. And companies from small to enterprise levels are all satisfied with Oracle APEX. Keeping mind it has the Oracle guarantee, I say it is worth giving it a shot.
Why use Oracle APEX?
Contrary to some of the low-code platforms and tools on this list, Oracle Application Express offers a similar experience to a no-code application development tool. APEX knows a sophisticated app requires some code, but also that it should be available for citizen developers as well.
And, I won’t even get started with the high speed service. C’mon people, it’s in the name.
Oracle APEX is an extra service of Oracle Cloud and thus the price you are bound to pay depends on the services on Oracle. But it is clearly stated that Oracle APEX is a free service of Oracle Cloud, and users report that APEX is 43% less expensive than other low-code platforms. It sounds like a bargain to me.
Thought the list was over? I got one bonus tool for you.
10- Bonus: UserGuiding
UserGuiding is the best ever low-code tool you’ll ever use. Okay, well I lied about the low-code part, it’s actually a no-code tool but it really is the best. And it’s the best fitting one for you if all the coding lingo above freaked you out.
So, give UserGuiding a try, and if you think you’d be better off with no-code tools, check out my no-code tools article too. The trick is to make sure there is drag-and-drop but you didn’t hear it from me 😏.
Low-code tools are powerful weapons in the hand of the right person. Some low-code platforms make sure to make it possible for everyone while most target trained developers. This only means there is more to choose from. So, take a good look at the low-code tools above and pick the right one for you. There’s one for everyone!
Frequently Asked Questions
How sophisticated an application can you build using low code development platforms?
You can build a highly sophisticated application using a low code development platform. Low-code platforms are tools that your developers use, employing such a tool can only enhance your developer’s performance in doing what they do best.
What do programmers think of low code development platforms?
Many programmers agree that low-code tools are beneficial. Writing code by hand can lower delivery speed and the whole performance of the app.
What applications are low-code platforms best used on?
Most low-code tools have an impressive set of integration options and an average low-code tool can be used with apps and tools like MS Excel, cloud sharing apps, and your own product.