Feb 17, 2023
Low-code platforms have revolutionized the way applications are developed and deployed, allowing businesses and organizations to make their ideas a reality faster and easier. In spite of this, there are so many options available that choosing the best platform can be overwhelming. This article introduces four lesser-known low-code platforms that are worth considering: Flutterflow, Outsystems, Microsoft Power Apps, 8base, and Appian.
FlutterFlow is a cloud-based platform that helps small to large companies create, handle, customize, test, and deploy no-code applications for banking, education, healthcare, insurance, and other industries. Additionally, the software offers team collaboration, pre-built components, downloadable source code, drag-and-drop builder functionality, and more.
FlutterFlow features push notifications, group chats, version control, test mode, content management, conditional visibility, GUI builder, sample applications, and project dashboards. Developers can customize the application interface by adding custom backgrounds, widgets, Lottie animations, layout elements, language translations, and light/dark modes. Furthermore, it facilitates team collaboration via shareable project links, access permissions, and user feedback.
Business can integrate the platform with Algolia, Firebase, PayPal, Braintree, Google Maps, Google Analytics, Google AdMob, and GitHub through the API.
Several of my previous articles have discussed this tool, so I won't elaborate on it here.
OutSystems is a platform for creating low-code applications that simplifies development by combining design, coding, and deployment to create innovative applications quickly. OutSystems can be used for a variety of purposes, including:
Customer portals: Through OutSystems, companies can easily create customer portals and mobile applications and deploy them faster in comparison to manual coding. Using the platform, businesses can develop secure, scalable, and customized applications that meet their needs and those of their customers.
Internal apps: Using this solution, companies can also build internal applications and portals which can be used for their workforce. These tools can help organizations eliminate their internal app backlog, bridge gaps between systems, and streamline their work processes.
Core systems: Custom software for running a business can also be developed using OutSystems. By using this tool, businesses can develop core systems more quickly and in a flexible and personalized way.
With OutSystems, customers can develop and deploy unique and personalized solutions more quickly than with hand-coding. It puts a strong emphasis on high-performance low-code development so businesses can build products that meet their needs. Clients can develop enterprise-grade applications with high levels of security using this platform. As compared to its competitors, the product offers:
In addition to improving workspace productivity, this platform ensures that applications built using this platform are as scalable as hand-coded ones.
There are a number of features in OutSystems that allow users to develop and deploy highly efficient applications and other products. Among the features are:
Real-time monitoring of application usage and performance is possible with the tool
Applications programming interfaces
Enterprise-level security for both their applications and data.
Every application created on OutSystems can be deployed for mobile.
Debugging engine integrated into the development and deployment process, reducing the time it takes for developers and businesses to find problems.
Multilingual support, ensuring their questions are answered in an understandable manner.
The solution offers a wide array of benefits to companies that utilize it in their application development. Some of these benefits include:
High-speed visual development increases productivity for both businesses and users.
Easily integrate applications with a large number of systems.
Automating the development process from front end to back end and integrating with other systems facilitates the delivery of complex applications.
Applications are validated using artificial intelligence (AI).
Companies can save money on software purchases by connecting to more than 400 systems and existing technologies.
The multi-platform solution decreases costs for organizations by removing the need for third-party software.
It offers whole-team cross-functional collaboration, which can increase the technological knowledge in a company and raise the overall business expertise.
Microsoft Power Apps
Microsoft Power Apps is a rapid application development software and low-code development platform. The solution consists of a suite of apps, services, connectors, and a data platform. It provides an environment for building custom apps which is suitable for different businesses.
Microsoft Power Apps allows users to not only build applications, but also connect them to Microsoft's other sources, including the underlying data platform Microsoft Dataverse, as well as online and on-premise sources such as SharePoint, Dynamics 365, and Microsoft 365. The applications built using Microsoft Power Apps have a responsive design that makes them suitable for work in browsers and on mobile applications on different devices.
The no-code side of the product makes it suitable for complete beginners to app building, allowing them to easily create fully functional applications with many features. The solution also has a specialized platform for developers where specialists can access data and metadata, create custom connectors, integrate with external data, and apply business logic. The solution allows users to create three types of apps: canvas, model-driven, and portal. They are made using:
Power Apps Studio:Canvas apps are designed through Power Apps Studio. This app designer is suitable for complete beginners, as the app creation process resembles the building of presentations in Microsoft PowerPoint
App Designer:Model-driven apps are created through App Designer. The creation process allows users to define the sitemap and add components to build the application.
Power Apps Portals Studio: This is a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) design tool. It is suitable for portal applications, as it allows users to add and configure web pages, forms, components, and lists.
Microsoft Power Apps Features
The three different design tools of the solution, Power Apps Studio, App Designer, and Power Apps Portals Studio, come with various features which allow users to utilize the tools. Some of these features include:
Common Data Service (CDS): The data storage feature of the solution allows users to store and manage the data used for business applications securely. The data within the feature is stored among a set of entities, including a base set of standard entities as well as user-made custom ones, using Power Query. The data within CDS can be used to build apps.
Microsoft Power Apps has the ability to connect with various types of cloud services. It can connect with MS CDS, as well as SQL, DropBox, and Google Drive.
The tool has a feature for sharing built applications. Users can share the app they have created with users within the same organization as them.
The product allows organizations to assign their employees roles within the platform. This is done to create customization based on the assigned roles, potentially eliminating issues that a completely free access can create.
The tool has a feature that utilizes artificial intelligence (AI). It provides users with an AI builder and pre-built AI components to facilitate the application building process.
Facilitates the app-building process through application program interfaces (APIs).
Collaboration within the organization in the application building process. Through this feature, multiple employees can contribute to the creation of an app
Microsoft Power Apps Benefits
The product brings various benefits to organizations and individuals who utilize it. Some of the biggest advantages of Microsoft Power Apps include:
The solution saves time for organizations by eliminating manual coding and providing ready-to-use solutions.
Applications built on the product can be made compatible with various platforms, including the web, Windows, Android, and iOS.
The premium connectors and wide integration of the platform allow developers to use data from Microsoft and from third-party services to build their applications.
The no-code capability enhances mobility and innovations within companies.
The AI feature of the product allows companies to increase their productivity through prebuilt AI scenarios.
The tool offers various ways to follow the data from the created applications, allowing companies to benefit from the reports of the performance of their apps.
Professional developers receive a platform to follow crucial metrics and access the application development in detail.
Power Apps can be connected across the entire Microsoft Power Platform, allowing organizations to utilize all features that the provider offers.
8base is a low-code development platform for building and running feature-rich digital products including SaaS solutions, marketplaces and other web and mobile applications.
The 8base platform helps entrepreneurs and creators in established companies bring their product visions to life; faster, better and more economically. Additionally, digital agencies use 8base to deliver client projects faster while increasing their margins and reducing their reliance on scarce and expensive software development talent.
8base is a configurable, serverless low-code development framework hosted on AWS that exposes the world's most robust GraphQL-based query language for APIs; and unlike other platforms, 8base has been built from the ground up to use standards and widely accepted technologies that appeal to mainstream developers and ensures a creator’s intellectual property can be ported to other platforms if the need ever arises.
Low-code development tools for building software backends and APIs
Serverless computing and storage infrastructure for running applications built using 8base tools
Visual frontend development tools
Design and development services to assist customers with building
Low code and easy to understand. Appian designer is particularly helpful tool, interface is well designed and easy to navigate. Features like process mining offers great analysis to improve business processes and reduce bottle necks. Academy online learning centre has some amazing courses that will help you fast track your learning in low code / no code. I found course offered by appian are very helpful. Customer service is amazing.
Create internal/operational efficiencies
Improve customer relations/service
Improve business process agility
Improve compliance & risk management
I believe that every business should consider these four low-code platforms to build custom applications easily and quickly. Based on your specific needs and requirements, you will be able to determine which platform is the most suitable for you.
Any low-code platform in this list may revolutionize the development process inside your company and increase your development speed. It is highly likely that any tool in the list above can change the way and performance of your development team.