Low-code software development has become a vital enabler of digital transformation, but with many vendors to choose from, navigating the marketplace isn’t easy.
Picking the right low-code platform can be difficult, and not just because there are hundreds of vendors to choose from. Selecting the right platform is also a significant responsibility, not least because the solution you choose will likely come to play an integral role in your ongoing digital transformation journey. In this article, we’ll explore some of the key considerations when evaluating potential low-code vendors.
#1. Business use cases
Low code allows you to develop business apps with minimal input from the IT department, so most platforms can accommodate a wide range of use cases. Low code may encompass the entire application development process, or just a part of it, such as project management, user interface design, or integration. Moreover, business use cases for low code vary depending on the role of the department they’re being developed for. Some development platforms cater to highly specific roles, such as data analytics and business intelligence, while others are made for creating customer-facing mobile apps.
#2. Your end users
Low code tools are meant to empower cross-team collaboration and enable citizen developers to get involved in the development process. To that end, all low-code platforms feature visual, drag-and-drop interfaces and predefined building blocks for common functions. However, the ease of use still varies dramatically from one platform to the next, and there’s always a trade-off between ease of use and the complexity of apps you can develop. If the platform you has too steep a learning curve, adoption rates may be disappointing. This is why it’s essential to get all of your would-be citizen developers involved in the process of choosing a platform.
#3. Platform limitations
Limitations are inevitable in any low-code platform, since visual drag-and-drop designers will never be able to completely replace coding in every possible use case. That’s not necessarily a bad thing either, since the whole point of low code is to greatly reduce the burden on the IT team by offloading a large portion of their work. The point isn’t to replace talented developers, but to augment their capabilities. That being said, it’s still important that any low-code platform you choose makes the right trade-offs. You’ll also need a solution that’s able to create apps for the right platform — be it mobile, desktop, or cloud, all of which in turn run different operating systems and environments.
#4. Licensing models
Among the most important questions and concerns regarding any low code platform are those pertaining to software licenses. Who owns the underlying code of the apps that you build? Will you be permitted to sell those apps without restrictions, or will you only be allowed to sell them on the vendor’s own marketplace, if at all? What happens to any apps you create if you end your relationship with the vendor? These are just some of the vital questions you need to ask any would-be vendor. Alternatively, you can opt instead for a fully open-source solution, which ensures that you alone have complete control and ownership of your software stack.
#5. Vendor support
Choosing the right low-code platform will help your business on its journey to self-sufficiency, especially if you’re opting for an open-source solution. However, many small businesses don’t have the internal resources needed to maintain their entire software stacks by themselves or, if they do, it might not be cost-efficient. Most open-source platforms are delivered per the SaaS model, which typically includes vendor support, hosting, and software maintenance. However, in the case of open-source software, you may instead choose to take out a support contract with one of the main contributors to the project.
Planet Crust is pioneering innovation in low-code software development with one of the world’s first fully open-source development platforms. Download our latest eBook today to learn more about choosing the best low-code platform for your needs.