Low Code Development Platforms: Democratizing Application Development





Low code development platforms provide a highly visual, code-optional, and quicker approach to development. Unlike traditional programming, developers can drag-and-drop ready-made components to assemble applications, customizing through configuration instead of code. Low code removes the barriers of programming by abstracting complexity and automating repetitive tasks.

Platforms let non-technical subject matter experts participate in application building through “citizen development,” empowering a wider range of team members to contribute their expertise. Code isn’t avoided altogether though – platforms also support integration with standards-based technologies and programming when needed. The intention is to speed time to value across the entire software lifecycle.

Major Benefits of Low Code Platforms

Accelerating Delivery: By increasing productivity via visual tools and pre-built components, more feature work can be completed in shorter cycles to drive faster delivery. Estimates suggest projects develop 3x faster using low code.

Scaling Teams: Demand often outpaces traditional IT’s capacity. Low code widens the funnel to draw in a larger talent pool for application work by enabling a “do-it-yourself” approach for business teams. Teams scale work dynamically as needs change.

Reducing Costs: Not only does low code produce more with less, its reusable components mitigate rework. By involving subject matter experts, platform engineering talent addresses knowledge gaps without additional headcount. Overall total cost of ownership is significantly lower.

Democratizing Development: Popular platforms strive to feel intuitive like Office tools, familiarizing those outside development. This democratizes software delivery down to individual contributors not dependent on specialized coding skills.

Simplifying Maintenance: Since complexity is abstracted into declarative configuration versus procedural code, maintenance becomes less daunting. Changes are safer and easier to implement without disrupting functionality.

Core Features of Leading Platforms

Visual Designers: Drag-and-drop interfaces design microsites, forms, reports without code. Options include mockups, wireframing, responsive development.

Pre-Built Components: Libraries of pre-built and customizable UI widgets, workflows, business objects save considerable coding effort.

Declarative Logic: Declarative, rule-based logic flows let users change application behavior through configuration opposed to coding.

Cloud Integration: Integration with mainstream cloud services for storage, analytics, notifications through simple configuration.

Citizen Development: Projects balance self-service creation with governance through approval workflows and role-based access. Non-tech roles meaningfully contribute.

APIs and Custom Code: Platforms still support integrating with back-end systems and custom programming when visual tools don’t suffice. Platform capabilities rapidly expand.

Mobile Development: Many platforms include tools to develop and publish native and hybrid mobile applications matching web apps designs.

Low Code for Different Use Cases

Internal Tools: Build optimized internal tools for common department needs like help desks, HR administration, billing and inventory through citizen development.

Workflow Automation: Automate repetitive knowledge work and approval processes without the delays of standard software delivery cycles.

Rapid Prototyping: Field questions that require new data collection or analysis interfaces through prototypes live-tested with target users iteratively.

Systems of Engagement: Add engaging features to existing systems of record with customer-facing websites, mobile apps, portals without disruption.

Legacy Integration: Modernize legacy systems and databases by wrapping them in APIs and intuitive interfaces hiding backend complexities.

Individual Apps: Empower individual departments and teams to solve their own needs, bypassing central IT bottlenecks with self-service delivery.

Popular Low Code Platforms

Microsoft Power Apps: Highly visual and included in many existing Microsoft environments for rapid app creation. Especially useful for custom CRM, ERP, and Office solutions.

Mendix: Leading low code player offering a complete platform from design to database with packaged templates for common business functions.

Appian: Cloud scale low code platform delivering a wide range of apps across industries like banks, healthcare, and governments at the enterprise level.

Salesforce Lightning: Customize and extend Salesforce cloud CRM with low code tools to build specialized solutions for sales, customer service with many pre-cooked elements.

OutSystems: Modern platform building enterprise scale cloud/mobile/IoT applications. Popular in regulated industries requiring documentation and compliance.

ServiceNow App Engine: Embed low code development in the leading ITSM provider as a way to extend ServiceNow functionality rapidly for unique business needs.

Low Code Adoption Trends

Momentum is growing to embrace low code development platforms as the modern paradigm for application delivery. Research shows mainstream enterprises are actively adopting low code today to boost productivity while smaller firms often start with a basic platform before graduating to more advanced offerings. Gartner predicts low code will account for 65% of application development activity by 2024.

Vendors are also innovating to address new areas – conversational interfaces, mixed reality, Internet of Things. As more platforms embrace artificial intelligence, the role of code will diminish further empowering many more subject matter experts. The promise is shifting responsibility for application delivery down toward business units while engaging a wider, multi-disciplinary audience in creation through simplified tools. Overall low code looks poised to transform how software solutions are conceived and implemented across organizations worldwide.


  1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
  2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it