The benefits of no-code/low-code development are becoming far more widely recognized and low-code methodology is fast becoming a key part of mainstream development.
There is however, a good deal of sometimes justified skepticism being expressed by some companies prior to committing their future to a low-code product.
The main concern is that implementing a low-code platform could potentially mean that companies become reliant or locked into a platform incapable of meeting all their future requirements.
A good low-code platform will offer an easy-to-use development methodology with familiar option select, drag & drop and point & click techniques. This methodology will allow a company’s existing staff to design and create the required mobile apps and applications.
Many low-code suppliers will promote the possibility of creating apps for multiple devices, environments and browsers from the same design. Also, the speed and ease of development, which is often the driving force, can see apps being created and released in days or weeks rather than months or even years that is often the case in more traditional methods of development.
The main issue is that low-code products are far from being all the same. Although they may appear, on the surface, to meet the initial goals of building an app, many can present their users with severe limitations as their requirements evolve or change, either through growth, reorganization or dynamic business conditions.
A key recommendation for any business is to carry out a thorough investigation of the platform being considered, and to ask the right questions. Obviously, how much is this going to cost in the short, medium and long term, but also how flexible and easy-to-use is this platform? How far can I go with customizing the app to meet my requirements and how do I do it? Is the platform capable of producing native as well as web apps? Will this platform be able to meet the evolving functional needs of the company in the medium and long term?
Suppliers such as BlueFinity have long anticipated this situation and have designed Evoke, their no-code/low-code platform accordingly. Evoke is designed so that there is absolutely no limit to either the degree of customization or the potential and scalability of the apps created.
Evoke is designed to generate all of the code into structured Visual Studio (inc. Xamarin) projects which then provides a developer with unlimited scope for customization. If the developers are not technical, they need never touch the generated code, and can follow a no-code development and deployment approach. But for when it is needed, developers have the generated VS code delivered on to their computers and always have full access to it.
This means that Evoke can be an entirely no-code solution or a genuine low-code platform that can easily call and incorporate a customer’s existing code, new code, library routines and third-party software as they require.
From the same Evoke app design, there is the choice of generating a web app or native app. Deploying a native app has many advantages including being able to make full use of the integrated technology of the device such as increased security, location-based communication, GPS, Bluetooth etc.
By making the generated source code available in a Visual Studio solution, it means IT staff can access the source code for onward development even if no longer using the low-code platform. In addition, Evoke’s unique method of maintaining and re-applying any custom code means that a developer may always return to Evoke for further easy customization and development of the app, with Evoke re-applying all previous custom code in the new version, the next time the app is generated.
Of course, not every company will require this degree of flexibility, but it is so important to investigate and evaluate first. The wrong choice can be very costly indeed, not just in the cost of the platform but in training staff and in the potential lost opportunity costs when the limitations of an incorrect choice of platform are discovered.