There isn’t any denying that low-code platforms have been hanging around for a while, and that’s been the case for five years. Native code then seemed to play the sheet anchor role…but not anymore. Cordova didn’t seem to pick up the development community’s cues. ReactNative emerged in the scene with a lot of promise. All said and done no mobile client stack of any enterprise platform is entirely ReactNative dependent.
Most coders come from computer science engineering background with experience in web/backend coding skills. Though Cordova can seem appealing to them, building apps with native codes will demand different skill sets.
Support for web
Low code platforms aren’t just for mobile apps, but also for web apps or progressive web apps. This is good news if you want an extension of the mobile app for the web. Efforts can double or even triple if you are looking to build an app of identical functionality for native Android clients and native iOS client. Native apps are becoming stronger than ever, which means that low- -code platform developers should rethink their architecture and do away with Cordova.
How to accelerate mobile development?
An understanding of what low-code platforms can deliver is important to know how you can accelerate mobile app development. Let’s touch upon traditional native code development even so we deal with low-code platforms.
Accelerating traditional native mobile app development is supported by frameworks that go beyond functionality using ready-to-use code modules and third-party SDKs.
Cross-platform mobile app development is accelerated by implementing the one code base approach for Android as well as iOS platforms, current modules and packages and running the gamut with third-party SDK’s.
To speed up backend development, developers usually employ “backend as a service” (BaaS) models, frameworks, the meticulous selection of coding language combined with setting up of automated ways of creating APIs directly from different models and deployment of various packages and modules.
The planning can be fast-driven by using prototypes to produce readily usable UI toolkits and clickable prototypes.
Developers use ready-made modules, configuration over coding, automated code generation, automated testing, automated cloud, enhanced developer collaboration, integrated frontend and backend development for speeding up low code-platforms.
All said and done there’s a certain trade-off. What if you go for an existing module that requires customization of features and configuration to meet your needs? What if you decide on serverless architecture for backend development? If you use the same, are there any limitations where there’s a need to execute more convoluted business logic?
The developer experience
The global search for coding talents is growing at an unprecedented rate than before. At times your developer may not be comfortable or unhappy working on your chosen platform. If the platform that you intend to go with matches with that of the tech skills of your developer, you get to save something at the end of the day.
Under favourable circumstances, an ace developer can help you build a mobile app project taking the agile route in a more efficient way than the conventional development model which still has the waterfall approach as the core methodology. Low code can prove effective for the agile mode of development.
There’s an issue that you can’t trivialize when evaluating specifications, but that which can significantly impact the developer experience: how you’re able to preview the updates to your mobile on any device. Three levels are followed: Rebuild, Hot-reloading and Real-time editing, the explanation of which is beyond the scope of the blog.
When price calls the shot
If your client is a Fortune 500 company, you have that extra bit of cushioning in terms of spend. But whatever be the size of the company, the cost should align itself with the expected project outcome.
License cost may play spoilsport, particularly when you plan on having unlimited users for your mobile app—charges levied by the low-code vendors are per seat, per developer or each development instance basis. You need to interpolate your business and time-cost benefits to the overall build effort.
Also, if the platform is a new or highly specialised one, you need to onboard more resources which require pre-planning. Finding the required resources can be a daunting task in itself.
Before you take the call, here is what you need to assess before going for a low-code platform for your next mobile app project. See how many questions you can tick-off. By comparing the alternatives, you don’t have to stand at the crossroads every time.
- How crucial is the UX/UI of the app? Do you need to publish the app both on PlayStore as well as AppStore?
- What are the coders and designers that would be playing at your app project?
- Is it an in-house team? Does individual skill sets correspond to that of your build requirements?
- Do you need to outsource your project? Do they fully understand your technical, functional and business requirements?
- Is a web version of the app required?
- What does development and ownership cost? Do you want to host it in-house? If so, you can simply do away with the low-code team.
- If it’s cloud-hosted, list the security concerns.
- Does the low-code provider have any previous projects that comprise identical features of your app project?
- What is the project methodology: agile or waterfall model?
- How is the team formation when you have a number of developers of diverse backgrounds and skillsets working on your project?
- What kind of support do you expect from the low-code vendor platform? Is it easy to onboard specialist coders or newbies?
Taking the low-code approach may require thorough analysis for a specific platform to meet your business and technical requirements; happy-go-lucky if you have any shortcuts. Finally, consider the limitations that come along with it. Check for user experience and functionality additions before you’re ready to go.