Low-code development platform

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A low-code development platform (LCDP) is software that provides an environment programmers use to create application software through graphical user interfaces and configuration instead of traditional computer programming. The platform may focus on design and development of a particular kind of application: such as databases, business processes, or user interfaces such as web applications. Such platforms may produce entirely operational applications, or require additional coding for specific situations. Low-code development platforms reduce the amount of traditional hand coding, enabling accelerated delivery of business applications. A common benefit is that a wider range of people can contribute to the application's development—not only those with formal programming skills. LCDPs can also lower the initial cost of setup, training, and deployment.[1]

Though not given a specific name until June 9, 2014[1] by the industry analyst, Forrester Research, the low-code development platform market traces back to 2011.[2]

LCDPs trace their roots back to fourth-generation programming language and rapid application development tools of the 1990s and early 2000s. Similar to these predecessor development environments, LCDPs are based on the principles of model-driven design, automatic code generation, and visual programming.[3] The concept of end-user development also existed previously, although LCDPs brought some new ways of approaching this development.


As a result of the micro computer revolution businesses have deployed computers widely across their employee bases, enabling widespread automation of business processes using software. The need for software automation and new applications for business processes places demands on software developers to create custom applications in volume, tailoring them to organizations' unique needs.[4] Low-code development platforms have been and are developed as a means to allow for quick creation and use of working applications that can address the specific process- and data needs of the organization.[5]


Research firm Forrester estimates that the total market for low-code development platforms will grow to $15.5 billion by 2020.[6] Segments in the market include database, request handling, mobile, process and general purpose low-code platforms.[7]

Low-code development’s market growth can be attributed to its flexibility and ease.[8] Low-code development platforms are shifting focus towards general purpose of applications, with the ability to add in custom code when needed or desired.[2]

Mobile accessibility is one of the driving factors of using low-code development platforms.[4] Instead of developers having to spend time creating multi-device software, Low-code packages typically come with that feature standard.[4]

Because they require less coding knowledge, nearly anyone in a software development environment can learn to use a low-code development platform. Features like drag and drop interfaces help users visualize and build the application.[6]

Security and compliance concerns[edit]

Concerns over low-code development platform security and compliance are growing, especially for apps that use consumer data. There can be concerns over the security of apps built so quickly and possible lack of due governance leading to compliance issues.[8] However, low-code apps do also fuel security innovations. With continuous app development in mind, it becomes easier to create secure data workflows. Still the fact remains that low-code development platforms that do not apply and strictly adhere to Normalized Systems Theory (Herwig Mannaert, Jan Verelst, Peter De Bruyn, 2016) do not solve the challenge of increasing complexity due to changes.[8]

Analyst coverage and crowd evaluation[edit]

A Forrester report about low-code development platforms ("The Forrester Wave™: Low-code Development Platforms, Q2 2016") featured a 26-criteria evaluation of low-code development platform providers.[9]

An updated Forrester report charting the growth of the low-code market was published in July 2017 (Vendor Landscape: A Fork In The Road For Low-Code Development Platforms) highlighting 3 industry trends:[10]

  • Growth - the low-code market is forecast to increase to over $21 billion over the next five years.
  • Diversification - Two major developing market segments focus on the needs of business ("citizen") developers and of AD&D (App Dev) Professionals.
  • Integration - As adoption of low-code expands and businesses look towards technologies like AI, robotics and machine learning, solutions must grow to offer these capabilities.

A G2Crowd report about low-code development platforms evaluated market share and user reviews for 46 products.[11]

Forrester published an updated report in August 2018. The report covers key trends including the continuing adoption of low code platforms by enterprise companies and the merging of low code platforms with existing developer tools into a broader application development ecosystem.[12]


Some IT professionals question whether low-code development platforms are suitable for large-scale and mission-critical enterprise applications.[13] Others have questioned whether these platforms actually make development cheaper or easier.[14] Additionally, some CIOs have expressed concern that adopting low-code development platforms internally could lead to an increase in unsupported applications built by shadow IT.[15]

Low code vs. no code[edit]

No-code development platforms are closely related to low-code development platforms as both are designed to expedite the application development process. These platforms have both increased in popularity as companies deal with the parallel trends of an increasingly mobile workforce and a limited supply of competent software developers.[16]

The distinction between no code and low code development platforms are often quite blurred. However, there are a number of key distinctions that set apart the design and use cases for each type of platform.

  • App Creator - No code platforms are accessible to any end-business user while low-code platforms require professional developers who can work within a platform's constraints to streamline the development process.
  • Core Design - No code platforms tend to function off a model-driven, declarative approach where the end user dictates an app's design through drag and drop manipulation or simple expressions. Low-code platforms often employ a similar development model with a greater dependence on hard code for dictating an application's core architecture.[17]
  • User Interface - No code platforms most often rely on a preset user experience layer which simplifies and streamlines an app's design. Low code platforms may provide greater flexibility in UX options at the cost of additional coding and complexity requirements.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Richardson, Clay (June 9, 2014). "New Development Platforms Emerge For Customer-Facing Applications". www.forrester.com. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  2. ^ a b Marvin, Rob (12 August 2014). "How low-code development seeks to accelerate software delivery - SD Times". SD Times. San Diego TImes. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  3. ^ Lonergan, Kevin (29 July 2015). "On the down low: Why CIOs should care about Low-code - Information Age". Information Age. Information Age. Retrieved 22 January 2017.
  4. ^ a b c Marvin, Rob. "Building an App With No Coding: Myth or Reality?". PCMAG. PC Mag. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  5. ^ http://www.zdnet.com/article/developers-were-on-board-with-low-code-tools/
  6. ^ a b Richardson, Clay. "Vendor Landscape: The Fractured, Fertile Terrain Of Low-code Application Platforms" (PDF). Forrester Research.
  7. ^ Hammond, Jeffrey. "The Forrester Wave™: Mobile Low-Code Platforms For Business Developers, Q3 2018". www.forrester.com. Forrester Research. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  8. ^ a b c Rubens, Paul. "Use Low-code Platforms to Develop the Apps Customers Want". CIO. CIO Magazine.
  9. ^ Richardson, Clay. "The Forrester Wave™: Low-code Development Platforms, Q2 2016". www.forrester.com. Forrester Research. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  10. ^ Rymer, John (31 July 2017). "Vendor Landscape: A Fork In The Road For Low-Code Development Platforms". Forrester Research. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  11. ^ https://www.g2crowd.com/categories/low-code-development-platforms
  12. ^ Hammond, Jeffrey. "The Forrester Wave™: Mobile Low-Code Platforms For Business Developers, Q3 2018". www.forrester.com. Forrester Research. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  13. ^ Rymer, John. "Low-Code Platforms Deliver Customer Facing Apps Fast, But Can They Scale Up?". Forrester Research. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
  14. ^ Reselman, Bob. "Why the promise of low-code software platforms is deceiving". TechTarget. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  15. ^ Shore, Joel (31 July 2015). "How no-code development tools can benefit IT". Search Cloud Applications. TechTarget Magazine. Retrieved 22 January 2017.
  16. ^ Rouse, Margaret. "low-code/no-code development platform (LCNC platform)". www.techtarget.com. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  17. ^ Bloomberg, Jason. "The Low-Code/No-Code Movement: More Disruptive Than You Realize". www.forbes.com. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  18. ^ Woods, Dan. "When No Code Makes Sense for Legacy App Migration". www.forbes.com. Retrieved 20 August 2018.

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