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What Makes an Ideal Low Code App Development Platform?

Laptop with code

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The Current State of the Mobile Landscape

If someone stepped forward a decade or two ago and claimed that, in the near future, we would all have pocket-sized touchscreen devices that acted as gateways to multiple technological feats such as browsing the internet at high speeds, playing graphics intensive games, hailing cabs, booking flights, scheduling restaurant reservations, and purchasing products, you probably would have thought it nothing more than a creative mind’s wishful thinking. And who would have blamed you? At a time when these devices existed only in the realm of science fiction, no one would have believed, much less predicted, that one day, these incredibly high tech, hand-held gadgets would have such a huge impact on our day to day lives.

The advent of touchscreen mobile devices some years ago marked a significant leap for mobile phones, not just in terms of aesthetics (i.e. touchscreen technology, form factor, etc.) but also in terms of their overall functionality and useability. Gone are the days when all cellular phones could do was place calls and send simple text messages. The mobile phones of today are far more flexible in terms of features, many of which are made possible by mobile apps.

Do you want a media player that is capable of playing numerous audio and video formats? There is an app for that. Do you want to find great dining hotspots near your area? Download an app. Looking to order food from your favorite restaurant but are too busy to go out or even place a call? Try an app!

Mobile apps give users an easy and convenient way of expanding their mobile device’s useability and functionality, as well as entertainment value, so it is no surprise that more and more people are downloading apps on a daily basis. This is a huge industry, and one that, according to an infographic generated by the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Online Masters in Management Information System, is expected to generate over $77 billion worth of revenue by the year 2017.

Enter Low Code Platforms

The demand for mobile apps is at an all-time high, and it will continue to grow as time goes on. This makes developing apps an incredibly worthwhile investment. And many companies seem to agree: From the lone independent developer to the multi-million dollar companies, everyone is scrambling to get people to download and use their apps on a daily basis. While there are definitely a lot of potential earnings to be had in the mobile space, not everyone has the knowledge required to build a mobile app from the ground up, or even the budget to pay for the services of an app developer. Thankfully, numerous companies have heard the call of would-be app creators everywhere and have set up shop in order to offer affordable solutions for enterprises and businesses.

One such company is Appery, which markets the Appery.io platform,which requires very little coding or design knowledge to use. With the help of these incredibly user-friendly platforms, just about anyone can create a fully featured, professional looking mobile app that can go toe to toe against those built by some of the top developers and design firms in the market. That said, not every platform out there is created equal, so shopping around and carefully figuring out which one is right for you or your company is the key to getting the most out of your investment, as well as your eventual app.

But what if you are new to mobile development? Or perhaps you have some background in coding languages used in mobile apps but are new to low code platforms? How would you know which platforms are best, and which are simply selling you marketing fluff? What should you look for when shopping around for an application-building solution? What even makes an ideal low code platform? Read on to find out!

What is the Ideal Platform for You?

So, what are the things that you should look for in an ideal platform? The first things that probably cross everyone’s mind is that it should be affordable and user friendly. While those are definitely correct, there are a lot more mobile development options and features that you should be considering when looking for the ideal low code platform. Things are rarely that simple, especially when it comes to getting the most out of your investment. Luckily, this article does part of the heavy lifting for you! Below are the top things that anyone, whether you’re a business analyst with little-to-no coding experience, or a seasoned developer, should consider when on the hunt for an ideal platform.

A Low Code Platform for Enterprises

The whole point of low code platforms is to make the process of creating a mobile app from the ground up incredibly easy and straightforward. It’s important to remember, however, that you also need a lot of flexibility and room to grow. Contrary to what many may think, the ideal platform should cater not just to beginners, but to the more experienced users as well. This is where many platforms fail, since they specifically cater to the novice user and not much else. The ideal platform, then, should have a visual development environment that allows for simple drag and drop editing while still leaving the door open for more advanced customization and development.

Visual drag and drop editors make it easy for anyone to create and customize apps because they offer a very straightforward approach. At the same time, having access to more advanced options that allow you to dig deeper into the app creation process, such as the ability to edit source code, create custom themes and UI components, write custom code, etc., allow more experienced developers to take full advantage of the platform. This allows them to create high quality apps at a fraction of the time, as well as cost. Additionally, it’s extremely useful if the platform also has advanced backend services that give you access to features such as user management, file management, push notifications, API services, and HTTPS for enhanced data security.

It Should Extend a Helping Hand

With that said, an ideal platform should have a short learning curve, no matter your level of experience. Remember, not all low code platforms are the same, so no matter how easy it is to use, there are times when users may hit a wall simply because they are not familiar with the proprietary platform. Onsite tutorials, step-by-step guides and other help features are a must when dealing with a new platform, so make sure the platform you choose offers these, lest you get stuck with no substantial help feature within reach.

It Should Be Accessible Anywhere

 The ideal low code platform should not just be accessible to everyone, it should also be accessible everywhere. This is means is that you should look for a cloud-based platform like Appery.io, for example, because it negates the need to download and install any software to your computer, as well as worry about compatibility issues. Furthermore, working with a cloud-based solution means that you don’t need to worry about maintainance; the platform does all the “under the hood” tweaks and maintenance for you. Most importantly, a cloud-based platform means that you can develop anywhere, on virtually any computer, so long as you have an internet connection.

It Should Enable Cross Platform Development

If you want to reach a large audience, you need to take the three major mobile operating systems into account when developing an app. To make sure your app has the maximum market exposure, look for a platform that enables the creation of apps that run on iOS, Android, and Windows Phones.

Another important factor is whether the platform enables responsive design. As you may know, not every mobile device out there sports the same internal system, let alone screen dimension, which makes the ability to develop HTML5 apps that run on virtually any device and with any screen size an absolute must.

Look for Hassle-Free Testing and Deployment

What good is a platfrom if it doesn’t provide you with an easy way to deploy your apps to their respective app markets? App deployment is the final stage of getting your apps to mobile users everywhere, so it is crucial that you look for a platform that can build distribution-ready apps, as well as allow you to export the app source code.

Before you deploy your app, you need to test it. A platform that lets you instantly test your app without having to install them on a device is definitely a platform to consider. Instant app testing negates the need to compile and install an app on a device in order to test it, so it saves you an incredible amount of time.


The Ideal Low Code Platform

 Now that you’ve learned about the things consider in the search for the ideal platform, you might be thinking, “That’s all well and good, but surely there isn’t one single platform that offers all of these combined?” If that’s what you thought, you’ll be glad to know you’re wrong! Appery.io is rated as one of the best low code enterprise and business oriented platforms in the industry by the independent review site, Comparakeet, and is the only drag and drop, cloud-based solution in the market. It caters to both the business analyst and the experienced developer, and has support for multiple operating systems, instant app testing, deployment-ready apps, and has numerous backend services tutorials, and step-by-step guides. Whether you are a business analyst trying to get their feet wet, a company that is looking to bring their services into the mobile space, or even a veteran developer looking for a more convenient and efficient platform, Appery.io has everything you need to build and deploy a full featured, high-quality mobile app.

Originally published on Appery.io blog


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Max Katz heads Developer Relations for Appery.io, a cloud-based mobile app platform. He loves trying out new and cool REST APIs in mobile apps. Max is the author of two books “Practical RichFaces” (Apress 2008, 2011), DZone MVB (Most Valuable Blogger), and is a frequent speaker at developer conferences. You can find out what Max is up to on his blog: http://maxkatz.org and Twitter: @maxkatz.