Application Development: Low-Code

Low-code. The newest addition to any lineup in a company will be efficiency and productivity. Now what’s up with low-code platforms?

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Outsystems, Zoho Creator, Microsoft PowerApps, Google AppMaker, and even Appian.

Haven’t heard much about them prior to this? No problem. As our good friends over at the PCMag so lovingly made a comparison here, you can pop over to find out more. If you need a whole history lesson on how the low-code platform came about, just click on that link.

Or stay with us as we detail our experience with only 2 of the products, Outsystems and Zoho Creator.

While you may already be using Microsoft, or Salesforce’s eco-system of apps and solutions, there are third-party solution providers like Outsystems and Zoho that provides the best functionality, and best value – at the most wallet friendly price point.

The application development process and its various platforms are clunky pieces of work. You either know how to code, or try to create an app and start coding (the medical kind, where you are experience a heart distress).

Now the absolute dream for any entrepreneur, startup, or SMB (Small-medium business) is that you can create an application without too much effort or coding, in this context.

Let’s start with Outsystems.

They provide a free platform for your to use their solution to create an app. And yes, we’ve been through their free workshop, and you literally create an app, submit it to the app or play store and you are golden.

How much time did it take? A little over 4 hours. Yes, it does cut down the development time of an app by a whole lot.

But why aren’t we recommending it?

As you can see on their pricing page, the price is steep once you add more than 100 users, and are going to host the app on your office premises. With the upwards price of US$2100/month, it is just not sustainable for someone, or a startup.

Although the free edition is really free forever and not a trial, if you are not using the platform, or the app that you’ve just created, they will give you a grace period before suspending your account, and returning the resources to host your app back to their infrastructure.

But of course that is expected. Even charities need some kind of funding.

Their price point is the same as the other more well-known players of the low-code platform. Namely Appian, Mendix, and Salesforce App Cloud.

Low-code doesn’t mean no code

Moving on to Zoho Creator.

Now you may or may not have heard of Zoho, but they are part of the pioneering batch of companies that started offering Software-as-a-Service (SaaS for short) to entrepreneurs, startups, and even SMBs/SMEs.

Even before Freshworks (they are known for their breakout help desk SaaS. And you guessed it, it’s called FreshDesk) even came out of the SaaS oven.

Understandably, Zoho has an advantage over these newer, and often more specialized SaaS companies.

Zoho was also one of the pioneers for the low-code platform, which they aptly named (Zoho) Creator.

They delivered on the low-code platform by allowing their customers (like you and I) the potential to create apps in minutes. How? With templates, that’s how.

They’ve already pre-built some of the more common applications that are seen out there, and served it up to their customers. They’ve even gone a step further an built a customer portal for the applications.

Order management, real estate management, fleet management, course planner, logistics management, and even for restaurants. You can view all 12 of the templates in the App Gallery. All they really need are your company details, add in a few workflows, and viola! you have a live app.

Here is a short video of the app templates that they have on hand right now. Password is ‘cliffrocks’.

Still not convinced? Sign up for a trial for Creator only over here.

When you are ready to jump onboard the Zoho ship, be sure to subscribe to Zoho One instead. They bundled most of their apps into what they call a business suite. It is US$35/user/month, or US$30/user/month, when paid annually.

You get the Enterprise version of all the apps in the Zoho One subscription – which is a huge value, that is hard to pass up.

So there you have it! Insights worth your time 😉