Kevin Dam

Low-Code Tools


Software development has come a long way since the beginning of the computer era. The most common notion about software development involves famous programming languages and tools to create applications, programs and software. Perhaps, the most common languages that even non-technical users know are JavaScript and Python.

The times now are different in the aspect of development. Instead of the usual JavaScript and Python hiring professional and experienced developers, low-code development dominates a considerable portion of the ordinary consumer market. People without proficiency and experience in programming languages can now create elaborate digital systems and simplify business processes.  

The rise in low-code tools comes from many angles. It’s not just about having other options and methods for coding. Low-code tools present more benefits and advantages even to the most experienced programmer and developer in the field.

What is low-code development?

Low-code development is creating software that doesn’t rely on the traditional development method. Instead of gaining expertise in programming languages, low-code development focuses more on the visual aspect of the process. Let’s do away with the notion that creating programs now still requires weeks of non-stop staring at large screens and typing in hundreds of code lines in editors.

Low-code development relies more on the visual interface of platforms and the elements and components that the platform offers. The premade UI components of each platform already have back-end code, ensuring that the process requires minimal code. Eliminating coding allows users to visualise the final output instead of worrying about the technical aspects of each part of the project.

Low-code development also serves as a way to integrate other applications that are available in the market. Low-code tools and platforms also employ and connect other existing applications over the web to lessen the amount of coding required. Users can now integrate applications and programs that they may already use before utilising any low-code platform.

What are low-code tools?

Gartner states, “By 2025, 70% of new applications developed by enterprises will use low-code or no-code technologies, up from less than 25% in 2020.” The rise in low-code is evident and will persist throughout the decade.

Low-code tools are platforms that provide products for low-code development. There are hundreds of platforms that offer low-code development. However, only a few platforms top the market due to many factors such as ease of use, scalability, and platform rates. Here are some of the key features of low-code tools that are available online:

What are low-code tools

Drag-and-drop interface

All low-code tools employ a drag-and-drop interface. Once users create an account for each platform, they can start developing projects and creating anything on a blank screen. The elements and components of the platform are available either on the side or in various platform marketplaces. Not all platforms will share the same number and type of elements and components.

Process automation

It’s common for most low-code tools to offer process automation as well. Think of designing and creating large flowcharts and adding a lot of logic that connects business processes. On top of that, imagine each shape of the flowchart to employ external applications or perform specific tasks. Using low-code can speed up the time it takes for businesses to have access to automated systems. Compare this to waiting for months from professional project developers.

External app integration

No low-code platform can remain truly functional without the function and assistance of an existing application. It’s redundant for users to replicate products that are already available online. Most low-code platforms have integrations with other applications, which users can add and connect to drag and drop elements or the design canvas.

Most applications have a competitive edge in the form of their unique features and product offerings. Each platform has something to offer to any user, and low-code development generally isn’t perfect. There are still advantages and potential issues in low-code.

Benefits of low-code tools

Here are some of the benefits of using low-code tools in creating workflows and developing any project:


Lower cost

Low-code platforms cost less than hiring professional and seasoned developers to develop projects. Low-code tools become a viable solution for small businesses looking to create workflows optimising business operations, yet they lack the grand budget to outsource big teams for simple projects. Low-code platforms usually work on a subscription basis, and most platforms have flexible rate terms depending on business needs.


Increase in agility

Low-code development tools are usually agile, meaning that many of these tools work on multiple devices. The tools, functions and data should be seamless across different devices. Low-code development increases agility because people working on various devices and in other places can collaborate smoothly to develop the project.


Less development time

Less development time

Typing non-stop to create programs takes up a lot of time. Most projects span months, up to a year to complete. The project’s entire lifecycle depends mainly on the output of developers collaborating and creating products. Testing stages also take time to ensure that developed products work without issues. Low-code tools employ drag and drop; users must develop and deploy projects, which takes significantly less time than traditional development.


More opportunities for common users

The most beneficial aspect of low-code development tools is that they open doors to many people. The term “citizen developer” refers to people creating and developing using low- or no-code platforms. These people are penned as such because any person can use low-code tools. 


“Gartner research says, on average, 41% of employees outside of IT – or business technologists – customize or build data or technology solutions. Gartner predicts that half of all new low-code clients will come from business buyers that are outside the IT organization by year-end 2025, too.” (Gartner, 2021)


Potential issues of low-code tools

Despite the gradual rise in low-code development, there are still some things to consider when developing projects with low-code tools.


Business operations complications

All businesses and enterprises will progress and change over time. As the entity expands, there will be more things to consider, requiring more programs and systems to work in place of the business operations. What happens if the software needs of the business become more complex? Low-code tools are limited in the sense that companies may still need a team of experts to further develop existing systems in the future.


Less complex customisation options

Professional development enables experienced developers to create and develop projects specifically for the business. Low-code tools and platforms already have set elements, components, functions and features. The level of customisation in these development methods may reach a certain threshold. Any other custom change requiring complexity can still force businesses to get professional developers.


High migration issues

Low-code platforms are prone to vendor lock-in. Platform migration can become a big issue and force businesses to keep starting over in the creation phase of the project. For companies who wish to access the project in another low-code platform, users should create the existing project in an open-source platform. Nevertheless, project lock-ins vary per vendor policy, so it’s best to check and clarify with the platform.

High migration issues

Significant security limitations

One of the biggest advantages of traditional development is that developers own the code. This means that the people who created the program or software can do anything they want with that creation. The same can’t be applied to low-code platforms since the provider is the one who owns and runs the platform. Users only get to create and deploy within the bounds of the platform. With low-code, there is no complete control over the source code.

Examples of low-code tools

Many low-code tools have many products to offer. Low-code tools don’t only focus on the aspect of software development. Some low-code tools are already tailored to business functions such as marketing and data management.


Retool is one of the most popular low-code tools in the market. The platform has a low-code editor that users can fill with building blocks to add functions or create systems. Businesses can also develop and design workflows in Retool and use these building blocks to automate processes. 

Retool has been one of the best low-code platforms for creating products for various industries. Businesses in Healthcare, Finance and Retail have used Retool to create unique and efficient business operation models. For example, in the Financial Sector, “Companies like Brex, Plaid, and Ramp use Retool to build apps for operations teams that underwrite loans, measure risk, and investigate fraud.”


Database Integrations

Retool can integrate many external platforms into its workflow. Users can create and design digital systems and employ the function of another app in its building blocks. Instead of manually doing things and attending to inputs, the deployed product knows what to do with each new input in the process. APIs like FAuna, Google Sheets, and Snowflake allow Retool to connect to all apps online.


Retool Pricing

Retool’s subscription plans start at 0 USD for the Free account and gradually increase. The Team plan costs 10 USD per month for every user and 50 USD for the Business plan. LArge enterprise packages are customary upon consultation with Retool.


Appian is another platform that specialises in low-code development for business operations. Appian has been one of the best platforms and provides services for large businesses such as Pandora, Bayer and T Mobile. The platform has gained a lot of certifications, recognition and awards over the years from its consistent top performance in low-code development.


Appian promises this: When you create apps with us, you should expect to build your apps 10x faster, reduce your maintenance costs by 50%, and gain superior functionality as compared to traditional development.Many products in Appian’s low-code development roster cater to that promise.


Robotic Process Automation

One product is Robotic Process Automation which provides the automation process of workflows. Businesses who want to accelerate and completely scale the automation in their operations can use Appian’s RPA. Moreover, with the integration of other apps, companies can create systems that automatically employ the function of third-party applications for specific process steps in the entire project.


Appian Pricing 

RPA isn’t the only feature of Appian. Different businesses implore different needs. The rates per user account in the Appian platform differs highly. The platform starts with a Free account; however, for the rest of the subscription plans like Application, Platform, and Unlimited, visitors need to contact Appian for more information and details.

Boomi Flow

Boomi is a large platform that provides high-level functions for standard industry business needs. The platform doesn’t only offer its low-code product, called Boomi Flow. Boomi offers other products such as Boomi’s Integration, Master Data Hub, B2B/EDI Management, API Management, and Data Catalog & Preparation. Think of Boomi as a sizable, comprehensive platform offering primary business functions. 


Boomi’s Flow is a product that offers low-code development to its users. Big brands such as Dell Technologies and Bioventus have utilised Flow. Gartner, one of the biggest research firms, has awarded Boomi as a leader in its field for eight years. Nevertheless, the platform focuses on data management on top of allowing users to create low-code systems and programs.


Workflow Automation

Boomi allows users to create large business workflows for automation. This means bidding farewell to manual and repetitive tasks that employees and users can outsource using the work of a digital system and integration of external tools. Boomi Flow also prioritises data security and structure, which it integrates into one of its products. 


Boomi also offers prebuilt low-code solutions so that users don’t need to start from scratch. As there are many popular tools in the market, there are already known external apps that work well seamlessly. There’s already a prebuilt solution for automating processes with ADP and Okta, and NetSuite and Shopify.


Boomi Pricing

Boomi offers a free account to its users for the first thirty days.

Boomi Flow


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