Whether it is code transparency, data ownership, Integrated Development Environment (IDE) interoperability, API connectivity, hidden costs, or vendor lock-ins, there are many restrictions when using a No-code platform. In modern application development plans, vendor selection is a complex decision-making process.
While many low-code platforms claim to have features such as “No vendor lock-in”, export to external IDEs, custom integrations, and no extra cost for additional features, in reality, there are many restrictions you may have to workaround. When selecting a low-code platform, it is important to know the scope and restrictions involved. The following will help you understand whether a low-code platform is truly open:
A “lock-in” includes different aspects, from the creation of standalone applications, data access, and control, to open-source or proprietary code generated. When examining the platform, you need to approach the answer to this question through several angles.
Real-world, enterprise applications have complex business logic. While many low-code platforms serve the needs of citizen developers helping them build applications with simple use-cases, you need to make sure the platform you choose allows for customization based on your business logic. The best choice would be to use a platform that allows business users to create applications first and then enables the technical team to customize. In this way, you can integrate custom business logic and customize applications, thereby reducing iterations and accelerating delivery
The main criterion when selecting a low-code platform is its flexibility and openness. In application development, interoperability between development environments is critical, where interfaces can completely understand and work with other systems without restrictions on access or implementation. The platform you select must have the ability to export project code to external IDEs and re-import it to the platform. Along with this two-way IDE interoperability, the ideal platform will offer an open-source runtime library, allowing for deeper customizations free from lock-in restrictions.
One of the challenges of application development and modernization is database integration. Many platforms, due to a non-standard data model, use multiple tools for integration. This results in writing custom Java code for database integration making it an onerous affair. An ideal platform must be designed taking into consideration business data that is stored and accessed across proprietary systems. It needs to provide a range of integration options that add functionality to your applications and also enable you to create and reuse custom integrations.
APIs are important as they act as an interface between systems, allowing applications to talk to each other. Low-code platforms have easy-to-use, drag-and-drop technology to generate APIs. While most platforms are limited to providing support to connect APIs, what you need is a platform that adopts an API-first approach. The platform of choice would be one that automatically generates APIs and integrates business logic. It needs to allow developers to effortlessly create, share, consume, and bind APIs to UI components.
One of the main aspects when selecting a low-code platform is pricing. There is no standard, one-size-fits-all licensing structure, and hidden costs could increase your budgeted cost. To be certain you know what you pay for, you need to know the type of charged by vendors such as fee for end-user seats, developer seats, run-time, distribution, and maintenance fee. Some platforms also provide standard email support included in the cost.
There are many questions the answers to which will help you make a better decision when selecting a low-code platform. The most important criterion, however, must be how it fits in with your business goals and how it can empower your teams to deliver more with less.