Low-code as a category essentially means that the person building the application will likely need to have some minimal knowledge of coding and development principles in order to get the most from the platform. This is in contrast to "no-code" platforms, which focus more on providing a code-free experience for the end user.
At its core, low-code means that the platform allows you to quickly build applications without needing to write or manage a lot of code. This can be done through visual programming, where you drag and drop pre-built components to create an application, or through a more traditional coding interface that leverages collections of shared structures and components to reduce the time and effort required to get an application to a production-ready state.
Low-code platforms typically offer a wide range of features and capabilities, including:
- User interface builder: A visual editor for creating the front-end user interface of your application.
- Data modeling: A way to define the data structures and relationships of your application.
- Business logic: A way to define the rules and logic of your application.
- Integrations: A way to connect your application to third-party services and data sources.
- Deployment: A way to deploy and host your application.
In today's market, a low-code platform like Quickbase, Appian, Mendix, or Outsystems are typically positioned for the needs of an enterprise customer at a medium or large organization. Think use cases like internal applications, workflow automation, modernization of legacy systems, and other business critical applications, including those that might be customer-facing.