Many developers have begun to acknowledge that low-code is the future of app development or at least an important alternative to hand coding. Additionally, enterprises are turning to low-code solutions for business-related software. Is low-code really the best way to go? If so, how can you find the right platform for your business? What should you even be looking for?

Benefits of Low-Code

Low-code is a form of app development using block-based programming, but enabling users to hand-code if necessary. This creates an easy-to-use, extremely versatile functionality. It brings a number of important benefits to the business world.

  • Up to 10X faster than hand-coding for app development
  • Cheaper app development and lower employee costs
  • Extremely easy to use
  • Less margin for error and easier debugging
  • Increases production of apps by many times
  • Less costly and easier maintenance of apps
  • Versatile enough to create virtually anything developers can create with manual-coding

Best Low-Code Platforms

Here are the 11 best low-code platforms- both for low-code development and for integrating with existing business systems:

1. OutSystems

2. Xplenty

3. Oracle APEX

4. Quick Base

5. Appian

6. Kissflow

7. DWKit

8. Salesforce Lightning

9. Microsoft PowerApps

10. Mendix

11. Google App Maker

1. OutSystems

OutSystems is a tailored solution for low-code app development. It is an RAD (Rapid App Development) platform intended for developers to create and manage their applications. It is easy to deploy and easy to use.

Platform Features:

  • Full-stack visual development
  • Full DevOps automation
  • Native support for Agile development
  • Real-time monitoring
  • Single-click deployment
  • In-app feedback
  • Scaleable architecture

Rating:

The overall feeling about OutSystems is highly positive. OutSystems has an average of 4.5 stars with hundreds of reviews. One-star reviews are impossible to find.

Pros:

  • Block-based coding for easy code writing and debugging
  • Advanced enterprise features
  • Offers templates for the fastest app development
  • Offers training and documentation
  • Includes automatically generated ´accelerators´ to speed up development
  • Versatile integration functionality

Cons:

  • Requires some coding experience
  • Less control of infrastructure with the Cloud-hosted option
  • Data synchronization can be difficult with offline apps

2. Xplenty

Xplenty is a low-code and no-code ETL (extract, transfer and load) data integration platform. It is made for both small, non-technical businesses and for deeply technical developers and engineers. It allows users to easily build data pipelines to and from over 100 data sources and destinations. Xplenty provides versatility, customization, and pre-built integrations to simplify the data transformation process.

Platforms Features:

  • Drag-and-drop interface
  • Powerful, code-free, data transformations
  • 24/7 Support Team 
  • Seamless data migration capabilities
  • Both no-code and low-code options
  • Rest API connector - pull in data from any source that has a Rest API
  • Scaleable

Rating:

Xplenty is ranked as the best ETL tool for 2020, with a rating of 4.4/5 stars on the business software review website G2.

Pros:

  • REST API connector for integration with various other solutions
  • Saves an incredible amount of time with pre-built integrations
  • Great for businesses using Salesforce 
  • Highly customizable
  • Easy to use and intuitive
  • Stable and requires low maintenance

Cons:

  • Doesn't support pure data replication use cases 
  • Somewhat confusing error messages if you don't have a coding background

3. Oracle APEX

Oracle APEX, short for Oracle Application Express, is another RAD (Rapid App Development) with important features and excellent reviews. Additionally, Gartner named Oracle its November 2019 Gartner Peer Insights Customer's Choice for Enterprise Low-Code Application Platforms.

Platform Features:

  • Block-based coding
  • Used to create secure enterprise apps
  • Scaleable
  • Can be deployed anywhere
  • Offers lots of community resources and events
  • Offers tutorials and documentation

Rating:

Oracle APEX receives excellent reviews in general, with an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars. It does not have nearly as many reviews as OutSystems, but the user satisfaction rate is around 90%.

Pros:

  • If you already have Oracle Database, you can add Oracle APEX for free
  • Easy to test
  • One-click page execution
  • Easy to administer
  • Highly-customizable

Cons:

  • Can be difficult to deploy with an on-site database
  • Requires some programming skills, especially for building complex apps

4. Quick Base

Quick Base calls itself the world's most-loved low-code platform. It is a widely-used, cloud-based RAD and database software, and Forrester recognized it as a top low-code tool.

Platform Features:

  • Centralized data
  • End-to-end process automation
  • Multiple payment levels
  • Comprehensive solutions for several different parts of an enterprise

Rating:

Quick Base has many hundred reviews, most of which are positive. On most platforms, it averages 4.5 stars.

Pros:

  • Automated data management
  • Very fast
  • Works as an excellent CRM solution
  • Excellent support
  • Live updates

Cons:

  • Lack of customization
  • Some users complain it is not fully optimized for mobile

5. Appian

Appian is offering app development up to 20X faster than typical hand-coding. Additionally, it is a BPM (Business Process Management) platform. It is very commonly used and offers many case studies to prove its reliability.

Platform Features:

  • Platform security
  • Drag-and-drop coding
  • Real-time process monitoring
  • Easily shareable

Rating:

It has an average of four stars out of several hundred reviews, and it has been used by several major companies.

Pros:

  • Excellent UI (User Interface)
  • Real-time data updates
  • Easy to customize
  • Very easy to debug

Cons:

  • The three-month upgrade schedule can be a challenge to adjust to
  • Difficult integration testing

6. Kissflow

Kissflow is a g2.com recognized leader in the space of Digital Workforce Software. It offers a visually-pleasing drag-and-drop interface for RAD.

Platform Features:

  • Mobile access
  • Drag-and-drop coding
  • Also allows hand-coding, providing great versatility
  • Data security and synchronization

Rating:

Kissflow has hundreds of reviews and averages around 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Pros:

  • Flexible
  • Full ticket history access
  • Excellent tracking feature
  • Easy internet access because it is cloud-hosted
  • Great value for the price

Cons:

  • No offline option
  • Not very customizable

7. DWKit

DWKit is a BPM software that also functions as a low-code app development platform. It is relatively new and little-known, but it offers a number of use cases.

Platform Features:

  • Offers a free and open-source option
  • Video Tutorials
  • Technical support
  • Both self-hosted and cloud-based options

Rating:

There are very few ratings for this software as of yet. However, it is very well-liked by those who use the software. 

Pros:

  • Enables users to launch apps 4X faster
  • Reduces total cost of ownership by 30%
  • Gives access to source code (for ultimate license holders)
  • Easy customization
  • Drag-and-drop coding functionality
  • Database support

Cons:

  • Poorly managed website
  • Very new, which means that it is probably somewhat less reliable than established brands

8. Salesforce Lightning

The Salesforce Lightning solution combines data with RAD. It has all the power of Salesforce with low-code app development.Salesforce Lightning Platform combines tools such as App Builder, Lightning Flow, SalesforceDX, and Heroku in an all-in-one utility that dramatically speeds up the software development process. 

Platform Features:

  • Low-code app development
  • Easy integration of business solutions for various industries
  • Includes style guides
  • 24/7 support

Rating:

Salesforce Lightning has a 4.1/5 stars on G2, where it’s been named a “Leader” in the low-code development platform space.

Pros:

  • Highly customizable
  • Keeps track of lost and gained opportunities
  • Excellent reporting dashboards
  • Easy data tracking

Cons:

  • Glitches are fairly common
  • Somewhat steep learning curve

9. Microsoft PowerApps

PowerApps is a low-code RAD solution brought by Microsoft. While not as well-known as many of the others, it is a robust option that offers data solutions among many other useful services.

Platform Features:

  • Can be used to create canvas, model-driven and portal apps
  • Offers free 30-day trial
  • Offers two different affordable pricing options
  • Customized branding
  • App templates for faster app development

Rating:

Microsoft PowerApps averages a 4-star rating. Additionally, according to one source, it has a 97% customer satisfaction rate.

Pros:

  • Very user-friendly
  • Cost-effective
  • Users can simultaneously create mobile and desktop apps
  • Easy to learn

Cons:

  • The software itself is not optimized for mobile
  • Sometimes has glitches

10. Mendix

Mendix is a cloud-native RAD platform. Using IBM Cloud or the SAP Cloud platform, Mendix can deliver apps up to 10X faster than with hand-coding.

Platform Features:

  • Collaboration tools
  • Compatibility testing
  • Source control
  • Analytics

Rating:

Mendix is well-liked by Gartner and Forrester. It is a recognized leader in the space. The user rating is typically 4.5 stars.

Pros:

  • Provides excellent user experience
  • Very secure
  • No coding required to create most apps
  • Good support

Cons:

  • Expensive, targeting larger enterprises
  • Not especially flexible for professional developers

11. Google App Maker

Naturally, Google also has a low-code solution for RAD. Google App Maker is a recent entry into the top low-code solutions. It came out of beta in 2018, and offers access to 40 additional Google services.

Platform Features:

  • Drag and drop user interface
  • Templates for creating apps
  • Declarative data modeling
  • Built-in support for Cloud SQL

Rating:

Google App Maker is top-rated with 4.5 stars. Few users have complaints to offer.

Pros:

  • Build customized applications in minutes
  • Very easy to use
  • Highly accessible
  • Offers tutorials

Cons:

  • To develop advanced apps, advanced coding knowledge may be necessary
  • No customizable templates

Conclusion

Many of these are data solutions or other comprehensive business solutions as well as low-code app development platforms. As more and more enterprises join the low-code trend, it is especially important that they have the solutions they need.

That is why Xplenty offers an ETL solution that requires low-code or  no-code depending on your needs. With Xplenty, your enterprise can extract, transfer, and load data quickly and smoothly, without needing to hire expert developers. Reach out to us today for a 7-day free trial to begin your low-code or no-code data transformation process.