Gone are the days when creating an enterprise mobile application was a time-consuming task or would take several months to be up and running. With the availability of fast-mobile internet, digitally empowered business leaders want the power of developing and managing mobile applications – all by themselves. They look for an end-to-end solution or a low-code mobility platform that can help them go mobile and roll-out applications without placing much of their dependencies on vendors.
Low-code mobile application development platform
Low-code mobile application development platform is a collection of tools and services that enables mobile application developers to build and manage custom mobile applications in a hassle-free manner. These platforms are flexible, agile, workflow-capable, easy-to-understand and require less to no coding skills. And, can be conveniently used by employees, vendors, partners or any stakeholder(s), depending on business requirements.
Regardless of the industry type, the demand for low-code mobility application development platforms is picking up the pace amongst both large as well as mid-sized organizations. The platform consists of a front-end development tool, which is suitable for designing cross-platform mobile applications. And, mobile backend services (MBS), which acts as a middleware between the front-end and the backend systems (database, legacy system, business process management system). An ideal low-code mobility platform has MBS, decoupled from the front-end development tool. This extends flexibility to the business leaders to choose the front-end development tool as per their choices and preferences.
Low-code mobility platforms are a pre-defined approach for application development, designed by professional developers for other developers, with good scripting skills. These platforms are scalable for building applications and can seamlessly integrate with other systems by leveraging reusable open APIs when compared to the no-code platforms. Hence, low-code mobility platforms enable the developers to create much more complex applications and handle more use cases due to their open-ended tools, and configuration capabilities.
Low-code mobility platforms are well-suited for the organizations with limited IT resources. And, for the ones looking forward to build enterprise-standard applications with end-to-end user management, audit trail management, rapid application building and easy configurability capabilities.
Out there, a good number of vendors are offering low-code mobility platforms. However, decision-makers often stumble upon challenges to choose the best-suited platform. Therefore, the decision-makers of an organization need to primarily consider their types of resources, the amount of capital they want to invest, the capabilities to accommodate and integrate with the already running backend systems for integration.
Front-end development tool
Front-end development plays a crucial role as this is the only interface that’s visible to users. All the other functionalities run in the backend, which is abstracted from the user. So, a front-end tool must have all the components, which can make the life of a developer easier and collaborate with mobile backend services to provide a smooth user experience.
Integration Readiness – Front-end tools should offer compatibility with MBS to ensure smooth integration with the backend systems, processes and data sources.
Mobile backend services (MBS)
Front-end of a mobile application is just the visual and non-functional part of the application. Mobile applications need access to database, processes, backend systems, and other third-party data sources to be functional, which is provided by the mobile backend services.
MBS also offers usage of reusable application program interfaces (APIs) to provide services like push notifications, collaboration with business logic, geolocation services, offline data storage, native device capabilities. And, put together all these help in ensuring consistent and delightful user experience.
Integration readiness – MBS must offer smooth integration with backend systems, even outside their ecosystem
An open box low-code mobility platform is the panacea for organizations, looking to get a balanced solution between rapid application building and offering flexibility, customization capabilities.
The author is global head – new products COE at Newgen Software. Views are personal.