April 26, 2023

Web-Based App Development Using Low Code


Web app development made a full circle - the best way to build apps that run in your browser is by using your browser.

Browser-based (low code) development gives several advantages:

  • All progress is automatically stored on the cloud
  • The whole team always has access to the latest version
  • No software or tools are required locally (only a working browser)

But the biggest advantages of low-code technology are:

  • 3X more productive software development
  • Fast learning curve (1-2 days)
  • Automatically scalable apps (no DevOps)

Coding speed increase can mostly be attributed to quick UI development using drag-and-drop components and automatically generated API endpoints that include filtering and pagination.

A short learning curve is achieved by the very nature of this technology. Low code doesn't introduce some new language or framework.

Instead, it's built upon existing technologies like JavaScript, MySQL, GraphQL, and AWS. All of which are already very popular with developers. So with very little adjustment, they can start acquiring a massive productivity boost.

Web/Browser-Based Development

The browser is an excellent delivery channel for applications. It doesn't require users to go through the trouble of manual installation or to consume storage space on users' phones.

They simply enter (or just click on) the URL, and the app is ready to go. Plus, it's accessible from any phone, tablet, or computer. Users just need their login data.

Creating a web app is, therefore, the best way to distribute software today. It creates the least amount of resistance to adoption. And users love it because they can test the app (sometimes without even logging in) without much upfront commitment (in terms of time and effort).

Web-Based Development Environment

If there is one constant issue regarding the development environment, it would be the "it works on my machine" situation.

There have been many different solutions to this problem over the years, for example, Docker containers. However, nothing is really as simple and effective as the browser.

A low-code IDE is a browser-based development environment where the only setup required is your login credentials.

For companies, imagine how much time this saves during onboarding. Usually, new developers need to:

  • Locally install all the software packages and libraries
  • Set up test databases
  • Debug all the things that don't work from the first try (and they never do)

The browser environment, in comparison, provides the same experience to all developers. And this helps prevent bugs.

Web-Based Development Tools

Integrated into low-code IDE are two specialized development tools that cover both sides of web applications:

  • App Builder is a tool for creating frontend applications
  • 8base Backend is used to quickly build database and APIs

App Builder enables quick UI development using drag-and-drop components. This lets developers quickly create interfaces with the most frequently used screen elements.

Each component is completely customizable using numerous options in the settings panel. On top of that, you can add custom CSS and JavaScript to fully control every aspect of your app's look, feel, and behavior.

Also, any external library you need can be added to the header code. In short, everything you can do with traditional programming can be done with low-code technology (but faster).

8base Backend allows you to build APIs with incredible efficiency. For example, you can simply define your data model just by creating a couple of database tables, and that's it. API is fully-functional out of the box.

And we're not talking about some basic API either. It also includes features like pagination, filtering, etc.

GraphQL API is used by default, but you can create REST endpoints using webhook functions. The biggest advantage of GraphQL vs. RESTful API is that the frontend can get any combination of resources from the backend in a single call to the server (without any changes to the backend).

And this allows much faster app development because there is less work for the backend developers. Plus, the frontend is not blocked while waiting for the backend to finish implementing requested API changes. 

Tool Alternatives

Much of what is described here might remind you of no-code tools. However, the main difference is that everything built with low-code technology can be customized.

This is in contrast with no-code, where you get the initial speed, but then you're stuck with what you have. Very limited changes are possible. In the end, if your app starts getting traction, you will have to rebuild it from scratch.

On the other hand, traditional programming also gives you full control over your app - just like low-code technology. But it takes 3 times longer to develop apps that way.

Web App Deployment

Since everything you're developing using low-code technology is already in the cloud, deploying to the cloud boils down to just a couple of clicks.

Also, every app you build has the following benefits:

  • Production-ready
  • Automatically scalable
  • No architecture management is needed (no DevOps)

And this is without you doing anything special to your app. It has all these features automatically, just for the fact it was built with low code.

Overall, this reduces development time because you don't have to implement all these features manually or worry about architecture management. And in the end, this leads to reduced infrastructure costs.

To Sum It Up

Web apps run in the browser, which is the easiest delivery system for the software. Users have the chance to try out the apps without too much investment upfront (downloading, installing, etc.).

Low-code technology is the most productive way to build web apps known today. It provides a 3X efficiency increase over traditional programming methods requiring only 1-2 days of learning.

Apps built with low code are production-ready, automatically scalable, and don't require architecture management. This all leads to reduced project costs and greater market competitiveness.

To Learn More About 8base Low-Code Technology

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