App development is a multi-stage process that can take a skilled development team several months or even years. With low code/no code app development, however, the process is quite different: apps can be completed in a matter of days or weeks and can be intuitively made by citizen developers. This article looks at how the app development stages change (and how they stay the same) when using LCNC.
What Is App Development?
In short, app development is the creation of software applications for business purposes. There are several different types of app development, including waterfall or traditional development, rapid application development (RAD), agile development, and low code/no code development. Developers may use elements from more than one of these approaches when creating an app.
All types of app development — even simplified methods like LCNC — require multiple steps. While there is some debate over how to delineate these steps, we prefer to break down app development into seven key stages:
- Project initiation: App development begins with a concept, presentation of a minimum viable product (MVP), and a clear end goal, usually supported by market research.
- Requirements collection and analysis: Once the concept has been given the green light, the requirements of the business and the end-user are analyzed, in addition to development requirements (e.g. timeframe, budget, and size of the development team).
- Planning: This stage involves establishing a clear timeline for the development of the app while figuring out how work and resources will be allocated within the dev team.
- Designing: With a plan in place, the dev team decides how the app will work and what it will look like. The range of app features and user interface is decided upon, and a prototype may also be developed at this stage.
- Development: Development of the app can happen in different ways: it may involve several software engineers, UI/UX designers, and other professionals, or it may involve one person working on a LCNC platform.
- Testing: The app is run many times internally to ensure correct function and stamp out bugs. This is followed by user acceptance testing (UAT), which allows end-users to give feedback.
- Deployment, support, and maintenance: Once the app is implemented, the users may report difficulties or bugs that require support and maintenance over time.
Traditional & Low Code/No Code App Development: A Comparison
Low code/no code platforms like TrackVia offer a simplified form of app development with minimal or no coding. As such, LCNC app development can look very different to traditional app development. So where do traditional and LCNC approaches overlap and where do they differ?
Although traditional and LCNC app development work in different ways, both follow the seven stages of development described in the previous section. LCNC cuts out technical tasks like pure coding, but the developer is still responsible for creating a concept, analyzing business requirements, planning the development process, and designing the app workflow.
The differences between traditional and LCNC app development become clearer after the design stage. Where traditional development requires coding in a programming language, LCNC development uses application development software with an intuitive drag-and-drop interface. This creates a difference in the process and a significant difference in the time required for development, with LCNC apps able to be completed in a matter of days.
The speed of development in LCNC carries over into testing and maintenance. If part of the app needs to be changed following the initial development stage, the developer can go into the LCNC platform and make those changes immediately or test them out in a sandbox environment before implementation. With traditional development, maintenance can put the app out of action, whereas LCNC updates cause minimal disruption.
Where Low Code/No Code Fits
Traditional app development has some important advantages. For instance, skilled software engineers can create a much wider range of features via pure coding than would be possible using a low code/no code platform. However, while traditional development has the edge in terms of scope and detail, it falls behind LCNC when it comes to time, cost, and agility.
LCNC platforms are suited to businesses that need to develop apps and workflows in a short timeframe and on a small budget, as their drag-and-drop interface facilitates rapid development by a small development team or even a single user. This may be particularly advantageous in industries where market trends change constantly, as new trends may emerge in the time it takes — typically a few months — to develop an app in the traditional way.
Other benefits of LCNC development include the ability to make immediate changes to the app in an agile manner without lines of code having to be corrected or whole sections having to be scrapped. Testing can also be carried out repeatedly during the development stage.
Finally, LCNC offers significant advantages after the deployment of the app. Developers can be in maintenance mode at any point — in a sandbox testing environment or otherwise — enabling regular maintenance without disrupting day-to-day workflow.
Low code/no code is a unique type of app development, but it largely follows the seven stages used in all forms of app development. The key difference between LCNC and other approaches is that several key stages of the process, namely development, testing, deployment, and maintenance are significantly shortened and simplified.
To streamline the seven stages of app development and start creating apps for your business, sign up for a free trial with TrackVia.