What is Low Code? The Ultimate Guide to Low Code Development and Internal Tool Building
Learn what low code is, and how it can help you build internal tools faster and easier.
Internal tools are software applications that help businesses automate, streamline, and optimize their internal processes and workflows. They can include dashboards, admin panels, CRUD apps (create-read-update-delete), reports, forms, and more.
Internal tools are essential for improving productivity, efficiency, and customer satisfaction. However, building internal tools can be challenging, time-consuming, and expensive. It requires skilled developers, complex technologies, and constant maintenance.
That’s why many businesses are turning to low-code platforms to build internal tools faster and easier. Low-code platforms are tools that enable users to create applications without writing much code. They typically offer a visual interface, drag-and-drop components, pre-built templates, and easy integrations with databases and APIs.
But not all low-code platforms are the same. Some are more suitable for certain use cases, audiences, and budgets than others. In this blog post, we will compare four popular low-code platforms for building internal tools: Appsmith, DronaHQ, Retool, and Budibase. We will also introduce ILLA Cloud as a new and powerful alternative to these platforms. We will also explain what low-code platforms are, why they are important, and how to choose the best one for your business.
What is low code?
According to IBM, low code is a software development environment that allows users to create applications using graphical tools and techniques instead of traditional programming languages. A low-code platform may produce fully functional applications or require some additional coding for specific situations.
Low-code platforms are based on the principles of model-driven design, automatic code generation, and visual programming. They allow users to define workflows, business rules, user interfaces, and data connections using visual tools such as process modeling, widgets, components, elements, connectors, etc. Behind the scenes, the platform automatically converts the visual design into code.
Low-code platforms are often discussed along with no-code platforms, which are similar tools that allow users to create applications without any coding at all. However, there are some differences between low-code and no-code platforms in terms of their target users, capabilities, and limitations.
Forrester distinguishes low-code vs. no-code products by their target end users. While low-code application platforms (LCAP) are broad in scope, catering to both professional developers and citizen developers (business users with little formal coding experience), they may still require some coding skills. Therefore, low-code application platforms primarily serve full-time and part-time developers. However, no-code products are specifically targeted at business users, allowing them to create custom apps without expert development skills and knowledge.
Why are low-code platforms important?
Low-code platforms are important because they address some of the common challenges and needs of software development in the modern business world. Some of these challenges and needs include:
- The increasing demand for software automation and digital transformation across various industries and functions
- The shortage of skilled developers and the high cost of hiring and retaining them
- The complexity and diversity of software technologies and architectures
- The need for faster delivery and deployment of applications
- The need for collaboration and communication among different stakeholders
- The need for flexibility and scalability of applications
Low-code platforms can help overcome these challenges and meet these needs by enabling users to:
- Build applications quickly and easily using visual tools and pre-built components
- Connect applications to any data source or API using built-in connectors or custom code
- Deploy applications on cloud or on-premises using Docker or Kubernetes
- Share applications with unlimited users and manage access levels
- Monitor application performance and usage using analytics and logs
By using low-code platforms, users can create applications that empower their teams, boost their productivity, improve their customer experience, and achieve their business goals.
How to choose the best low-code platform for your business?
Choosing the best low-code platform for your business depends on various factors such as your use case, budget, skill level, preferences, and requirements. However, some general criteria that you can use to evaluate different low-code platforms include:
- Features: What features does the platform offer in terms of UI design, data integration, logic development, deployment options, user management, security, etc.?
- Ease of use: How easy is the platform to use for different types of users, such as developers, business users, or end-users? How intuitive is the interface and how steep is the learning curve?
- Performance: How fast and reliable is the platform in terms of creating, running, and maintaining applications? How well does it handle complex or large-scale applications?
- Support: What kind of support does the platform provide in terms of documentation, tutorials, community, customer service, etc.?
- Pricing: How much does the platform cost in terms of subscription plans, licensing fees, hosting fees, etc.? What are the limitations or benefits of each plan?
To help you choose the best low-code platform for your business, we will compare four popular low-code platforms for building internal tools in the next section: Appsmith, DronaHQ, Retool, and Budibase. We will also introduce ILLA Cloud as a new and powerful alternative to these platforms.
What is Appsmith?
Appsmith offers a free plan that includes unlimited users, apps, data sources, and widgets. It also has a cloud plan that starts at $20 per month and provides features such as authentication, user management, audit logs, and support. Users can also deploy Appsmith on their own servers using Docker or Kubernetes.
What is DronaHQ?
DronaHQ is a low-code toolkit that helps developers quickly build internal tools using a drag-and-drop UI builder. It allows users to connect apps to any database or API, create forms and tables using components, and add rules and validations using a visual rule engine. DronaHQ can be used to build web or mobile apps for HR, operations, finance, engineering, and more.
DronaHQ offers a free plan that includes 200 app users per month and 1 GB of storage. It also has paid plans that start at $10 per month and provide features such as unlimited apps, workflows, automation, PDF creator, user roles, analytics, and support. Users can also deploy DronaHQ on their own servers using Docker.
What is Retool?
Retool offers a free plan that includes 5 app users per month and 1 GB of storage. It also has paid plans that start at $10 per user per month and provide features such as unlimited apps, data sources, elements, audit logs, support, and more. Users can also deploy Retool on their own servers using Docker or Kubernetes.
What is Budibase?
Budibase offers a free plan that includes unlimited users, apps, data sources, and elements. It also has a cloud plan that starts at $29 per month and provides features such as hosting, SSL, backups, support, and more. Users can also deploy Budibase on their own servers using Docker.
How do Appsmith, DronaHQ, Retool, and Budibase compare?
Appsmith, DronaHQ, Retool, and Budibase have some similarities and differences in terms of their features, capabilities, and pricing. Here is a table that summarizes some of the key aspects of each platform:
|Cloud plan||Starts at $20/mo||Starts at $10/mo||Starts at $10/user/mo||Starts at $30/mo|
|Visual action builder||No||Yes||Yes||No|
As you can see from the table above, each platform has its own strengths and weaknesses. Appsmith and Budibase are open-source and offer unlimited users and apps on their free plans, but they lack some features such as visual action builder, visual rule engine, and responsive design. DronaHQ and Retool offer more features and integrations, but they are not open-source and have more expensive cloud plans.
However, none of these platforms can match the features, capabilities, and pricing of ILLA Cloud. ILLA Cloud is a new and powerful low-code platform that combines the best of Appsmith, DronaHQ, Retool, and Budibase, while also offering some unique features and benefits.
Why choose ILLA Cloud?
ILLA Cloud offers a free plan that includes unlimited users, apps, data sources, and elements. It also has a cloud plan that starts at $15 per month and provides features such as authentication, user management, audit logs, support, and more. Users can also deploy ILLA Cloud on their own servers using Docker or Kubernetes.ILLA Cloud has some advantages over Appsmith, DronaHQ, Retool, and Budibase in terms of its features, capabilities, and pricing.
ILLA Cloud is:
- Open-source: ILLA Cloud is open-source and transparent. Users can access the source code, contribute to the development, and customize the platform to their needs.
- Affordable: ILLA Cloud has a generous free plan that includes all the features, apps, data sources, and elements. It also has a low-cost cloud plan that starts at $10 per month and provides more features and support. Users can also deploy ILLA Cloud on their own servers using Docker or Kubernetes.
How to get started with ILLA Cloud?
Getting started with ILLA Cloud is easy and fast. You can sign up for a free account and start building your apps in minutes. You can also check out the documentation and tutorials to learn more about the platform and its features. You can also join the Discord server to chat with other users and get support.
If you are looking for a low-code platform, you should give ILLA Cloud a try. It is a platform that combines the best of Appsmith, DronaHQ, Retool, and Budibase, while also offering some unique features and benefits. It is a platform that is new yet reliable enough to trust.
ILLA Cloud is a platform that can help you create internal tools that matter. Try it today and see for yourself.
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GitHub page: github.com/illacloud/illa-builder
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(3) Appsmith Alternative to build custom tools using low code platform - DronaHQ. https://www.dronahq.com/appsmith-alternatives/.
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