What low-code development is and how it speeds up enterprise application development

All about low-code development: what it is, how it works, visual languages ​​and tools, differences from other methods, advantages over other methods, platforms, development examples, and how to do it


What is low-code development?

Low-code development is a development method to create applications reducing the usage of traditional coding. This method uses visual representations systems or configurators, to define the needed application's behavior, leaving the implementation to the Low-Code platform.

Low-code development is possible thanks to dedicated development environments, known as low-code development platforms (LCDPs), which drastically reduce the required amount of manual programming. These kind of platforms increase development speed while ensuring the produced software’s quality and safety through vendors’ continuous updating of platforms’ technology. Features like these allow you to significantly shorten business software development and validation cycles.



How does it work?


Low-code development allows you to visually design and define data management, logic, workflows, forms, and all the elements that make up business applications. The use of modeling languages ​​and visual tools allow you to abstract and understand applications’ structures, operations, and interfaces at a glance.

Visual design, reusable components, configurators, and automatic code generation

In WebRatio Platform there is the abstraction of visual modeling, which accelerates development by simplifying the design of the application’s data structure, architecture, and interaction. The reusable components eliminate already-realized functionalities’ integration times. The configurators allow you to enter only the necessary values, reducing the need to write code. Much of the code is instead automatically generated by the low-code platform, standardized and error-free.

Modeling languages

WebRatio Platform's Low-Code includes a modeling languages, the Business Process Modeling and Notation (BPMN), that is ​​dedicated to designing business processes, define the actors involved and tasks performed in the business process. This visual language integrates with the Interaction Flow Modeling Language (IFML), useful for defining the flow of web and mobile applications’ actors, data, and actions.


Visual tools

WebRatio's Low-Code development environment for enterprise software also involves the use of visual tools. Tools such as the WebRatio’s UI Designer, are useful to define application interfaces. These tools use drag-and-drop and WYSIWYG ways for visual definition and allow users to see applications’ final results in real time during the design process.

Improved development quality and speed

The time saved with low-code development is used to improve engineering, design, reviews, and testing. It is possible to focus on these phases while directly involving business users or future users of applications, thus obtaining increasingly effective results that better meet software solutions’ functional and nonfunctional requirements. An application can also be developed with Lean or Agile approaches or with uncertain requirements by creating a minimum viable product (MVP). It is possible to scale the project based on market feedback, with remarkably short development cycles and a strong focus on user experience.

Low-code development and Agile methodology

Low-code development follows the Agile methodology’s principles because its high development speed allows developers to focus on individuals and interactions rather than on technologies for implementing business applications. With low-code development, it is possible to release functional software even with remarkably short development cycles. It allows timely response to continuous changes in markets and user behaviors. Visual languages ​​are, in fact, the common ground for defining digital solutions’ requirements, low-code development simplifies collaboration between developers and business users.


Differences between low-code and other development methods


developers create enterprise application

Coding and low-code development

As opposed to traditional programming, which requires more specialized development knowledge, the visual approach’s simplicity of Low-Code allows individuals to create complex business applications even with minor technical skills. The increase in development speed decreases investments’ payback periods and resources costs, especially in terms of application maintenance. Developers are relieved of updating technologies and thus can focus on improving engineering and design, drastically reducing innovative solutions’ time-to-market and time-to-MVP.


Download the infographic describing all the differences >

developers create application with no-code technology

Low-code and no-code development

No-code development excludes the possibility of programming, to the detriment of developmental flexibility, and is suitable for creating vertical market solutions that respond to specific business problems using only configurators. Low-code development, in contrast, also allows programming. This facilitations development of new functionalities, processes, and service models, opening development up to new scenarios and innovative solutions that differentiate companies from market competitors. In no-code development, digital solutions’ characteristics are standard and created based on usage trends. With low-code, customization is unlimited while maintaining a realization speed comparable to the adoption of a software already present on the market.

Read a story about customizing widgets >


Benefits for the entire company


The advantages of using low-code development are many: reduction of time-to-market, costs and use of resources and increased pervasiveness of digital technologies in the company, which relieves personnel from repetitive activities and allows them to focus their efforts on activities of greater value. Companies can have multiple digital solutions that make effective use of data assets, thanks to tracking and analysis, and demonstrate performance and competitiveness improvements in the reference market.


Development productivity and reduced time and resources


Low-code development’s rapidity allows for creation of more applications in less times than traditional programming, eliminating the time required to design, write and maintain source code when developing business software used to exploit company data and information but often underused because of the IT department’s lack of time and resources.
The reduced need for resources allows companies to compete with even highly structured organizations. The minor technical skills needed, on the other hand, let also non-specialized roles use the Low-Code method, to respond to the lack of specialized figures due to the great increase in the demand for developers in companies.




Benefits for all stakeholders



For the IT department

  • Development speed, thanks to configuration, visual design, drag and drop, and the use of graphic and project templates and plugins;
  • Standard application quality, thanks to the lack of human errors derived from manual programming;
  • Reduced application maintenance time, thanks to platforms’ continuous updating by vendor companies;
  • The ability to develop even without specialized technical skills, given the low-code approach’s simplicity; and
  • The ability to model a program once and release it for multiple systems (both for iOS and Android in WebRatio Platform for instance).

For the staff

  • Digitalization of processes, thanks to the high number of available applications;
  • Process automation, thanks to the development of more complex and intelligent software systems;
  • Time saved for data entry, thanks to increased and enhanced system integration;
  • Increased data and information access, thanks to the creation of customized applications for data extraction and analysis adapted to business needs;
  • The perfect compliance of applications with the company’s unique processes, thanks to customization; and
  • Always having new applications updated to the latest standards in both functionality and user experience.

For managers

  • Increased participation in application development with developers, thanks to the approach’s simplicity and the speed that allows changes in real time;
  • Increased control and better management of activities, thanks to digital tracking and analysis through applications;
  • Reduced time-to-market, thanks to the shorter time required for applications’ release;
  • The ability to create an MVP in a few days and scale the application based on market and user feedback; and
  • The ability to use more detailed analyses to make more certain decisions, thanks to the use of company data with dedicated intelligent applications.

For the entire company

  • Decreased application development, maintenance, and updating costs;
  • Decreased payback period for application spending;
  • Increased computerization, innovation, and modernity, thanks to applications that allow the renewal of processes, procedures, and information systems;
  • Increased productivity with applications that simplify and accelerate staff activities
  • Decreased or eliminated shadow IT, meaning the reduction of risks deriving from applications created by nonspecialized personnel (such as applications based on spreadsheets); and
  • Continuous innovation, thanks to the simplicity of software systems’ modification and updating.

The platforms

team uses innovative business applications

Innovation tools

Low-code development platforms are tools for modernization and innovation because they simplify the creation of web, mobile, and automation applications that reorganize and improve business processes. Low-code development also allows for creation of new services and revenue sources through design of innovative features and experiences tailored to business needs.

How low-code can modernize core applications >

teamwork to create app enterprise

Collaborative tools

Visual languages ​​are the common ground between developers and business experts, and they improve communication, information sharing, and strategic engagement. These languages’ development speeds allow developers to focus on processes’ design and innovation, increasing their involvement in the company’s business dynamics.


How low-code helps in every phase of company development >

teamwork to create business applications

The state of the art

Low-code developers focus their attention on five major rating categories: (1) The approach must be easy to learn. (2) The development platforms’ interfaces must be intuitive. (3–4) The produced applications’ user experience must be customizable and engaging. (5) Finally, licensing costs must be sustainable.


Download the infographic on low-code platforms’ state of the art >


WebRatio: Low-code development examples


The results that can be obtained with a low-code platform

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of development productivity

digital solution development timeline icon


from the idea
to the digital solution

payback period digital solution icon


payback period
of the solution

700% development productivity

With WebRatio’s low-code technology, companies can develop with an average productivity 7 times greater than that achieved with traditional methods, reducing time and resources costs and time-to-market while increasing the ROI of the investment in the enterprise application’s development.


A complete suite, from business processes to user experience 

The WebRatio platform includes all development environments and visual tools to create complete business applications: business process automation, web, and mobile. With the Data Model Designer, you define the data structure. With the visual modeling language BPMN, you can model business processes, which are linked to the web or mobile application designed in IFML. The UI Designer is used for building the interface.



Enterprise applications that can be developed

Mobile development: Gewiss IoT apps

Low-code development has proven to be rapid and reliable even for complex mobile applications such as Gewiss’s home automation, and the simplicity of learning the method has made it possible to quickly adopt low-code development in the company.

Read the complete history of Gewiss’s Apps >

Web development: Building Information Modeling system

In less than a year and a half, a startup surpassed the rosiest business forecasts, thanks to the low-code technology driver, which made it possible to use an Agile development methodology that increased customer engagement.

Read the full history of BIM >

BPA development: Ricoh’s toner validation tool

The Japanese company has reduced order-processing times by 35%, thanks to their digital solution developed in only five months that automates post-sales processes and integrates business and robotic process automation technologies.

Read the full story of the toner validation tool >



Video: How to develop with low-code

Business process automation (BPA) systems

How to develop an automated digital process, synchronized with a web project and featuring a customized user interface.


Web applications

How to create a web application with a microservices architecture and a user interface created with the drag-and-drop UI Designer, integrated with legacy systems with APIs modelled through WebRatio Platform.


Mobile App

How to develop a Mobile App for both iOS and Android modeling just once, by adding native features such as receiving push notifications and creating unique interactions by customizing widgets.


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