Top 10 Low-code Platforms

Low-code/No-code development platforms allow business users and professional developers to build, test, and deploy software applications much faster and less costly. Low-code platforms provide visual designers and toolsets for users to drag and drop UI elements, business entities, and build data models. If you’re new to low-code platforms, please read What is Low Code Development.
 
Here is a list of top 10 low-code platforms. In this article, I will review top 10 low-code platforms and their key features.
  1. Outsystems
  2. Mendix
  3. Microsoft Power Platform
  4. Appian
  5. Salesforce Lightening
  6. Betty Blocks
  7. Pega
  8. ServiceNow
  9. Oracle Apex
  10. Zoho Creator

Gartner, Forrester and Low-code Platforms

 
Before we start looking at top low-code platforms, let’s look at what top research firms Gartner and Forrester have to say about these platforms.
 
According to Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Low-Code Application Platforms, Mendex and OutSystems are two leading low-code platforms.Top 10 Low Code Platforms Gartner
The above image shows the leading low-code platforms as of July 2019. Besides Outsystems and Mendix, the top names in this list include Microsoft, Salesforce, Appian, Betty Blocks, Pega, ServiceNow, and Oracle.
 
According to Forrester, OutSystems, Mendix, Microsoft, Salesforce, and Kony are top low-code development platforms for AD&D professionals.
 
Top 10 Lowcode Platforms Forrester 
 

#1. Outsystems

 
Outsystems is the #1 low-code platforms among all. Outsystems allows enterprise grade app developed via using its IDE and deployed in Outsystems cloud. The IDE lets you create apps to target desktop, tablet, and mobile devices. The app can also be generated as native apps.
 
Outsystems supports integration with any external enterprise systems, database, or custom app via pre-built open-source connectors, popular cloud services, and APIs. Outsystems comes with pre-built stunning modern UI templates for desktop, tablets, and mobile apps. Outsystems is not only for pro developers but also designed for IT leaders, business owners, enterprise architects, and citizen developers.
 
Company history
 
Outsystems, founded in 2001 in Lisbon, Portugal is currently headquartered in Atlanta, USA. Outsystems has 1228 employees worldwide.
 
Key features of Outsystems
 
Unbeatable Speed - From high-productivity visual development to powerful tools to deploy and manage your apps.
Full-stack Visual Development - Drag-and-drop UI, business processes, logic, and data models to create full-stack, cross-platform apps. Add your own code when needed. No lock-in ever.
Single-click Deployment - Deliver apps and update them with one click. OutSystems automatically checks dependencies and handles all deployment processes for you.
In-App Feedback - Make your apps better, faster. Users can share voice and written feedback right inside the application, simplifying the whole change management process.
Automatic Refactoring - Outsystems analyzes all models and immediately refactors dependencies. Modify a database table and all your queries are updated automatically.
Mobile Made Easy - Easily build great looking mobile experiences with offline data synchronization, native device access, and on-device business logic.
Architecture that Scales - Combine microservices with deep dependency analysis. Create and change reusable services and applications fast and at scale.
 
Pricing
 
The following table lists various pricing options.
 
Edition Users Hosting Env CI/CD Price On-premises
Free 100 Shared cloud 1 No Free No
Basic 1000 Dedicated cloud 3 Yes $4,000 No
Standard Unlimited Dedicated cloud 3 Yes $10,000 Yes
Enterprise Unlimited Dedicated cloud 5 Yes Custom Yes
 

#2. Mendix

 
Mendix Studio is an IDE that lets you design your Web and mobile apps using a drag/drop feature. Mendix is a high productivity app platform that enables you to build and continuously improve mobile and web applications at scale. The Mendix Platform is designed to accelerate enterprise app delivery across your entire application development lifecycle, from ideation to deployment and operations.
 
Company history
 
Mendix was founded in Rotterdam, the Netherlands in 2005 and was acquired by Siemens for $730 million. In 2014, Mendix accelerated its growth by partnering with companies including Accenture and Capgemini, UST Global, HP, Pivotal, and others.
 
Mendix has about 660 employees worldwide.
 
Key Features
 
Mendix offers both no-code and low-code tooling in one single fully integrated platform:
 
No code – Mendix provides a web-based visual app-modeling studio that is tailored toward business domain experts
Low code – an extensive and powerful desktop-based visual app-modeling studio is also provided, which is tailored towards professional developers and can be integrated with coding IDEs to extend capabilities
 
Mendix targets IT leaders, business developers, and professional developers. To build and deploy applications, you don’t need to have any coding knowledge.
The following table lists Mendix editions and their features.
 
Edition Free Single App Professional Enterprise
Public Cloud Yes Yes Yes Yes
On-premises Yes
Private Cloud Yes
No. of Environments 1 2 2 3
Dedicated app container Yes Yes Yes
CI/CD Yes
 
Pricing on Mendix website is not clear. There is a free version that provides unlimited applications in Mendix cloud with 1GB memory + 0.5GB storage per free app. The paid version is $1,875 per month, billed annually.
 

#3. Microsoft Power Platform

 
Microsoft Power Platform is a new cloud-based but one of the fasters growing players in the Low-code/No-code world. Microsoft Power Platform allows business users to build user interfaces, business workflows, and data models, and deploy in Microsoft’s Azure cloud.
 
The four offerings of Microsoft Power Platform are Power BI, Power Apps, Power Automate, and Power Virtual Agents.
 
Each of these products has its own pricing model, per user per month, starting at $9.99 per month. Once the apps are built using Power Platform tools, the production apps can be deployed in Azure cloud.
 
Microsoft Power Apps is the platform that allows business users and developers to build apps using no-code or low-code.
 
Company history and key benefits
 
Power Apps are from Microsoft and has advantage of being a part of Azure and Power Platform ecosystem. Power Apps provides great flexibility of integration with other Microsoft and third part products. Once built and tested, deployment on Azure is simply clicking a button.
 
Pricing
  
Run unlimited apps for $40 per user per month.
 

4. Appian

 
Appian is a cloud based Low-code platform. The key functionality of Appian revolves around business process management (BPM), robotic process automation (RPA), case management, content management, and intelligent automation. Like Outsystems and Mendix, Appian supports both Appian cloud and public cloud deployments (AWS, Google Cloud, and Azure).
 
Company history
 
Appian founded in 1999 is a platform as a service company based in Virginia. It develops products and applications for enterprises. In 2016, Appian’s software platform was designed to focus on low-code app development.
 
Appian has 1200 employees worldwide.
 
Key Features
 
Appian Low-Code Automation Platform product supports full-stack software app development automation.
 
The key functionalities of the platform can be broken down into the following categories:
• Robotic Process Automation (RPA) – Automate routine tasks in a workflow and integrate systems without APIs.
• Business Process Management – Design, execute, manage, and optimize complex processes with industry-leading iBPM.
• Case Management – Automate collaborative work and exception handling with best-in-class capabilities.
• Artificial Intelligence – Make your applications work harder and smarter with integrated AI from Google, AWS, and Azure.
• Decision Rules – Quickly define simple to complex business logic and execute it automatically.
 
Pricing
 
Appian provides a free trial that lets you set up your app on the Appian cloud only. To have Appian full managed cloud, on premises, or public cloud options, you must be a paid user.
 
Appian pricing supports both subscriptions based as well as flat fee model. Standard subscription starts at $60 per user per month. Appian also has option to buy application licensing at a fixed cost.
 

5. Salesforce Lightening

 
Unlike previous Low-code products that lets you deploy your applications and apps on any public cloud or on premises, Salesforce Lightning is for Salesforce CRM users who want to build their own user experiences end support desktop, tablets and mobile devices without writing any code.
 
Salesforce Lightning is a framework for Salesforce users to create business UI and workflow on Salesforce without involving developers.
 
Salesforce Lightening includes the Lightning Component Framework that lets developers to develop components using the App Builder and reuse the existing components in other apps.
 
Salesforce Lightening is a part of Salesforce Platform that offers a try for free option. The Platform Starter and Platform Plus licensing are the paid options costs $25 per user per month and $100 per user per month.
 
Once the application is built and deployed, there may be additional cloud costs to run the app depending on bandwidth, number of users, memory, process, storage, and other resource consumptions.
 

6. Betty Blocks

 
Betty Blocks proudly calls itself a NoCode platform with lightning fast speed. Like other platforms, Betty Blocks supports drag and drop to build UI, business processes, and data models. Betty Blocks claims to build applications 8x faster. You create blocks of functionality and reuse them in your future applications.
 
Betty Blocks pricing starts at $1400 per month, billed annually that includes 100 Building Blocks, Public cloud with 10GB storage, and Standard SLA.
 

7. Pega

 
Pega Platform is a product of Pegasystems, a Cambridge, MA based software company founded in 1983. Pegasystems has 5000 employees.
Pega Platform is a No-code platform for rapid app development that allows its users to build, automate, and deploy apps faster in the Pega cloud.
 
Paga offers a 30-day free trial. The Enterprise Starter price is $90 per user per month. For larger customers, Enterprise Transformation pricing is available upon call.
 

8. ServiceNow

 
ServiceNow was founded in 2004 is a Santa Clara, CA based cloud computing company. ServiceNow has more than 8600 employees.
 
ServiceNow’s Now Platform allows its users to build, automate, and deploy apps without writing any code. The key components of the platform are Flow Designer,
IntegrationHub, Mobile Studio, Application Development, Virtual Agent, Predictive Intelligence, CMDB, and Performance Analytics.
 

9. Oracle Apex

 
Oracle Application Express (APEX) is a low-code development platform from Oracle. APEX enables its users to build scalable, secure enterprise apps that can be deployed anywhere.
 
The best part of Oracle APEX is, it is FREE to Oracle database owners and offers native access to all the capabilities of Oracle Database.
 
APEX’s IDE provides full developer experience with drag-drop and other IDE features including responsive designer, wizards, components, debugging, testing, and CI/CD.
APEX applications can be easily packaged into a single file that can be deployed in Oracle’s cloud or other public clouds with the click of a mouse.
 

10. Zoho Creator

 
Zoho Creator, an app builder tool from Zoho allows business owners to automate their tasks by creating your app or use existing pre-built app templates. Zoho Creator lets you build Web or mobile
 
The key features of Zoho Creator are:
 
Mobile app support with white label apps for your clients and vendors. Mobile app features include receive email, SMS, and push notifications, accept payments, analyze reports, offline data support, and customize mobile screens and repeated actions.
Advanced features include support of personalization for customers and vendors, user access, barcodes, location coordinates, or files, data validation, calendar, timeline, kanban views, and scheduling.
Integration features includes data connectivity with multiple applications and integrations with Zoho services including CRM, Books, and Invoice. Also use simple Deluge script blocks to link popular services like Paypal, Salesforce, Quickbooks, Zapier, and so on. You can also use REST API to connect to a wide variety of cloud services.
 
Pricing
 
Zoho Creator has the following four pricing options, Basic, Premium, Ultimate, and Custom. The following is a list of features with the options.
 

11. Graphite Studio

 
Graphite Studio is not one of the top low-code platforms, but it offers some unique advantages specifically for C# and .NET developers. While most low-code/no-code platforms target citizen developers or business users, the Graphite Studio also designed for professional developers. Developers who want to build their applications faster and quicker and reduce delivery time.
 
Graphite Studio IDE not only allows you to build your UI screens, business logic, and data models using drag and drop features but also let you visually debug the project in the designer, review and update your, take your project anywhere and even share with your team.
 
Quality of the code, performance, and security are at the heart of Graphite Studio. Graphite Studio follows Microsoft’s best practices and standards. The code written by the IDE is C# and .NET and it uses SQL Server as default backend database. The SQL Server database follows industry best practices related to data integrity, security, compliance and encryption.
 
Graphite Studio pricing is simple. There is a free version for developers with all features. Only time you pay is when you deploy the app. The Premium version is $300 /month/developer to build unlimited applications. There may be additional charges after the application is deployed in production.
 
The best part of Graphite Studio is that it generates C# and .NET code for you in a Visual Studio project that can be opened in Visual Studio. In other words, you own the code.
 
The final built project can be deployed on premises, in private or hybrid cloud, or any public cloud including Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud.  
 

References

 
Product owners and their respective websites and documentation.
Wikipedia for company history and other related data.