Low-code + customization: 6 features you need
Full Transcript of Video
In this video, I’ll show you 6 customization features you need in any enterprise-level low code platform…and I think this is an important thing to demonstrate because one of the most common myths about low-code is that it locks you down and limits your customization options.
The fact is, that’s not true for all tools. Sure, some are quite limited, and they do lock you into their platform. But, not all. And if you do your homework before you buy you’ll be able to avoid those tools and this video should help you know what to look for.
I’ll go over 6 different customization features that will:
- give you maximum flexibility to do whatever your business needs,
- reduce the overall limitations of the tool so it will meet your needs long term,
- and finally help eliminate vendor lockin, so you’re not tied down to the software.
Sound good? Let’s get started.
The first feature you should look for is the ability to edit at the code level. Of course, every low-code tool lets you edit visually…but…not every low-code tool also lets you edit at the code level…and this is important because it gives you added flexibility and removes a lot of the limitations you’ll run into as you use the tool.
So if you run into something you can’t do with the visual editor, you’re not stuck! You can dive into the code and do it that way, and that’s a huge advantage in terms of bypassing the tools limits.
And let me be clear…a visual editor will be fine for most things. But, the option to edit at the code level gives you maximum flexibility and really lets you create applications that do exactly what you want.
The second feature is the ability to edit the applications outside of the platform. And I know, this sounds similar to the last point, but it has a big difference.
For instance, as I showed before, I can edit my files at the code level….within the platform. But…if I can only edit within the platform, what happens if I want to stop using it down the road? I’m stuck. Thankfully, that’s not the case here. I can find that same file on my PC, and edit it in a regular text editor–-which is completely separate from the platform.
And this is so important because it eliminates vendor lockin. If I wanted to leave the platform, I can still use and maintain my applications. Again, this is a feature that you probably won’t need often, but will be critical if you do need it…and it goes a long way towards protecting your investment.
The third feature is you want a tool that creates applications using standard languages and frameworks. And this is important for a few reasons. First, taking the last point one step further…what happens if these files that I can edit outside of the platform were all in some proprietary language? I’d be stuck. You want a tool that generates applications with standard languages like Java, HTML, and xml as you here…but then also has clean, human-readable code that a developer can edit if necessary.
Now the other reason this is important is because it helps with integration. If there are third-party libraries or software you want to integrate with your applications, you’ll run into trouble if they’re built on proprietary languages. A tool that’s built on open frameworks and standard languages opens the door to integrating with other tools…but most importantly, let’s you integrate with the tools you’re already using.
So, to wrap up this point, it’s important to have a tool that generates applications with standard languages because…you can edit them yourself should the need aries…you can more easily integrate with other services and software…and…it ties in easier with what you’re already using.
Taking the last point one step further, the fourth feature is the ability to create web services and APIs. This opens up your possibilities because it lets you pull data from other APIs, and also gives you a way to open up your data to use in other tools. And that’s so important these days because businesses use so many other software tools. With web services and APIs, you can connect what you’re building with what you already use.
And now, one thing to note…I’m not just talking about prebuilt integrations created by the vendor. I’m talking about the ability to create an API, or set up any web service you need. For instance, while I’m talking I’m setting up a web service from GeoJS, which lets me pull geolocation by IP address and then use that data in my web apps. This is just one example, but I can do this with any REST API!
The advantages to this is the fact that you’re not relying on the vendor to create an integration for you…instead you can make your own…and that really opens up your flexibility and overall options with the platform.
Going one step further, the fifth feature is the tool should have ETL capabilities. Now, ETL stands for Extend, Transform, and Load and is used to take data in one format and put it into another format that you can work with. This is so important because your applications are only as good as the underlying data.
For instance, suppose you’re pulling data from an API but it’s not in the correct format. With ETL features, you can turn that data into a usable format that you can then build applications over.
So, the advantage of having ETL capabilities means that you can accept more data formats and you’ll have fewer limitations with the platform.
And finally, the sixth feature you want is the ability to add custom logic into your applications. And I’m not talking about editing the code manually here…I’m saying that the tool should give you a way to add your own custom business logic during the build process and connect it with what you’re building. For example, in our low-code tool (m-Power) you’ll see a list of custom logic that we’ve previously added that can be included during the build process. Each one is custom and performs different tasks. I just need to tie it into the application I’m building. I could add more here if there’s any other logic we might need.
This is important because it lets you reuse logic that your business might rely on. You don’t have to worry about recreating the wheel, you can just use what you have. Or…maybe you have a programmer that really knows a certain language, like say…SQL stored procedure. He can write his own logic and then connect with what you’re building. Being able to inject custom logic into your applications will save you a lot of time and let you create applications that work exactly as your business needs.
So, that’s it! We’ve covered 6 different customization features that you should look for in any low-code platform. When you combine all of these features, they go a long way in ensuring that your low-code tool will let you create solutions that perfectly fit your business, reduce the amount of limitations you’ll run into over time, and eliminate vendor lockin. If you’d like to learn more about customizable low-code, visit us on the web at mrc-productivity.com. Thanks for watching!
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