Citizen Developer: become an app developer without programming knowledge via low-code

The exponential growth of data, the problems of globalization, the collapse of supply chains, and the continuous pressure of being left behind by a lack of digitization: All of this requires agile and fast action. These are just some of the drivers for the enormous increase in new applications and their continuous need for optimization in order to adapt to rapidly changing market situations. The crucial success factor is the usage of Low-Code Platforms and Citizen Development in order to keep up with this rapid pace of innovation. Learn more about it and discover the benefits that come when Citizen Developer work with Low-Code!


Citizen Development: promising technology

In the Emerging Technologies and Trends Impact Radar 2021, Gartner ranks the low-code development platform principle among the most emerging technologies. Gartner puts it on the same level as AI and describes it as one of the most important business enablers. This is due to the fact that development is many times faster than with conventional programming methods and to the use of citizen developers. This is also the argument of Forbes, which describes low-code in combination with citizen development as the strongest disruptive trend in 2021.

Citizen Developer – what is behind the designation?

Citizen developers are software developers who have no special programming skills or IT training. They are increasingly being used, for example, to relieve internal or external IT departments of the burden of creating and maintaining applications. Low-code development offers great opportunities and proves that complex apps can be developed without programming skills.

It is ideal if the specialist department, with its comprehensive knowledge of the respective business area , itself acts as a citizen developer. This helps to avoid misunderstandings in the implementation of business requirements and to ensure the practicality of the app.

This is not only worthwhile in smaller companies or project groups. Especially in large projects and companies with several hundred employees , citizen development is often an unavoidable necessity in order to be able to implement applications despite the global shortage of IT specialists. According to Gartner, the number of these Citizen Developers is expected to exceed that of professional software developers by a factor of four by 2023, at least in large companies. It is generally recommended that a Center of Excellence should be established to provide Best Practices and templates, for example, as well asSupport, Governance and Controlling .

Applications with Low- or No-Code: no programming knowledge required

Instead of spending months writing complicated source code, Citizen Developers primarily use graphical elements, that they simply drag and drop to the desired position and thus logically connect them with each other. They choose from data models, different user interfaces, modules for the dialog flow or process models. Many variables can then be individually adapted with just a few clicks to ultimately realize realize applications of any complexity. In principle, this works just as simply as with LEGO building blocks, from which you can now build impressive constructions that can be controlled via smartphone.

Development process of a Low-Code App

In order to implement the applications, Citizen developers usually need access to all databases and external systems that are to be integrated. Dieser Datenaustausch gestaltet sich dank Zuhilfenahme von entsprechenden Integrationselementen ebenfalls überaus simpel. Lengthy coding is thereby completely unnecessary.

Once the app is ready, you can make it available to the end users. If you use Appollo’s low-code platform, we support you with the runtime environmentyou need to publish the app – for example, via the cloud. You can do this with just a few clicks and within seconds. IT support is not required for this.

As with any other software, you will go through a testing phase to perform functional and non-functional tests (e.g., user experience, performance). It is also worthwhile to solicit input and suggestions for improvement from end users and your stakeholders. In contrast to conventional programming, a low-code platform reduces the testing phase enormously by requiring only the programmed logic to be tested. This is because everything that the platform provides in terms of elements does not need to be tested. The Appollo Low-Code Platform additionally reduces the testing effort by previews for the user interface and for dialog sequences as well as by test automation.

Applications that Citizen Developers can create with No-Code or Low-Vode

Not every type of application can be realized using no-code and citizen development tools. No-Code Tools are typically recommended above all for applications that relate to a specific function. Therefore, always pay attention in advance to what goals you are pursuing with the app. Also future function extensions could possibly be restricted by a no-code platform or even result in a new implementation if the changes turn out to be too complex. For this reason, low-code platforms offer so-called user exits, via which you can implement quite complex programming logic for the applications using pro-code, e.g. HTML, Java, JavaScript orC++.

Simply get in touch with us. We will be happy to advise you in detail about your options with Citizen Development and Appollo’s Low-Code Platform! Apart from that, with Appollo you can design any complex application up to 95 percent via no-code. The remaining business logic you realize with only a few lines of code.

What are the benefits of a low-code platform for Citizen Developer?

To make programming easy even for technically interested laymen, you should pay particular attention to the following points when selecting a low-code platform:

  • Short training and intuitive user interface
    Due to the predominantly graphical programming, these tools can be designed to be particularly user-friendly and intuitive, so that nothing stands in the way of rapid familiarization. In addition, most providers provide comprehensive tutorials and videos for the self-training of prospective Citizen Developers or organize training courses.
  • Help with error-free implementation
    The tools come up with context-sensitive and dynamic validations that support you in error-free implementation. Already during the input via drag-and-drop you learn if two elements do not harmonize with each other or other incompatibilities occur.
  • Full-Stack Refactoring
    If you make changes to the created app by renaming or deleting elements or data, it can have an impact in very many places of your application. A manual correction can quickly be incomplete or lead to errors that are difficult to find. Full-Stack Refactoring provides a remedy by automatically synchronizingall modifications or displaying them to the developer. Added to this is integrated version management, which implicitly creates a so-called snapshot of the application before and after such refactoring. This is indispensable for a professional platform in order to be able to undo the change if necessary.
  • Fusion Teams – Support through governance and controlling
    Teams from Citizen Development and IT are referred to by Gartner as Fusion Teams and will be essential for agile business and disruption in the future. At the same time, however, they require special attention to governance and controlling measures. Ideally, the platform offers supporting mechanisms for this, such as access rights to sensitive projects and models as well as authorizations for deployment with corresponding audit options.

7 reasons why you will benefit even more from the Appollo Low Code Platform and Citizen Development

The Appollo Low Code Platform …

  • … takes critical success factors into account
    When using Citizen Development, important requirements must not fall by the wayside. The low-code platform from Appollo therefore naturally offers the above-mentioned advantages. As a further critical success factor, Appollo also enables the simple and seamless integration of applications into the the existing IT infrastructure and thus avoids the emergence of Shadow-IT.
  • … speeds up the creation of applications of any complexity
    As a high-end low-code platform, Appollo contains powerful elements to realize extensive functions via no-code. This allows Citizen Developers to independently implement complex Web-Apps, mobile Apps or Core Enterprise Apps mostly without a single line of code in a very short time. Based on this, a citizen developer with some experience can implement the extended business logic at any time by himself or in cooperation with an experienced developer using JavaScript.
  • … is also suitable for large projects
    The platform is not only suitable for small project teams, but also for large projects in particular. Thus, extensive projects can be modularized into sub-projects and realized by different teams. This is particularly useful for reusable components, e.g. for integrating external systems, which naturally provide the corresponding functions via No-Code for easy use by Citizen Developers.
  • … supports agile software development
    Thanks to graphical issue management, Citizen developers implement requirements and user stories directly on the corresponding element. Bugs are also created directly on the affected graphical element to accelerate bug fixing. In this way – and by means of an integrated Kanban Board – the platform supports agile software development according to Scrum.
  • … offers extensive user authorizations
    Especially due to general app security, it is essential to be able to assign access rights to projects and individual models as granularly as possible. With Appollo, each developer therefore only sees the elements and data that are relevant for the respective task. Sensitive components can thus only be made accessible to authorized developers. The version management also ensures that all user-related changes are traceable and auditable. Deployment and administration of the development, test and production environment are also subject to such authorization structures.
  • … enables easy error handling
    In order to realize robust applications, technical and business errors must be distinguished and adequately processed. Appollo supports this with full-stack exception handling via no-code and multilingual error messages. This reduces the usual complexity of Exception Handling to a simple drag-and-drop. Citizen developers are thus able to implement stable applications from scratch that react correctly, especially in the event of errors.
  • … places great emphasis on security
    From the very beginning, we at Appollo attach great importance to your security. For example, the Appollo Low Code Platform is certified to ISO 27001 and ISO 27701. In addition, you can specify exactly who belongs to the authorized users who participate in the deployment. To avoid SQL injection, drag-and-drop instead of SQL script is used for all database accesses. Your access data to external systems is also given special protection: it is not accessible to any developer and cannot be recorded in any log file.

Contact us to learn more about the benefits Appollo offers for Citizen Development and Low-Code!

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