What is low-code?

Low-code application development platforms offer a visual development approach, with drag-and-drop builders to architect applications using minimal conventional programming. This approach accelerates the entire process of application development, with low-code platforms effecting a 10x faster time to market when compared with traditional application development approaches.

The low-code situation today

Many low-code platforms are available on the market now, and they're a diverse bunch. They range from fully cloud-based platforms to integrated development environment (IDE)-based solutions. Choosing the right low-code application development platform is crucial to succeeding when taking this approach to building apps.

How to choose the right Low-Code platform

There are many low-code platforms out there, and choosing the best low-code platform for your organization is no easy task. But don't worry—you can use the following framework to choose the one that fits your needs:

5-step checklist for selecting the right low-code platform for your business

  • 1 Is it affordable? Does it fall within your organization's low-code budget?

    5-step checklist for selecting the right low-code platform

    Pricing is perhaps the most essential criteria to evaluate when choosing a low-code platform, as most organizations are limited by their budgets— especially when they're just starting out on their low-code journey.

    Taking a look at low-code platform pricing, we can observe some things:

    • Most offer a subscription-based model. You can subscribe on a monthly or a yearly basis, with the latter being more economical.
    • The pricing takes into account several factors, such as the number of applications that can be developed, the number of users who can access the applications, the type of support offered, the number of integrations the apps built can utilize, and what platform-specific features can be used.

    The one observation to be made when it comes to the pricing of low-code platforms is: the more features you want the more you'll have to pay.

    Very few platforms offer a pay-as-you-go option for feature access, so being judicious when it comes to evaluating low-code platform pricing is vital.

  • 2

    How easy is it to get started?

    How easy is it to get started with a low code platform

    The next step in evaluating a low-code platform is gauging its ease of adoption:

    • Some platforms require the installation of software on your machines to begin building applications. While this benefits organizations by giving them better control over their installation, this complicates the process of getting started, as sometimes your machine may not support the low-code platform's software.
    • Some platforms require just a browser and an internet connection. This is generally the most user-friendly approach.
    • Some platforms are hybrid, so they need both software installed on your machine and a browser to access their web-based platform to supplement development. This option is a trade-off with the other two options discussed above.
  • 3

    Does it cover the features required by your organization?

    Low code features required by your organisation

    Organizations will require certain features to get the most out of a low- code platform. These generally include:

    • Auto-scalability: The apps built should automatically scale with the increasing number of users and growth of the organization. In conventional software development, scalability is a separate endeavour in itself. With most low-code platforms, this is a default feature.
    • Built-in security: The apps built on low-code platforms are inherently secure, compared to coding separately for security in conventional development.
    • Stability: Low-code platforms offer freedom from frequent software crashes due to technical snags.
    • Continuous availability: This is a major reason organizations opt for low-code platforms. Many low-code platforms offer over 99% uptime and availability, which is difficult to achieve without tremendous effort in conventional development.
  • 4

    To whom is this platform more friendly? Line of business users or developers?

    Low code platform's target audience

    There are two kinds of people who develop apps: developers and business users. While developers generally have their pick of platforms, business users are the ones who are most empowered by low-code platforms. Consequently, low-code platforms can be:

    • Developer friendly: These platforms arm developers with rapid prototyping powers, enabling them to churn out highly capable, functional software with minimal coding in a short span of time, with a few trade-offs, such as the higher cost of utilizing a developer-friendly low-code platform.
    • Line of business user-friendly: These platforms empower line of business users—people with little or no technical knowledge—to develop applications. These type of platforms are the most sought after, as anyone with any level of technical expertise can build and deploy fully functional apps on these platforms. The trade-off? To implement complicated custom logic, a little bit of scripting is required.
  • 5

    What deployment platforms are supported by the platform?

    Deployment platforms supported by the low code platform

    This evaluation criteria matters a lot, because:

    • Some low-code platforms deploy to all major platforms: the web, Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.
    • Some low-code platforms deploy only to specific platforms.

    So if you need your apps to be universally accessible, you should ensure that the low-code platform you choose deploys to all platforms.

    Now that we've gone over how to narrow down the search for a low-code platform to digitize your organization's processes and empower your line of business users, let's take a look at some of the best players in the game right now:

  • 6

    4 low-code platforms to help you automate your business processes

    The information in this page was updated on 21.07.2022

Zoho Creator

The low-code platform offered by Zoho Corporation, Zoho Creator, has been in the industry for 15+ years now. It features intuitive visual builders, like:

  • A drag-and-drop form builder - Creator's form builder has 30+ fields, including AI fields to build forms which can collect data.
  • A drag-and-drop page builder - This page builder allows you to build visually appealing dashboards just by dragging and dropping page elements. This makes crunching data and visually presenting it a walk in the park, as it is done without coding.
  • A drag-and-drop code snippet IDE - These drag-and-drop builders enable users with minimal coding experience to develop and deploy enterprise-grade applications on the platform.

Strengths of Zoho Creator

Creator offers a host of features for rapid application prototyping and development. Notable among them are:

  • A unique one-of-a-kind IDE which allows you to drag and drop code blocks to create scripts with ease. You just have to input your variables in the scripts after dragging-and-dropping the code blocks.
  • One-click deployment to the web and mobile. The platform allows you to deploy your apps hassle-free to the web, iOS, and Android with one click.
  • Holistic application lifecycle management. This feature allows you to seamlessly manage your applications' lifecycle, from ideation to deployment.
  • Integration with 600+ other applications, including Zoho's own suite of 50+ applications.

Weaknesses of Zoho Creator

  • Familiarity with Zoho's scripting language Deluge is required if complex custom logic needs to be implemented.
  • Zoho is known predominantly as an SMB/SME player and only in the last 5+ years is Zoho seeing consistent success in the enterprise space.

Zoho Creator pricing

Zoho Creator has a flexible per-user pricing model. This makes the platform affordable for organizations of any size.

When it comes to pricing, Zoho Creator's model is focused on affordability. There are four plans: Standard, Professional, Enterprise, and Flex.

  • The Standard plan starts at $8/user/month billed annually, or $12/user/month billed monthly. You can build a single app on this plan.
  • The Professional plan starts at $20/user/month billed annually, or $30/user/month billed monthly. It includes unlimited apps, 300 custom schedules per user, 15 data sources, and 10 custom connectors.
  • The Enterprise plan is $25/user/month billed annually, or $37/user/month billed monthly. Aside from providing all the features in the Professional plan, it offers integration with 650+ business apps.
  • The Flex plan is for enterprises who seek a tailored plan for their custom requirements.

For detailed information on Zoho Creator's pricing plan refer to this page.


Founded in 2005, Mendix has been at the forefront of the low-code ecosystem for quite some time now. With their focus on empowering the coding capabilities of application developers with low-code, Mendix, alongside Zoho Creator, is one of the pioneers of the low-code revolution.

Strengths of Mendix

  • Mendix empowers developers to deploy applications rapidly. This is a core tenet of its Integrated Development Environment (IDE), geared towards the seasoned application developer. Developers can harness Java and Javascript on the IDE to deeply customize the applications they've built on the platform. The platform also offers plenty of developer-friendly features such as a command line interface, collaborative development, and the like.
  • To integrate with external systems, Mendix offers a unified data hub.
  • Microflows, which allow adding complex logic without coding.

Weaknesses of Mendix

  • Application development requires the understanding of the Mendix way—the need to create data models and becoming familiar with the IDE.
  • Application developers need to adhere to best practices to ensure security and high availability.
  • As the platform is built on Java, runtime errors can sometimes creep into applications.
  • Mendix requires the installation of its proprietary Mendix Studio Pro Integrated Development Environment (IDE) to begin developing applications. This IDE supports only the Windows operating system. To use it on a Mac system, you need a virtual machine running Windows.

Mendix pricing

Mendix has structured its pricing into two categories, "One App," and "Unlimited Apps."

Note, Mendix offers forever-free plans, with a caveat: The applications built in the free plan will run only for a couple of hours before shutting down, and can't be scaled.

Pricing under the One App plans:

  • There is a free plan, as mentioned above.
  • The basic plan for creating simple applications starts at €50/month.
  • The standard plan for building more comprehensive applications starts at €800/month.
  • Finally, there is a quote-only Premium plan.

Pricing under the Unlimited Apps plans:

  • Like the One App plan, Mendix offers a forever-free plan for building unlimited apps, with multiple restrictions and constraints. Apps built in this plan won't last over two hours and won't scale.
  • The other plans in this category are the standard plan starting at €2,000/month and a quote-only Premium plan.

You should choose Mendix if...

  • You already have proficient IT teams willing to code a bit to complement Mendix's application building capabilities, and become familiar with Mendix's IDE, and data modelling concepts.
  • You are okay with running Mendix's IDE on Windows, and using virtual machine (VM) software to run it on your Mac systems.

Betty Blocks

Betty Blocks is a Dutch no-code platform founded in 2010 that advertises itself as a citizen application development platform. It states that its primary goal is to empower citizen developers to build apps all by themselves on its user-friendly platform.

Strengths of Betty Blocks

  • Easy setup and a short learning curve.
  • No-code platform abstracts away typical complexities that abound in app development.
  • Enhanced administrative control through features such as audit logs, user roles, and privilege management, as well as version control.
  • Ability to build web-based, mobile, and database apps.

Weaknesses of Betty Blocks

  • To implement advanced automations, professional developers are required to useJavaScript or Java code.
  • The platform offers limited extensibility to apps built on it.
  • No built-in payment gateway integrations.
  • No Android or iOS SDKs.

Betty Blocks pricing

Betty Blocks offers a free trial. It also offers a standard plan with unlimited applications, Betty Blocks-hosted cloud deployment, and 10 GB storage.

The enterprise plan offered by Betty Blocks offers 100 GB storage, on- premise and private cloud, unlimited environments, and a dedicated CSM.

The standard and enterprise plans are by quote only.

You should choose Betty Blocks if...

  • You want to equip your line-of-business users with the tools to develop applications on their own, without having to rely on the already overworked IT teams at your organization.
  • You're willing to spend an unspecified amount of money, as Betty Blocks' pricing plans are quote only.
  • You don't mind not being able to deeply customize the apps you build on the platform.

Microsoft Power Apps

Power Apps is Microsoft's low-code platform, seamlessly integrating with Microsoft Power Platform offerings such as Power BI, Power Automate, Power Virtual Agents, and Power Pages. The platform says it supports several types of developers, such as novice line-of-business application developers, and professional developers. It can create two types of applications: Canvas apps and model-driven apps.

Strengths of Microsoft Power Apps

  • Easy-to-access, drag-and-drop UI.
  • Ability to customize app themes, layouts, icons, and more without coding.
  • Automatic scaling and application versioning.
  • User activity logs, audit trails, user roles, and control management.
  • Tight integration with Power Platform.

Weaknesses of Power Apps

  • Power Apps lacks built-in chart, page, and report building capabilities. It, instead, relies on Power BI to accomplish this.
  • When you import data into Power Apps, you have to cleanse it manually.
  • Only basic form building capabilities are available for online data collection.

Power Apps pricing

The premium Power Apps plan is $20/user/month. It enables you to build unlimited applications. However, it offers only 250 MB database capacity, and 2GB Microsoft Dataverse file capacity.

If you want to use Power Pages for providing portal access to your users, you will have to shell out $200 per 100 users/site/month. There's another option for $75 per 500 users/site/month.

If you want to use AI within your Power Apps applications, you will have to buy the AI Builder for $500/per unit/month. This also requires access to the Microsoft 365 admin center with global administrator or billing administrator roles.

You should choose Power Apps if:

  • Your enterprise already relies on the Microsoft ecosystem.
  • You seek an affordable way to develop and deploy apps for your organization.
  • You want pay-as-you-go plans.

Zoho Creator vs the competition

If you want a more in-depth look, here's a page that compares Zoho Creator with other platforms: Zoho Creator vs the competition.

Comparison information as of 21.07. 2022

Do you want to discuss developing applications for your organization on Zoho Creator?

Click the link below to request a free proof of concept Zoho Creator application for your organization.

Request a PoC

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All names and marks mentioned here remain the property of their original owners. Prices are as published by the named competitors on their website(s) as on Sep 2023 (without taking into account the taxes or discounts), and are subject to change based on the pricing policies of the competitors. The details provided on this page are for general purposes only and cannot be considered as authorized information from the respective competitors. Zoho disclaims any liability for possible errors, omissions, or consequential losses based on the details here.