What is open source low-code?
A low-code platform is an easy and fast alternative to more traditional software development approaches. An open-source low code development platform is a platform by where the source code is free and available to download and deploy by the end-user where that user can edit and upgrade the code as they see fit.
Its authors, usually part of a community or group make its source code available to others who would like to view that code, copy it, learn from it, alter it, or share it. It includes a family of tools that will take you from end to end on the development and deployment of applications using a visual interface.
Most of the time, it’s drag-and-drop, and sometimes even node-based, which allows you to program in actions and functions using flow charts and other diagrams.
The top 8 most popular open source low code platform’s:
You may have a specific use case for your low code requirement so we have reviewed a few different platforms that specialize in their respective areas, including application development, automation, enterprise rivals, website, and internet of things:
- Budibase – OS for the best application development
- Joget – Simple and effective open source platforms
- Huginn – Create and manage Zaps, just like Zapier
- StackStorm – Enterprise Platform Without The Costs
- WordPress – Trusted by the Best
- Baserow – Create and manage databases with this app
- Node-Red – IoT OS System
- PyCaret – Machine Learning Platform
Through utilizing a user interface, it appeals and caters to not only developers but also citizen non-developers who are interested in creating either an MVP or a fully developed and deployed application. Low-code does allow for minimal hand-coding if it is desired, though the underlying functionality of the application is dependent upon the infrastructure that is laid down underneath the user interface.
The statistics below provide an overview of the scale of the low code market:
- Accelerated adoption of low-code platforms will change how teams organize and Forrester predicts that in 2021, 75% of application development will use low-code platforms (source).
- Gartner Forecasts Worldwide Low-Code Development Technologies Market will increase in 2020 by 22.6% in 2021 (source).
- According to the market research study published by P&S Intelligence, the global low code market will witness a 31.1% CAGR during 2020–2030 to reach $187.0 billion by 2030 (source).
It is clear that the industry and the ecosystem is growing at an increasing pace and the prevalence of citizen development and the reduced cost of low code platforms to deploy will support this growth right into the late 2020’s.
What is an open source low code development platform?
A typical low-code development environment consists of these characteristics:
- Drag and drop interfaces allow for easy development processes.
- A visual modelling tool that allows you to create the UIs, data models, and functionality with the option to add in hand-written code when needed.
- Connectors that handle the data structures, retrieval, and storage.
- Out of the box functionality allows you to skip having to build your core modules from scratch, and instead focus on building new code.
- Automated application lifecycle manager that allows for building, deploying, debugging, and the staging and production process. Testing is possible here as well.
- While low-code software generally follow these guidelines, no two low-code software are alike, and they are all designed to cater to specific functionality.
Additionally, if you are wondering what is no-code software, then you should know that it is software specifically designed for business owners and citizen developers who do not have a background in coding at all.
Why use open source low code?
An open-source low code development platform is an open-source solution that allows the user to create applications via a drag-and-drop interface, minimizing the amount of code required to write and maintain. Open source low code platforms are usually free. However, some platforms provide enterprise-grade features for a reasonable fee.
What’s the difference between closed and open source software?
Some software has source code that only the person, team, or organization who created it—and maintains exclusive control over it—can modify. People call this kind of software “proprietary” or “closed source” software.
Only the original authors of proprietary software can legally copy, inspect, and alter that software. And in order to use proprietary software, computer users must agree (usually by signing a license displayed the first time they run this software) that they will not do anything with the software that the software’s authors have not expressly permitted. Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop are examples of proprietary software.
Open-source software is different. Its authors make its source code available to others who would like to view that code, copy it, learn from it, alter it, or share it.
The pros and cons of an open source low code platform
|Pros of Low Code||Cons of Low Code|
|Flexibility: For open source software, flexibility is a critical feature that supports this method of software deployment. The end-user depending on the developer resources they have access to have ultimate customization potential without the worry of terms and conditions breach from the company.||Support and Warranty Limitations: As the open-source product is not profit or commercially driven, user support could be managed by the community or by contractors who specialize in the product. This leads to disparate and often incomplete knowledge based on the product.|
|Control: Proprietary software is closed source and typically it is against the terms and conditions to reverse engineer the product. Open source flips this on its head and the end-user can customize and control the basic code behind the product for their own deployment. Companies with the resources can take advantage of this and create a product that is truly fit for purpose.||Sustainability and Orphan software: This potential issue is typical of both a commercial product and an open-source project. Worst case scenario is a hack or the product becomes orphaned due to lack of community or developer interest over time. But again a company that manages its own resources can support these platforms into the future.|
|Reliability: Just like with orphan software, reliability can go either way with both open and proprietary software. The user relies on the company updating, patching, and enhancing the codebase as well as the community for open-source software. Updates and patches can be managed via the community and supported this way.||Changing licensing terms: The terms and conditions for open source software are still community-driven and require an element of consensus but are typically open. This may lead to problems if you provide a service on top of the platform for your end-users (due to lack of control from your side).|
|Transparency: The main use case for low code platforms is the fact they are flexible and can be customized to the users requirements. Open source code is supportive of this where the users can review and customize the code and as the product are usually community-driven, the roadmap and product plans are a lot more transparent.||Enterprise usage fees: A small negative is the cost and resources required to deploy and run your own instance of the open-source product. This is minimal in the long run but can be a hurdle for the unsophisticated consumer looking for a cheap alternative.|
|Peer Review and Community: Open source community with passionate programmers and citizen coders means that the code can be peer-reviewed and supported by well-intentioned members. This is typical of the collective and supportive nature of the development crowd to open source projects (Wikipedia, GitHub, etc).|
|No vendor lock-in and Reduced Costs: Barring the terms and conditions of the open source project, basically “aperta” or open/free to use at your will. No locked in terms and forced upgrades or payments which can render some platforms unsustainable to continue to use due to the high cost of ownership.|
The top 5 open source low-code platforms
1. Budibase – OS for the best application development
Budibase is an open-source low-code platform, and a faster way to build business apps that empower teams and improve productivity. Businesses like IBM, Deloitte, Proctor, and Gamble, Rakuten utilize the platform internally.
It utilizes internal databases but also has integrations into the leading DB’s including ArangoDB, DynamoDB, Mongo DB, MySQL, S3, and more.
Product Features include:
- Build internal tools super fast for all team members.
- Set up and automate forms within your business.
- Create admin panels to manage data and
- Simple portals for teams and customers.
You can find out more about Budibase at https://budibase.com/ and their resources page at https://docs.budibase.com/
2. Joget – Simple and effective open source platforms
Joget DX is considered in the new generation open source low-code platform which is typically built for faster, simpler digital transformation (DX). Joget combines the best of Rapid Application Development, Business Process Automation, and Workflow Management.
Joget empowers business users, non-coders, or coders with a single platform to easily build, deliver, monitor, and maintain enterprise applications. Joget DX combines the best of business process automation, workflow management, and low code application development in a simple, flexible and open platform.
With more than 200,000 open source downloads and more than 12,000 community members since inception, the latest major release Joget DX is the next-generation successor to Joget Workflow. Jogged DX combines the best of process automation, workflow management, and low code application development in a simple, flexible and open platform.
Product Features include:
- Progressive Web Apps (PWA) and User Experience (UX)
- Web Push Notification and Offline Support
- Built-in Application Performance Management
- Web App Log Viewer
- Embedded Git Integration for Collaborative Development and Deployment
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Smart Decisions
- Bundled No Code TensorFlow AI Plugin
- Bundled No Code Rules Engine Plugin
- Extensibility via Add-On Builders, and
- Enhanced Workflow
Check out the product here https://www.joget.org/product/ and for further information, you can check out the community here – https://www.joget.org/community/.
3. Huginn – Create and manage Zaps, just like Zapier
Just like Zapier and Integromat, Huginn is the open-source version that supports users to create low code automation and inter software connections. Huginn has a super active community with over 30k stars on the Github platform and Huginn is an easy choice if you have to go open source solid when choosing a low-code automation platform.
Product Features include:
- Set up and scrape websites for their data and even receive an email when they change.
- Connect to Jabber, JIRA, MQTT, nextbus, Pushbullet, RSS, Slack, StubHub, translation APIs, Twilio, Twitter etc
- Send digest email to your audience at controlled times.
- Track counts of high frequency events and send an SMS within moments when they spike.
- Send and receive WebHooks
- Track a location for equipment or persons over time
4. StackStorm – Enterprise Platform Without The Costs
StackStorm is part of the Linux Foundation as one of their premier projects. It offers robust features including an “If This Then That” platform when users can set up simple or complex automatons. Another brilliant feature of the platform is its powerful events driven automation process, by where complex workflows can be automated using the following steps:
- Sensors – These sensors are python software based sensors that watch out for any event that is required to trigger the StackStorm system into action.
- Triggers – External events that kick off a required thing to happen. There are generic triggers (e.g. timers, webhooks) and integration triggers (e.g. Sensu alert, JIRA issue updated). A new trigger type can be defined by writing a sensor plugin.
- Actions – Generic actions such as ssh, REST call or integrations (OpenStack, Docker, Puppet) occur after the input trigger occurs. These actions can be invoked directly by user via CLI or API, or used and called as part of rules and workflows.
- Rules – Think about his like a map of the flows and how the events can run through the system. You have to match the action with the required output.
- Workflows – Workflows connect actions together into flows, defining the order, transition conditions, and passing the data. Most automations are typically more than one-step and thus need more than one action.
- Packs – User created workflows can be downloaded as “packs” by grouping integrations (triggers and actions) and automations (rules and workflows). These can be downloaded on the StackStorm Exchange.
- Audits – Audit logs are perfect for tracking and managing your development logs for your platform.
5. WordPress – Trusted by the Best
Started in 2003, WordPress was forked from a copy of b2/cafelog by two gentlemen called Mike Little and Matt Mullenweg. This open-source project aimed to close the gap in the market where there was the need for an elegant, well-architected personal publishing system that could be managed by a user in a drag and drop manner.
WordPress is licensed under the General Public License (GPLv2 or later) which provides four core freedoms, purpose, change, copy and redistribute.
Today, forty-three percent of the web uses WordPress, from hobby blogs to the biggest news sites online. Beautiful designs, powerful features, and the freedom to build anything you want. WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time. You can learn more at https://wordpress.org/about/
Product Features include:
- Customizable designs.
- SEO friendly.
- Responsive mobile sites.
- High performance.
- Manage on the go.
- High security.
- Powerful media management.
- Easy and accessible.
We have a few other platforms that you can review and sink your teeth into after reviewing the ones above:
7. Node-Red – Best for IoT apps – Click here
8. PyCaret – Best for machine learning – Click here
But What About the Low Code Process?
The development process in a low-code environment is much more streamlined and easier to maintain than in the traditional environment:
1. Make your determination of requirements.
2. Choose third-party APIs.
3. Use the visual IDE to draw the workflows, data models, and UIs.
4. Use automatic capability discovery to connect APIs.
5. Add any necessary front-end code or customize the SQL queries.
6. User acceptance testing.
7. Deploy the application and push updates easily.
Low-code and no-code design environments really do put technology in the hands of the ambitious, small and agile without such a high barrier to entry that would have normally barred those who do not have a background in development.
However, so many integrations have been made to create an environment that is easy to develop within. Nothing needs to hold you back from creating your MVP and bringing it to market.
Low-code software is specifically designed to make the process easy and secure with all of the security measures that are in place. Don’t allow the idea that developing within this framework will not leave your end users secure.
The only breaches derive from developer errors with custom code, so make sure you always consider that with any additional code you add.
Other than that, your low-code solution will cover all the bases that are needed to satisfy the demands, wants, needs, and hesitations of your customer base, while keeping you agile and ahead of the competition.