The development of data streaming technology is transforming the application development industry. Earlier, to create an application, it was necessary to connect a designer and front and back-end developers who spent months of work. Now, non-specialists can do this in a maximum of 7 days. In five years, children will be able to build applications, for example, so that their toys will move to the shelves, where they will wait for the next game session.
At the beginning of their journey, developers of SaaS applications face the choice of a platform for development. Our partner Dworkz, a UI design firm in San Francisco, based on its experience in developing an application for a car service – this is about observations, systematic analysis, and unexpected conclusions – shares the requirements and disadvantages of low code platforms.
A SaaS product is cloud-based software not installed on the user’s device hard drive. It works the same way as portable applications installed on removable media; only cloud storage is used instead of the latter. Examples of such a SaaS solution are Microsoft, Google, and VPN plugins. The first two giants’ SaaS products are available through the cloud and installing applications into hardcore mobile and stationary smart devices. The software as a service application development environment is a low-code platform.
The advantage of SaaS applications is that the supplier handles all installation, configuration, integration, updating, and technical support. The user pays only for the services provided by SaaS applications. There are advantages to SaaS solutions, including using the software during the trial period, and you can buy not all functions but only selected software blocks. Access to SaaS products is provided on a subscription basis. A SaaS application’s scope includes project management, document exchange, communications, and the Internet of Things.
The requirements and disadvantages of low-code platforms and a SaaS idea
Successful SaaS success stories repeat the same scenarios: they faced a problem they solved and shared the solution with the world. Another common point among all SaaS success stories is the simplicity and wow effect these have on the user. Morality follows these circumstances: only by finding a successful solution to one of your issues can you offer it to friends and colleagues, counting on success. This is a feature of SaaS startups – they allow you to develop a prototype for free to test a hypothesis and then create an MVP for a full-fledged application. The platform’s low-code tools allow a small team to implement this relatively quickly.
The history of car services has evolved according to this scenario. The concern is that they are all the same type and offer many functions that large companies do not use. They also do not offer solutions for optimizing business processes, provided the specifics of small companies, for example, service-oriented electric vehicles. Both the former and the latter use Microsoft Access to compensate for the missing. Against the backdrop of such problems, car services turn to developers of low-code programs with the task of developing a SaaS solution for them that can be shared throughout the infrastructure of their car services.
Start of the journey – platform selection
SaaS solutions can be developed by people who have not written a single line of code. In addition to design solutions, it is for non-specialists that there is a no or low code method. There are many such platforms, and they all differ in terms of tools, tariffs, and approaches. By the way, no or low code platforms are also SaaS products. The requirements for a low-code platform should be as follows:
- Minimal entry price and maximal access to SaaS tools.
- Informative onboarding for independent development.
- The abundant version is ideally the use of native solutions.
- Ability to develop an MVP with one or two people.
- The ability to flexibly change the business logic of a SaaS project.
- The presence of a visual designer by the “drag-and-drop” method.
- Availability of PWA technology (this allows to visually and functionally convert the site into a web application).
- The ability to publish the application directly from the platform to App Store и Google Play.
- Having a community to turn to for help.
This is not a complete list of requirements, but it gives you an idea of the minimum required to develop a SaaS application. In addition to the available tools, you should pay attention to the possibility of checking the work elements and business processes in real-time. Another important selection criterion is the ability to quickly build an MVP to test the SaaS hypothesis in practice and coordinate with the customer about UX/UI applications.
Low-code platforms have disadvantages. Among these:
- Registration – the client must be a resident of the provider’s country.
- If the client does not have the minimum knowledge of JS, SQL, and React, he will not be able to build a workable server application. The alternative is no-code on the platform, for example, AppMaster or Dworkz.
- Access to some platform functions binds the client’s project to itself for life.
- Limits customization of the user interface without the use of third-party tools.
- Publishing a SaaS product only on the developer’s platform.
It is impossible to make an informed choice in favor of one low-code platform among many based on their descriptions alone. Since a client’s option may depend on the financial threshold for entering the project, as well as on the means of implementing this and the tasks that the SaaS product must perform, experience is needed to select the appropriate web application development platform. Knowledge can only be obtained by actually testing at least five of these. A list of minimum requirements and possible drawbacks will help you understand what to expect from the chosen platform for developing server applications.
Whichever platform you choose, remember that no or low-code platforms are designed to speed up and facilitate the development of tools for promoting digital business. Once having solved a business task for yourself thanks to a service application, other companies are guaranteed to face the same problem to which you can sell your SaaS solution. Another reminder – there are no ideal platforms for building SaaS applications. Depending on your priorities, you as a developer must sacrifice one of the secondary factors – time, design, finance, or functionality.