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IBM Bluemix Introduces Low-Code App Development Platform

IBM introduces new low-code app development capabilities for Bluemix to speed up the development process.

IBM adds low-code app development to Bluemix

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- IBM announced new capabilities for its Bluemix cloud platform, providing users with new tools to build enterprise mobile apps more quickly. Bluemix Developer Console provides users with a low-code app development platform.

Developers can access new code patterns and building blocks through the Bluemix Developer Console. Developers can also use the tools to create cloud apps across web and backend apps.

The new capabilities are an extension of the Bluemix Mobile Dashboard and expands ready-to-code patterns into web and backend apps to cut down on development time. The tool provides developers with elements to build cognitive apps, including boilerplates and building and configuring code.

Developers can simply select templates that are already integrated with the database and set up with the organization’s standard security protocols. Developers select the type of building block they want to create, followed by which services they want to incorporate into the app such as an API or push notifications. The console will then generate a starter project pattern to download, edit, and deploy locally or to Bluemix.

The Bluemix Developer Console includes patterns such as the Mobile App pattern. This then enables developers to easily integrate with mobile services like Push and Mobile Analytics, data services like IBM Cloud Object Storage and Cloudant, and security capabilities using AppID.

Other available patterns include Web App for building a client-side web app, Backend for Frontend for integrating cognitive intelligence, data, security services and other backend patterns into the app. It also has Microservice to get a starter code for implementing server-side logic.

IBM stated the Bluemix Developer Console is especially critical for time-sensitive industries such as healthcare. Healthcare organizations are currently faced with a lack of skilled developers and an overwhelming demand for mobile apps.

Many healthcare organizations are turning to low-code app development models to speed up the app development process. Low-code tools allow organizations to build the apps they need without having to hire a high number of developers.

Low-code development platforms give non-developers the opportunity to create and develop apps so organizations don’t need to bid against each other for experienced developers. Users can create their own apps with the help of a developer instead of a team of developers.

Low-code development platforms provide a customizable framework for apps to be built, essentially offering the developer a drag-and-drop interface to create apps. Apps are developed at a much faster rate because they don’t need to be built from the ground up. This allows organizations to create more apps and deploy them quicker.

While low-code app development platforms are a convenient way to increase the volume of apps an organization produces, not all tools are a good fit for all organizations. According to IDC research , entities should look for certain features when in the market for a low-code app development platform.

Organizations need to research platforms to see which ones are capable of developing apps of the same caliber they are looking for. Entities also need to consider who will be developing the apps. If users are going to be developing their own apps, a more user-friendly platform needs to be selected.

Applications evolve and the development platform needs to have application life-cycle management to ensure that the app can be constantly updated and redeployed. Life-cycle management relies on app testing, deployment, maintenance, and flexible design.

The IDC report also advised that organizations need to have an advanced understanding of application requirements to successfully deploy a low-code app development platform.

“Enterprises need to have a handle on their custom application development requirements both at present and over a two- to three-year planning horizon, and they must determine that any tools selected pay back in terms of return on investment within this time frame,” the report explained.

While low-code app development platforms are a convenient way to speed up the development process, organizations need to ensure that they select the correct platform for their needs and have the management capabilities for the app’s entire lifecycle.