Is Low-Code Application Platform as a Service? It’s Complicated
Low-code application development is more a method than a service, characterized by a visual IDE, one-click deployment, code generation, and more. In fact, there are on-premises installations of low-code platforms. However, it’s no accident that Salesforce, Appian, Mendix, and OutSystems appear in lists of aPaaS examples. These platforms are all available from the cloud, so that makes them aPaaS, right? The answer is complicated, so we look, once again, to industry analysts for our answers.
In 2014, Forrester created the term “low-code” but did not mention cloud or service as a requisite, and in 2015, it delivered its first Forrester Wave for Low-Code, which did not factor cloud in, either. Two years later, Gartner segmented its aPaaS category into one called high-productivity application platform as a service. In that category, it put many of the platforms that Forrester identified as low-code, including OutSystems, along with others who it had originally identified as aPaaS.
Gartner’s opinion was that this segment of aPaaS offered true rapid application development and high productivity. For that, it warranted a split from aPaaS and even enterprise aPaaS, which it described as designed to support the enterprise requirements for business applications and application projects.
In summary, for about two years, Gartner’s answer to the question was that low-code platforms offered as services were indeed aPaaS, just a very special kind. But, since their last hpaPaaS Magic Quadrant, things have gotten really interesting.
From Enterprise Application Platform as a Service to hpaPaaS to LCAP
In 2019, Gartner created another new category, low-code application platform (LCAP). Gartner defines it as supporting “rapid application development, one-step deployment, execution and management using declarative, high-level programming abstractions, such as model-driven and metadata-based programming languages” and “the development of user interfaces, business logic, and data services, and improve productivity.”
Some of the vendors in the Gartner aPaaS Magic Quadrants, and most of the vendors in their enterprise hpaPaaS Magic Quadrants moved over to the new Enterprise LCAP Magic Quadrant, including OutSystems.
So, is LCAP another type of aPaaS? Read the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Low-Code Application Platforms, 2021 and see what you think.