SAP’s low-code/no-code technologies: how to make the right decision?

    Paul Smitherman |

    Low-code/no-code development technologies are growing rapidly, boosted by immediate needs for apps and tools throughout the pandemic by remote workers. In line with this trend, Gartner recently predicted an increase of 23% in revenue of low-code technologies in 2021.

    No code means you can develop apps without writing lines of code, using drag and drop, and low code just means with much less need for programming or writing code. This has given rise to the idea of a citizen developer, someone who is not a trained software developer but has an affinity with technology and can build apps for themselves and others for business processes.

    SAP has been working in this space for many years, creating a vision to enable users to create apps for their SAP technology solutions with less technical skills and effort. More recently SAP’s drive is to help customers create extensions for SAP technology solutions via the SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP).

    AppGyver becomes part of SAP Business Technology Platform

    To strengthen its no code/low code capability for BTP, SAP recently acquired AppGyver, who have created a leading professional grade no code development platform. The drag-and-drop interface lets users with no coding skills build web and mobile apps easily and there’s some free options too. As part of SAP’s BTP, the platform will complement other SAP low code/no code offerings including the partner solution, Mendix.

    One size does not currently fit all

    If you’re interested in low code/no code application development, you may be confused about SAP’s range of offerings in this space. At present there is no single solution that will do everything you need, but let’s take a look at the options past, present and future:

    Visual Composer: A popular tool that SAP created many years ago. It was discontinued having technical limitations and not really achieving the vision of enabling non-developers to use it.

    Build.me: Again this was and still is a popular tool from SAP for prototyping Fiori apps. It’s drag-and-drop configuration lets you design and prototype apps for Fiori without lots of code writing. However, in terms of creating an ‘end-result’ you still require the skills of a software developer. Although still available, Build.me is moving into the maintenance phrase and will be discontinued before too long.

    Fiori Elements: Unlike Build.me this one lets you create real applications from start to finish with much less configuration. It’s based on UI5 and provides SAP Fiori app templates for more common use cases of SAP Fiori apps. It continues to get enhancements in performance, ease of use, and functionality.

    Know more about SAP Fiori Elements

    SAP’s current low code solutions

    Mobile Development Kit (MDK): This low code technology is being constantly developed and evolved by SAP. Designed for both business process experts and developers, you can customise, deploy and manage customised iOS and Android mobile apps without writing much code. Recently it has even been extended to run in browsers (so not only as native apps on iOS and Android).

    Mendix (SAP Solution Extension Partner): SAP’s partnership with Mendix leverages the low code development platform to extend SAP solutions by delivering web and mobile apps across a range of use cases. Business users can build apps quickly and easily without coding for SAP solutions on BTP. Although recently acquired by Siemens, Mendix is set to continue the SAP partnership.

    Know more about SAP Rapid Application Development

    SAPs current no-code solution

    SAP Ruum: SAP’s no code solution lets non-technical business users build and integrate workflow applications for business processes. It is positioned as SaaS and is part of the no-code approach to SAP’s BTP solution.

    Know more about SAP Ruum

    Betty Blocks: Now part of the SAP store, Betty Blocks gives your non-technical workforce a no code development platform to build apps.

    Know more about Betty Blocks

    And of course there’s now Appgyver in the portfolio. Read SAP’s announcement on this acquisition

    Making the right investment decisions

    Low code/no code technology is set to grow significantly and will increase the speed and ease of app development to support your digital transformation. Remote working and the rise of the citizen developer is fuelling this growth as non-technical people drive to create solutions to support workflow automation.

    Making the right investment and technology for your SAP solutions and apps isn’t easy. We know the pitfalls and have used and evaluated each of these technologies over the years. Don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss your app development plans.

    Contact us