Almost two years ago Tim Railo, CTO of Appzio, wrote a very interesting article called Why most low-code platforms fall short on mobile development. In this article he makes a case against using low- & no-code platforms for mobile app development. In his opinion, most platforms fall short of being able to provide a true native experience, with the best possible user experience and using all mobile features that are available.

Many of the low- & no-code vendors provide “nothing more than a glorified web wrapper, relying on Cordova (PhoneGap), JavaScript or even web views to build a mobile interface“. Which is not enough te create a full-blown excellent native mobile app experience.

If you are planning to build native apps you should really read his article, because many of the things he describes are very valid. And it is certainly true that relatively few customer facing apps are being built using the low- & no-code platforms.

Having said that, a case can also be made that most of the mobile apps that are created don’t have to be as sophisticated as Tim would like. If you’ve just built you custom in-house CRM application, the associated mobile app can be relatively simple, and your low-code platform is perfectly capable of creating that application. Native or as a web app.

Also, we’re almost two years later, and in this year a lot has happened: more vendors have entered the low- & no-code market, and existing vendors are continuously updating and improving their software. But I do believe that Tim’s remarks are still very valid because the way native apps are ‘generated’ hasn’t changed a lot.

My conclusion: for many of the applications you need on your mobile phone low- and no-code platforms are perfectly capable of delivering what is needed. But if you need a mobile-first or mobile-only app, you may want to check out specific vendors that do mobile development, or even stick with hand-coding the app. Because Tim’s right: to get the most out of you mobile device, and to get the best possible user experience, low-code platforms still are not going to deliver the best results.