Maximizing the Power of Citizen Development Part Four: Reusable Components

By Amber Wise, Low-Code/No-Code Business Analyst

As we said back in Part One of this series, citizen development using low-code/no-code tools holds immense potential. One factor that makes low-code/no-code platforms good candidates for citizen development is the reusable components they offer. These components in low-code or no-code development are like building blocks that we can use repeatedly to create automations, gateways, applications, and more, all with myriad benefits.

Features of Reusable Components 

Citizen developers have many tools to choose from, all of which have beneficial reusable components. Let’s look at some of the components and explore what they can help citizen developers achieve.

“Reusable components are pivotal in accelerating development, promoting consistency, and enhancing productivity.”

Appian’s Business Process Automation Components

Appian is an intuitive software development platform that combines full-stack automation and enterprise low-code to rapidly deliver business applications.

  •  Process Modeler: Process models in Appian define applications’ workflow and business logic. These models consist of reusable process nodes, such as activities, gateways, and events, which can be configured and reused in different processes to achieve consistency and efficiency.
  •  SAIL Components: SAIL (Self-Assembling Interface Layer) is Appian’s front-end language. It offers a library of reusable components that can be used to build custom user interfaces. These components include buttons, input fields, tables, charts, and more, allowing developers to create interactive and visually appealing interfaces.
  • Reusable Business Rules: Appian makes reusable decision rules accessible across the applications to drive actions, dynamic interfaces, task assignments, or process execution.

Salesforce’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Components 

Salesforce is a popular CRM tool for support, sales, and marketing teams worldwide.

  • Lightning App Builder: This drag-and-drop tool allows users to create custom applications using pre-built components. It offers a library of reusable components that can be assembled to build intuitive and visually appealing user interfaces.
  • Salesforce AppExchange: A vast marketplace offering a wide range of pre-built applications, components, and integrations developed by Salesforce and third-party vendors.
  • Flow Builder: A powerful visual development tool that allows users to create and automate business processes by defining workflows, collecting data, and executing logic. It offers a range of pre-built flow elements, such as screens, decisions, loops, and actions that can be assembled and reused across multiple flows.

Microsoft Power Platform’s Business Intelligence Components 

The Microsoft Power Platform is a dynamic set of applications that allows you to automate processes, build solutions, analyze data, and create virtual agents.

  • Power Apps: Reusable components in Power Apps can include custom forms, navigation menus, and data connectors. For instance, a custom form component can be created with standardized fields, validation rules, and behaviors, allowing it to be reused across multiple apps for consistent data entry.
  • Power Automate: In Power Automate, reusable components can be workflows, templates, or custom connectors. For instance, workflows can be created as reusable templates for automating everyday tasks or processes across multiple applications. These workflows can include sending emails, updating records, or triggering notifications.
  • Power BI: Reusable components in Power BI often revolve around report templates, data models, and custom visuals. Report templates, as an example, can be created with predefined layouts, formatting, and visuals, enabling users to reuse the template structure for consistent reporting. Data models, including relationships and calculations, can be built and reused across multiple reports, ensuring consistent data analysis.

OutSystems’ Web and App Development Components  

OutSystems is a low-code development platform that provides tools for companies to develop, deploy, and manage enterprise applications seamlessly across all channels.

  • Reactive Web Development: Reactive Web development is a core component in OutSystems that allows citizen developers to build interactive and responsive web applications. It provides robust, reusable user interface patterns and elements for creating dynamic and modern web interfaces.
  • Forge: Forge is a centralized repository within the OutSystems ecosystem that hosts a vast collection of reusable components, extensions, and integrations contributed by the OutSystems community. Citizen developers can browse, download, and contribute to a wide range of ready-to-use components available on Forge, enhancing code reuse and accelerating development.
  • Data Model Automation: OutSystems predicts data types and has premade standard and record detail pages for data detail. For example, if you type the word “Name,” it will automatically make it a text data type, or if you type “phone number,” it will format it automatically as a phone number. Additionally, OutSystems provides pre-built standard and record detail pages that can be readily utilized for displaying and managing data consistently and efficiently. This automation in the data model creation process helps to streamline development efforts and ensures accurate data representation.

Benefits of Reusable Components  

 Moving beyond the technical functions of reusable components, let’s turn to their significant benefits.

Fast-track development with greater efficiency: Reusable components allow citizen developers to leverage existing code and functionality, eliminating the need to start from scratch for every new project. Development time and effort are reduced, leading to greater overall efficiency.

Reliability and security: Reusable components offer the advantage of relying on pre-tested elements for performance, reliability, and security, ensuring confidence in their functionality and stability. By eliminating the need for extensive testing, citizen developers can build more reliable applications while reducing the risk of issues or vulnerabilities.

Building apps with enhanced consistency and scalability: Reusable components ensure consistency in design, functionality, and user experience across various parts of an application or organization, resulting in a unified and satisfying user experience. Moreover, these components enable seamless integration of new features and functionalities, allowing the application to scale and adapt to changing business requirements without disrupting existing components.

Data-driven decision making: By utilizing reusable components for visual and data analytics, organizations can enable data-driven decision making at various levels. These components’ intuitive and insightful visualizations allow users to understand complex data patterns, detect trends, and make informed decisions. This can drive business growth, improve operational efficiency, and uncover opportunities for innovation.

 Consistent visualization: Reusable components provide a consistent and unified visual language for data analytics applications. Using pre-built visual components like charts, graphs, and dashboards, developers can ensure that the data visualization across different parts of an application remains uniform and coherent. This consistency enhances the user experience and makes it easier for users to understand and interpret the presented data.

The power of reusable components cannot be overstated. Reusable components are the secret sauce of efficient and effective application development. Whether you use Salesforce, Appian, Microsoft Power Platform, OutSystems, or any other low-code platform, reusable components are pivotal in accelerating development, promoting consistency, and enhancing productivity. By harnessing reusable components, citizen developers can streamline development efforts, reduce time-to-market, and maintain application consistency.

For more information, reach out to the low-code/no-code team.