As I stated in my opening post (Ready? Launch!) one part of this blog is testing Low-Code and No-Code products. Although I’m more of a techie, which means for me it’s a lot of fun trying different products, I also want to share my experiences with you. Now I’m already very familiar with Intrexx from my daily work at United Planet, but I still want to give a fair review to all products. That’s why I try to standardize my reviews, so they hopefully turn out objective.
The goal is to have a (Ninja^^)-Star-Rating like this:
Just pulling up a random number of stars however, doesn’t do the trick. So I’m looking for categories that I stumble upon, when using a Low-Code platform. There are, of course, categories that are not available for No-Code platforms. Basically anything to do with coding ^^. First, every category receives theirown rating. After that I’ll build the average to get the overall rating.
Also only want to rate the product. Not the company behind. That would be too political for a Ninja..
The categories I came up with so far are these:
- Trial: Most products have a trial-period. People usually use these to evaluate, if a product is worth trying for a proof-of-concept. Not only is it important for me if there is a trial-period, I also want to know how good I get supported when I start the trial. Download, installation, first steps,…
- Orientation/Usability: How easy is it for me to find what I’m looking for? After installing one of these products, I want to know how to build pages, data-structure, workflows, user-management, configuration, administration and of course on a Low-code platform: Which ways are there to add functionality using actual code.
- Environment: How is the product structured? Where do I develop and where do my apps run?
- Page Building: How does building a page work and how easy is it to keep track of the big picture? I already encountered systems containing over 200 apps and it can be very challenging finding the one to change.
- Data-Structure: How can I build the data-structure and connect entities with each other?
- Workflows: When there are a lot applications, there are a lot of workflows. That’s what I experienced in the last 6 years. How do these work and how easy is it to read and build them?
- Coding/Scripting/Programming: How many ways of adding Code are there? How hard is it and do you need additional Tools? (This category is Low-Code only and minus 1 for No-Code if they allow coding, because then it would be Low-Code and they don’t understand their own product)
- Design/Theme/Layout: So many names for something so important. How can you change the design of a portal? How many options do you have? And how talented with CSS and graphics do you need to be? (I’m not, so you can make a lot of points here!)
- User-Management: Without users and groups there is only an empty shell. How do users get access and how hard is it to manage users, groups and permissions?
- Configuration: There are a lot of configurations inside a portal. Mail, Search, Connectors, Integration,… What do you offer?
- Administration: A running portal needs administration. How many possibilities do administrators have in the backend and front-end? (And why do you write front-end with a dash, but backend without?)
- Planning/Teamwork: How does the tool support planning the development of applications and workflows? How easy is developing as a team?
- Help/Documentation: How good is the information on topics I search for? How well documented are the parts where you develop apps and workflows? Are there examples?
In the end the total rating will be the average of the main categories before. If I we’re to rate the company behind the products, there would bei additional categories like Seminars/Education, Support, AppStore/Templates, Partner-Network and maybe even more. But these are hard to measure, because it would mean to measure the quality of people and apps/templates. For that it’s necessary to dive a lot deeper into these kinds of stuff. And since I’m more of a techie, I prefer to concentrate on the things I know best.
Update from May 17th 2020: The main-categories from above are the one that receive a star-rating with green stars. Each star will be something that stands out. There will be half-stars as well, if something is not particular good nor bad, but great that it’s there. So the subcategories are the ones that earn the stars, but there might be additional categories that I just didn’t think of right now. For this I add a Bonus at the end. All stars will be summed up and divided by three (for the main-categories) and will then result in a total rating.
Update from June 7th 2020: There are so many features in each product that deserve to be mentioned. It is a challenge to point out these features. However not every feature justify giving a star or half a star. Others however are so bad, that they deserve a reduction. That’s why I added red stars and red half-stars. This way I can use the empty-stars to mention features. The final rating however will only contain empty and green stars.
As I said before, I really try to do an objective rating, but since I’m new to all these platforms (except for Intrexx) I might not find all the functionality I’m looking for. But I’ll write that down with the rating and if I really miss something, I would really appreciate it if you correct me, so that I can correct the rating as well.
So? What do you think of these criteria? Do you think this is good rating-mechanism?