Due to affordability and lower technical challenges, low-code and no-code tools are becoming increasingly popular among businesses. To shed further light on the topic, TechSparks 2022 saw Vineeth Srinivasan and Samyak Jain, Technical Product Owners at Agora, conduct a masterclass ‘Transform real time experiences using Agora’s low-code/no-code solutions’.
Agora, a real time engagement provider, offers ‘Agora App Builder’. Before deep-diving into Agora App Builder, Vineeth and Samyak explained the key characteristics of no-code and low-code solutions. Here are some of the highlights:
A glimpse at low-code and no-code solutions
Samyak explained, “When you talk about no-code/low-code product stacks, you are talking about optimising time to market using less resources.”
Vineeth explained that a no-code platform lets programmers and non-programmers create software via GUI and configuration instead of coding. We see different kinds of no-code in everyday life like a website builder, project management tools, API platforms, among others. The platform is useful because it reduces time to market, it’s easy to use, low on resources, integrates with existing infrastructure and it is verticalised and use-case driven. “We believe no-code platforms must be mission-driven,” Vineeth added.
Coming to a low-code platform, he explained that they offer abstractions to simplify developer experience that let you focus on things that matter. Their distinctive characteristics are that it comes with smart defaults, extensibility and very low boilerplate. Due to the fact that it ships less code, the dev cycles are faster. There are less bugs, more predictable testing and happier devs.
Another example of these could be the YouTube API. “You can programmatically pause a video, play a video, seek a video. It’s very useful for automation, customisation,” he said.
Agora App Builder explained
While Vineeth and Samyak started out as engineers, they leveraged their pain points to solve a wide variety of problems for developers and non-developers. And a reflection of that is the Agora App Builder, their low-code/no-code solution. With it, customers can personalise the user interface and build custom features to embrace the best fit solution. It helps solve complex software tasks with intuitive and easy-to-use visual drag-and-drop interfaces to build real-time engagement applications in minutes.
Taking viewers through the platform, Vineeth explained that they have a portal at appbuilder at Agora.io, which customers can test out. On the portal, users get the option of ‘new project’. Once you click on it, it gives you pre-built industry template options of video chat, voice chat, live streaming, etc. “Based on specified use cases, we generate an embeddable experience,” he said. The new project can be deployed to a customer’s own website. They can deploy the backend and front end to their own infrastructure. The deployment is really quick, plus there won’t be an Agora watermark. “It’s your platform,” he said.
The platform also offers customisations such as branding, set themes, colour sliders. Users can design it and match it to their own guidelines. “We have features such as chat, recording, video, mute button, etc. You can enable or disable these features based on your need. We ship what you need. If you select five features, you get just that like an a la carte approach,” Vineeth said.
The platform also has a download source code option available, and customers will see some meta data files and code files in it. On typing just one line of command on their terminal, they will get to bootstrap this application on their local system, and a nice interface will pop up on their terminal. “You can essentially build your own customised version of this platform. All you need to write is just one line,” he explained.
Customisation with Agora
Agora has a customisation API which is an API on top of their no-code platform. This can fit tightly into a user’s application. There’s a misconception that users cannot add an extra layer on their no-code platform. But that’s not true. With Agora’s customisation API, users can add new features.
“The market has no-code tools and low-code tools. On the no-code side, you can do pre set customisations. It’s more accessible for non-developers. On the low-code side, you can do customisations that are as wild as building an extra feature. They are both low on resources, offer extensibility and reduce time to market. Agora App Builder intersects both spaces,” said Vineeth, signing off.