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Introducing Vaadin’s low-code to pro-code tools for Java: Avoiding lock-in and maintaining flexibility

Kim Weins
Kim Weins
On Jun 29, 2023 11:06:00 AM

In an era where software plays a crucial role in customer interactions, business process automation, and competitive differentiation, the interest in low-code development is increasing. With a shortage of skilled developers worldwide, organizations are looking to empower a new breed of users known as "citizen developers" to create software solutions. Gartner has projected the worldwide market for low-code development technologies to reach $26.9 billion in 2023, an increase of 19.6% from 2022.

The challenge of low-code lock-in

While low-code (or no-code) application platforms can be useful for simple applications, they often present limitations when it comes to building complex, custom Java applications that are critical to your business. 

One significant drawback is the lock-in effect experienced with many low-code platforms. This effect arises due to the closed environment or proprietary languages utilized by many low-code platforms, making it challenging to extract your application and binding you to a single vendor indefinitely. This lock-in restricts your ability to extract the application code for further customization and development.

Moreover, many low-code platforms require you to deploy and run your applications exclusively within their proprietary environments. This can be costly, as it limits your options to choose lower-cost cloud or hosting options. Additionally, your ability to fine-tune the performance of your application may be restricted.

While low-code lock-in may not pose a problem for simple applications, it can become a substantial obstacle for complex applications, potentially hindering your ability to deliver necessary functionality.

The flexibility of a low-code to pro–code approach

For users who require the freedom to access and modify their code, as well as the flexibility to deploy applications where they choose, Vaadin’s two innovative new low-code tools for Java apps, Visual View Builder and Visual Theme Editor, will not only accelerate application development but also empower you to "eject to code" at any time.

These low-code tools generate well-structured, production-grade code (pro code), which can be further refined and deployed to your preferred platforms. They complement your normal development process while empowering both developers and non-developers to collaborate effectively on application development.

Exploring new low-code tools from Vaadin

Let's take a closer look at the two newest low-code tools offered by Vaadin: Visual View Builder and Visual Theme Editor.

Visual View Builder: Prototype to code in minutes

Visual View Builder is a SaaS tool that empowers developers, product owners, or domain experts to quickly iterate and experiment with different layouts, enabling rapid collaboration among team members. Most importantly, the Visual View Builder generates real code, giving you a jump start in building your application.

With an intuitive drag-and-drop interface, you can quickly design and structure the user interface components of your application, gaining a visual representation of its layout. 

You can prototype views in a matter of minutes using Vaadin’s standards-based UI components, share views for feedback, and then generate well-structured code with just the push of a button. 

With Visual View Builder, you can close the gap between design and development, speeding up the delivery of new applications and features

Visual View Builder enables you to create new views with custom layouts and components without touching code.

Try Visual View Builder for free

Go to and select Visual View Builder from the Add View menu. You will need to log in or create an account first.

Read the documentation.

Visual Theme Editor: Easy in-app styling that updates CSS for you

Styling an application is crucial for creating a cohesive and visually appealing user experience. Visual Theme Editor makes it easy for developers to customize the look and feel of an application by adjusting themes, colors, fonts, and other visual elements. 

Simply select a UI element in your Vaadin Flow application while in development mode, and style it with a few clicks. Apply your changes just to one instance of a component or across your application and see the results instantly in a live preview and in the code. 

Change the web component color, font size and more in views without editing code.

Now you can fine-tune the aesthetics of your application without diving into tedious CSS editing, significantly enhancing the efficiency of the design process.

Try Visual Theme Editor for free

Access Development Tools while running your Vaadin application project in Development Mode. Theme Editor is available behind a Feature Flag

Read the documentation

Low-code to pro-code tools for the best of both worlds

Low-code development offers tremendous potential for organizations seeking to bridge the developer shortage and accelerate software delivery. However, avoiding lock-in and preserving the flexibility to customize, extend, and deploy applications as per your unique requirements is paramount.

Vaadin's low-code to pro-code tools provide the best of both worlds, enabling you to leverage the speed and efficiency of low-code development while retaining the freedom to embrace pro-code when necessary. With tools like Visual View Builder and Visual Theme Editor, Vaadin empowers developers and non-developers alike to collaborate seamlessly and create exceptional applications.

Kim Weins
Kim Weins
Kim Weins leads our product and marketing teams at Vaadin. She can’t get enough of startups. Kim has worked across enterprise apps, open source, and development tools starting in the days before the web and cloud. These days she’s pretty excited about low-code tools that generate real pro-code and the potential for AI-enabled UIs in business apps.
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