Many companies are faced with the urgent need to create functional programs for servicing the internal infrastructure (internal applications) and programs for communication with customers (external applications), however, they may feel either lack of time or qualified specialists to needed applications from scratch.
The solution in this situation:
- Low-code systems (ready-made tools with a graphical interface that allow you to create applications with a minimum amount of programming)
- No-code systems (ready-made tools with a simplified graphical interface that allow you to create applications without programming skills).
Interest in these alternative forms of development is growing rapidly. So let's take a peek at these platforms in detail.
No-code/low-code is a quiet but confident trend.
Low-code / no-code - solutions for software development, that allow to create, modify and adapt a software product with the minimum need for code writing. The low-code concept was formed as an answer to one of the key challenges of digital transformation:
1) high requirements for speed of development;
2) need of reducing the development cost and updating solutions;
To create a new application, writing code is necessary either in a very small volume (low-code) or in some cases, it's not necessary at all (no-code), it is enough to use ready-made elements and build links between them.
In other words, such platforms contain a minimum of code and a maximum of graphic development elements. To make adjustments to the working process, you no longer need to enlist the development department services.
Taking code weight off your chest.
As we already have seen the no-code/low-code platform is a software that allows you to develop digital products using a graphical interface, instead of traditional programming. It's some kind of a LEGO in IT-development. You can upbuild anything you want with the help of ready-made "bricks" without "sacred technical knowledge".
There have always been two approaches to creating a digital product: either develop from scratch or implement a turnkey “boxed” solution.
“Boxes”, as a rule, are delivered with a business process embedded in them, therefore the company needs to adapt to it, or refine the solution (and it can last for years). Developing a product from scratch takes abetter account of business requirements, but it can also take a considerable amount of time and money (plus you need to spend a whole deal of time searching for qualified programmers as well).
And here came the alternative - flexible, as usual development, but fast and simple. Low-code/no-code development made a really perfect alternative to heavy inflexible “boxes” and a very resource-intensive development process from scratch.
According to Gartner agency surveys, by 2023 25% of all new IT solutions, web sites, mobile applications and chatbots will be created on the basis of low-code/no-code platforms. And Forrester predicts that no-code development platform market will grow from $5.3 billion to $21.2 billion in 2022.
Low-code vs no-code. Not siblings but distant cousins.
It’s important to remember that low-code is not the same as no-code. No-code is for businesspeople mostly and is really all about telling the system the functions you want and knowing that the technology can build it for you.
A no-code business productivity platform enables anyone with basic spreadsheet skills to create an app simply by:
- Uploading a spreadsheet;
- Building from scratch without code;
- Use point and click or drag and drop instrumental functionality;
Low-code is still for developers and, but it does offer a means of making things faster for people who have tangible software engineering skills.
Low-code IT productivity platforms tend to lean towards the creation of more enterprise-grade applications. These applications are often meant to work across departments; commonly interface with business critical systems (such as ERP or CRM); and/or involve external engagement with customers across web portals and mobile channels.
No-code theses for dummies (and for everyone else).
Against the background of how the term is gaining popularity, more and more systems are starting to position themselves as low-code/no-code platforms, in fact being BPM, CRM or ERP solutions, or just a tool for drawing flowcharts. Let's try to figure out what, in fact, is a complete no-code solution.
- In traditional software application platforms, code represents instructions telling the platform how to implement the desired functionality. In a no-code platform on the other hand, the app creator defines what the app does… rather than how it does it.
- The first and the gravest misconception about no-code that it is only for simple apps (sites, projects, etc). In fact, no-code platforms have become extremely sophisticated and support rich functionality in apps.
- The end user dictates an app's design through drag and drop manipulation or simple logic.
- No-code platforms are accessible to any end-business user (while low-code platforms require developers and some special knowledge).
- No-code solutions allow platforms to hide what happens behind the scenes from users so that end-users can change or modify a field without manipulating the functionality of the app and compromising security.
No two no-code platforms will be the same. Some are distinguished by a good constructor of forms and tables (like WebX service), some by a powerful set of ready-made integrations or an advanced BI module (AppSheet). There are very good, but niche solutions as well.
No-code platform hallmarks and upsides.
To date, systems of this class are actively developing and the list of pros, as well as the list of areas of application, is constantly growing. Let's consider the most prominent ones:
- Patching the gap in IT skills.
Through a no-code anyone can create and deploy real, working apps.
- Considerable price reducing.
According to some sources, a four-member developer team that works with extraordinary speed might develop two custom apps for a conservative salary of $45,000 a month. A low-code platform can speed things up for the developers–for the same $45,000, you can get four apps made.
However, with a no-code application development system in place, you completely eliminate the need for an expensive IT team to work on apps that don’t require a lot of intricate coding. Your workforce can take care of app development themselves.
- Accelerated time of development
In rapid times of technical innovations you can’t afford to wait for your IT team to develop a fresh app based in six months time. You’ll miss out on the benefits of switching quickly, to say the least.
- The freedom to experiment
No-code platforms allows quick testing of the viability of multiple solutions across processes, data sources, workflows and end-users, and eliciting pre-production feedback on performance, features etc.
- Flexibility for changeable needs
Experience shows that it is impossible to think through all the details of a future project in advance.
Non-traditional developers have the power to quickly architect their own solutions to their exact specifications, and update them on-the-fly, for a more competitive, agile business.
What does the future hold?
Many experts believe that development came to no-code in a natural way, and it took several decades. As a result of evolution, mainframes were transformed into minicomputers, and then into cloud services, which, in turn, “removed the equipment” from the equation. Something similar is happening in software development - the code still matters, but the no-code will relieve engineers of stress, as once the cloud saved IT managers from problems with the deployment of equipment.
In the race for personalization (marketing, user experience, interfaces), everyone strives to offer the user something special, his own, exclusive. The ability to create mono-applications in accordance with the vision of the business model, the style of the company and the business goals set and to do it quickly and cheaply is valued higher than a ready-made, but difficult to change IT solution.
If you want to build applications fast and transform your organization even faster, no-code development is a total no-brainer.