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The Truth About Low Code and No Code Development

The last few years have been spent with our heads spinning in the cloud from uncertainty, fear, and unreliable circumstances. Along with our ever-growing data and apps in the cloud as we have started to become accustomed to remote and hybrid work. Not only has there been a divergence in the working environment but also how data is gathered, consumed, and stored and thus how software and apps needed to adapt to the massive surge in demand for speed and accessibility. At-home or cloud-based businesses are now more common place and this has coincided with the digital landscape and how to reach it.

The world of web and mobile apps will always be in a race for the next big thing but during the pandemic, this race became personal and necessary on a global scale. For the modern business, there were always the learning curves associated with building a mobile or web application with scalability at a reasonable cost within a given timeline. No-code and low-code development was the answer to all these concerns and it has taken the industry by storm. We sat down to give you a helpful overview of low-code and no-code to set the record straight and tell you the truth about these platforms.

What exactly are low-code and no-code?

The traditional form of software development requires a software engineer to write and/or work with lines and lines of code that create a variety of functions and features by telling a computer program or application what to do, how, and when. This requires in-depth knowledge of computer languages, development environments, deployment processes, and testing protocols.

Low-code and no-code platforms are the shortcuts. The low-code and no-code platforms have continued to build on the notion that all of these factors can be in your control. It gives a business the ability to build apps based on what they need right away without any background or knowledge in software development and coding. A regular user can visually select and connect reusable components that represent steps or capabilities (containing the actual pre-loaded code) and link them together to create desired workflows.

Low-code and no-code development have become a popular approach for businesses to pivot or shift rapidly to adapt in a constantly changing world. The way things have become in the digital space, it is necessary to be able to implement change in multiple ways and stay ahead of or keep up with the ever-growing competition.

What's the difference between low-code VS no-code platforms?

Low-code application technologies give you an application with rapid application development. It is essentially one-step development with a fast setup and deployment that uses high-level programming abstractions. They often include metadata-based programming and model-driven programming. Low-code development platforms are mostly used to develop user interfaces (UI), data services, and business logic. Along with the cloud boom of 2020, low-code platforms have also been harnessed with improved performance as a cloud-based offering.

Low-code tools can minimize the requirement for expertise in development of both web and mobile applications by offering a fast-pass to processing automation features and rapidly orchestrate tasks for simple processes. Low-code tools do support scripting for capabilities beyond what a no-code approach can achieve and are thus somewhat more customizable.

scrabble letters with the words no code symbolising low code no code platforms

is basically a marketing term for platforms that offer drag-and-drop elements to assemble and application. It is exactly no code and lets any non-developers practice rapid application development with tailored workflows. They can utilize built-in capabilities that are geared towards businesses in need of accelerated outcomes at scale. No-code platforms are loaded with user-friendly customization tools, workflow templates, and element libraries to help you create a fully functioning interface with no code.

No-code tools offer less functionality and customization options since their mainly designed for expediency and ease of use, they therefore offer no source code access or code modification capabilities.

Advantages of a no-code or low-code platform

Speed: The biggest selling point is the speed of development and delivery of applications. This is a golden ticket for any small business looking to keep up with changes in the market while meeting demands without disruption. The lucrative speeds of the platforms can mean accessibility and more problem-solving capabilities for non-IT professionals. Anyone can easily create an app that will help them do a job or provide a service for others and hit the ground running.

Prototyping: The platforms have features that let you to experiment, prototype, test and deploy all the things! Before going live with a new product, you can use the platform to create a prototype and present a model for how your business or idea will work to any potential investors! Then, you can watch the funding roll in for you to build a real software development team to build your application.

Efficiency: Low-code and no-code development platforms use templates, pre-built forms, and other elements but development teams can also use these platforms to create apps faster and accommodate any unique functions by tweaking them to deliver more value. This cuts down time spent on simpler tasks and allows prioritization of more critical projects. Furthermore, your designers, content creators, and project managers can actively participate in app development directly. Teams can work together to independently create site elements and implement page changes without pulling a developer from important product work.

people pining notes on a whiteboard about the advantages of low code platforms

The Little Guy: Remember how Etsy used to be the only place people could have a store online? Or eBay? Not anymore! Anyone who wants to create a website or app or software to support their hobby or small business can do it from the comfort of their own living rooms! Low-code and no-code platforms help them turn their creative visions into reality. Artists and designers can build a custom site for their portfolio or sell their NFTs and retire at 25. Small business owners can create websites, apps, and even develop software for their specific industry to promote and sell their products or solutions to the world.

However, you must be thinking, what's the catch?

Disadvantages of a no-code or low-code platform

When building custom software, developers are only limited by the hardware and the capabilities of the native language. Low-code platforms are much more constrained and that means they can lack flexibility, complexity, and proper training.

Shadow IT: A low-code or no-code platform should have built-in governance and security and that restricts the ability of its users to create applications or implement code that are unsafe; introducing data leaks, potential compliance violations, and more. The IT team must always be aware of what is being created and provide proper oversight, therefore, proper training (and knowledge) is necessary for the future health of your application and its longevity. The frustration of learning a rigid and esoteric system that lacks general applicability could mean fewer knowledgeable developers and end up costing more than just building an application from scratch.

Flexibility: The most common problem with low-code and no-code platforms is that they are often too rigid and restrictive to produce the desired results for the customer. You are essentially moving around visual components that are locked-in blocks of code.

Even the best low-code and no-code platforms are limited and require proper alignment of functionalities with capabilities. They will often work best in simple use cases for common or predefined business needs, such as an online store selling products or a portfolio showcasing work.

Complexity: Anything more complex in development, like app integrations, data science, or larger workflows will still necessitate a more knowledgeable asset. Some low-code or no-code platforms actually require developers beyond the most basic levels of development because they might require knowledge in web services, database design, reporting services, or more. Developers can end up spending just as much time coding in and around the platform as if they had built the solution entirely from scratch. If a customer comes up with more detailed requirements, those new requirements will need to be integrated with traditional programming, which is even harder because what you customize yourself has to fit in with the platform.

As you consider the many advantages and disadvantages we have discussed here with low-code and no-code development, it is important that you continue to try and focus on what your project or idea really needs, along with the underlying architecture you will be using. We wrote more about the complexity of software web architecture. The technology you need will undoubtedly affect the type of platform you choose, so it is best to choose wisely.

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