At first glance, no-code and low-code platforms seem like minimal-effort solutions for development. But are they all that? All you need to know is in this article from CODE/+/TRUST!
The software industry sees trends emerging all the time. Some don’t amount to anything and vanish in no time, while others have a lasting impact on business.
If you’re considering a no-code or low-code platform for your business, you're not alone. These applications are gaining popularity as companies search for ways to speed up the development process. And push products to market.
But before you make any decisions, it's pivotal to grasp what these platforms are and what they can – and can't – do. As with any software development method, some elements can make NC/LC more or less a fit for your project.
Let’s take a look at what they're capable of!
Minimal to no traditional programming required – no-code and low-code are simplified methods for application development. Developers use features on the front end, such as drag-and-drop, to integrate functionalities.
Low-code and no-code platforms stem from earlier rapid application development (RAD) tools. Excel, Lotus Notes, and Microsoft Access are a few examples. These tools put programming capabilities into the hands of users, turning them into citizen developers!
But, to create with RAD tools, users had to be familiar with the development environments. To use NC/LC platforms, users need minimal or no general knowledge of development tools.
Development with RAD tools produced capabilities used by the creator or by a small group of users associated with the creator. So, apps built with NC/LC are robust enough to use across departments and enterprises. And even by external users such as customers and business partners!
Before we explore what low-code and no-code can do, let's get one misconception out of the way. It's common to see NC/LC grouped as a single concept. They're both solutions that don't need advanced programming knowledge. They may share similarities, but it’s important to remember that low-code and no-code aren’t the same.
No-code allows someone unfamiliar with programming to develop a full-functioning app. But, low-code solutions can aid seasoned developers in executing their jobs. Low-code can correct mistyped code, suggest the following line of code, and offer improvements.
Not all NC/LC platforms are equal. If you feel like they’re a good option for your project, you should find which best fits your needs.
Developing software isn’t an easy process. It takes a lot of effort and collaboration to get a quality product from beginning to end. With low-code and no-code, you save time writing thousands of lines with a front-end development process.
This approach also means fewer people are involved in the development. With fewer thinking heads, there are fewer conflicts to resolve. Considerable time is saved by getting team members on the same page about different issues as well.
Anyone with a basic grasp on development can dabble in NC/LC. A broader group can input ideas into the project. Think about it: if you’re faced with a task you know nothing about, you’ll struggle to contribute anything valuable.
But suppose development is being rolled out on a low-code/no-code platform. In that case, C-level executives with no programming experience may feel inspired to look at the software and offer up ideas.
As with most things in life, NC/LC methodologies have disadvantages. One limitation is customization. As off-the-shelf solutions, these systems aren't meant to serve every user.
They do offer slight tailoring. But, if you develop your application with software engineers, all components are targeted to your business needs. With NC/LC, you’ll never get that.
No-code and low-code platforms are lacking in significant development steps. Your application's visual presentation and integration features may not meet your expectations.
A team of developers building custom software won’t be restricted by a pre-programmed platform. Your project can execute anything you imagine with traditional programming! Give software engineers the necessary tools, time, and budget to create something unique.
No-code and low-code normalize the “shadow IT” phenomenon, which has frustrated IT for decades. Citizen developers tend to create applications that don’t work or scale well and try to turn them over to IT. Or the creator may leave the company, and no one else knows how to maintain the system.
Standardizing the handoff from citizen developers to professionals can manage this issue. A hybrid citizen/professional development model could be the best option. The user would develop 80% of the model and hand it over to the developer for polishing. Or the user can create the first iteration with a graphic interface tool; then, a developer can program it.
In either case, the developer can ensure it works and connect it to any data or transactional system. Some organizations have one developer supporting ten or more citizen developers!
Department managers are responsible for managing low-code and no-code development. With their technical knowledge, managers educate team members on NC/LC.
Department leaders and executives should also learn best practices for scaling NC/LC tools. New organizational models, such as internal digital portals, give collaborators a place to learn and get help. As NC/LC scales, further investments in analytics and infrastructure will be needed.
Almost every organization is looking for more system development talent. NC/LC development can help to address some of these needs. Systems will likely become easier to build over time, making common processes and use cases easier.
Whether a true revolution or a temporary fad, NC/LC platforms have received lots of attention. Using them to your advantage can improve your code, save time, and deploy even better applications.
So, what's the verdict? Are no-code and low-code platforms right for you? If you're looking for a platform that offers flexibility and customization, you may want to avoid these options.
Instead, consider investing in custom software development – it could be the best decision you ever make!
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