Back in 2011, Marc Andreesen said, “Software is eating the word”. These words have become even more relevant as digitization becomes an organizational priority for enterprises across sectors. The world is becoming software-driven and for the IT department, this has translated into increased demand for software to address ever-evolving requirements.
Users have high expectations of usability and demand greater flexibility in business operations. Frequent updates and upgrades are our new normal. Version 2.0 of a product is expected to be built almost simultaneously with the first version. Business applications need amendments and scalability according to the changing needs of business users. The task is huge. And the growing shortage of seasoned developers isn’t helping the situation.
Organizations are looking at ways to make software development faster, increase automation, and also make development easier to replicate, even by business users. They are looking at doing away with repetitive coding (something that weighs down traditional software development).
And this is how we came to know and love low-code and no-code software development.
The ABC of Low Code Software Development:
Low code software development is an accelerating trend. Research suggests the area growing from USD 4.32 Billion in 2017 to USD 27.23 Billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 44.49% during the forecast period. So, what is low-code development and what makes it so attractive?
Low code development is a methodology where manual processes are automated by employing a visual IDE environment and without hand-coding. The visual IDE environment connects to the backends and also to the application lifestyle management system. Low code provides avenues for developing custom code to deploy features that are not readily available.
Low code development is great for specific business processes especially those that need integrations with other applications, systems, and databases. Apart from giving developers the benefit of developing applications faster, low code development can also be done by the non-developers (mainly the power users) in the development team. These non-developers are usually not proficient developers but have some basic coding and scripting skills.
Low code development platforms such as Salesforce Lightning Platform, The FileMaker Platform, OutSystems, KissFlow, and Zoho Creator etc. allow developers to arrange application components including the application data and logic using a drag-and-drop interface. It is almost akin to building Lego models using virtual blocks- the developer moves the Lego block with a mouse and snaps it into their model.
But does this mean low code is right for every application? Well, not just yet. However, low code development is great for applications that are built for an express purpose as it not only accelerates the workflow but also focuses it.
What Advantages does Low-Code bring to the table?
If you are thinking of low-code development get ready to experience a slew of benefits.
- Faster and more democratized application development including greater inputs from power-users
- Reduced need for software developers in specific functions can lower costs
- Greater agility for organizations to match market demands
- Better risk management and application governance as low-code facilitates immediate change
- Reduced complexity in app development that enables faster transformation in a digital world
The ABC of No-code Development:
Chris Wanstrath, CEO at GitHub says, “The future of coding is no coding at all”. But can this even be possible? Yes, it could with no-code development.
No-code development employs a visual development environment that helps anyone create applications. This platform uses a drag-and-drop method to add application components needed to create an application. The users need absolutely no coding knowledge. In fact,this could be anyone with an idea of building an application.
No-code development gives non-technical business users the ability to build full-fledged, complex applications that are powerful, secure, and, also, enterprise-grade. Surprised?
Such a platform uses a user interface builder, allows visual modeling to process and manage data easily and also allows for easy integrations. Essentially, a true no-code platform can be described as software that writes software. It has easy to use features such as drag and drop modules, picklist selection boxes, spreadsheet imports, etc. Tools such as Nintex, and Quick Base, and even options from Kissflow and Zoho Creator have been successfully giving users more freedom to develop applications with ease.
No code development is usually driven by specific use cases especially those that don’t need connections to third-party systems and are great for reporting analytics or tracking applications. In case such a connection is needed, it can be enabled quite easily as well.
So, What are the Benefits of No-Code?
Much like low-code, no-code development also gives us a host of benefits. It is hardly a surprise to see Forrester predicting that the no-code development market will grow from $3.8 billion in 2017 to $21.2 billion in 2022.
- Greater agility as development happens visually using pre-built modules. Since the development time is reduced and testing is automated, organizations can build applications faster
- Reduced overhead costs that come with having a team of highly skilled developers
- Enabled re-usability as small parts of an application can be used in other applications
- Enable change easily as all you need is new logic to implement change
- Allows non-programmers to create applications at speed to fulfill business needs
Of course, the applicability is still limited and in truth platforms like low and no-code are just pushing the heavy lifting to platforms that do the hard work behind the scenes. But, that said, the value is clear.
No code and low code software development could revolutionize software development on getting established.Projects that used to take years and months can now be completed in days. The democratization of the development process also makes this methodology relevant for these times when collaboration has to be at speed to deploy new capabilities. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Do you have a low-code or a no-code strategy in place?