The tech industry is experiencing a recent trend in which the use of low code or no code applications and platforms is increasingly common for the development of products and apps. No-code and low-code applications are fast becoming the favored technologies in the digital workplace. What exactly is no-code and low-code? No code involves a series of tools, platforms, and technologies that allow the development of apps without any programming involved (Atkins, 2021). Low code, as the name suggests, requires its user to write a minimum amount of code to ensure the functionality of the entity created (Atkins, 2021). High-level abstractions are used in both low-code and no-code to mask the complexities of software programming so that components of the application as opposed to having to be written from scratch, can be assembled (Atkins, 2021). There is a difference between low-coding and no-coding in that low-coding reduces programming efforts to a minimum, while no-coding allows anybody to create apps without any programming knowledge (Krajewski, 2021). Some examples of leading no-code/low-code platform companies include OutSystems, Unqork, AirTable, Mendix, and Quickbase (Krajewski, 2021).
Low-code or no-code platforms are used by the technology sector for a variety of purposes. In general, applications can be developed for a wide variety of business or technical purposes as long as they do not require complicated programming requirements or much customized functionality (Pratt, 2021). Automating paper-based and manual processes is one way to utilize these applications in order to increase operational efficiency (Pratt, 2021). Additionally, they can be used to facilitate an organization’s digital transformation by optimizing legacy systems (Pratt, 2021). Further, these platforms allow for the creation of business apps to be used by employees and partners, as well as the creation of customer engagement apps (Pratt, 2021).
There is potential to transform the tech industry through the use of no code and low code platforms. The use of low-code or no-code platforms offers numerous advantages. One key benefit is the reduction of IT overhead in smaller enterprises (Krajewski, 2021). It is no longer necessary for a company with limited financial resources to hire a costly developer, since the company can set up a website or mobile application at a reasonable cost, even if the founders lack programming expertise. A major advantage of using no-code and low-code platforms is that mobile and web apps can be developed much faster, which allows faster time-to-market (Krajewski, 2021). As a result, they eliminate a substantial amount of hand-coding that demands an engineer’s time (Krajewski, 2021). Rather than building everything from scratch, the programmers would be able to use their expertise to tackle more specific technical problems after the initial structure built from a low-code or no-code platform is deployed and presents certain challenges (Krajewski, 2021). Software development can be accelerated with automation layers by compressing time and accelerating the ability to build software up to 100 times faster than with current technology (Atkins, 2021). It also becomes a lot more convenient for the users to create an application (Krajewski, 2021). There is no need to study programming languages and update their knowledge about all aspects of software development (Krajewski, 2021). It is possible to reduce the entire software development process to a series of drag-and-drop operations, which are visually intuitive and performed in simple software editors, and the logic behind the software elements can be set up just by selecting certain checkboxes on a menu, as in a flow chart (Krajewski, 2021).
Low-code and no-code platforms offer many advantages to small businesses, but they also have many flaws. A limitation is the lack of control and features that can be incorporated by the platforms (Krajewski, 2021). Low-code and no-code solutions are usually limited in terms of features and customization options (Krajewski, 2021). Moreover, businesses are also limited in the data security options they can choose – they must accept the terms and conditions the vendor proposes and rely on their abilities to protect their personal information (Krajewski, 2021). Additionally, there is little scope for customization beyond the template-based options. Low-code or no-code platforms are equipped with a wide range of ready modules and configuration options (like template shapes and colors), however, they will not be utilized to build anything unique or custom tailored for the business model (Krajewski, 2021).
Though no-code and low-code are brand new technologies that show promise for enhancing the success of small businesses, they are not without limitations. Thus, the future model of the software development process would be incomplete without developers (Krajewski, 2021). It will instead consist of a hybrid system that provides a multitude of supporting solutions, allowing for a more rapid and efficient application deployment (Johannessen & Davenport, 2021). A skilled software specialist will still be needed to assist with any custom software solutions that require exclusive or advanced technical knowledge to meet specific challenges (Johannessen & Davenport, 2021).
Atkins, B. (2021, June 29). The most disruptive trend of 2021: No code / low code. Forbes. Retrieved April 10, 2022, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/betsyatkins/2020/11/24/the-most-disruptive-trend-of-2021-no-code–low-code/?sh=1eff2ad16570
Johannessen, C., & Davenport, T. (2021, June 22). When low-code/no-code development works – and when it doesn’t. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved April 10, 2022, from https://hbr.org/2021/06/when-low-code-no-code-development-works-and-when-it-doesnt
Krajewski, R. (2021, October 14). Council post: The rise of no-code and low-code solutions: Will your CTO become obsolete? Forbes. Retrieved April 10, 2022, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2021/10/14/the-rise-of-no-code-and-low-code-solutions-will-your-cto-become-obsolete/?sh=1e2770084aaf
Pratt, M. K. (2021, March 11). What are low-code and no-code development platforms? SearchSoftwareQuality. Retrieved April 10, 2022, from https://www.techtarget.com/searchsoftwarequality/definition/low-code-no-code-development-platform#:~:text=Low%2Dcode%2Fno%2Dcode,create%20mobile%20or%20web%20apps