The emergence of cloud platforms has meant that the demand for software products and applications has exploded across industry domains. IDC estimates that by the year 2023, over 500 million applications and services will be deployed, which is equal to the number of applications developed over the last 40 years.
To develop these apps, business enterprises can no longer depend on hiring ever-growing numbers of software developers or utilizing “traditional” programming skills to meet this growing demand. Further, the business demands that the people who will be using the apps, i.e. the business users must be heard in the process of app development.
This is where Low-code/ no-code development platforms look set to transform the field of application development. Simply stated, low- or no-code platforms allow enterprises to build reliable apps using a visual tool with drag-and-drop functionality.
This blog focuses on no-code application development, including its benefits and challenges.
How No-code app development differs from Low-code app development?
As said by Gartner, the term “no-code” is used to “imply tools for non-professional developers.” Gartner adds that ‘no-code implies no programming language is used, but even some visual modeling tools require technical expertise.” However, the reality is that no-code applications do contain software code that does much of the heavy lifting, but they are hidden.
On the other end, low-code platforms require development, even though they needn’t have extensive coding knowledge. They can create an entire application or automate a business process without much coding.
When is no-code development preferred over low-code development?
- When creating a simple business or functional app to be delivered within a tight timeframe.
- When there is little time for training product developers or business users.
While no-code development is often used for reporting and tracking apps, low-code development is more typically used for slightly more complex applications with a longer product lifecycle.
Let’s discuss a few benefits of no-code app development.
Benefits of No-code application development
Besides easy product or app development, the no-code development approach offers numerous benefits including the following:
- Reduced time-to-market
With the traditional product programming, developers often end up compromising on features and functionality in return for speed. That need not be the case for no-code development. A simple functional app can be developed super fast. Reports are that even enterprise software could take only a few weeks to build and deploy.
This, in turn, reduces the time-to-market in delivering software products to customers and gaining a competitive edge.
- Decreases development costs.
With large enterprise products, development companies need to maintain a large codebase and, often, legacy systems to store them. This type of maintenance can drain IT budgets and increase overall costs. Adding to that, companies need to hire experienced developers at high costs to develop and maintain legacy products.
With no-code development, companies can significantly cut down development costs and still build quality applications without the need to maintain a large codebase.
- Provides flexibility in product development.
With legacy approaches and inflexible data models, traditional modes of development require integration with third-party tools and constant software updates in the future.
No-code development platforms use a JSON document in place of a data model, which can load faster data and allows developers to start building applications immediately.
- Easy to update and maintain.
Due to extensive coding, “traditional” software products could contain software bugs that need to be constantly fixed. The same is true while adding new product features. This restriction is less applicable to the no-code development approach. Be it a new feature or an update, they can be quickly deployed while the application is in production.
- Future scope.
According to Gartner, 75% of large enterprises are likely to use low-code/ no-code development platforms by 2024. This means that this development approach is here to stay and is not merely a “temporary fad.” Enterprises are attracted to the opening for business users to contribute more to app development. With more enterprises leveraging such benefits, more no-code tools will likely be released for faster application development.
Challenges with No-code application development
While no-code platforms do offer great benefits, the approach has its share of challenges that adopters must be aware of, including the following:
- Limited scalability
As no-code development is considered a short-term solution for businesses, they are limited in terms of the long-term scalability that most enterprise solutions demand in today’s changing market. Companies need to have a clear understanding of future demands before adopting the no-code development approach.
- Inefficient applications and products
Thanks to the ease of development, non-technical professionals can create unsanctioned apps (also known as Shadow IT) that are not tested for performance and efficiency. This could eventually lead to slow or inefficient apps being released. These apps could also be limited in scope, constrained by the capabilities of the no-code platform being used.
- Limited security
IT executives have pointed out no-code platforms as limited on the security aspect. Non-development specialists are not skilled in detecting and resolving product vulnerabilities or flaws as experienced programmers. With growing security-related risks, development platforms must be able to build security measures right into the products, which is something that no-code platforms cannot guarantee. Unlike traditional developers, no-code professionals do not possess the required insight into app security protocols.
While the no-code development approach is unlikely to replace programming-based development, enterprises can no longer ignore the immense benefits. As Gartner has predicted, both no-code and low-code platforms are projected to get established in the application development field in the next few years.
With its expertise in product and application development, Forgeahead has been instrumental in enabling its customers to release high-quality apps and products with a faster time to market. For those looking for more information, here is a blog that talks about how low-code and no-code can change software product development.
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