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Low Code and No-Code Considerations

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Low-code and no-code development platforms have been the trending IT topic for some time now. Experts in this field speculate as to how they could change the future of the industry. Some publications predict the gradual decline of traditional IT, as low-code and no-code products continue to reshape the very approach to solutions development. But, before we get into a discussion on the future of low-code and no-code, let’s define what these terms actually mean.

What Is Low-Code/No-Code?

Low-code and no-code tools help scale and maximize software delivery. The grid below explains, defines, and differentiates low-code vs. no-code tools.

Low-Code No-Code
Target Audience Developers Business Users
Main Goal Increase the speed of delivery by developers Bootstrapping solutions with internal non-technical talent
Need Coding Experience Yes No
Customization Customizations are available Customizations are minimal or unavailable
Flexibility Complicated and unique business logic is available for implementation Generic/simple business logic is available for implementation
Integration and Hosting Options to integrate with other platforms and choose hosting model are always available Limited integration options and hosting options

One needs to be careful to not interchange the two concepts since they address distinct business goals and cater to different audiences. To better understand what’s in store for the future of these technologies, it is also important to understand the considerations and evolution of these types of tools.

The Evolution of Low-Code and Programming Languages

The ongoing evolution and the future of the low-code frameworks are best understood when assessed from a historical perspective. From its inception, the Information Technology industry has begun the Gargantuan task of simplifying and automating its practices. First, moving from the numerical machine code to the symbolics of assembly helped increase the productivity of program writers exponentially. The next leap forward did not lag too far behind when the Shortcode (or Short-Order Code), the first High-Level Language (HLL), was invented just a year after. Fast forward 60 years later, and HLL’s are in abundance along with a myriad of helpful frameworks, all of them meant to simplify and automate development tasks as much as possible.

So, at this time, for many situations writing a custom HLL solution has become akin to reinventing the wheel - it’s far more efficient to utilize available cloud services or tools instead. And while it’s still possible to use traditional coding for customization through “Script Tasks,” developers can rely more on pre-defined functions to quickly implement solid chunks of their work using a convenient graphical interface. This ability to automatically generate code while introducing lower-level customization as needed is the primary delineation between low-code and no-code.

No-Code Considerations and Concerns

As the adoption rate of no-code platforms grows within the business community, it is important to have a good understanding of what they have to offer as well as the peculiarities of their implementation:

Creating Dependency

Just like with any service supplied by a third party, the company’s no-code platform may eventually evolve from being a “partnership” into a hard “dependency.” It’s important to maintain a “vendor-neutral” approach to the degree possible and avoid reliance on a single provider.

Security

It is imperative to understand how well the platform protects the company’s data and if there are any vendor disclosures to that effect. Sometimes, the greatest threat to data security may be internal staff’s unintended information exposure caused by limited familiarity with the platform’s settings.

Scalability

The ability to support more data, accommodate additional users, and perform more intense processing defines a platform capable of growing with business needs.

Price

Choose a subscription level or a payment plan that is right-sized for the amount of processing done today while having the company’s future growth in mind. Don’t be forced to absorb exorbitant jumps in premiums for a modest increase of resources.

Pre-Defined Functionality

No-code solutions intentionally limit customizations to flatten the learning curve and reduce development time and cost. Thus, pushing these platforms beyond their intended functional scope will likely lead to unstable and unsupportable applications.

Twin Products

Many companies are looking for fast time to market, low-cost solutions which do not require considerable human capital expenditure. This common quest may result in similar-looking products when created on the same platform.

Conclusion

While there are ongoing disputes within the IT industry on this subject, we think the low-code will retain its dominance on the market of “automated” solutions in the short- to medium-term future. The no-code platforms have not yet matured enough to provide the desired balance in the simplicity of product development with the complexity of its resulting features. On the other hand, there is sufficient evidence of some IT companies and professionals starting to change their focus from traditional HLL development to low-code frameworks. If this trend continues to accelerate, we may soon witness another evolutionary leap in software development akin to the transition from machine code to assembly.