March 5, 2020

Is the buzz around no-code and low-code extreme or justified?

18 weeks or more. That’s about the time it takes to build a mid-sized mobile application using traditional application development. Given the industry expectation to deliver fast, do you have that kind of time to build applications? Do you have the skilled resources required to address the demand for applications? Do you feel that you need to improve your time to market for application development?

Traditional Application development has always been a tedious and laborious journey for developing and delivering applications. While it gives you great flexibility in terms of development choices, it includes drawbacks like slow time to market, needs for highly skilled teams, and lack of automation.

In today’s digital transformation era, businesses want more applications in less time with fewer resources and complexity. Consider for a moment that you want to build a supplier registration application. Think about it, what would take 18 weeks to build the application using traditional development would take just 8 weeks using a low-code platform. The story of digital enterprises primarily revolves around using high-productivity tools and high-performance technologies. This has been the major driving force behind the emergence of no-code and low-code platforms.

Despite the disruption, there is widespread adoption of low-code and no-code platforms. Is the buzz around these technologies worth the investment? Do they walk the talk? Let us understand these alternatives and find out what is better suited for your enterprise.

  • No-Code Platforms - No-code tools provide a visual interface to develop your application without writing any code. This typically means using a complete drag & drop mechanism for UI, configurations, integration, and deployment of the application. It is a good tool for business users interested in building applications. Additionally, with no-code, enterprises can increase the pool of resources that can build applications. With that said, no-code is only suited for limited types of applications and use cases. Some of the other limitations of no-code include:
    • Single app development methodology, usually proprietary in nature.
    • Limited choices for data sources, integrations, and enterprise processes.
    • Zero code visibility, customizations, and reuse of existing code.
    • Not suited for high-performance, high secure apps.
    • Not suited for long-term longevity apps maintained by IT app teams.
  • Low-Code Platforms - Low-code tools also provide a visual interface to develop and deliver apps with the need for little coding. They also have a complete drag & drop mechanism for UI, configurations, integration, and deployment of the application. This provides greater productivity and lowers the time to market the application. Low-code tools fall into 2 categories:
    • Closed Proprietary Low-Code Tools - With this tool you can focus less on customizations and Extensions but more on visual workflow automation. It is a good tool for low-skilled developers and business users (citizen developers) who are interested in building applications.
    • Open Standards-Based Low-Code Tools - With this tool you can focus on customizations and Extensions of code with the visual app development methodology. It is a good tool for professionally skilled application developers who are looking at building long-lived high-performance and secure enterprise applications.

To find out what suits your enterprise best, here’s a snapshot that gives you a comparison of low-code and no-code:

Criteria No-Code Low-Code Technically Bent Business Users Low-Code for Application Developers
UI / UX Multi-Channel Visually appealing Multi-Channel Visually appealing Multi-Channel Visually appealing
Coding Requirement None Less Designed for Code Customizations
Integration Limited Comprehensive Comprehensive
Target Users Business Users Citizen Developers App Development
Time To Market Fastest Faster Faster
Enterprise Development Alignment No Limited No Disruption to existing enterprise processes
App Scalability & Performance Limited Limited High
Modern App Stack No Visibility Limited Developer friendly Modern Stack

There is an inevitable need for digital transformation and increasing demand for building enterprise applications. The expectation to deliver faster with fewer resources is rising. To materialize your digital transformation story, 18 weeks to build an application could be too long. By using low-code and no-code platforms, you could leverage the power of technology and reduce the time to developing a native app MVP. While disruptive innovation is the road to transformation, choosing your approach and technology wisely could determine the success of your digital transformation story.