It seems the low-code no-code revolution is booming. Fast adoption, insane valuation, happy customers. And if these solutions deliver what they promise, they could change the way businesses manage their software development needs. Unlike other transformations that often destroy existing markets, the low-code/no-code revolution’s major focus is to make software development as easy as possible, which explains the reason behind the hype.
The adoption of these solutions is on the rise. Gartner predicts that over 50 percent of medium to large enterprises will have adopted low code application platforms (LCAP) as one of their strategic app platforms by 2023. With such growth, it’s no surprise that low-code platforms like Google App Sheets, Microsoft Power Apps, and more have become popular, and adoption is on the rise.
Despite the hype, the rise in low-code and no-code functionality and performance has led to complex and technical issues that need to be addressed before business leaders can jump onto the low-code/no-code bandwagon. It’s worth taking a step back to assess whether low-code and no-code programming is really the best solution for your businesses.
Here are key things you should consider before diving into a low-code no-code application development platform for your enterprise.
At first glance, it’s easy to confuse both no-code and low-code platforms, but the major difference leans more towards the individuals that use these modern platforms to build more advanced applications. Let’s take a deeper look.
In low-code software development, professional developers are responsible for streamlining and simplifying their work to deliver high-class apps with little or no hand-coding. In this case, experienced developers can create and design applications quickly by utilizing visual interfaces with simple drag-and-drop features and pre-built functions to create applications. Gartner predicts that low-code development will be responsible for over 65 percent of app development by 2024.
Slightly different, no-code software development allows citizen developers (users who can create apps to facilitate the processes of business operations using IT development guidelines), to build software apps by dragging and dropping software applications to create a full DIY app. Unlike low-code, non-technical users don’t need any previous coding experience or programming languages to build applications using no-code.
Now that you know the difference, it’s important to understand that low-code and no-code development platforms are designed for speed. Citizen developers and professional developers visually select and connect different components that represent certain capabilities with actual code, and link them to generate the needed automatic workflow.
So, what do businesses stand to gain with low-code no-code development?
Low-code and no-code platforms are known to make it easier than ever to create flexible apps for business users who want to create apps themselves or coders who want to simplify app development by automating manual processes.
Other key benefits of using low-code/no-code platforms include:
Low-code and no-code platforms provide anyone with powerful tools and integrations including drag-and-drop, intuitive interfaces necessary to design processes without the need to write any custom code. This helps organizations automate repetitive, mundane tasks, end-to-end processes, and complex workflows. The best part is that both professional and citizen developers can collaborate on initiatives related to process automation to speed up the software development process.
It’s no secret that experienced developers are in short supply and expensive too. No-code and low-code approaches allow you to bypass that, taking away a lot of overhead that comes with having a skilled team of developers on staff throughout. Additional cost savings can also be seen from the faster time to build more applications in less time and a solid ROI.
A low-code platform helps to unleash the potential of business line employees — those with passion but who lack sufficient budget to fund a real development team. With less code and a simpler development path, they can spend time trying new ideas and designing the much-needed apps. This kind of approach helps cut development time and translates to faster time to value.
While low-code and no-code platforms have many benefits, they also present challenges that users should be aware of.
Here, we take a closer look at the key challenges associated with low-code/no-code platforms:
While low-code development platforms provide a convenient way to incorporate user feedback into customer-facing apps during development, businesses might not be able to get the exact functionality they want or need. With low-code no-code platforms, options for the user interface and flow are often very limited making this approach a poor choice for customer facing-apps and especially mobile apps where user interface and user experience expectations are very high.
When using low-code development platforms, the range of functionality and customization you can implement in an application is limited to what the tool provides. It’s easy to build apps with no-code low-code development platforms, but as soon as you want to make adjustments, then all of a sudden you’re out of luck. Your focus can quickly shift from what you wanted to build to what you can build in such a situation which can force you to resort to complex and costly workarounds.
For more complex use cases, low code and no-code platforms are too rigid and restrictive to produce the desired results. Some cases require specific designs such as UI widgets or page layouts which require serious knowledge in areas such as software design. In this case, even the best no code/low code platforms have their limits, and it’s important to properly align their functionality with their capabilities. If not, you might end up having different qualities of the desired application.
Vendor lock-in is among the biggest challenges in no-code/low-code development. While some vendors generate clean and open code that works everywhere, other vendors lock users into their platform in that they produce complex code that’s difficult to maintain outside of the platform. Another major concern is that you cannot get the rights to read or edit the code once you stop using the platform. Understanding every vendor’s policies before using a tool is critical to ensuring you don’t fall into the trap of vendor lock-in.
Apart from the issue of vendor lock-in, you’re likely to experience a challenge of inability to switch providers, and associated costs to do so in case you decide to move away from your no- code development platform. This is tied to the simple reason that you don’t own the license to the software. Even if the vendor makes your source code accessible, you will discover that you have no control of what goes in and comes out of your application. The whole implementation remains hidden and locked too.
By using low-code/no-code development platforms, organizations can leverage the capability of professional developers and citizen developers to increase time to market and expand the capabilities of IT. But, achieving this requires adopting a few best practice behaviors and working with the right software development vendor, to manage and mitigate potential organizational risk.
At Camber, we understand that every organization’s needs are different and they’re subject to change over time. There is no one size fits all model, so we offer various engagement models from product strategy to design and development throughout the full product lifecycle.
Get in touch with our experts and get started with your app development journey!