No code app development is on the rise. It’s been an evolving movement for some years now, owing to the growth of the related low code development market, which some estimates value at $11.45 billion in 2019 with a compound annual growth rate of 22.7% from 2020 to 2027. If that trajectory is any indication, low code’s got an audience.
Low-code development platforms and solutions have been around, technically, for far longer than the buzzword would have you believe. After all, WordPress is a low code solution that allows non-technical users to build websites instantly. In fact, it’s technically also a no code platform thanks to templates and customization via its user interface.
But no code app development — from zero to app without code — that’s a bit more recent. Still, it’s since been useful enough to be picked up and offered by giants like Google with their AppSheet no code app development platform with cloud capabilities.
So, what is no code development, and why is it gaining a lot of traction?
What Is No Code Development?
WordPress might have been responsible for the trend when it launched in 2003, as no code development started to become a search term in earnest a year later, though its buzzword status only really came into fruition with usage spikes from early 2020 and beyond. No code development is essentially encapsulated by the WordPress model: a complete site without ever needing to type an angle bracket.
Common use cases for no code app development (and its sibling, low code development) are abundant in:
- Transactional systems for small businesses
- Small-scale automation capabilities
- Tracking and analytics
- Web and mobile portals
The Advantages of Development That Requires No Coding Experience
Alright, that’s all well and good — but why use no code development? No code development seems like a way to limit what the resulting app can do, especially for web and software applications with more capabilities. Requiring no traditional coding experience to build an app has obvious pitfalls, but what about the benefits?
Allows Non-Technical Users To Build Applications
Modern business requires teams with cross-functional, overlapping, and interrelated capabilities. Departments full of non-technical users still spend time on very technical dashboards and tools, and from time to time may benefit from being able to develop simple applications without learning how to code them themselves.
This benefit can be summed up in one word: democratization. Modern business processes often need software application-based solutions. Even smaller-scale operations with nearly zero technical users will find that they could benefit from being able to create apps of their own for internal use, for example, so they won’t need to constantly rely on a third-party provider. No code applications democratize that capability.
Drag and Drop Features Lead To Faster Development
No code development solutions usually have drag and drop interfaces. This means they're visually guided and WYSIWYG, and that in itself offers a few benefits. One of those key advantages is faster development. As long as the no code development platform can maintain accuracy from the design phase to the resulting product, it can cut down on costly development time.
Consider what needs to be accounted for during development. From idea to execution, there’s a design brief, prototyping, back and forth tweaking between principal and non-technical decision-makers and the programmers implementing the design, and finally some design testing before deployment. All of that is encapsulated in a good no code development effort. The design brief, the prototyping, the tweaking, and the testing can all be done by the same person — and again, without the need for technical coding skills. A lot of the in-between time spent as well as potential errors and miscommunications are cut out of the equation, leading to faster development times.
Cost of Development Decreases
In the same way no code development can cut down development times, it can also reduce development costs. No code development platforms and providers typically come with cost-effective pricing options, matching the dollar factor with the democratization capabilities of their offering. If you compare the two options outright, it’s also obvious that no code development typically yields lower costs. Would you rather hire or divert software developers to work on a project or task that a no code development platform can allow you yourself to do?
In fact, when a company borrows software developers from its IT or tech team so that they can help out on non-priority and easily solved technical issues, they’re doing so on company time. They inadvertently increase expenses by allocating specialized and highly technical skill sets to work on low-tech, low-priority (from the software developer’s perspective) tasks that the worker was not hired for originally.
Reduces the Need for an Entire Development Team
Speaking of borrowing skilled IT team members or software developers, no code development can potentially lead to less reliance on technical workers for every little thing, which is great both ways. The tech team can work on the projects for which they were hired, and non-technical members can still get apps built when they need them through no code development.
You won’t be needing an entire development team with no code capabilities. Consider the web apps that a solution like Google’s AppSheets lets you create. With sufficient spreadsheet knowledge and some interface tweaking, one or two non-technical users can potentially replace a software development team — albeit for simpler, more self-contained apps.
How Does This Process Differ From Low-Code Solutions
No code development requires absolutely no coding. Low code development allows the embedding or insertion of some code for improved customizability in case the bundled features and functionalities of a no code solution isn’t flexible enough to accommodate user needs.
No code platforms typically also offer low code compromises to meet customization demand from users. Because of this, the two terms have become partially interchangeable and sometimes used together (e.g. low code no code development).
When Is It Right To Use a No Code Platform?
There’s a service, a platform, or a provider for practically anything you would need in your business today. If there isn’t, you can make one if you’ve got the software development team to do so. If you don’t have a software development team at hand, no code platforms with sufficient capabilities are exactly what you need.
Of course, limitations apply. There are inherent boundaries to what you can “lego together” without code, foremost of which is how effective the resulting application will be in terms of addressing your issue at hand. The larger the scale of your requirements, the more specific pieces of lego blocks you need. More customized work requires several pieces being put together at the risk of bloating the end result to achieve your goals. It’s essentially inevitable no code scope creep owing to lack of ability to code. This is the area where low code platforms reside.
Still, there are key use cases where no code development shines.
When You Don't Have the Programming Skills
Naturally, without coding skills, you’re stuck. You need to find the right no code software development platform for your needs, or you need to compete with all the companies and tech recruiters hunting for software developers in the global market. For people with simpler problems that no code development can solve anyway, the right choice is clear.
Additionally, more technical people may have some coding experience and can leverage that to go for low code development instead.
For the most part, this scenario of lacking programming capability typically comes up when a business, for example, reaches a certain stage of maturity. They often find that they require a relatively straightforward application of some sort that existing solutions don’t address (e.g. too expensive or not specialized enough), in which case they won’t have a handy IT department or software dev team to go to for help. No code to the rescue.
The Project or Task Lacks Complexity
The flipside of the coin to no code development’s inherent limitations is that it can only solve problems that are not too complex. Given enough complexity, low code becomes the ideal option, and beyond that, there’s simply no escaping the need for coding.
For projects or tasks that are pretty simple, straightforward, and relatively self-contained, no code development offers a cost-efficient solution. This is a key point even for companies with existing IT or software development teams. The developers are bound to be busy with their own work, and allocating them for a self-contained, non-complex task or project doesn't scale with how much their time is worth. Software development is costly, and diverting expenses to projects that lack code complexity is a good way to minimize ROI.
You're Building a Landing Page or Something Similar in Spec
Landing pages are excellent examples of self-contained, straightforward, and simple projects where no code web development may be preferred over an outright web development effort. There’s practically no backend to a landing page — certainly not one that requires backend developers — and the front end is suitably serviced through DIY and no code web development platforms.
However, landing pages are also excellent examples of a use case for no code development that is likely to be needed again. That means that for such a purpose, no code development is a repeatable solution.
The repeatability of a cost-effective solution is a key component for choosing that option in the first place. If no code development proves to solve your issue once, it can do so again, or how many times you need it to do so if the issue remains the same and self-contained, which is the case for landing pages. You probably won’t be needing a much more powerful landing page than you do now, for instance, and no code development is suitably cost-effective for the task every time you need it done.
What Are Some Examples of Platforms That Don't Require Code
No code development platforms are widely used primarily because they lower the barrier to entry to services, functionalities, and even custom applications people can only otherwise access through the help of software developers. Some of the most widely used SaaS on the web today are also a combination of low code and no code development, arguably reflecting that at a certain scale, it’s simply inevitable to need a bit of adaptability to code.
Some of the most popular platforms you probably know or at least heard of before:
Webflow is a website builder, hosting platform, and CMS that allows non-technical users to create websites from scratch and get up and running without much effort. The end-to-end nature of the no code platform allows people to sign up for hosting, WYSIWYG their way to almost drag-and-drop a website frontend design, and even publish content continuously through the provided CMS capabilities.
Webflow’s capabilities as a no-code website builder make its use quite ubiquitous. Anyone from creating a personal website, a company digital HQ, or a media publication without developers. It also exemplifies one of the key advantages of no-code development platforms: democratizing capabilities normally gated behind software development and technical coding skills. Webflow does also allow quite a bit of low code implementation owing to the limitations of what it can implement on its own and the required functionality and features of users.
One of the most popular email marketing solutions in the world today, Mailchimp is a full email marketing automation suite dedicated solely to this function. For many business owners and company executives, Mailchimp enables their marketing teams to engage in more comprehensive and in-depth email marketing. It replaces disjointed parts of an email marketing pipeline and puts them together without the need for coding or APIs, and also offers templates and performance analytics — all three of which might require some coding or technical knowledge without the platform.
Mailchimp does allow the addition of CSS code blocks in templates, for example. So in that respect, it can be considered low code instead of no code. Still, its primary purpose is to be a full-service suite and platform with zero coding required. Mailchimp is a prime example of a no code development platform that even software developers can use. The breadth and depth of software development work they perform either doesn't involve email marketing or is too critical to share manhours with an endeavor that a platform like Mailchimp already sufficiently addresses.
Zapier is one of the earliest and currently most widely used integration and automation platforms with a business model that essentially makes it a generic, application-agnostic, no code API. Zapier connects various platforms and tools to each other to automate what would otherwise be manual workflows and processes. Zapier connects Slack posts to social media accounts, for example, for automated sharing. It can take an email and automatically create, assign, and add details to a Trello card. It can automate the data transfer from a webinar to your favored CRM platform.
Zapier replaces the need for customized web application and software APIs that would naturally require not only coding but expertise both ways: from the source to the destination application. The most widely used apps in the market today offer a variety of APIs for other widely used third-party platforms already. Zapier adds more options for users and allows a more complete automation ecosystem as modern business tends to use multiple tools, and the companies behind those tools can only make so many APIs based on user demand.
Do What's Best for Your Development Environment
No matter how talented a software development team is, there’s no need to address a problem with an existing cost-efficient solution. There are definitely some no code and low code platforms that even software developers can leverage, even if it’s just for the simple reason that it’s easier — and if that no code service already sufficiently solves the issue, why fix what’s not broken?
As with all business operations, the idea is to always stay lean and cost-effective; always do what’s best for your development environment. At the risk of oversimplifying ROI considerations, no code is worth it if you need to meet a relatively straightforward requirement without existing resources, or if your existing resources will be stretched too thin if you leverage them. This is also why it’s especially useful today. The current tech job landscape is harsh and hiring software developers can be challenging, to say the least. Resources are sparse.
If you’re keen on expanding your market for your tech talent hunt, Revelo can help. Revelo sources the top software developers in Latin America, many of whom have worked with some of the top tech companies in the world. Revelo is perfectly positioned to help you build remote software development teams cost-efficiently.
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