Low-code and no-code technologies are getting highly popular these days due to their flexibility in creating customized IT solutions. More and more application development companies are implementing this new methodology in their software and application development processes. They act as building blocks that anyone can quickly assemble to form various solutions. Businesses can solve their problems instantly with this facility.
Rapid development is required to speed up the digital transformation process, which is possible only with the help of modern and powerful low code no code applications. If done right, low code no code development can make the jobs of developers easier & quicker and enable companies to lower their overheads significantly.
The low-code no-code app development software are revolutionizing the entire application development process. These modern platforms enable businesses to maximize the value of their data as compared to traditional development approaches, simplifying the creation of applications with less work, time, and cost.
What is Low-Code No-Code Application Development?
Low-Code Application Development:
Low-code refers to the visual drag-and-drop interface-based development of applications and processes. It allows developers to quickly construct completely functional apps by providing pre-built UI components, data connectors, query builders, event handlers, and the option to add their own custom code.
Low-code tools can be used to build software solutions of different complexity for various purposes, such as internal tools, mobile applications, web portals, and automation, by both professional developers and citizen developers (semi-technical to non-technical).
Low-code development is a software development method that utilizes little to no coding to build applications. The main objective of low-code development is to maximize the amount of reusable code and components and reduce the amount of custom code that needs to be written. Owing to the ease of use and more straightforward functionalities, the low-code approach is quickly becoming the preferred alternative to traditional software development methods.
In brief, low-code development:
- Makes it easier to create apps as compared to traditional coding
- Makes use of a drag-and-drop interface
- Requires little or no coding knowledge
- More customizable than no-code
- Can usually be hosted in the cloud and on-premise
No-Code Application Development:
No-code development applications allow non-technical users to build applications as it doesn't require writing code. It is a popular and promising alternative to traditional software development. No-code platforms allow your entire organization to innovate if you are a small business without the resources to hire a professional developer or outsource to a software development firm.
As no-code is a software development methodology that allows for the rapid development of applications with little to no programming knowledge, it enables line of business (LOB) personnel to develop software applications, such as a form or website, or to add functionality to an existing site or app, even when they lack the essential programming language competence and the necessary institutional knowledge.
In order to facilitate quick delivery, no-code decouples programming languages and syntax from logic and adopts a visual approach to software development. No-code development is similar to low-code development in this way. The main distinction is that low-code platforms use less abstraction, which means that they require some understanding of programming languages and some coding and are frequently used by experienced developers who work for an enterprise IT department.
Let’s have a quick look at the major differences between low-code and no-code application development.
Difference Between Low-Code and No-Code Application Development
In addition to developing software products and their supplementary elements, low-code no-code solutions are increasingly being used to construct business processes and workflows. The adaptability of these platforms is further demonstrated by their capability to meet the demands of organizations of various sizes and organizational structures across industry sectors.
So, what is low-code no-code application development, and how can your business utilize them to develop applications and workflows? Let us delve deeper to find out!
How Do Low-Code And No-Code Tools Work?
Model-driven design, automatic code generation, and visual programming are the cornerstones of low-code development platforms (LCDPs) and no-code development platforms (NCDPs). Regardless of their level of coding ability, these platforms are specifically made to appeal to users who are familiar with the procedures and operations inside their particular business area.
Programmers typically write lines of code to implement the features and functionalities that are desired in a computer program or application. Programmers must be extremely knowledgeable about development environments, deployment procedures, and testing standards in order to complete this process.
Low-code and no-code platforms conduct all that work behind the scenes. To build the appropriate computerized workflow, users visually pick and connect reusable components representing certain phases or capabilities (and containing the real code).
Instead of writing line-by-line scripts for each required function and capability, users can construct applications as if they were drafting a flowchart. Additionally, these platforms include tools for experimentation, prototyping, testing, and deployment.
Point-and-click development or just click development are other names for this kind of app development work.
Now that you thoroughly understand low-code no-code platforms and how they work, below is a rundown on the key features of low-code no-code platforms that makes them capable of simplifying what is traditionally a complex process to a huge extent.
Features of a Low-Code No-Code Development Platform
Visual Modeling Tools
No matter their degree of technical training or expertise, everyone can understand any information presented in a way that is powered by the built-in components of the low-code no-code platform. In addition to giving everyone the ability to become a developer, these visual modeling tools and approaches also significantly speed up the development of software applications when compared to code-based development.
The drag-and-drop functionality of low-code no-code platforms, which is one of the key components of streamlining the development process, is another distinctive aspect of these systems. Professional developers can equally benefit from drag-and-drop capabilities, in addition to amateur developers who use it for their projects.
Multi-device support is a feature of a strong low-code no-code platform. This functionality allows the low code development platform to be used on any device that runs on any major operating system. Additionally, it aids in developing programs that work on various popular platforms and devices.
Most low-code no-code platforms provide a range of software integrations, enabling you to connect your data and processes without duplicating or doing manual work. A low-code no-code platform may enable you to easily integrate your apps with various web applications, like YouTube, Google Maps, WhatsApp, Slack, Twitter, and more, via API integrations.
AI and Machine Learning
Numerous low-code no-code platforms now provide built-in or integrated features for connecting with AI and ML models to empower your applications and increase their potency. These platforms integrate the usage of AI and machine learning in app development techniques to predict user actions and further streamline and optimize the development process.
Reusability of Code
The pre-configured modules, components, and functionalities that come with low-code no-code development platforms’ features can be used repeatedly for various applications. For instance, the pre-configured modules provide a few essential features that are shared by many applications. These can easily be used wherever necessary, speeding up the development of applications.
Reporting and Monitoring
Low-code no-code platforms’ reporting and monitoring tools make it possible to keep tabs on your apps' actions and workflows, allowing you to measure their efficacy along the way. This is crucial for both analytics and evaluating the performance of applications. These solutions also offer the possibility of comparative monitoring, which lets you keep track of how well other apps are performing in comparison to your own.
Low-code no-code platforms can help businesses respond quickly to market demands and the changing demands of business users. They hold the potential to revolutionize any business’s tech capabilities. Some of the most tangible benefits of using such platforms include -
Advantages of Low-Code & No-Code Development
#1 Faster Market Time and Accelerated App Delivery
Due to a rich ecosystem of ready-to-use code snippets, form and report templates, simple visual builders, and built-in connections, you can quickly roll out new applications. They enable developers and business users to be more productive and provide the products they need quickly as the pace of business change accelerates.
#2 Create More at Scale
The low-code no-code approach to software development provides the way for creating maintainable solutions that can be easily scaled through cloud-native architecture. Using low-code no-code solutions, you can undertake extensive projects to roll out solutions without coughing up a huge capital, such as modernizing critical systems and automation applications.
#3 Purpose-Built Solutions
Many enterprises get by with pricey off-the-shelf software packages that are often created for a mass market. These chunky solutions frequently include a ton of features but are unable to meet every department’s particular needs. Business experts can create custom apps that fit their own workflows using little to no code.
#4 Streamlined Operations
By centralizing all of a company’s data in an online database, low-code no-code solutions enable the development of several apps that simplify and automate data administration. Managers can easily create web dashboards that display attractive graphs based on real-time data, for example, rather than examining multiple excel sheets to monitor monthly team performance.
#5 Lower Costs
The need for hiring difficult-to-find IT professionals is eliminated by low-code no-code development software. Instead, it makes the most of already available resources (business professionals), which lowers overhead expenses. Utilizing platform-integrated cloud technologies rather than purchasing infrastructure allows you to save as well.
#6 Workflow Automation and Business Process Management
Workflow automation has become necessary in modern businesses, and with low-code no-code workflow automation, the need to write complex custom code to automate business operations and processes is removed. Low-code no-code software helps develop various automation solutions, including process automation apps and mission-critical systems modernization.
#7 Enhances Security
When used the right way, low-code no-code platforms can ensure a higher level of data protection. You should simply take care of securing all the endpoints when integrating your app with third-party APIs and your legacy systems through your chosen low-code development platform.
Even though software and application development is one of the primary uses of these tools, low-code application platforms can do a lot more. Below are some of the key use cases that aid the efficient resolution of a host of business tasks.
Challenges of Low Code No Code App Development and How to Overcome Them?
1. Lack of Customization
The inability of low-code and no-code platforms to adapt to the logic of extremely complex business processes is one of the most frequent critiques leveled against them. The claim is that foregoing customizability results in the development of turnkey software solutions in less time and with less technical debt. Because of this, low code has frequently been seen as a technique for swiftly creating apps to manage routine business activities.
While many low-code systems lack the capacity to be customized, not all of them are reliant on vendor modification. Look for a platform that, first, allows you to connect to any data source you need to connect to, regardless of format, and, second, allows for the full range of app building complexity, from the simplest chart to the most complex workflow, in order to build the types of specialized applications that serve the specific needs of your business.
2. Limited Integrations
In order to consume data and expose it to other systems, the majority of corporate apps must integrate with other systems. However, a growing number of low-code development platforms make the claim that using them will let you create the API components you'll need for effective integration.
If your low-code program is simply interfacing with a few other systems, it should be acceptable. Not to be overlooked is the difficulty of maintaining APIs when integrating several systems. It's thus usually worthwhile to be aware of the documentation your low-code platform will provide.
3. Vendor Lock-In
Many technology leaders say that they delay the adoption of low-code no-code software development because they are worried about vendor lock-in. In most cases, vendor lock-in arises from one or more of the following reasons:
- Dependence on information supplied by the vendor
- Dependence on professional services provided by the vendor
- Dependence on proprietary software or licensed vendor technology
Choosing an open-source platform can somewhat allay the above concerns. The majority of firms will prefer to collaborate with a vendor who can offer contracted consultancy and support services, albeit without risking vendor lock-in. Also, efforts should be made to pick a platform that standardizes your data formats since this will guarantee that you have more exit options than being limited to raw data exports.
It is absolutely essential to have a good understanding of how your business users will be utilizing the platform. If it is used in unapproved areas (shadow IT) or if there is no governance system in place, it could result in multiple issues. These can include everything from information security lapses to data spills and additional problems like property theft.
Some ways to secure low-code environments include performing static code analysis, auditing proprietary libraries, verifying third-party partners, scanning and securing the API layer, and providing security training to citizen developers. Also, while assigning user capabilities, whenever possible, make use of secure-by-default settings and offer access only to those that require it.
Low-Code No-Code Use Cases
1. Customer Engagement Applications
Low-code no-code software lets you create omnichannel client-facing applications that address a range of customer issues effectively and rapidly. They facilitate delivering quicker, more dependable, and more individualized digital experiences that will increase customer acquisition, retention, and loyalty.
2. Operational Efficiency Applications
You can create and connect applications to automate enterprise-level business operations across a range of industries using such solutions. They enable you to replace time-consuming and manual operations with highly automated, intelligent workflows to boost productivity, enhance cross-departmental alignment, and cut expenses.
3. Employee Experience and Corporate Services
Low-code no-code software development streamlines various regular business operations, such as internal service and support, request and audit management, and staff management. With fully automated procedures and unified, up-to-date data regarding staff, assets, documents, and more, HR and administrative teams can work more efficiently.
4. Legacy Modernization
Businesses can modernize, expand, or even replace legacy systems unable to accommodate new complex operations using a contemporary, open, and highly-personalizable software ecosystem that is free from code. It ensures that the enterprise's current core processes won't be negatively impacted by the rapid and painless transfer to a new ecosystem.
5. Collaboration and Coordination Apps
This software lets you create applications that make it easy, quick, and convenient for users to collaborate, communicate, share material, schedule activities, and manage reviews. You can increase staff productivity and efficiency with integrated automated workflows, access to centralized data, content, and necessary productivity tools.
6. Vertical-focused Automation
Businesses can build applications to automate customer-facing and operational activities that are unique to your sector and line of business. Apply highly automated, sector-specific workflows based on industry best practices, whether they are in the financial sector, manufacturing, IT and high-tech, healthcare, etc.
Development times might possibly be reduced by over 90% using low-code platforms. Additionally, low-code promotes citizen development, a less expensive alternative to conventional app development. So, let’s go through all the major steps involved in developing low-code no-code applications.
Steps to Develop Low-Code No-Code Applications
1. Building the Application
You must first register for the no-code or low-code application development platform in order to create apps on it. Most platforms offer a free trial period during which you can experiment with the product and determine whether it's ideal for you.
- You must start a new project once you've selected your tool. Open the platform, then select the "Create a new project" or equivalent button to get started.
- The next step is to select a template for your project. You may rapidly construct a simple application using templates rather than starting from scratch. Some platforms also let you change your application's colors, fonts, and icons to give it a distinctive appearance.
- You can start creating your application after selecting a template. With the well-known visual drag-and-drop interface that allows you to easily choose and arrange various components onto your app's canvas, the majority of low-code no-code platforms make this procedure simple.
- You can begin connecting the components once you've included all of the necessary ones. When you're ready to start building your final application, you may start tweaking and modifying them. Using the platform's drag-and-drop interface, this can entail adding new features or updating current ones.
- When you are satisfied with your application, you can click a button labeled "Build and deploy" or similar to build and deploy your code.
2. Testing the Application
Before being put into use, all software must undergo a number of tests to make sure there are no technical problems. Insufficient testing can result in the creation of technological debt, and so it is one of the most important phases of app development.
Low-code no-code development, however, lessens the requirement for testing. Pre-made modules and pages on these platforms are built with a certain level of application security. These modules have already undergone several unit tests and are constantly being monitored by the vendor of the low-code platform.
All of the low-code vendor's clients use these pre-built entities; thus, they are also being closely examined by them. Therefore, it is possible that any minor flaws will be found and fixed very quickly if they do occur.
While unit testing can be expedited, low-code no-code applications still need to pass a number of performance tests before being released. It is essential to make sure that your data is protected throughout testing and that you are informed of any changes made to the data.
3. Deploying the Application
App deployment is the procedure used to deliver built apps to end consumers. Installation, configurations, and application setup are all included in this step. Deployment can be undertaken in a number of ways, depending on the situation and the available funds.
One of the most common ways is cloud-based app deployment. Any one of the three cloud-based hosting models - infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and software as a service (SaaS) - can be used for cloud deployment.
Since low-code no-code applications are so easy to build, they are increasingly used by businesses, and the use of such platforms is bound to rise in the coming years. Let us have a look at what the future can hold for low-code no-code application development.
With Low-code No-code platforms, will you lose visibility of where your data is stored and processed? Is there a big challenge for security?
Different personas collaborate to create applications using automatically produced code, pre-made components, and built-in default configurations in low-code development as opposed to conventional development. This change in the environment exposed certain specific challenges that must be addressed. Building on low-code raises a few frequent security problems for teams, including insufficient keysize, leaked data, lack of proper secure certificate use, and unencrypted data transmission over HTTP.
The factors that affect the security vulnerability of no-code platforms include:
Applications storage in the cloud: You expose yourself to potential threats when you store your items on a public cloud service. Users of the platform have little influence over how private the platform is. As a result, they cannot be certain that the data will be secure.
Data access issues: Data is the major source of information in the application's functionality. As a result, access to it frequently becomes the primary difficulty. This process is difficult to regulate when working with no-code platforms.
Low visibility: Although technologies are referred to as no-code, this does not imply that no code exists. The users who work with ready-made platform components are unaware of its creation. It is also a serious issue for developers. During cyberattacks, the code can be updated from the outside, which the developer may be unaware of.
These security threats can be reduced by taking relatively easy steps:
- Utilize software from dependable and trustworthy vendors
- Platform certifications verifying adherence to global software security standards are available
- Access control - limiting who may use the platform and what actions they can take
- Deploy extra safeguards for important data
- Putting both the no-code tools and ready-made apps on trustworthy cloud services (for example, AWS, Google, and Microsoft Azure are considered reliable)
- Keep important information out of no-code applications - do not keep important information, such as credit card numbers, passwords, and personal details
- Maintain software updates to make sure your data is safeguarded
Future of Low-Code No-Code Application Development
The global low-code no-code development platform market is predicted to generate a revenue of $187.0 billion by 2030, rising from $10.3 billion in 2019, and is expected to advance at a fast pace, 31.1% CAGR, during the forecast period (2020-2030). This application development process is not new, but a convergence of hyper-automation, digital disruptions, and the growth of composable business has led to an inflow of technologies and increased demand, according to Fabrizio Biscotti, research vice president at Gartner.
Although low-code won't completely replace conventional application development, businesses will continue to utilize it, particularly for quick development and specialized business demands. Although governance and cultural shifts will continue to be challenges, more advanced companies will make low-code and citizen development a primary focus for the next few years and the default choice for most custom app development.
Currently, business process or workflow applications, web and mobile front ends, and customer-facing applications are the most popular low-code use cases. However, low-code has swiftly established itself as a best practice for accelerating the development of applications, as demonstrated by the way it was adapted to COVID-19 pandemic-related scenarios such as employee contract tracing apps. Low-code is expected to eventually cover more ground, including reengineering ecosystems and technological stacks.
For years, there have been only two options for organizations for application development: buy apps ready-made from a software vendor or create and customize them from scratch by hiring professional developers and coders. But now, we’re seeing the growth of low-code no-code (LCNC) software that brings the power of application development to businesses.
Development lifecycles can be redesigned and made more frictionless by using a smart mobile app development platform. The main aim of this app development method is to speed up and simplify the process by making it simple for developers to iterate and prototype. These advantages are available not only to professional developers but also extend to people without any formal IT knowledge or experience.
In other words, low-code no-code allows the legions of curious, creative brains to explore the realm of software development. As more and more organizations require an extensive IT infrastructure to keep up with the times, the benefits of low-code no-code platforms make them the future of development!