What you need to know about No Code and how has it affected the software development industry
Software development is one of the most productive forms of articulation of human thoughts. Articulation of thought in code, a language to be interpreted and understood by machines, is a bridge between imagination and consistent execution. The ability to write code requires knowledge of programming languages, programming concepts and interoperability of programs with other programs, systems and actors or users.
Acquiring software development skills becomes a mandatory requirement to build a software program, be it a simple design or a complex industrial application. This looks much like the initial stage of the Automobile industry where car owners were required to be mechanics. With time, the Automobile industry evolved and now all we need to know is how to drive a car and vehicle ownership becomes an easy affair. With software, this has transcended into having an app that calls car to your location in minutes, all you need to have is the willingness to pay, the car becomes available with a driver.
Same can be observed in the software industry. A majority of software professionals want to express their ideas through software, yet, they don’t have the required skillset to build a program. The software industry has matured into providing platforms that help non-technical workforce to validate their ideas by building software interfaces in a way that requires no programming knowledge at all. An intuitive software platform has a strength to help humans to work within early-stage ideas — intuitions.
By providing sophisticated canvases where users can draw, drag and drop components from the available library, the software industry has made it possible for non-technical people to participate in continuous disruption with innovation. These platforms can be categorized into 4 categories for better comprehension:
- Website builders
Internet is a virtual planet. People navigate it via search engines and social media platforms. This context helps to look at the importance of a website on the internet. Just like buildings in the physical world, almost every business requires a website. This helps the business to showcase, transact and operate in a virtual world without incurring costs of physical liabilities. The trend of building websites, elegant websites, has led to a plethora of designing tools like Figma, Adobe XD, Sketch etc. Curating idea on canvas and uploading it on the web as HTML/CSS/JS package requires considerable efforts. The appeal of the idea is diluted as it passes from one desk to another. This has been made easy by software platforms like Webflow, Squarespace, WordPress etc. A person can answer a few questions from the platform to set the context, select templates from the available library or customize it by drag-n-drop. This is all it takes to build a website. Process of translating design and navigation into HTML/CSS/JS package is handled by the platform itself, thus requiring no programming knowledge from the end-user.
2. App connectors
Using multiple tools becomes a necessary evil as the complexity of the business as well as application increases. This requires keeping all the apps in sync with timely and accurate data exchange. While these utilities can be written in-house by a skilled team, it adds to the timeline of the project and eventually to the cost. This has been made simpler by app-connectors like Zapier, Parabola etc. User can simply create an account on these platforms and provide access to the apps he would like to interoperate. These apps can read and write data without requiring manual technical intervention, thus eliminating the need for coding expertise from the user.
3. API Integrations
The emergence of the eCommerce concept has boosted the global economy at an exponential rate. People sitting in Ghana can sell and supply coffee beans to business or individual in the USA. This economy has bred the necessity of payment gateways that can route money from one person to the other in a safe and legal way. Businesses also want to keep their users engaged by sending newsletters, promotions and other updates, this is enabled by email and notification services. Usually, implementing these services in a program means learning the API documentation and supplying requested data in a specific format. In short, a lot of headache for a non-technical person. Fortunately, the software industry is getting richer by platforms providing seamless integrations of third-party software services in a website or mobile app. Platforms like Gumroad, Mailchimp and others are successfully helping a coffee brewer get their money without having them learning the programming language.
4. Business App
With globalization at the highest degree in the history of mankind, businesses require to contact and manage their global customers as well as the workforce. For example, Walmart stores employ more than 2.2 million employees. Keeping such a big workforce focused and engaged on right business practices is an impossible task, made possible by the technical intervention of business apps. Organizations require to have internal platforms that are safe for employees to communicate and platforms where customer information is stored to provide better customer services and build relationships. The need for such platforms requires a very high amount of human capital and financial resources. Thankfully, platforms like SalesForce, SAP and ServiceNow are available to businesses to operate swiftly without getting into the software development life cycle. These platforms provide ready-to-use models and views for companies to build and customize workflows that fit best with their need. Of course, technical knowledge is required here; however, ongoing customization such as changing notification content, event or approval process can be customized by sales team without any prior experience of programming languages.
What are the benefits of No Code Platforms?
- Having no code platforms at disposal to build and validate value propositions of the idea is no less than a boon for entrepreneurs and small businesses.
- No code platform also comes in handy for larger organizations to carry out individual initiatives and experiments without compromising existing bandwidth.
- While providing an efficient pull to the non-technical workforce to the technical arena, no-code platforms also help reduce errors and iterations as the control of building a program largely remains in control of an individual.
- The biggest benefit of the no-code platform can be real-time results. Activities like answering a few questions or doing drag-n-drop for an hour results in a software interface. This is revolutionary as it hasn’t been achieved in any other branch of engineering so far.
What are the drawbacks of No Code Platforms?
- Programs built on no-code platforms usually include inputs of small user groups or mostly one. This limits the underlying architectures and business rules of the interface to a limited user base. Scaling the program for larger use requires re-engineering, sometimes more expensive than engineering.
- Debugging a software interface to analyse underlying flaws or strengths becomes next to impossible as the platforms use layers of code to convert inputs on canvas into code.
- Isolating code for reuse is also a problem as most of the no code program has a translation layer of code intricately embedded in the relevant code.
- Dependency on no code program opens the risks of uptime, scalability and functionality.
- A business with an app built on a no-code platform can have 1000 customers, yet, the business itself is a customer to a no code platform. Customer grievances become more painful to resolve B2C2C business model.