Asking yourself the question “what is no-code”? You’re not alone. After all, the concept sounds almost too good to be true: developing your own software applications without ever having to learn a programming language like Java or Python.
Even your most technophobic employee can become a star software developer, thanks to the proliferation of no-code development tools. No-code development doesn’t mean that software developers will lose their jobs, and it’s not a perfect match for every situation. Yet by making no-code development platforms available to your employees, your business can become dramatically more agile, productive, and cost-efficient.
In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about the “no-code” phenomenon: the definition of no-code, the benefits of no-code platforms, and the most important features to look for when choosing a no-code platform.
What is No-Code?
“No-code” tools are software development platforms that allow even non-technical employees to build and deploy their own applications, without needing to write a single line of code. These tools often feature a simple user interface with drag-and-drop features, letting you easily visualize the development process and define the underlying business logic.
The term “no-code” is often used in conjunction with, or synonymously with, the term “low-code.” As the names suggest, however, there’s an important distinction:
- No-code platforms can build software without the user having to modify the underlying codebase.
- Low-code platforms may call for limited amounts of coding, requiring non-technical users to work together with developers during some or all of the development process.
The distinction between “no-code” and “low-code” is often blurry, and the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Low-code development platforms are commonly used for those applications that are more complex or more important to the business, requiring manual input from a skilled human developer.
3 Benefits of No-Code
1. Democratic software development
IT research and advisory firm Gartner has spoke of the rise of the citizen developer, which it defines as “a user who creates new business applications for consumption by others using development and runtime environments sanctioned by corporate IT.” According to a 2017 study, 76 percent of organizations say that at least some of their internal applications were created outside of the IT department.
No-code platforms facilitate citizen development by letting non-technical users build robust, feature-rich applications, without needing to get a degree in computer science or having to wait for the IT department to develop them for you. As such, no-code platforms make the development process truly democratic, opening the doors to new opportunities and possibilities.
2. Greater business agility
As a side effect of democratizing the development process, no-code platforms make your business more agile and responsive to changing requirements and customer demands.
Enterprise software projects can take months or years to complete, and often run late and over budget. No-code platforms considerably shorten this process, letting you iterate and respond to changes more quickly as you develop applications on an ad hoc basis.
3. Lower IT costs
Good software development talent isn’t cheap, and the costs are even higher when you consider salary, benefits, and the associated costs of hiring and onboarding. Yet having full-time developers on staff isn’t always practical or cost-effective—so what can you do when you truly do need to create new enterprise software?
No-code platforms can drastically slash your IT costs by doing the heavy development work for you. Rather than hiring people yourself or working with a third-party development partner, you can save time and money by letting your no-code platform do all the coding work under the hood.
5 Features of No-Code Platforms
We’ve gone over the benefits of no-code development—now what are some of the features of no-code platforms that you should look for?
- Drag-and-drop interface: As mentioned above, one of the most common features of no-code platforms is a visual drag-and-drop WYSIWYG (“what you see is what you get”) interface that lets users create an application from scratch very quickly.
- AI and machine learning: Some sophisticated no-code platforms make use of AI and machine learning techniques to predict user actions and make the development process even more streamlined and efficient.
- Data connections: Depending on the business use case, some no-code platforms make it easy for you to connect the application with other sources of enterprise data, such as Microsoft Excel and SQL databases.
- Security and privacy: As a corollary to the above point, no-code platforms should follow best practices for security and privacy, keeping your codebase free of vulnerabilities and protecting your sensitive data.
- Mobile capabilities: Many enterprise software applications need to run on mobile devices, or on both desktop and mobile. If you want to develop applications for mobile, be sure to choose a no-code platform that includes these capabilities.
Still trying to decide between low-code and no-code? Read our article on the Xplenty blog.
No-code platforms have revolutionized business IT, making it easier than ever to spin up and start using feature-rich enterprise software. While there will always be a need for human-led software development, no-code platforms fill an important space for companies of all sizes and industries.
With so many benefits of no-code platforms, why not try out no-code ETL development for yourself? Xplenty is an ETL data integration platform that lets users create rich pipelines from their sources or database to their data warehouse or data lake, without writing a single line of code. Get in touch with us today for a personalized demo and a 7-day free trial of the Xplenty platform.