Understanding two modern development trends that are helping some teams build faster and more effectively.
Humans are limited by slow biological evolution and will be superseded.” These are the words of Stephen Hawking regarding what some feel is the inevitable AI takeover. On a smaller stage, yet equally as concerning to those affected, Low and No-Code solutions are increasing their footprint in the technological landscape. But what are these new-fangled technologies and are they truly pushing human developers over the precipice of obsolescence?
What is No-Code?
No-Code is the process of software application creation utilizing a visual-based development interface with pre-built components, rather than traditional programming approaches that require at least some foundational coding knowledge. These platforms can expedite software development for non-technical users and allow them to create and manifest technical solutions to their business problems with limited engineering intervention.
Examples of popular No-Code Platforms:
- Appy Pie
- Salesforce Platform
- Jotform Apps
What is Low-Code?
Low-Code development does require some fundamental coding knowledge. A basic component library and elementary content management tools are present, but typically, a user will need to be fluent in scripting or whatever manual coding is needed to achieve specific functionality that cannot be created through visual drag-and-drop components. Low-Code platforms are the middle ground between traditional coding methodologies and the completely visual and user-centric, No-Code development.
Examples of popular Enterprise Low-Code Platforms:
- Zoho Creator
- Salesforce Lightning
- Microsoft Power Apps
There are more popular, recognizable and smaller-scale Low-Code solutions:
- Editor X
How developers work with No-Code solutions
Developers can play an integral role within No-Code solutions through pivotal tasks such as administering and overseeing integrations, extending core functionality, or building and installing custom plugins or add-ons. Additionally, developers can leverage No-Code platforms as a foundational automated codebase, allowing the engineering team to focus on the peripheral complexities and unique feature-sets that will enable an exceptional and highly customized end-product.
No-Code’s primary benefit is its automation, but since software development and maintenance are unpredictable and ever-changing, human engineering oversight and innovation remain a necessity.
How developers work with Low-Code solutions
In a Low-Code environment, a developer will need to assimilate into the visual, pre-built component model. End-users have access to an array of existing templates and drag-and-drop interfaces to build and manage content. A developer’s niche in this environment will likely revolve around adding code snippets and scripts to extend the “off-the-shelf” functionality. Beyond enhancing the preexisting elements, many clients demand more sophisticated, elegant and intricate designs that will require completely custom templates and front-end code.
In addition to custom features, developers can leverage the Low-Code frameworks for quickly deploying prototypes to solidify product viability early-on. Overall, the developer (and the entire organization) should experience more agility, and speed-to-market within a Low-Code environment.
Will traditional development be eliminated?
While No-Code and Low-Code tools do have the potential to reduce the day-to-day minutia for developers and business teams, they seem to play a more complementary role that enables a more strategic and intricate focus from engineering teams.
Companies concerned with speed-to-market for their core features, or who have a subset of predictable and simplified workflows, would benefit most from No-Code or Low-Code. However, for the foreseeable future, nuanced development skills are still required for complex custom code, API and third party integrations, and enterprise-level DevOps oversight.
Ultimately, time and effort are saved when effectively utilizing these solutions, but they are not yet a turnkey replacement for development teams; the kind of human development teams that ingeniously crafted and coded No and Low-Code platforms into existence.