The Rise of Low-Code/No-Code Application Development

low-code/no-code
Photo by Ilya Pavlov on Unsplash

What is Low-code?

Low-code is a software development approach that allows developers to create and maintain applications with minimal hand-coding and minimal effort. It enables users to visually design, build, and deploy software applications using a graphical user interface rather than traditional coding. Low-code platforms typically provide pre-built, reusable components and drag-and-drop functionality, making it easy for non-technical users to create and customize applications without the need for programming skills. This approach can help organizations to build and deploy software faster, with less cost, and with more flexibility.

Low-code platforms typically provide pre-built, reusable components that users can drag and drop onto a visual canvas to create their application. These components may include things like forms, buttons, and data tables. Users can then customize the components by adjusting properties, such as layout and style, or by creating simple scripts or formulas to handle data and logic.

What is No-code?

No-code is a type of software development approach that allows users to create, customize, and maintain software applications without the need for writing any code. It is an even higher abstraction level than low-code, which allows non-technical users to create and deploy software applications by using a drag-and-drop interface or pre-built templates, similar to low-code. The idea behind no-code is to allow anyone, regardless of their technical background, to create software applications without the need for programming skills. The end goal is to enable faster and more efficient application development, while also reducing the need for specialized development resources.

No-code platforms, on the other hand, take this abstraction a step further, providing pre-built templates and workflows that can be used to create an application by configuring the pre-built components, without any coding required. These templates can be used to create a wide range of applications, from simple forms to more complex business process automation.

Low-code and no-code tools typically work by providing a visual, drag-and-drop interface for users to design, build, and deploy software applications. This interface allows users to create and customize software applications without the need for traditional coding. Both low-code and no-code tools also typically provide a way to connect to external data sources and services, allowing users to easily integrate their applications with other systems and tools.

What are the benefits of Low-code/No-code?

Low-code and no-code platforms offer a number of benefits for organizations looking to create and maintain software applications. Some of the main benefits include:

  1. Faster development: Low-code and no-code platforms allow developers to create and deploy software applications faster than traditional coding, by providing pre-built, reusable components and drag-and-drop functionality.
  2. Reduced costs: Low-code and no-code platforms can help organizations to reduce costs by allowing them to build and deploy software faster and with less need for specialized development resources.
  3. Increased productivity: Low-code and no-code platforms allow non-technical users, such as business analysts and domain experts, to create and customize software applications without the need for programming skills, increasing productivity and aligning IT with business needs.
  4. Greater flexibility: Low-code and no-code platforms can be used to create a wide range of software applications, from simple forms to more complex business process automation, allowing organizations to respond to changing business needs and stay competitive.
  5. Better data and business process management: Low-code and no-code platforms can be used to create and maintain databases and analytics platforms, allowing organizations to better manage and analyze their data, as well as automate business processes, such as data entry and workflow management.
  6. Cloud and IoT integration: Low-code and no-code platforms can be used to create cloud and IoT applications, allowing organizations to leverage the power of cloud computing and the Internet of Things to improve efficiency and drive innovation.
  7. Cross-platform compatibility: Many low-code and no-code platforms have built-in support for multi-platform deployment, allowing organizations to develop once and deploy on multiple platforms, such as web, mobile, and desktop.

What are the use cases of Low-code/No-code platforms?

Low-code and no-code platforms have seen growing adoption across various industries in recent years, as organizations look to improve efficiency and reduce costs while developing software applications.

  1. Healthcare: Low-code and no-code platforms are increasingly being used in healthcare to improve patient care and automate workflows. For example, hospitals and clinics can use these platforms to create and maintain electronic health records, appointment scheduling systems, and patient portals.
  2. Financial Services: Low-code and no-code platforms are being used in financial services to automate workflows and improve the customer experience. Banks and insurance companies can use these platforms to create mobile apps, customer portals, and automated loan origination systems.
  3. Retail: Low-code and no-code platforms are being used in retail to improve the customer experience and automate workflows. Retailers can use these platforms to create mobile apps, e-commerce platforms, and inventory management systems.
  4. Manufacturing: Low-code and no-code platforms are being used in manufacturing to automate workflows, improve efficiency, and reduce costs. Manufacturers can use these platforms to create and maintain manufacturing execution systems, quality control systems, and supply chain management systems.
  5. Government: Low-code and no-code platforms are being used in government to automate workflows, improve efficiency, and reduce costs. Governments can use these platforms to create and maintain systems for managing public services, such as property tax systems, driver’s license systems, and voter registration systems.
  6. IT Services: Low-code and no-code platforms are being used in IT services to improve the efficiency of IT operations. IT services companies can use these platforms to create automation scripts, custom portals, and service management systems.
  7. Supply chain: Low-code and no-code platforms can be used in the supply chain to improve efficiency, automate workflows, and gain real-time visibility into the supply chain operations. These platforms can be used to create and maintain inventory management systems, supply chain visibility systems, order management systems, supply chain automation systems, supplier management systems, and logistics management systems.

Low-code and no-code platforms have seen a significant increase in popularity in recent years, and there are a number of statistics that demonstrate this trend.

  1. According to a survey by Forrester Research, low-code development platforms are projected to be used for 65% of all application development by 2024.
  2. A report by Gartner suggests that by 2024, low-code application development will be responsible for more than 65% of application development activity.
  3. A study by IDC found that the worldwide low-code development platform market is expected to grow from $10.3 billion in 2019 to $45.8 billion by 2024, at a CAGR of 34.5% during the forecast period.
  4. According to a report by MarketsandMarkets, the no-code development platform market size is expected to grow from $3.8 billion in 2020 to $10.7 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 22.9% during the forecast period.
  5. Another study by IDC suggests that the no-code development platform market is expected to reach $13.9 billion by 2023.

There are many low-code platforms available in the market, some examples include:

  1. Pega: A Low code platform also enables collaboration between business and IT teams, allowing them to work together to create and deploy applications that meet the needs of the business. The platform is designed to be flexible and scalable, allowing users to easily modify and update applications as business needs change. Pega provides features like, A visual drag-and-drop interface for building applications, Pre-built, reusable components and features, A library of pre-built connectors to popular systems and services, A built-in rules engine for making decisions and automating processes, A built-in case management system for handling customer inquiries and complaints.
  2. Salesforce Lightning: A low-code platform from Salesforce that allows developers to build custom applications and automate business processes on the Salesforce platform.
  3. OutSystems: A low-code platform that allows developers to create web and mobile applications, and automate business processes using drag-and-drop visual development.
  4. Mendix: A low-code platform that allows developers to create web and mobile applications using a visual development environment, and automate business processes using pre-built connectors to external systems.
  5. Appian: A low-code platform that allows developers to create web and mobile applications, automate business processes, and manage data using a visual development environment.
  6. Microsoft PowerApps: A low-code platform that allows developers to create web and mobile applications, automate business processes, and manage data using a visual development environment, and it’s integrated with Microsoft Power Platform.
  7. Zoho Creator: A low-code platform that allows developers to create custom applications, automate business processes, and manage data using a drag-and-drop interface.

There are many no-code platforms available in the market, some examples include:

  1. Bubble.io: A no-code platform that allows users to create web applications, automate workflows and manage data using a visual drag-and-drop interface.
  2. Webflow: A no-code platform that allows users to create and design responsive websites and web applications using a visual drag-and-drop interface.
  3. Adalo: A no-code platform that allows users to create and design mobile applications using a visual drag-and-drop interface.
  4. Wix: A no-code platform that allows users to create and design websites, web applications and e-commerce sites using a visual drag-and-drop interface.
  5. Airtable: A no-code platform that allows users to create custom databases and automate workflows using a visual drag-and-drop interface.
  6. Unqork: A no-code platform that allows users to create and design web applications, automate workflows and manage data using a visual drag-and-drop interface, specifically designed for enterprise use cases.

In summary, low-code and no-code platforms offer faster development, reduced costs, increased productivity, greater flexibility, better data and business process management, cloud and IoT integration and cross-platform compatibility. These benefits make it a popular choice for organizations looking to create and maintain software applications quickly, easily, and with minimal coding.

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Siva Janapati is an Architect with experience in building Cloud Native Microservices architectures, Reactive Systems, Large scale distributed systems, and Serverless Systems. Siva has hands-on in architecture, design, and implementation of scalable systems using Cloud, Java, Go lang, Apache Kafka, Apache Solr, Spring, Spring Boot, Lightbend reactive tech stack, APIGEE edge & on-premise and other open-source, proprietary technologies. Expertise working with and building RESTful, GraphQL APIs. He has successfully delivered multiple applications in retail, telco, and financial services domains. He manages the GitHub(https://github.com/2013techsmarts) where he put the source code of his work related to his blog posts.

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