With businesses looking to leverage newer technologies like artificial intelligence to build software, in order to stay relevant in this competitive business landscape, it created the necessity of democratising application development. Democratising application development with no-code platforms will help not only non-technical individuals of organisations to build a software application but also assist technical programmers in accelerating the development of new software applications.
These DIY platforms have also gained massive traction among startups, where businesses usually are not equipped with enough resources to create a core technical team in their organisations for software development. And that is when no-code tools and platforms come in handy for non-coders who wish to develop applications for their organisations. The plug n play feature of these no-code platforms with rapid prototyping can provide startups with quick turnaround time and reduced costs for their projects of building applications.
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In fact, in a recent report, it was revealed that by 2024, 65% of application development by organisations would be done on no-code/low-code platforms, including large enterprises, which constitutes 66% of the total respondents. The report attributed this growing trend to the increasing demand for delivering better customer experience in this competitive landscape.
Alongside, no-code tools provide comprehensive business intelligence for non-technical folks to create software applications, which offers opportunities for the core technical team to take up more complex projects. In a recent blog post, by Amit Zavery, the vice president of business application platform at Google Cloud, while acquiring AppSheet, a cloud-based no-code framework, stated that because of this whole demand of faster processes and automation in today’s competitive landscape businesses are required to build applications with higher speed and efficiency; however, many companies lack necessary resources to address these challenges. “This acquisition helps enterprises empower millions of citizen developers to more easily create and extend applications without the need for professional coding skills.”
Trailblazers Of The Industry
Although Gartner has already stated some of the key names of the industry, such as, Salesforce, Microsoft, OutSystems, Mendix and Appian, there are a few more enterprises that have open-sourced their platforms for businesses to leverage their tools to build software.
In fact, tech giants like Microsoft, Google, Apple, as well as Amazon have been making headlines with their new developments in the no-code space. Microsoft has recently released the no-code tool — Power Apps, for iOS as well as Android, where non-developers can build software apps without knowing complex languages like C, C++, HTML or JS. Apart from AppSheet, Google has also developed Google AI platform, which allows data scientists to integrate toolchain to run an ML application, and Google ML Kit, which allows non-technical folks to build software on iOS and Android.
Apple, on the other, has created an app for people with no machine learning knowledge to develop training models with Create ML. This intuitive app lets non-coders to view model creation workflows in real time. Apart from the tech giants, some startups are working towards creating NCDPs. CodeNinja.ai is one such modernised Bangalore-based startup, which is allowing non-programmers to develop application software with the help of a graphical user interface.
Besides, there are other companies like Teachable, Accelerite ShareInsights, What-If, DataRobot, RapidMiner Studio, BigML who are developing easy-to-use tools for creating models. Although this whole concept of anyone being able to develop applications without any knowledge of coding sounds appealing, the ground reality is different, where these no-code tools come with a lot of limitations. Here, we will share a few limitations of no-code/low-code platforms for businesses.
Limitations Of No-Code Platforms
Although these no-code platforms are self-sufficient to create applications for businesses, like any other technology and tools, no-code/low-code tools also come with a few limitations.
Limited Functionality — Customisation & Integration
One of the biggest drawbacks of relying on a no-code/ low-code platform is the limited functionality of the tool, which creates a lot of code-customisation and integration hassles for businesses. Considering these DIY platforms do not provide access to the underlying codes, it does not let the users personalise the application entirely according to their requirements. The functionality of the tools are limited to what the vendor companies provide, and therefore, businesses need to keep their requirements limited to their tools, however, if they wish to create something out of the box, then these no-code tools cannot be very helpful. This, in turn, reduces the efficiency of the software that was built on no-code platforms.
Additionally, integration is another huge concern for no-code platforms that do not allow users to integrate traditional infrastructure, and neither do third-party solutions. This, in turn, questions the scalability of the platforms, as it gets challenging for businesses to utilise no-code/low-code tools for developing business-critical applications, which require high-level code-customisation and advanced hosting requirements.
Security & Reliability Will Remain An Issue
With the limited option for code-customisation, it gets difficult for businesses to understand the underlying codes of their applications, this, in turn, creates a security and reliability issue with no-code tools. When developers create in-house applications and write codes from scratch, they are aware of the built and provide sufficient application security and data privacy.
However, with no-code platforms, users have no control or visibility of the application codes, and therefore, promotes Shadow IT. Businesses only need to rely on their vendor offering for collecting, storing, managing and analysing data, which, in turn, can create data vulnerability risks. Sound security is imperative for businesses to stay relevant in this competitive time, and therefore, companies do not end up relying on no-code tools for critical projects and sensitive information.
Vinay Mamidi, the senior director of project management at Virsec, once said to the media that, “with no-code platforms, businesses quickly lose the control and visibility over their critical business processes and data usage….” He further urged businesses to have a strong security posture in place before leveraging the benefits of no-code platforms.
Vendor Lock-In Can Create Hassles
Another most significant aspect of no-code/low-code tools is the vendor lock-in where businesses are tied up with a particular cloud-based environment for their applications and cannot change into a different vendor or a different framework if required. Although a few of the no-code platforms or mainly the low-code platforms are flexible and sometimes framework agnostic, majority of these DIY platforms lock in the business with a strict programming platform, and therefore, don’t allow programmers or software engineers to customise the underlying codes to make necessary changes. Further, it also does not let users migrate to different cloud platforms, limiting flexibility. Consequently, before deploying a no-code/low-code tool, businesses must understand vendor policies and the implications of these platforms.
No-Code Platforms Also Require Basic Technical Knowledge
It is always stated that any individual without any technical knowledge can build applications with the help of no-code tools; however, it is essential to understand that without a basic understanding of programming, users can not image building or writing an application. In fact, to use a no-code/low-code platform, employees need to understand the operation, implication as well as need to have a fundamental imagination that is required to build an application. Although these DIY platforms let users write no-code or less code than a program that has been built from scratch, it still requires businesses to understand the coding concepts to build in software on these platforms. Additionally, no-code platforms often do not support application programming interface, and therefore, it would require a technical brain to create as well as manage APIs and other necessary integrations.
With so many limitations in hand, it is best to say that not all no-code tools and platforms can help businesses create software applications. Although these platforms speed up processes and can also build in solutions for single departments, companies must build mission-critical applications with the help of programming languages written from scratch by their core engineering team. This would not only enhance the scalability but would also create reliable and secure applications for businesses.