Low Code And No Code Apps?
Isadora Teich wrote this article
Something big is happening in the world of app development. It may be opening up, even to total novices, thanks to the concepts of low code and no code. It has always been the goal of companies to get more code in less time.
While this was not always possible, technology is moving us closer and closer to this future.
This is not a new concept. In fact, the book Application Development Without Programmers by James Martin came out in 1982. We have known for decades that things would eventually evolve in this direction, and it looks like that time is coming quickly now.
So, what exactly do they mean by low code and no code, and what’s in the works? And is it right for your application?
Let’s take a look.
Low Code and No Code
In the early days of web development, developers were needed to manually create, change, and maintain almost all things involving code.
Since then, software companies have introduced a number of computer-assisted software engineering tools, fourth-generation programming languages, and rapid application development tools to automate the process of application development as much as possible.
This led to the creation and implementation of low-level code and low code platforms.
Low-code platforms use graphic visual tools to allow users to drag and drop portions of reusable code, rather than having to enter it manually over and over again. This is much simpler than traditional manual coding and has basically all of the same uses.
This includes updating legacy systems and building a wide range of apps.
No code development takes this even farther. With these types of platforms, someone who cannot read code at all uses simple graphics to create apps. Imagine if you, despite having no coding know-how, could create the app of your dreams tomorrow.
Eventually, this may be what no-code platforms offer.
Why Are Businesses So Desperate To Cut Out Code?
One big reason is that there are simply not enough skilled developers globally to handle all of the needs of the world’s businesses.
These days, every business needs to be online and needs to have an app. They are also looking to automate and streamline their internal workings, while likely shifting to incorporate virtual work into their daily operations. There simply are not enough highly skilled programmers for every business to have the team they need to do all of these things.
Some even report a global shortage of skilled programmers.
According to Indeed, 86% percent of employers surveyed can’t find enough skilled developers to meet their needs. Interestingly, over half of the businesses surveyed said that they often end up hiring programmers who don’t have the skills to match the work they require, because the candidates with the skills they need just aren’t out there.
Gartner reports that, at the moment, the demand for business-related apps is five times larger than global IT capacity. The IDC also predicts that almost a third of high-demand IT jobs in emerging technologies will stay unfilled through 2022.
It makes sense that many businesses are seeking solutions to these issues. After all, training employees you already have to use minimal or no-code platforms is a simpler task than hiring people who simply do not exist.
Medtronic Tackles The Pros and Cons of Low-code
Medtronic is a medical technology, services, and solutions company with more than 90,000 employees across the globe.
Senior Medtronic IT manager Purna Jandyala leads a team of professional developers that manage 5 different service portals and 25 critical business functions that keep this global team of nearly 100,000 people afloat. As time goes on Jandyala and his team found it more and more difficult to manage the demand for new features and cross-departmental workflows.
In order to cope, they implemented a citizen developer model which empowers more and more employees with low-code tools. These give them more autonomy and control. They learn to create and maintain digital workflows independently using these tools.
While this has increased productivity, it has not been simple to do. Employees need to not only be trained but then monitored to ensure they don’t make errors.
Medtronic launched this program in 2018, and currently employ about two dozen citizen developers across the entire company. This transition has been slow, however, it is one that we may likely see across a wide range of companies going forward. With anything new, there are obviously growing pains and a lot to figure out as it develops.
Something we have explored before in posts is the exact role that startups and small businesses play in the US economy.
To keep it short and sweet, the impact is huge.
Usually, big trends and society-changing technologies are pioneered by startups, who can work quickly and intuitively instead of being bogged down by massive corporate structures. We are seeing both large corporations and interesting new startups push no and low code.
Last month, No-code NYC-based startup Bubble raised $100 million in funding. Taking a look at how they started and what exactly they do is key. This is likely a story that we will see across most of the other no and low-code startups that are popping up.
According to Emmanuel Straschnov, Bubble co-founder, he and his partner started Bubble in 2012 after noticing that many businesses in NYC were looking to digitize and embrace tech, but couldn’t find the programmers to make it happen. Bubble essentially allows people to build apps for their businesses completely code-free. As of 2021, Bubble has more than a million users worldwide and has tripled its revenue in the last year alone. Straschnov says they will use this latest funding to expand their team of engineers and run Bubble boot camps to teach people how to use it.
One of the major concerns with using a low code or no code system to build your app is it makes your tech IP less valuable to say, potential investors than a custom, proprietary solution.
This is something to carefully weigh out based on the role of your app within your business. As we like to tell each of our prospective partners, app development is not one-size-fits-all.
Could we be looking at a future where almost anyone can build an app with low and no-code tools for any reason?
It is certainly possible. Over time, we have seen many things which were cumbersome, super expensive, or incredibly specialized become accessible.
This might seem crazy, but keep in mind that the first commercial computer in the US was 8 feet tall, 14 feet long, and used by the US Census Bureau in the 50s and 60s. Today, 85% of Americans casually walk around with basically a wallet-sized computer in their pockets. These tiny devices can do things that the largest earliest computers couldn’t even come close to.
When it comes to the widespread automation of coding across corporations, things will likely move slowly. Again, there are limits to what automation can do, and we are likely to discover what those are along the way.
No single thing can ever be a one-size-fits-all solution in arenas as complicated as tech, business, and ultimately the needs of humans and our organizations.
About ChopDawg.com: Since 2009, we have helped create 350+ next-generation apps for startups, Fortune 500s, growing businesses, and non-profits from around the globe. Think Partner, Not Agency.
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