As digital transformation and innovation accelerates, many enterprises are adopting low-code/no code (LCNC) platforms as an alternative to traditional software and application development. Due to their intuitive nature, low-code/no-code platforms could democratize development and ease the digital skills gap. Other potential benefits include increased accessibility, greater efficiency through reduced turnaround times, and enhanced automation capabilities. LCNC also appeals to businesses with limited resources. It does, however, present challenges, such as security risks, reliability concerns, and difficulty with upgrading.
Industry experts vary in their predictions and opinions regarding the wisdom of adopting low-code/no-code platforms, but developers must monitor this trend throughout 2024.
Low-Code/No-Code Development to Ease the Skills Gap
Lindsey Robertson, data science, leadership fellow at Women Who Code, says, “The low-code/no-code movement is grounding itself as a significant value driver rather than a mere hype. It’s expected to empower a broader spectrum of individuals to develop applications, analyze data, and automate processes without a deep technical background. This democratization of development could accelerate digital transformation across sectors, enabling rapid prototyping and deployment of solutions.”
She adds, “It’s particularly beneficial for small to mid-sized enterprises lacking extensive IT resources. Additionally, it could foster a culture of innovation and continuous improvement, as employees at all levels could propose and implement solutions. While it may not replace the need for professional developers, especially for complex, enterprise-grade applications, the low-code/no-code movement is a real boon in bridging the skills gap and propelling operational efficiency.”
LCNC to Streamline Development Workflows
John Selvadurai,VP of R&D at Iterate.ai, points out, “A low-code application development strategy delivers real value for organizations on two fronts. The most obvious is the night-and-day efficiency advantages low-code provides; developers can build out and launch applications into production much faster than with manual hard-coding. At the same time, low-code offers a transformatively more inviting developer experience. It’s much easier for developers to implement their visions. With building-block-like code modules in a drag-and-drop UI environment, developers can quickly piece together to assemble entire applications. That’s not hype, that’s value. Those modules abstract access to AI/ML, big data, IoT, voice and messaging, and advanced API-based features, enabling just about any developer to easily leverage today’s most exciting emerging technologies without needing to be, say, an AI/ML expert.”
“Importantly, low-code’s accelerated time-to-market also enables faster experimentation, so that dev teams can iteratively tweak and rapidly determine which new application features work best—often in the time it takes hard-coding competitors to get version 1.0 out the door,” he adds. “In 2024, developers empowered by mature low-code tools will no longer need to bother with the tedious block-and-tackle tasks central to traditional development. Instead, they’ll get straight to the interesting and innovative work they prefer to focus on, and that moves the needle for their organizations.”
Challenges to Overcome
Gary Hoberman, CEO & Founder of Unqork, adds some words of caution when deploying LCNC. “Traditionally, technology leaders talk about ’build vs. buy’ decision-making, with ‘buy’ meaning packaged software from a vendor with duct tape-wrapped code holding it together and ‘build’meaning custom coding, LCNC, or generative AI-assisted coding. In either case, code is copied, pasted, duplicated and customized in dozens of different dialects creating legacy software that will burden each enterprise.”
“LCNC combines 20+ year old legacy code (poorly written and constructed) as a base that you then build the remaining 30 percent with custom code in a language chosen for you. The code is impossible to upgrade, making the result insecure, unreliable and expensive to maintain. You can look at the online documentation to see how something as simple to build as ‘displayed number of records’ is in ServiceNow,” he comments.
“LCNC should not exist as a strategy in any company. Instead, enterprises should be asking how they can create software without a ‘shelf life’ and without creating a legacy footprint behind it. That is solved in a codeless world where software is defined using data, and there is a single code base across all industries leveraging that,” he concludes.