Are No Code / Low Code Platforms a Good Idea in 2023?
No code and low code platforms have grown in popularity in recent years as a way for businesses to create applications without having to rely on programmers. This can drive cost savings and shorten development cycles, but it’s important to note there may be some risks involved in relying on no/low code platforms.
In this guide, we’ll review the advantages and disadvantages of the platforms.
What are no code and low code development platforms?
Just like it sounds, no code and low code development platforms are software tools designed to enable businesses to develop applications without needing much — or any — knowledge of the underlying code. They provide an alternative for smaller or leaner businesses that do not have the resources or expertise to develop custom software from scratch, allowing them to quickly create web and mobile applications.
Traditional software development requires professional developers and engineers to architect an application, procure the infrastructure for it and write the code to run the application, typically in a text editor. This can be time-consuming and costly. In low code and no code development platforms, the architecture and infrastructure are often managed by the service provider, and application development happens in a graphical interface.
While working in a low code development platform typically requires basic coding skills, a person can build in a no code platform without any coding knowledge.
Examples of no code and low code development platforms
There are dozens of low code and no code development platforms on the market today. Many are specialized in different kinds of use cases.
Some examples include:
- Airtable – Database-driven applications
- Gumroad – Online stores
- Notion – Task and project management solutions
- Outgrow – Interactive marketing campaigns
- Shopify – E-commerce websites
- Zapier – Integrations between web services
- Appian – Business process automation
- Claris FileMaker – Database applications
- Google AppSheet – Automation and workflow
- Microsoft Power Apps – Mobile and web applications
- Salesforce Lightning – Customer relationship management (CRM) solutions
- WordPress – Website building
Benefits of going no code / low code
The main benefits of no code and low code development are cost savings, time-to-market, scalability, and ease of use.
- Cost Savings – Developing custom software from scratch with a team of developers can be very expensive. By leveraging low code and no code platforms, businesses can reduce the amount of time and money spent on the development process.
- Time to Market – Low code tools enable businesses to quickly and easily create applications, so they can launch faster. This is especially beneficial for startups that need to be agile and responsive in their development cycle.
- Scalability – The underlying infrastructure in low code and no code solutions is usually managed by the vendor. This makes scaling a straightforward process, allowing the business to easily handle more users or data when needed.
- Ease of Use – These platforms are designed with business users in mind, and they require no coding experience for most use cases.
Applications for no code and low code platforms
Sourcing the personnel for a software development project can be expensive and time-consuming. For organizations that don’t have the time or resources to hire professional software developers for a project, no code and low code platforms can provide a much-needed solution.
No code and low code can also be used for rapid prototyping, allowing businesses to quickly test a concept without committing time or resources to traditional development processes. This is especially helpful for startups that are exploring new ideas and testing market fit.
Lastly, a no code or low code platform can be a great option for a case where it might be overkill to hand the project to professional developers. For example, a business that needs to create an internal workflow system can use no code or low code tools to produce their solution more quickly, while allowing the organization’s engineers to focus on more complex challenges.
Risks and drawbacks
The four biggest drawbacks of no code and low code platforms are security, lack of flexibility, lifetime cost, and dependency on the vendor.
- Security – No code and low code solutions are easy to use because they abstract an application’s processes behind user-friendly settings and graphical user interfaces. This benefit can be a liability, however. Organizations have limited visibility on who has access to the application and the data that it exposes, particularly when multiple applications interact with each other. These security issues are common and can be costly. According to Verizon’s 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report, 82% of data breaches involve human error, including software and platform access misconfigurations.
- Lack of Flexibility – In order to allow for ease of use, low code and no code platforms must sacrifice flexibility. This can make it difficult to customize applications to meet a company’s specific needs.
- Lifetime Cost – While no code and low code tools can help businesses save money up front, they often involve paying ongoing fees in a SaaS or PaaS model. Over time, these solutions can become more expensive than building and hosting an application using traditional development processes.
- Dependency on the Vendor – Businesses that invest in no code and low code development solutions become fully dependent on the vendor. If the vendor stops supporting the platform, if prices become unaffordable, if the vendor is hit by a data breach or if customer support quality declines, the business could be forced to make an expensive and time-consuming migration to another platform.
No code and low code platforms are a great way to ship new applications quickly, no matter if you’re using it in place of a traditional engineering team or to augment your engineering capacity.
These platforms offer businesses great benefits in terms of cost, time-to-market, scalability, and ease of use. However, no code and low code solutions also come with risks and drawbacks that organizations must consider before making a commitment to them. The most important thing for businesses to remember is to do their due diligence when building with no code and low code platforms. Need a quick checkup on your organization’s application security posture? Contact us to schedule a review.