If you want to develop an app, you would think you need programming knowledge. Traditionally, software is “coded”, i.e. written line by line in the form of software code. However, since a few years there’s another option available – low code / no code development. This approach has the coding part already in place, enabling you to program with pre-defined functions and actions which you typically can drag & drop to build out your application. As a result, software development projects can also be implemented by end-users with little programming knowledge. In this article we will explain to you what low code and no code development exactly means, how it already is being used, and what clear advantages it has.
What is low code and no code?
The terms Low Code and No Code describe exactly what it is. More specifically, it is a visual approach to software development. In a very simplified way, software is developed using building blocks instead of coding. The term “Low Code” has been around since 2014. No Code, in turn, evolved from Low Code. The difference between both is that low code offers the ability to add program code – and typically requires a little bit of technical knowledge. No code development does not allow or require coding at all, which makes it best suited for use cases whereas a business user would need to develop an application.
To summarize, software development with low code/no code relies on the visual creation of workflows and corresponding modeling methods. You can create the desired program behavior by simply dragging and dropping individual building blocks into a logical order. Behind the building blocks is code that translates the building block into a programming language. However, this is not visible to you as a user.
What are the advantages of low code and no code?
Low code and no code platforms were developed to address today’s business challenges. More and more, employees as well as clients expect to be serviced in a tailored and digital way – which drives the demand to develop custom applications. The bottleneck here is that the “traditional” way of development would always need involvement of IT and the business.
In addition, development projects have to be implemented faster and faster. The low code / no code approach has a number of advantages:
- Little programming knowledge: Thanks to low code / no code, business domain experts who only have basic IT knowledge and little or no programming knowledge can create apps that support digital business transformation.
- Conservation of your human resources: Low code / no code enables a large part of your employees to develop software independently. As a result, you are no longer necessarily dependent on expensive and sometimes difficult-to-find specialists, which also relieves your software and automation developers. You can concentrate on the implementation of very complex projects and only have to support employees in the departments if necessary.
- Fast implementation: Due to the simple handling, you can often implement development projects much faster. Your development cycles will not only be shorter, but also more iterative. With low code / no code tools, as intended by agile project management, you can quickly and easily develop an MVP (minimum viable product), which, for example, represents the UI (user interface) of a planned app. The time aspect is also relevant when implementing process automation. If your process changes, the adjustment can usually be made quickly.
- Implementation by the business: The development of software or automation can take place directly from within the business. Business users from one or more departments usually have the best overview of processes or requirements for the desired solution. Once created, the solution can be tested and ultimately, migrated to production. This allows the business to realize results rather soon – without the need of resources from IT.
Programming with low code and no code
As seen in the picture above, you can create an automated workflow without any code. This is known as “No Code”. In contrast, with the low-code approach, where it is possible and sometimes even necessary to code. When developing software or workflow automations with low-code, you can save up to 80%-90% of the coding. In simple cases, as in the example above, and in more complex processes, you don’t need any programming knowledge at all.
However, if you want to implement very complex or specific projects, you usually have to stick to classic programming. You can then integrate the programming code very easily and clearly in the Low Code Tools.
In order to connect different applications with the low code / no code tool, there are often so-called connectors. With these you can easily access the backend of the application.
An example of Low Code: Robotic Process Automation
You can now use a wide range of low code and no code platforms. In addition to the platforms that you can use for software or app development, there are also platforms for robotic process automation. With Robotic Process Automation Tools you can automate individual tasks or end-to-end processes using software robots. Providers such as BRYTER offer you the opportunity to automate both simple and more complex processes. This makes it possible for you to automate daily tasks even with little programming knowledge. Here, too, you can use ready-made connectors to make queries in the back end of a wide variety of applications.
Conclusion: What does this trend mean for our work?
Low code and no code tools can be a good alternative to classic programming. The technology makes creating software and process automation faster, cheaper and possible for everyone. According to Gartner, the trend is developing rapidly, also benefiting from the Covid-19 pandemic. The growing need for companies to digitize and follow trends such as hyperautomation is also leading to the increasing use of low-code and no-code platforms.
Software developers alone are no longer able to handle the enormous demand of business applications. Therefore, more and more companies are starting to enable employees outside of IT to take development into their own hands. You become a prosumer, i.e. a consumer who is also a producer at the same time. The ‘’New Work’’ movement also favors the trend. Employees work more and more self-determined and self-organized. There are fewer and fewer static job descriptions, instead they are being replaced by roles. These adapt to the change and enable us to expand areas of responsibility to include “non-specialist” activities.
Use the trend as an opportunity
We believe in the vision of the “modern workplace” where digitization and automation are made accessible to all employees. Everyone should be empowered to use these technologies as everyday supporters. After all, many years ago we were also given the opportunity to use a computer. This not only frees us from some tasks, but also gives us more time for important things or tasks that require human competence.
However, low code and no code will never be able to completely replace software developers. For complex projects or special requirements, we still need the conventional way of software programming. Software developers have expertise that we need today like never before. However, low code and no code can easily increase the degree of digitization and automation in almost any company.
How we can help
At IRIS Nederland we take information management seriously. Information is the source of every organization and therefor requires intelligent, future-proof solutions which meet the needs of organizations and their users. We keep that promise to our customers for over 20 years now. Whether you are looking to implement a new document- or any other information management solution: we have the experience to support you with such a project from start to finish.
Get in touch with us if you want to know more how our solutions and services can make your organization work more efficient, secure and smarter.