IT resources are scarce. What's more, companies have to react ever faster to new market and business requirements in order to remain competitive. In practice, this means that companies that have not yet adopted no-code or low-code platforms are losing out.
"LCAPs provide rapid application delivery to enterprises for all but the most complex use cases. They support varying personas ranging from citizen developers to central IT professionals."Paul Vincent, Kimihiko Iijima, Adrian Leow, Mike West and Oleksandr Matvitskyy - "Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Low-Code Application Platforms".
We show you how no code and low code work and which providers are the right ones for which requirements.
This article was written in German, automatically translated into other languages and editorially reviewed. We welcome feedback at the end of the article.
No Code Definition
No Code is a method of software development that allows applications to be created without the need for programming. Instead of writing tedious and time-consuming code, users can use graphical user interfaces to create programs. To do this, No Code Web App Builders have pre-built modules that can be easily customized and integrated. What this means in practice is that people without programming skills are able to develop web-based applications.
No Code is particularly suitable for companies that want to implement their ideas quickly - without professional developers.
This target group benefits not only from the time savings, but also from the low costs associated with using a no-code platform.
No Code vs Low Code
In the context of No Code, users also encounter Low Code. What is the difference? A no-code platform does not require programming skills. A low-code platform, on the other hand, requires users who have experience in software development. This is because users still have to program some parts of the application themselves. The comparison of No Code vs Low Code shows these differences in detail:
Target group of No Code and Low Code
No Code Web App Builders are aimed at a target audience that has no or almost no programming skills. This includes end users, small businesses, startups, and executives who want to develop simple apps quickly and cost-effectively. In contrast, low-code platforms are more suitable for experienced developers and require prior programming knowledge. Enterprises can create applications more efficiently with low-code.
Design/build of No Code and Low Code
The design of the tools, which allow applications to be created without code, works with so-called visual modeling. This means: users resort to graphical modules and systems to design code. Low code tools, on the other hand, also have this modular structure. However, users have to program certain parts of an application themselves.
In practice, this means that you can work more easily and quickly with No Code platforms without any programming knowledge. However, compared to Low Code, they have less freedom in design.
Advantages of a No Code Platform
A platform that allows companies to develop applications without IT skills has these advantages:
Cost savings with No Code
Compared to traditional software development, a "no code platform" reduces costs by eliminating the need for experienced programmers. What's more, because users can get applications up and running faster with no-code tools and thus access the functions they need sooner, companies optimize their processes. Depending on the application, this can bring financial benefits.
Ease of use of No Code
No-code platforms are intuitive and user-friendly. Users can start developing applications without any prior knowledge. Tools available on the market cover all relevant frameworks such as React, Vue.js, Angular, Flutter and Dart. It does not matter whether it is clean code or legacy code.
Flexibility within the system with No Code
No code systems are flexible. Companies can make adjustments without much effort. By visually modeling the elements, they can easily integrate changes.
Disadvantages of a No Code Platform
The platforms have these disadvantages:
Since users have only pre-built modules to design an application, the possibilities are limited. Therefore, depending on the requirements of your project, you may not be able to implement the features you need.
In principle, no code tools can connect databases and APIs in a user-defined way. However, with a complex no code database, many tools have their limits. They lack flexibility and compatibility.
Typically, a No Code Solution is tied to a specific platform. Once integrated into this platform, it is often difficult to transfer projects to another environment. This can lead to complications as the entire project may need to be rebuilt. A lack of ability to move can also make it difficult to integrate with another pre-existing system.
Low code for more flexibility
As a rule, companies can compensate for these disadvantages by using low code. This is because low code is significantly more flexible and allows more individual adjustments.
No Code and Low Code Platform Provider
The main suppliers on the market include:
Salesforce is a leading provider of low-code solutions. The suite includes low-code and traditional development tools. Salesforce regularly offers new features through updates and has a strong platform economy with an extensive marketplace and developer community. This makes Salesforce a popular choice for medium and large enterprises already using its CRM products.
Microsoft Power Apps
Microsoft Power Apps is a leading low code platform, including Dataverse data service. Power Apps is primarily targeted at Citizen Developers, but also offers a wide range of tools for professional developers. Microsoft Power Apps has the largest user base of any low code platform due to the number of enterprise users of Microsoft 365 and Dynamics. Microsoft offers a strong business and product strategy, platform extensibility through AppSource, and community initiatives such as PCF Gallery.
OutSystems is a low-code development approach that enables the creation of applications and components of any complexity. The platform offers multi-experience development and AI-assisted development, among other features. OutSystems has customers in various industries, especially banking, finance and insurance.
Mendix is a leading low-code company that provides a platform for both citizen developers and professional developers. In doing so, it provides app services and solutions from the Mendix Marketplace library. Mendix supports multi-cloud, on-premise deployments and multi-experience app development. Mendix customers are spread across companies of various sizes, mainly in the finance and manufacturing industries.
Saas.do is - as the name suggests - a No Code SaaS platform that enables visual programming. The structure of the app is defined by entities and data fields organized in a clear database. The platform offers Process automation and integrations with other tools and applications. Saas.do is especially suitable for companies that want to create custom, powerful applications without programming knowledge.
AppSheet is a no-code platform that allows users to enter their data into spreadsheets. With features like location logging, image capture and barcode scanning AppSheet offers a wide range of possibilities to implement applications and ideas.
Airtable allows people without programming knowledge to set up spreadsheets and databases. The software is also suitable as a collaboration tool, since several users can access it and work together simultaneously.
Ninox is a powerful tool for easily creating software with no or minimal code. It allows integrating and customizing departments such as CRM, ERP, HR, Accounting, Sales and PM to streamline operations. Ninox also offers features to promote team collaboration and service integrations, such as Google. With the software, companies can build a digital organization and work more efficiently.
Bubble.io is a no-code web application builder that allows users to create complex web applications and mobile apps without any programming knowledge. Besides, Bubble.io offers a no-code programming language, making it suitable for industry experts as well. The main features and functions include object-oriented development, integration of APIs, hosting and the simple design of user interfaces.
Glide is a no code mobile app builder for easy creation of mobile apps based on spreadsheets. With Glide, users can create their data directly from Google Sheets and create a responsive and user-friendly app. Glide works closely with Jetboost and Parabola to provide additional features and integrations.
Microsoft Power Apps
With Microsoft Power Apps, users can create any form of application without writing a single line of code. The platform offers a wealth of features such as visual modeling, automation of processes, and the ability to scale created applications without limitations.
Unidy is a tool designed specifically for brands to collect, centralize and monetize zero and first party user data. In addition, the tool offers specific features such as the creation of reports and alerts, as well as a clear dashboard.
Synesty is a no code SaaS that allows users to create complex data integration processes without programming. The platform supports the integration of various interfaces and systems to automate data exchange. Examples of use cases are store manager, enterprise resource planning and automated data exchange processes.
Caspio is a no-code SaaS that enables users to build scalable, secure and reliable online database apps. The platform runs on SQL Server and AWS to provide high performance, compliance and security. Caspio offers features such as intuitive visual modeling of apps, unlimited online database apps, and data visualization with charts and reports. The software can integrate with other services such as AWS S3, OneDrive, Google Drive, PayPal, Stripe, and Zapier.
Quickbase is a web app builder that focuses on data protection. The tool offers built-in functionality to support compliance and certifications such as HIPAA, DFARS, and SOC 1 & 2.
Knack makes it easy to create database-driven mobile applications. The tool offers a variety of templates that can be customized, workflow tools and payment systems. One of Knack's greatest strengths is its flexibility - you can seamlessly integrate it with other tools like Zapier and MailChimp.
Process Street is a process and workflow management software. Here, automations, bidirectional information flow and the visual representation of complex data facilitate daily work. The tool is particularly suitable for creating apps for inventory management, equipment inspection, safety audits, supply chain visibility, warranty management and logistics management.
All other providers can be found in a detailed presentation in the "Magic Quadrant of the market research company Gartner.
How Companies choose the right No Code Platform
Basically, a no-code platform should meet the requirements and goals of a project. For this purpose, the application should, for example
- enable efficient management and maintenance of the project,
- Allow projects to be approached in a scalable manner,
- can be seamlessly integrated into other required systems,
- provide a high level of security to protect data,
- via drag-and-drop and an intuitive Workflow management dispose
- Provide reliable customer service that quickly helps with questions and problems,
- Provide opportunities for testing to ensure that the software will work over the long term, and
- Have a price that is in line with the savings from the software.
As a matter of principle, companies should also consider the investment in training and building up an internal competence center as an initial investment, as this is the only way to save external costs and internalize skills in the long term.
Cost of No Code SaaS
The cost of SaaS solutions that enable companies to build applications without programming skills ranges from free to several thousand euros per month. A higher price range usually means more features, support and opportunities to scale secure applications. Companies should therefore carefully compare the features and prices of providers and choose the one that best suits their needs.
Language models: Do low-code/no-code platforms wobble?
Large Language models like GPT-4 are getting better at understanding and generating human-like text, a development that is raising the bar in the pro coding space. By providing intelligent auto-completion, error detection, and even automatic code generation, these language models greatly simplify the task of writing high-quality professional code - even for less experienced developers.
The learning curve traditionally associated with pro-coding is flattening out, enabling novices to build sophisticated applications quickly and efficiently. Therefore, the need for low-code and no-code platforms, which are primarily designed to help non-coders build applications, may decrease.
Not only do large language models provide a productivity boost for pro coders, they also maintain the flexibility and customization that pro coding offers.
Low-code and no-code platforms often reach their limits when it comes to delivering highly customized or complex functionality - an aspect where pro-coding shines. With the increased accessibility and usability of pro-coding thanks to large language models, the attractiveness of these platforms may diminish, posing a significant challenge to the future viability of low-code and no-code platforms.
No Code is a development method that allows users to create applications without programming knowledge. To do this, users use a graphical user interface (GUI) that automates the programming process.
With a no-code platform, companies can develop applications faster without having to rely on the expertise of programmers. This saves IT resources and costs. In this way, companies can optimize processes faster and thus remain more competitive.
Organizations choose the right platform by evaluating their specific requirements, testing different platforms against use cases, assessing usability, scalability and integration with existing systems, and reviewing support and security features.