No-Code: Your Complete Guide

No-code is quite possibly the most disruptive force in the tech landscape today. Frequently touted as “the democratization” of coding, many corporate leaders are looking to no-code development as the future of business. By enabling non-coders to access the world of programming, the no-code revolution fundamentally transformed the technological ecosystem.

But what is no-code? And how do you know if no-code solutions are right for your business? Understanding how no-code and low-code platforms can give your company an edge helps to start by exploring what the term means.

What does no-code mean?

Put simply, no-code development allows users to create digital applications without writing a single line of code. 

Until very recently, such an idea would have sounded like a fairy-tale. Tech has long been the realm of coders—people who have spent years mastering the complex logic of computer languages. However, thanks to a new wave of innovation, any layman can now build their own applications—mobile apps, CRMs, forms, online stores, databases, and more—from scratch using no-code platforms.

Instead of writing code, users can select the features they want from easy-to-use menus of modules comprised of pre-written code. Users simply drag and drop the modules onto a canvas to build their web, mobile, or back-office applications on most platforms. The latest platforms boast sophisticated features and stunning UIs, allowing even the most tech-averse user to create powerful applications effortlessly.

What can you do with no-code platforms?

No-code platforms offer users the ability to design, deploy, and use a vast array of customized applications. 

When people hear the term “application,” they think of mobile applications—commercial products that anyone can download on the app store on their phone. While there is undoubtedly a range of excellent no-code and low-code options on the market to help companies create mobile apps, those platforms are just the tip of the iceberg.

Where no-code and low-code development pays off is in back-office business application design. Savvy leaders know that business processes can make or break a company—and that’s where back-office apps come in. No-code development platforms enable companies to build their bespoke applications to handle any aspect of their business, from marketing and human resources to sales, databases, and project management.

Not only do no-code platforms allow businesses to customize these apps to meet their needs, but they also enable the average employee who may not know how to code to make changes to the platform as needed. By choosing no-code or low-code options, you are saving your IT department dozens of requests per day, and you are empowering your employees too. Talk about a win-win.

Why choose no-code instead of a developer?

If you dream of spending less time and resources on your technology and more on your business, then no-code may be the ideal solution.

No-code platforms allow regular people with no coding expertise to build apps, create websites, and automate business processes. Although the platforms are not a direct substitute for traditional programming, no-code development carries tremendous advantages.

For starters, the functionality of no-code platforms enables companies to create products significantly faster than they would be able to do using traditional programming. Because the code is pre-written in modules, apps take much less time to build so that products can be brought to market on a dramatically faster timeline.

Another immediate benefit is cost. Developers are expensive, and so are IT staff. Putting development into the hands of your non-tech people cuts down on programming costs and gives time back to your programmers—permanently. Your IT department will thank you!

No-code solutions can also improve your organization’s overall agility. Not only can you build apps more quickly, but if your business changes direction, no-code platforms also make it simpler to alter your existing applications. With modules that can be easily switched in and out, your technology can change as quickly as your business does.

Most importantly, no-code offers the opportunity for employees to take charge of their processes. Your staff understand their work better than anyone else—so why not offer them the chance to control their software? Give creative power to the people who know their side of the business best.

Still not convinced? We cover five key benefits of no-code for businesses in another article on our site.

What is low-code development?

Low-code is a hybrid approach to development. Although no-code platforms are becoming more sophisticated, there are still operations that are better completed by an experienced developer. That’s why many companies choose to use low-code platforms. In low-code development, much of the application can be built without coding, but a programmer completes some custom coding to finalize and tailor the project to your needs.

A completely no-code approach is typically best suited for developing simple applications directed at front-end users. Businesses often use no-code for standardized apps with low functional capabilities and little customization, such as forms, event management, or simple online stores.

When a process requires more sophistication and customization, that’s where low-code comes in. Companies might consider using low-code platforms when a program needs to complete complex processes, trigger a series of actions, or interact with other programs such as a CRM. A skilled programmer can work within your low-code platform to complete the necessary customizations and translate your vision for the app into hard code.

Which no-code platforms should I use?

The no-code platform you choose will differ significantly depending on the size of your business, the functions required, the level of complexity needed, and the user experience you want for your people. Begin by considering the apps you are looking to build.

Are you creating a mobile app or website? Are you focused on managing your customer database? Are you hoping to automate your HR processes? Would you like to create an entire suite of customized applications for your business?

If your goal is to create a web and mobile app, the options are endless. These days, the top mobile app-builders on the market can take you from design to launch on the Google Play and Apple app stores without writing a single line of code. Similarly, the market is saturated with no-code websites, online stores, and newsletter builders. It’s now routine to build even the most powerful website using only drag and drop platforms such as Shopify or Squarespace.

The market is becoming equally diverse for back-office applications, with platforms for every price bracket and capability. Once you’ve determined what you’re looking for, conduct some in-depth research to discover a platform that will provide everything you need in one place.

A simple, cost-effective low-code platform with a limited set of functions is likely the best option for small and medium-sized businesses. Look for platforms such as Zoho Creator that offer minimalist design, affordable prices, and functions that suit your business’ specific needs.

Larger businesses should look for a comprehensive solution that is powerful enough to provide the level of customization and data management necessary for large-scale operations. Low-code veterans Appian, Nintex, or Mendix are all excellent options to consider, and Microsoft and Google have also recently entered the market with solid offerings.

The bottom line

It is becoming increasingly clear that no-code and low-code platforms are the future of IT. By offering your business-side people the power to build, edit, and customize applications, your company’s developer capacity will grow dramatically. No-code provides businesses with the opportunity to cut costs, increase agility, and dramatically reduce their company’s IT bottleneck. The result? An organization that is equipped to compete in a 21st-century marketplace.

If you’re serious about reducing your company’s tech deficit and increasing its digital capabilities, exploring how no-code and low-code platforms can make a difference is undoubtedly worthwhile. Are you ready to leap?

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