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Low Code No Code Movement — Everything You Need to Know

Not a web developer? No problem. Leverage your creativity and join the low code/no code movement.

Low Code, No Code: it's not the title character and subtitle of an obscure Star Wars fan fiction novel. It's a movement in software, website development and business analytics that had its inception in the 1970s.

Today, while it is still relatively obscure, it is more or less present in almost all categories of app and software development.

Also known as Low-Code Application Platforms, the space is made up mostly of citizen developers (and their patrons) building a website or limited apps while writing few to zero lines of code. It focuses on professional IT development aimed at the creation of enterprise-class software products without the slow and exhausting process of writing out hundreds of lines of code.

Breaking barriers to digital innovation

Today, innovation and invention powered by digital transformation play a key role in the growth of business. In this changing environment, a little bit of automation can spell the difference between pulling ahead of the competition by a nose or eating their dust. That's not much of a choice if you have the grit to remain competitive. That is why people who drive tech development and those who invest in it are turning to LCNC as a way to take a significant amount of friction out of the work of building new software assets.

With the need for innovation and invention in the digital enterprise space at peak levels, we face a serious creative bottleneck. This comes in the form of the need to learn to code. At present, we have entrepreneurs, business geniuses, creative powerhouses, and the like, all cut off from the world of digital creation just because they lack one skill set. Coding is a complete discipline. So, how can someone whose brain is already running on all cylinders—who doesn't have time to learn to code—bridge the gap? The answer is no code, low code.

Imagine if Leonardo DaVinci didn't have access to pen and paper, or if Vincent Van Gogh lived in a world without paint and brushes. Surely, they would have found another medium, but we might have been deprived of the fruits of their genius. With no code, we can put new, powerful creative tools into more hands than ever before, and if we're lucky, we might find a few hidden DaVinci's laboring away in the dark corners of our development departments.

At this point, you are probably wondering how programs can be created without writing lines of code. It's a fair question. For the rank novice, it might help to think about how computer-generated images (CGI) for movies are made these days, as opposed to how video games were written in the 1980s.

In the old days, a game like Pong was created by writing a line of code for each pixel, and a series of codes for the behavior of each one. Fast forward to the modern day, and CGI software comes packaged with wireframes that contain basic rules for how bodies should move, among other things. Likewise, things like the physics of rippling water come prepackaged. So CGI programmers and game developers don't have to spend all their time building everything from scratch.

LCNC is a bit like this. It's about using software that does much of the heavy lifting for you. At least, this is what it is like on a conceptual level. We're sure professional developers would not be impressed with that explanation. So, let's get a bit more in-depth.

As you might imagine, there are a number of ways to understand LCNC, and we will look at the movement and the technology from several angles. But for perspective, for the moment, let it suffice to think of it as automation for programming... and if that's still too ambiguous, let's just use the term the naysayers use. It's programming that writes itself.

What is no code?

No code applications make it possible to create apps without using any coding. It is a service that allows you to use a program or application to create other applications using a set of tools. It's a bit like using Photoshop to draw a curved line instead of drawing it yourself, or more to the point - instead of coding a series of dots that make a curved line appear on a computer screen.

Understandably, it's a bit hard to imagine at first. Don't worry. We'll clear everything up. What it is not is some new-fangled computing language. No Code applications are called platforms because they are largely a set of tools packaged into a single service that works to enable the user to create other applications.

So the question is, who would use that kind of thing? The answer is creative people with great ideas who don't have the inclination or the right type of brain to write endless lines of code.

Just as graphical user interfaces made it possible for anyone with a thumb, a finger, and an eye or two to use a computer, no code utilities make it possible for anyone to create applications and sell them to the great wide, woolly world of the internet.

Suppose you are some kind of financial genius and you want to give people an automated tool that enables them to see and understand the stock market in the way you see and understand it. But alas, you know exactly nothing about coding. Then you might use a no code service to whip up an app that gives people the benefit of your financial sensibilities in a can.

Or imagine that you are a painter with a heart as big as Bob Ross's and you want to give people an app that mimics something inimitable about the way you move a brush across a canvas. You might be able to use a no code platform to do just that.

In both of these cases, tools that don't yet exist might need to be coded first. But when they are, you could create a custom app to give your audience what they are looking for.

The limitations of these platforms really are only the limits of the imaginations of the people who engineer them. At this point in the conversation, you might be wondering whether the creators of no code platforms build their service without writing lines of code. Probably not.

No code vs low code

Now, this is where it gets interesting. With no code, anyone with a creative streak and some persistence could make an application they have imagined and offer it to the paying public. No code platforms and tools are for those who know little to nothing about programming and don't want to learn about it. But what about "low code?"

This is why we chose the examples we did in the previous section as no code users.

If you were an experienced painter using a no code platform, you might not be able to find a tool to translate your inimitable technique into an app. Well, suppose you know a little code, or are willing to learn enough to add the finesse your email builder project needs, then a low code development platform might just do the trick.

In brief, no code is like a simple hammer. Very handy indeed. You might go out and build yourself a tidy little cabin with that hammer. But low code is like a professional framing hammer with that nice waffle-iron face on the head and a long ergonomic handle. The first will get you far. The second will require some additional skills, but it lets you assemble more complex and refined products.

Keep in mind that we're still explaining things on a conceptual level, which the experts are likely to take issue with. The idea here is to no-code these concepts into your head because they do seem somewhat magical to beginners.

With no code, the system is easy to learn. It lets you bring products to market rapidly, and it is less expensive than tools that let you add coding to your creations. For enterprise-level use, no code gives you some valuable security benefits. For example, it makes it more difficult for employees to download and use unauthorized software. No code offers limited flexibility in the creative process and no code users tend to struggle more with the system requirements of these kinds of tools.

Low code is intended for professional developers who have some HTML, CSS and Javascript chops, but who want to grease the skids on the production line. It is more versatile and more powerful but takes a higher degree of knowledge and training.

What is the no code movement?

Up to this point, we have described the LCNC world as being made up of "platforms" where developers of various skill levels come to make custom apps. But it might be more helpful to think of the no code movement as a kind of infrastructure. If that's unclear, just look around you. How different would your life be without the pavement, electrical wiring, plumbing, bridges, levies, and so on? That is infrastructure, and it elevates you out of the primitive world where you have to toil and fight just to heat a kettle.

That is what the no code movement does for the digital environment. It elevates you from the level at which you have to scrap for bits of code to build even a simple custom utility. Even more, it has the potential to make users independent of the companies and professionals who used to do all the coding for them. In digital terms, it transforms the average user from a camper into a homesteader. It takes all of the power that computer technology represents and makes it usable for everyone.

At least, that is the goal of the no code movement.

But for you, that is good news. No code capabilities are within your reach while they are still broadly unutilized. That means you have time to become an early adopter, and early adopters are known for pulling ahead of the competition.

In the final analysis, no code is about delivering untapped computing power to people who have value to offer but don't have the knowledge or the brain type to do foundational coding. In a decade or two, you can bet that it will be everywhere. Teenagers will be making dating apps and starting novel businesses on the websites they create. By that time, it will be too late to get the advantages of early adoption.

No code development pros and cons

The clear benefit of no code design is gaining access to the creative potential that was previously locked off to non-programmers. If you know nothing about coding, but have an untapped creative flair for making websites or apps, no code turns the tap on. You will find that nearly all of the advantages of no code will stem from that basic premise. No code gives you power and independence, but perhaps most importantly, it lets you create apps and design functions that don't exist. Also, it lets you create refinements for types of utilities that may already exist but that aren't optimized for a specific use case.

Likewise, there are going to be some distinct disadvantages of no code that we will need to take into consideration. Chief among these might be the fact that if something goes wrong with your creation, you have only yourself to deal with it. There is no customer service helpline to keep you happily on hold for an afternoon. Welcome to the frontier. However, we think you will find that's less of a problem than you might expect.

Now, let's get into the pros and cons of no code in more depth.

No code advantages

The purpose of technology is to become more powerful and more flexible while gradually getting smaller and smaller until, at some point, all we are left with is pure power and a graceful wave of the hand. No code is a significant step in that direction.

No code allows you to:

  • Create workflows and design elements independently and quickly
  • Enhance collaboration between development teams with members of various coding skill levels
  • Reduce the cost of professional development by reducing production time and effort
  • Make development processes more agile, with easier element editing abilities
  • Level the digital creativity playing field
  • Integrate common utilities like e-commerce functions, forms, and more
  • Leverage user-friendly, visually stimulating graphical user interfaces, enhancing the creation experience
  • Experience possibilities limited only to your imagination, making digital innovation much more practicable
  • Get more of your design team involved in the actual design process
  • Cut back on the amount of hardware needed to perform development functions

Realistically, these are only the advantages that can be enumerated. But in reality, with capabilities like this, talented creators can engineer their own advantages. Saying that the pros of no code are limited is like saying that your car can only drive to the mall. In reality, the limits of no code are just figments of the imagination.

Disadvantages of no code development

Any new technology comes with challenges, and no code represents a kind of frontier. Like any frontier, there will be challenges. It's inaccurate to look at a challenge as a disadvantage. They are things that must be overcome, and with no code, overcoming those challenges is inevitable. Nevertheless, here are some speed bumps you will encounter.

Challenges of no code:

  • The cost of the service provided by a no code platform might seem steep. Prices range between a few dollars a month to around $2,000. But the value of the efficiency it offers has to be part of the equation
  • The limitations of existing tools and templates might chaff your developers teams. (That is what low code is for)
  • Security issues can arise with some no code platforms depending on the number of integrations and tools you use
  • Users subscribe to a no code service and don't own the capabilities themselves. Not yet anyway
  • Vendors with poor customer service can cause problems. Check reviews before choosing a platform
  • Some no code platforms create static products that can't be altered or scaled. Once again, it's important to check reviews, especially if scalability matters to you. (This is another issue that low code can address)
  • Data storage is a significant issue. Platforms are likely to be restrictive with it and charge a premium for additional storage
  • It's possible to have too many collaborators on one project, or "too many cooks in the kitchen"
  • Some platforms look easier or less expensive than they are in practice. Make sure to vet platforms thoroughly before signing up for a service
  • Projects will tend to be limited in size, especially when you expand your ideas beyond the provided template

Is no code development the future of code?

Most of the challenges and limitations of no code can be addressed through low code integrations. Sure, you will need to bring some coding to bear, but the flexibility is worth it.

In reality, you only need a little bit of the power of no code to enjoy big improvements to your current process while there are still few serious adopters. That's why Mailchimp offers some easy-to-use drag and drop design capabilities. These make it possible to optimize your digital outreach assets in ways that are impossible with static tools.

Make key customizations to our already powerful services to enhance your process, streamline customer relations, and lower costs. Get in touch today to learn more.

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