Dev

What Is No-Code Application Development?

5 minutes
Thinklogic
May 25, 2021

Code is the foundation of the billions of mobile apps, web apps, websites, video games, databases, and other tech products powering our world today. 

With new software appearing on a daily basis, it should be no surprise that the demand for working code has far outpaced the supply of qualified developers.

It’s also not surprising that some clever companies found a technological solution to this problem by introducing no-code application development. 

Organizations have embraced no-code app development and the similar concept of low-code development enthusiastically, leading experts to forecast the market for these development tools to be worth $45.5B by 2025.

To help you get up to speed on this fast-growing technology, we’ll take an in-depth look at the definition of no-code application development, as well as pros and cons, examples, and the best available no-code development platforms.

What is No-Code Development?

No-code development is a great way for non-developers to quickly build custom websites, web and mobile applications without writing a single line of code.  In other words, you build your app using a simple interface that allows you to drag and drop pre-written blocks of code to create the functionality you need. 

No-code development allows you to focus on what you want your app to do, instead of figuring out the technical details of how to make it happen.  

This works because most apps are built using different combinations of a standard set of operations such as data entry, scheduling, data retrieval, product display, purchasing, and payment processes - as well as visual elements like buttons, videos, and text blocks.

No-code platform developers write the code for these app elements and embed them as part of the platform, so all you have to do is use the platform’s visual interface to pick the building blocks you need and rearrange them to fit your app. You’ll have to provide the text, images, and data sources, but the code is all taken care of for you.

With no-code development, anyone can build apps regardless of their technical background or coding expertise.

Low-code vs No-code: The Difference

No-code and low-code development are often mentioned together in articles and industry reports, but they’re not interchangeable. Instead, the two terms describe different app development methods with unique purposes and use cases. To help you distinguish between the two, let’s take a look at low-code vs no-code.

Low-code development is meant to help developers automate routine coding tasks so they can focus more time on customization and complex operations. 

Low-code platforms contain many pre-built code modules that take care of basic app functionality, but you still need to write code for complex features and advanced tasks like integrations with other systems, apps, and databases.

Many companies use low-code development platforms to help their IT teams speed up the creation of things like app interfaces and visual elements to quickly develop working prototypes. Low-code development is a great way for developers to build complex apps more efficiently. 

In contrast, no-code development is intended to help people who know what they want their app to do but lack the technical skillset needed to actually build it.

With the help of a no-code platform, you can quickly engineer and deploy your app without writing any code at all. No-code development is a great way to build prototypes or apps with simple features.

No-code development is a favorite development strategy for small and medium-sized businesses seeking to build mobile and web apps to improve manual internal processes or develop simple customer-facing applications without hiring an expensive team of coding experts.

No-Code Development: The Pros and Cons

Like any other tool, the benefits of using no-code development are balanced by some limitations and risks. If you’re trying to decide whether this approach is right for you, it’s important to understand both sides of the equation. Let’s dive in and look at the pros and cons of adopting a no-code app development strategy.

Pros: Fast, Easy and Cost-effective

  • Anyone can do it

The clearest benefit is that anyone with an idea for an app can build and deploy it without writing code.

  • Much faster than traditional development methods

Without the need to write code from scratch, apps can be developed in hours or days instead of months or years. Many platforms automate testing and deployment, too, which speeds things up even more.

  • Easy to make adjustments

Making changes to features or the user interface is fast and easy.

  • Cost-effectiveness

Paying for access to a no-code platform is much less expensive than hiring developers to write code from scratch.

  • Can be a bridge between business and IT

Offering business users the chance to build apps on their own instead of waiting for an available developer is a great way to bridge the gap and foster partnership between business and IT.

Cons: Limited Functionality and Lack of Control

  • Limited functionality and customization

Your app’s functionality and customization options are limited to what’s offered by the coding platform you choose.

  • Difficult to scale and grow over time

As your business grows and changes, your app may need to do the same. If the features you need fall outside the capabilities of your platform, you may find yourself turning to complicated and expensive workarounds to get the functionality you need.

  • Integrations are tricky

It can be difficult to set up and maintain integrations with data sources, additional apps, and other IT systems.

  • Lack of source code ownership

The platform, not you, owns the source code for your app, which can be a problem if you ever decide to switch vendors or significantly upgrade your app.

  • No control over security

Your app’s security is completely dependent on the security features offered by the coding platform you choose. If the platform suffers a security breach, your information could be at risk, too.

What’s Possible With No-code Applications?

To help you see what’s possible with no-code applications, we’ve put together a few examples. This list includes everything from financial tools to product catalogs, all built using no-code development.

  • Quoins is an app that helps people pay off debt and save money.
  • PierShare is an AirBnB style app that helps people find boat docks and marina slips to rent.
  • Think Confluent helps managers collect and analyze feedback to improve team performance.
  • The team at Tosoh Bioscience built an app to help customers understand their high-tech products.
  • YardGuru is a booking app built to help Australians find mowing and landscaping services.

The Best No-Code App Development Platforms

When it comes to no-code development, your success depends on the platform you choose. You have plenty of options, with multiple platforms offering unique capabilities suited for different use cases. To help you get the ball rolling, here are some great, easy-to-use no-code development platforms.

  1. Appy Pie

Appy Pie lets you create everything from mobile and web apps for Android and iOS to responsive websites to chatbots. The platform is known for excellent customer service and helpful testing, deployment, and monetization features.

  1. AppSheet

AppSheet was recently purchased by Google and features advanced auditing, data tracking, and AI capabilities. It works especially well for creating mobile and desktop apps that rely heavily on data from sources such as spreadsheets and GPS coordinates.

  1. Webflow

Webflow excels at allowing you to build and host interactive and responsive websites without coding. The platform offers a wide range of customization options. Use pre-designed templates or build your site from the ground up - the choice is yours.

  1. Bubble

Bubble is one of the best web app platforms available on the market. You can take advantage of the features that allow you to quickly prototype and launch your app while a dedicated customer support team will help you scale as you grow. Bubble is a great tool for building interactive multi-user web apps, and they’re working on introducing mobile app-building capabilities.

  1. Betty Blocks

Betty Blocks offers the flexibility and advanced features to build secure and complex databases, web, and mobile apps. If your app outgrows the no-code features offered, you can transition to a low-code approach to increase customization without switching platforms.

Get Help Figuring Out If No-code Development Is Right for You

No-code development is an exciting way to quickly develop apps, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. 

Not sure if no-code app development is the right choice for your business? We’ve got your back

We specialize in working with organizations of all sizes to figure out the ideal technology strategy to reach their business goals.  

Contact us today to find out how we can help you.


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