Leveraging Low-code/No-code Platforms and Their Limitations

One of the novelties in the world of software development, these tools don’t require deep knowledge of programming languages and can save developers some time—but they also have important limitations.
July 27, 2022
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This article is part of our Software Development Series.

The software development world, just like any other activity that deals with new and upcoming technology, sees trends emerging from time to time. Some of them don’t really amount to anything and disappear as quickly as they arose. Others, however, can have a real impact on how we do business, at least momentarily. This seems to be the case with low-code/no-code platforms.

As the name indicates, no-code and low-code are 2 methodologies that allow for an application to be developed with minimal to no traditional programming whatsoever. That means development is carried out on the front-end, with the developer making use of features such as drag-and-drop options and menus to select the functionalities they want to integrate and setting up what the application is supposed to do.

As it’s the case with pretty much any methodology a software developer chooses to follow, there are notable advantages and drawbacks that can make no-code/low-code more or less suitable for your project. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Low-code Vs. No-code

Before we start getting into the specifics of what low-code and no-code alternatives can do for someone looking for software development, it’s important to get something out of the way first. Usually, we see both low-code and no-code being treated almost identically, analyzed, and scrutinized as one trend or solution that doesn’t require advanced programming knowledge. Although that last part may be true, it’s important to remember that low-code and no-code aren’t the same thing.

On one hand, no-code provides a way for someone who isn’t at all familiar with programming to develop an app taking advantage of pre-programmed features. On the other hand, low-code solutions can even aid seasoned developers in doing their jobs more quickly. Low-code platforms can range from software that corrects mistyped code, offers alternatives for the next line of code a developer is writing, or even looks at the written code and provides insight into how to improve it.

The fact of the matter is that not all low-code/no-code platforms are alike and, if you feel like they’re a good option for your project and are looking to leverage their advantages, you need to look for the one that best fits your specific needs.

Faster Rollout

Developing software isn’t an easy process. It takes a lot of work and several professionals collaborating on a considerable amount of tasks to get a quality product from beginning to end. By employing low-code/no-code alternatives, you can reduce this time considerably, since the sometimes painstaking work of writing thousands of lines of code is bypassed in favor of an exclusive front-end development process.

This more practical approach also means that less people would need to be involved in the actual development. With less thinking heads, there are less conflicts to be resolved, less needs to balance out and, consequently, considerably less time to spend on getting everyone on the same page regarding several different issues.

Diverse Input

The fact that pretty much anyone who possesses a low-level understanding of what it takes to develop an application can dabble in low-code/no-code platforms also means that a broader group of individuals may lend their efforts and views to the project. I mean, think about it: if you’re faced with an endeavor you know absolutely nothing about, you’ll hardly be able to contribute to the process. 

But if the development is being rolled out on a low-code/no-code platform, C-level executives who have no programming experience but who can contribute with their unique insight, for instance, may feel motivated to look at what’s being done and offer an idea or two.

Lack of Customization

As with most things in life, low-code/no-code methodologies also have their disadvantages. One of them refers to the limitations in customization options. As a rather one-size-fits-all off-the-shelf solution, these systems are evidently unable to service everyone who’s in need of software development. 

They do offer some customization features, evidently. However, if you choose to develop your application from beginning to end with a team of software engineers, you’ll be able to have each and every component tailored to your own business needs.With low-code/no-code, you’ll never get that. 

Platform Dependency

Another issue with these platforms is that you’ll be limited to what the low-code/no-code platform has to offer for every step of the development. This could be in terms of the visual presentation of your application, the actions you’re planning for it, the integration features that you’re looking to attach to it, and so on. 

As with the customization issue, a dedicated team of developers working on an application won’t be limited by any pre-programmed platform. This means that your project can do virtually anything you imagine, providing you give your software developers and engineers the necessary tools, time, and budget to accomplish it.

Whether it will be a true revolution or a temporary method for rolling out applications in a shorter time frame, the use of low-code/no-code platforms gained a considerable amount of popularity in the world of software development. Knowing how to leverage their advantages and bypass the eventual setbacks will definitely help you make use of these tools to improve your code, gain time, and deploy even better applications.

More related articles on our Software Development Series.

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