In the last decades, the importance of software has increased a lot. We use programs, mobile apps, and web apps every day for the simplest operations, like ordering food, taking the bus, or chatting with friends. During these years, the way of building apps and programs has been only one: a traditional software development process that wanted professional developers committed to getting an education in software development first, growing their coding skills, and then writing every single line of code manually.
With time, however, things have changed. Today, we have tools, and in particular no-code tools, that allow users to get engaged in the application development process even if they don't have an education in traditional coding, even if they have poor coding skills.
No-code platforms allow anyone who has or doesn't have some coding knowledge to create applications: in this article, we're about to discover how they work. However, the advent and growth of no-code tools raise a question: is the no-code movement killing traditional coding or coding at all?
What is the no-code movement?
No-code solutions are such a precious tool and opportunity for any type of user that they have become very popular in no time. No-code tools are being implemented in every business reality to allow citizen developers to improve business processes, company productivity, and workflows, create apps for their customers, and create mobile apps to be sold or launched on the major app stores.
We are witnessing a real no-code movement. We call the no-code movement the new trend in the software development sector we've just described. The no-code movement is also causing a sort of democratization of app development and coding. More and more people have access to software development thanks to the no-code platforms at their disposal.
But what are the characteristics of the no-code movement?
In the no-code movement, no-coders - that is, people with zero or little coding knowledge and technical skills- are becoming capable of building apps and websites that have the same quality as the ones created by professional developers. Instead of using traditional coding, citizen developers (citizen developers is another way of calling non-developers who use no-code platforms to create software) can exploit a visual interface and drag-and-drop functionality to assemble pre-built software blocks without writing a single line of code.
Is this a complete revolution in the world of software development? Not really. When the World Wide Web was first created, its creator wanted it to be accessible to everyone. For years, however, it wasn't like that. People who were capable of using the web were a minority, and those capable of creating things on it were an even smaller number.
Things started to change when the first no-code solutions arrived on the market. However, these solutions needed to be more to start a no-code movement: the first no-code tools we had were online services that allowed non-developers to create websites. But no no-code platform that allowed no-coders to create real applications has been there for years.
With the no-code tools we have today; instead, we can create not only websites but also web apps and mobile apps. We can create software, which is why we can speak about a no-code movement today. As we've mentioned many times, the tools that make the no-code movement possible are low-code and no-code platforms. But what are they, and what are the differences between the two?
What are no-code and low-code?
Low-code and are similar in their objectives, but there are some important differences between the two software development approaches. Low-code tools are app development platforms that allow users with little coding knowledge and technical skills to significantly reduce the amount of code they need to write manually.
Low-code platforms are meant to simplify and fasten the application development process for beginner or experienced software developers rather than allow any non-developer to build apps. Low-code tools, therefore, provide some visual no-code development tools. However, beginners or professional developers still need to be able to understand the code, edit it, and also manually write part of it.
The no-code development platform approach differs from the one allowed by low-code platforms because it is the one that truly allows building apps without writing a single line of code. No-code tools work just as we've mentioned: providing you with pre-built software development blocks that you can assemble in a visual interface and drag-and-drop features. Does it mean that code disappears when you use no-code platforms? Not at all. It only means that no-code tools would automatically create the code for you.
With no-code tools, there are no required technical skills, coding knowledge, or language programming knowledge required. These tools allow non-developers to embark on the application development process and build apps to launch in the main stores or to use as internal tools to improve the company's productivity and business processes.
No-code platforms and no-code tools make the no-code movement possible if we take it to mean a trend that simplifies the software development process for all subjects: professional developers and non-developers. No-code tools are, however, the ones that are democratizing app development the most, providing no-coders with what they need to be software developers even if they haven't any education in the field, even if they have zero coding knowledge.
Benefits of no-code platforms
The reason why low-code platforms and no-code tools are so widely utilized in every context is that they can offer a lot of benefits. What are they?
Working with both low-code platforms and no-code tools is faster than the traditional development process for both professional developers and non-developers. Writing every single line of code manually is a hard and long job, even for the most experienced software developers. It is undeniable that, whether you are a beginner or an experienced software developer, being able to use drag-and-drop features and a visual coding instead of writing custom code manually can save you a lot of time.
When time is reduced, costs are also lowered. This is one main reason why no-code development is cost-saving when compared to traditional development. But there are also other reasons:
- Relying on no-code tools, you can identify citizen developers within your company and create apps for your business processes or workflow automation without hiring professional developers. Citizen developers are no-coders employees that, thanks to no-code tools and no-code solutions, can create software and enhance your company's digital transformation.
- Even when you need to hire a professional software developer when they opt for no-code solutions, they can quicken their process and lower the cost.
- With no-code development platforms, software maintenance and updating costs are also lowered.
The no-code movement empowers motivated employees who, thanks to no-code platforms, are capable of following their ideas and giving shape to what they need to improve the business processes they deal with daily.
With no-code development, software developers and citizen developers have the possibility to create the exact software tool they need for, for example, enhancing their workflow automation. The alternative would be to download an existing software or app and adapt their workflow to it. As a direct consequence, no-code development also increases productivity.
No-code development is accessible to anyone with little technical skills. This is the main difference between both low-code platforms and traditional development ones, where deeper coding knowledge is required.
Flexibility and scalability
No-code platforms also ease the software updating process. This is extremely important in a world where new apps are introduced every day, with new functionality, and the market demand changes on a weekly basis.
No-code software development makes you autonomous: you don't need third parties apps, you don't need to hire external software developers, and you can create the exact internal tools you need to run and manage your company and customers.
Types of no-code platforms and tools
Because the no-code movement, with all the benefits it can bring to your business, is only possible thanks to no-code tools, it is worth discussing the prominent types of no-code tools.
Single, tiny and repetitive steps often make business processes. Automating these steps can improve the workflow and free it from the possibility of human error. Some of the most common types of no-code tools are those that allow this type of digital transformation within a company.
Many no-code platforms are aimed at allowing users to create websites, even complex ones, without having to write code. They use templates and drag-and-drop functionalities so citizen developers can visualize what they are creating at any time.
Marketing campaigns, especially when it comes to digital marketing, can be hard to develop, but once everything is put in order, running the campaign is usually a matter of sending tons of emails or publishing a lot of social media posts. No-code tools make it possible for no-coders to automate these processes without relying on an external tool or hiring a software developer.
No-code solutions are often automation tools: thanks to some no-code platforms, citizen developers can address the tasks that can be automated, create the no-code software they need, and improve their productivity with full autonomy.
There are many no-code platforms that allow users to create payment processes without writing code. A no-code tool like this would make collecting payments from customers quick, efficient, and - above all - secure.
Top no-code tools
Speaking of the types of no-code tools at your disposal, we can only recommend what we've reviewed as the best one. After all, instead of having a different no-code app for every type of software automation you need, it is preferable to be able to count on one that's powerful and versatile enough to allow citizen developers and professional software developers to create any type of automation they need. AppMaster is every type of no-code tool we've described above and more.
Unlike low-code tools (that require some custom code), AppMaster provides any software developer with everything they need to create the no-code app they need without writing a single line of code. AppMaster is a no-code app that doesn't require any coding skills. Its visual interface and drag-and-drop features allow citizen developers with no coding knowledge to create the no-code apps and internal tools they need. The no-code platform would create source code automatically in the background and provide access to it.
The main reason AppMaster is regarded among the top no-code tools is that it provides full freedom regarding creativity and property. AppMaster doesn't limit your development process: the pre-built software blocks and integration are so many that you can customize your project even in the tiniest detail. The access to the code makes you the only owner of your project (you could even export the code if you like and use it on a code editor of your choice). As mentioned, with AppMaster, you can create many different projects with a single no-code platform: backend, mobile apps, and web apps.
Will the no-code movement kill developers' jobs?
Are no-code platforms doing what robots did in the factories? Are they "stealing" professional software developers' jobs?
No-code technologies are something rather new in the digital transformation industry, but experts say it isn't just a temporary trend, but it's here to stay.
The growth of no-code platforms is expected to be so huge that they will become utilized by any software developer, even professional ones. But does it mean that no-code tools are going to kill software developers' jobs?
Let's first take a look at how things are in the present day: today, with the no-code movement already kicked in but still in its early stages, the demand for software developers with traditional coding knowledge and technical skills is still extremely high (so high that no-code technologies are used to cover for the demand when software developers aren't available).
But what about the future? Do software developers need to worry about their jobs? Experts seem to believe that it would be quite the opposite, that is, that no-code platforms will be a resource for software developers and coders. In fact, articles about the no-code movement are highlighting two factors concerning the possibility of no-code solutions killing developers' jobs:
- That software developers are and will still be necessary
- That no-code platforms are beneficial for software engineers too.
Why traditional full-stack developers are still necessary
Although no-code platforms and low-code tools can provide great flexibility, they may also present some limitations (especially for complex projects). This is particularly true when we speak about low-code platforms. This gap can be filled only by software developers who keep on having an advantage when we compare their expertise and knowledge with no coders.
Not every application is suitable for no-code solutions: for example, a no-code product may not have the custom capabilities you need for customer-facing software. These are the cases where software engineers are still necessary.
After all, as Vlad Magdalin, founder of WebFlow, claimed during an interview for TechRepublic, it is still not possible to create any kind of software with no-code apps. Even though the no-code app industry is growing exponentially, we are still not at the point where a visual interface and a set of drag-and-drop functionalities can allow us to create any software you can think of.
Why are no-code technologies good for developers?
No-code platforms are not designed to kill developers' jobs. The aim behind no-code tools is to provide any programmer with the no-code tool they need to enhance their process. If they don't have any coding competence, it means that no-code tools make programming possible for them. If they are experienced programmers, it means that no-code tools make their process a lot easier and quicker, cutting out a lot of boring manual coding.
But what are the benefits of no-code tools for developers?
- Cutting out boring tasks
Coding isn't always exciting; most of the time, it's just a matter of repeating the same boring task. No-code platforms cut off all the boring passages of traditional coding by providing you with a library of components that are ready to use. Instead of writing code, you can use drag-and-drop functionality to implement the automation or function you like. Developers, this way, can get the results they want more quickly, avoiding burnout.
No-code tools can also enhance teamwork because they are just built for that (or at least, the top no-code tools have features that improve teamwork and make it smoother). Working on the same developing project in a team isn't always easy, especially if the developers aren't all located in the same office or building. These days, remote teamwork is very frequent: developers from any part of the world can work together on the same project, but their work can be efficient only if they can count on a no-code tool provided with top-notch communication and collaboration features.
- Avoid human errors
Errors in manual coding are normal. They always happen: when you perform repetitive tasks, you get distracted, and it's easy to make small mistakes. But with coding, small mistakes affect the entire project. With no-code tools, where the code is automatically created, you simply avoid the possibility of human error. Again, this is something that makes the entire programming process quicker.
- Short coding review
When you write code manually, you always need to code review. More than that, you need to ask another developer (or team of developers) to check and test your code with fresh eyes. This is not necessary with no-code tools: it's a direct consequence of having eliminated the possibility of human errors.
- Focus on the important aspects
You can focus on important aspects of your project and work when you don't need to spend time reviewing your code, searching for bugs, customizing every button, and a simple process. A part of the job of a freelance software developer, for example, is to find clients, communicate with them, send invoices, and more. When you can count on a no-code platform, you have more time to dedicate to these tasks, not to mention that you could automate them, creating specific no-code apps without writing code.
- Avoid burnout
Because no-code tools make the programmers' work easier, they also make it more enjoyable: developers need to spend less time on the same project every day; they can just avoid the boring aspects and enjoy the most creative aspects of software building. This helps them avoid burnout.
The no-code movement: it is not the end of the coding
Discussing what the no-code movement really is has been important to clarify a popular misconception: no-code doesn't mean the end of coding. When you use no-code platforms, this doesn't mean that no code is involved at all. As we've seen, when you use no-code platforms, coding is there, but you are not writing it manually - it is, instead, automatically created. At the end of the day, with no-code tools, the basics of developing and programming are not changed at all. It's the process that, thanks to no-code platforms, can be revolutionized and made simpler, quicker, more efficient, and accessible.
The consequence of the spread of no-code technologies
If no-code tools aren't killing developers' jobs, what are the consequences of their spreading? Quoting the words of Vlad Magdalin again, the most important effect of the spread of no-code apps is the democratization of software development. No-code platforms allow people with any type of education in any field to create their own no-code product, whether it is to sell it or use it internally for their own company or business.
Software engineering has been an elitist discipline for years: during the early stages of the computer revolution, programming languages were known by very few passionate users, people who had grown up using a computer and found the job of their dream once they grew up. Then, software development has been accessible only to those who can allow themselves to embark on a long and hard learning process that often needs to go through very expensive courses. With no-code platforms, finally, software development becomes accessible to anyone willing to learn. This is what we meant when we spoke about the democratization of coding.
The future: what about no-code tools in the next five years?
In five years, experts predict that expects no-code tools to be used by all developers, as the only resource or as a support. We can understand that although no-code tools are already widely used, no-code platforms' spread and development are still at an early stage. All types of no-code development platforms, that is, are expected to become even more powerful until they have the custom capabilities to create any kind of software. Still, this won't be the end of coding because, as we've described above, with no-code tools, coding is still there, there is still the need for people who can understand and write it, but software development is destined to become more and more accessible.
Are no-code platforms killing coding? Wrap up
In this article, we've seen how, at this stage, not all no-code platforms have the custom capabilities to create any type of software. Top no-code tools like AppMaster allow you to create many types of no-code apps and software tools like mobile apps, web applications, and backend, but no-code tools in general - at the moment - can't create any type of software you can think of. That's why there is still a high demand for software engineers at the moment despite the spread of no-code tools.
However, in the article, we've also discussed the future: where are we going with no-code platforms? No-code apps are becoming more and more powerful. A premium no-code tool like AppMaster can create complex projects without writing any code.
In only five years, all developers are expected to have a no-code tool in their arsenal. And yet, this won't be the end of coding. With no-code platforms, coding is still there, automatically created in the background by your no-code apps. Being able to read, understand, write and edit will still be important, and that is why no-code products are not killing developers' jobs; they are, instead, enhancing them: no-code platforms aren't killing developers' jobs, they are becoming resources to enhance, make it easier and quicker, flawless, smoother, and more efficient and cost and time effective.