This Computer Weekly Developer Network series is devoted to examining the leading trends that go towards defining the shape of modern software application development.
As we have initially discussed here, with so many new platform-level changes now playing out across the technology landscape, how should we think about the cloud-native, open-compliant, mobile-first, Agile-enriched, AI-fuelled, bot-filled world of coding and how do these forces now come together to create the new world of modern programming?
This contribution comes from Jinen Dedhia in his role as co-founder & managing director at DronaHQ – the company is a cloud-based no-code enterprise app development platform with 1 million+ users with presence in Mumbai, Bengaluru, San Francisco and London.
Dedhia writes as follows…
We are living in on-demand times that are accelerating businesses towards rapid digital transformation and as a result, the IT industry is facing demands like never before.
In this drive to accelerate business automation all while providing outstanding customer experiences, the weight has shifted back to the digital transformation and IT departments to develop more business apps, faster.
These apps need to be mobile-first, deliver personalisation, use AI – and apps that need to be rolled out within weeks… but also the apps that must be reliable, scalable and secure.
So, how do we deal with this surge?
Something has to change in the way businesses approach app development. From ideation to completion, one can simply not afford years, nay, months-long development cycles.
A holistic approach to modern development and delivery solutions is required. This includes (but is not limited to) cloud, DevOps and Agile.
Analyst houses define modern application development platforms as those that ‘enable rapid delivery of business applications with minimum of hand-coding and minimal upfront investments in setup, training and deployment’ – Forrester and ‘cloud services that offer development and deployment environments for application services’ – Gartner.
I feel it is safe to preach about no-code as a modern delivery platform, primarily due to its un-capped potential. There is really no end to what you can do or not do without code.
Modern software development will start with low code/no code mechanism since so many reusable frameworks and components already are in existence, making it easier for business users to build the framework in an agile fashion to suit specific business requirements – and hence, start giving it shape in a particular desirable direction.
What’s in it for the IT department?
Today we see the likes of Google, Microsoft (and now Amazon) speak about no-code as enabling tools for the business folks. While that may still remain the case, when no-code/low-code first started it was all about developers, as John Rymer, VP and principal analyst at Forrester, explained. These platforms allowed developers to speed up their development life cycles because not as much manual work was needed. It was not until two or three years ago that the technology branched off to focus on empowering business users, Rymer explained.
No code tools do change a lot of aspects of traditional IT but they need not be approached as alternatives to IT. True, they enable the business teams to get a lot closer to the ‘processor’ and directly create solutions, however, the IT teams need to see this as an avenue to take off some of the backlogs so that they are not overloaded with requests by quickly churning out applications faster with ready blocks, bolting in the code traditionally when necessary.
To top that, the IT security departments need not worry about underlying security protocols, or the debugging, or maintenance, as cloud-native no-code platforms have already taken care of it.
When this technology is extended beyond the IT and to the business users, such as analysts, administrators, Line of Business leaders, the number of people capable to work on solutions increases phenomenally.
Bring forth the agility
Gartner, in its Hype Cycle for Application Development and Delivery, observed that Agile development and ops are sliding into the trough, meaning building and managing agile teams will become more apparent in the near future.
No Code is right at the helm of it. Agile teams need to couple their faced-paced solutioning with rapid development speeds. No-code fits right in with the graphical interfaces and ready infrastructure to prototype, test and iterate fast, not being susceptible to traditional coding errors and thereby, supporting the key principles of design thinking to solve the problem right and at speed.
Securing the apps built requires an enormous amount of work. With so many aspects to it, it’s easy to overlook an important security element or another. But no-code development is more secure with its centralised app management, regulatory compliances, making it a lot easier to stay in compliance with various industry-specific security protocols.
The enterprises get the desired level of control over application usage, user-level management, remote wipe, content tracking/statistics. No wonder then, Gartner reports predict no-code app development will constitute 65% of overall app development and contributes to a $21 billion market by 2025.
The next wave of apps will need to integrate AI, voice input and other technology. While the cost of development might rise, the ROI from futuristic apps is certainly going to be high by creating an ambient experience, replacing technology-literate people with people-literate technology.
No-code technology is up-and-coming to help organisations and IT teams in their recovery efforts. It is a new way to look at modern development and delivery tools with many companies still new to the concept of enterprise apps. But it’s a technology that will dominate the future by becoming a necessary tool to run a successful business. We are now looking at bringing it all together in a unified way to drive digitalisation at speed with the right combination of data, logic, frontend and APIs.