In just the last few years, no-code solutions have grown exponentially. Originally able to serve a small role in the tech stack, a no-code solution can change the technical landscape of an organization. No-code solutions can be used to build responsive, full-stack web applications, manage complex business workflows, test mobile applications, and design sophisticated database solutions. (If you haven’t already, check out our 2-part series where we review some of the most prolific players in the game.)
There are many misconceptions about no-code solutions and what they currently can and cannot offer an organization. Each misconception falls into one of two categories: They either (a) overstate or (b) understate the benefits of no-code, that is, they’re either negative or positive.
Any of these misconceptions can prevent you from understanding where and how no-code can add value to your organization. Given the complexities of the modern development landscape, it’s never been important to understand these misconceptions, their motivations, and the reality so that you can evaluate if no-code is right for you.
So, in no specific order, here are 10 common misconceptions about no-code solutions.
First, let’s consider five positive misconceptions, painting no-code software development solutions in an overly positive or unrealistic light:
- You don’t need developers or technical people to configure it. Although some no-code solutions empower non-technical business users to make changes, no-code tools are still technical and require technical decision-making skills. If you’ve got a no-code solution that allows you to integrate with another system, you’ll still need to know about authentication flows and determine which one will be optimal for your needs. If your no-code solution is focused on database design, you’ll need to know some data modeling theory, at least at a high level. Just like code, no code adds technical debt. Poorly architected no-code solutions can be just as detrimental as code.
- They can be implemented by anyone. Any software implementation, regardless of its ease of use, needs to be introduced to your tech stack the same way anything else is. It takes analysis, discovery, configuration, and governance. Implementing any tool, without guidance from your IT team, could spell disaster.
- They don’t need governance. Just because a solution is no-code, doesn’t mean that proper governance and change management can be ignored. The truth is, an unmanaged no-code solution can wreak just as much havoc as a code-based solution. They still require a governance framework to manage decisions, introduce changes, report issues, prioritize enhancements, and track changes.
- They’ll replace code eventually. I don’t have a crystal ball, but I believe that code solutions will always be a core part of an organization’s stack. For most organizations, it’s simply too flexible to do away with together. In the same vein, no-code solutions are adopted more and more today because of their ease of use and expanding use cases. Organizations should first consider the problem they are solving and then choose the best solution for it. It can be tempting to use no-code for everything, but if it’s not the best way to address your identified problem, it’s not worth it. If your organization is already well equipped to handle full stack, code-based solutions, then it may serve you well to continue.
- You can make changes in production. Don’t do it. Full stop. As with code-based solutions, no-code still needs to go through the same development and deployment methodology that your other solutions do. To support a mature software development lifecycle, many no-code solutions offer test environments and deployment capabilities to help move along changes to production.
That said, here are five misconceptions that negatively impact the adoption of no-code solutions:
- They won’t handle complex use cases. From integrations to multi-step workflows, no-code solutions can do it all. There is a popular misconception about no-code solutions being limited in their functionality. While there are some trade-offs in flexibility when it comes to no-code versus code, there are many more situations that they do handle than situations that they don’t. Chances are, your use case isn’t one that no-code could not handle.
- They are more expensive. While no-code solutions may have a higher up-front cost than a free, open-source solution, consider your overall costs in resources and time. Code requires code skill sets, which can be challenging and expensive to acquire. In contrast, no-code solutions come with less technical debt and empower more people to become citizen developers. Organizations are more likely to implement no-code without increasing headcount.
- They’re not customizable to my specific use case. In some cases, you may have a point. But what does that give up? No-code solutions offer customization where it matters and standardization where it can. It’s by design that they don’t provide true freedom of customization or else you’d be right back to add more and more technical debt. More often than not your use case isn’t as unique as you think it is (and that’s a good thing).
- They can’t scale. For some reason, no-code solutions are sometimes thought to be “home-grown”, nifty little tools. In reality, no-code solutions have the backend support to scale with growth. Many of these solutions highlight their ability to add or remove resources including servers and personnel support based on your usage needs. In addition, the no-code engine that writes the code often consistently optimizes the code for best practices and includes any patches and updates with the subscription.
- No-code is ungovernable. We all know what it’s like when a business user comes back from a conference with a subscription to a shiny new tool they need to implement now. As an organization, it’s our responsibility to govern all tools, regardless of technology. Modern no-code solutions provide change management, version control, and other tooling to support the SDLC.
Considered as a whole, no-code solutions have come quite a long way in the last decade. In fact, today there’s a no-code option for almost everything, but lingering misconceptions cloud the picture. Some of these misconceptions paint no-code solutions in a positive light, while some are more negative. Either way, no-code solutions shouldn’t be painted with a broad brush. If your organization has a problem that needs solving, you should investigate the best tool to solve it and not let misconceptions cloud your judgment. And if your needs are automated mobile app testing, we certainly recommend giving Sofy a try.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed above are those of the contributor and do not necessarily represent or reflect the official beliefs or positions of Sofy.