Until recently, participation beyond a certain level in the tech industry has been the domain of individuals with specific backgrounds in coding and software development. These in-demand specialists were (and are) often impacted by company time and resource limitations, setting the stage for many coffee-fueled crunch sessions.
However, the recent introduction of no-code platforms has resulted in an entirely new DevOps landscape, where anyone can create and develop applications that compare—and in fact match—the quality of ‘traditionally’-created applications, all without the need for any coding knowledge.
Sounds great, right?
It’s obvious to see why no-code toolsets are proving increasingly popular among software developers and non-coders alike. DevOps teams more and more look to no-code solutions to supplement their development cycles, allowing non-specialists to become more involved in DevOps than ever before while freeing up specialists for higher priority tasks.
It’s no secret that the tech industry is experiencing major shifts due to these changes. But how did we get here? And what does the future hold?
Let’s take a look.
The past: Inefficiency and resource constraints
Before we consider the present and make a few observations concerning the future, let’s take a moment to consider how we got here in the first place. Although no-code platforms have only recently reached the high visibility we see today, no-code solutions have in fact been around in some form or another for quite a while, occurring for example as early as the 1980s via components of applications like Microsoft Excel.
Early versions of Microsoft Excel allowed users to create macros that they could record and play back at will. This may not sound like much today, but this sort of utility was pretty remarkable at the time: Suddenly, users could actively customize an app without any need for coding knowledge.
These early steps forward would eventually evolve into today’s complex and feature-rich no-code platforms.
Over time, a constant need to maximize efficiency in increasingly complex development environments played a major role in setting the stage for a need for approachable no-code solutions. In fact, it may be better to frame it a little differently: No-code’s popularity and growth was a direct response to traditional coding’s implicit inefficiency, and identifying and eliminating inefficiency is a core goal among production lines in any industry and sector.
Although this is now rapidly changing, manual-code-driven software dominates the tech industry, and all of it needs to be thoroughly tested before developers release their products into the wild. Back then, developers had no other option other than to manually create and test their products, and all within the constraints of their available resources.
As the market became increasingly competitive and complexity continued to increase alongside it, the time and money a company needed to pour into product development continued to exponentially multiply. The need for an efficient alternative to development and deployment has become imperative for development teams who seek to keep up with the industry’s ever-advancing demands.
The present: The No-Code Revolution
Eventually, abstraction struck again and the no-code revolution was born. Today’s no-code platforms tend to place a strong emphasis on simplicity and minimalism, and usually take the shape of a “drag and drop” interface. These actions may look simplistic when compared to manually coding applications and tests yourself, and one might be tempted to think that the quality of no-code apps cannot compare to traditionally created ones.
That’s not the case. In fact, while no-code approaches can differ from platform to platform and need to need, as a general rule no-code platforms don’t signify a reduction in quality. Instead, what they reduce is the time a team needs to complete a development task. According to a 2018 study by 451 Research, a technology research group, no-code approaches have the capacity to reduce app development time by up to 90% (!).
The efficiency of no-code platforms is reflected in just how many developers and companies have turned to no-code solutions in recent years. As of 2019, Forrester reports that approximately 84% of companies have embraced a no-code approach to development so that they may increase their speed-to-market. No-code’s presence has rapidly grown and no-code platforms have solidified as a major component of modern application development and deployment.
The Future: “The future of coding is no coding at all”?
If the incredible increase in the use of no-code solutions over the last half decade, and in the last few years in particular, has been demonstrative of one thing, it’s that no-code is here to stay. In fact, these trends imply that no-code platforms will become more commonplace—even dominant—as time goes on.
According to Gartner, around 65% of application development will be no-code-based by 2024. And this growth doesn’t look like it will plateau anytime soon: UserGuiding reports that 96% percent of developers surveyed who currently don’t utilize no-code tool sets have voiced their interest in acquiring them in the future.
No-code has become an important staple in the tech industry, with more and more teams discovering its benefits and introducing no-code solutions into their development cycles. If these facts alone don’t signify the inevitable presence of no-code in the future, take it from a well-regarded expert in the field, former GitHub CEO Chris Wanstrath: According to Wanstrath, “the future of coding is no coding at all”.
Uttered all the way back in 2017, Wansrath’s opinion not only supports the observations we’ve seen to date, but it’s also indicative of just how transformative the introduction of no-code has been to the tech world. It’s fair to assume that the future will prove even more fruitful for no-code as its capabilities continue to evolve.