A Beginner’s guide to no-code/low-code applications development

February 15, 2021
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    February 15, 2021
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How nocode and AI are redefining software development


Web and mobile apps offer an impressive array of opportunities for small businesses, ranging from marketing to customer support. They can improve customer experiences, boost your brand image, and reveal valuable insights into your target audience. These are just some of the reasons why 42% of small businesses now have a mobile app.


Yet despite the clear advantages of having a dedicated business app, development costs can be prohibitively high, averaging at around $25,000 for mobile apps. For the most part, this comes down to the complexity and skills required to build business-grade apps.


Fortunately, no-code application development platforms, such as Appy Pie, Bubble, and our own AI-powered iRithm, are changing the entire process. In this guide, we’ll explain how.


What is no-code/low-code?


Low-code application development platforms take a visual approach to software development. By abstracting and automating each step of the development lifecycle, this enables more rapid delivery of myriad software solutions, such as AI-powered chatbots and online shopping apps.


In low-code development environments, coding may only be necessary when adding unusual or advanced features but even then, the emphasis remains on the visual environment. A no-code environment eliminates code entirely, although this does come at the cost of reduced flexibility.


No-code/low-code development uses methods like drag-and-drop app builders, allowing users to add application components in much the same way as many popular website builders work. This greatly reduces the barriers to entry, enabling non-developers to create apps too.


The evolution of visual software builders


In the early days of computing, all apps had to be hand-coded from scratch using programming languages like Java or C#. Then, along came visually orientated software development tools, such as Microsoft Visual Basic. Today, drag-and-drop visual app builders are fast becoming the new norm, with Gartner projecting that two thirds of applications will be developed in low-code environments by 2024.


Artificial intelligence (AI) is further disrupting the software development sector, the aim being to democratize app development. By drawing their training from millions of lines of code, AIs can learn about software architectures, design patterns, and more. Armed with this enormous degree of knowledge, this makes it possible for them to assist throughout the development process. With an AI-powered programming assistant like iRithm’s Julia, it’s even possible to turn plain-English commands into working features and programs.


Why no-code/low-code is the future of software development


The pressure on businesses to develop innovative digital solutions only keeps growing. Almost every startup now has a digital component, and a website is just the very beginning. Having a mobile, web, or desktop app, can serve a huge range of different purposes. For example, apps could provide automated customer support powered by AI chatbots, deliver responsive online shopping experiences, or provide an easy way for customers to make appointments. Other apps focus on building brand loyalty and communities by integrating social media functionality and instant messaging. The possibilities are endless. What’s more is that all the functions are commonplace, hence there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Instead, no-code environments simply let users drag and drop said functions into the app and customize them through a range of parameters.


Only a relatively small group of top-tier companies have the in-house expertise and financial resources required to develop software from the ground up. Others face enormous backlogs as they struggle to do more with less. When that happens, it becomes almost impossible to keep up with demand and ensure business adaptability through increasingly uncertain times.


Although highly complex and specialized software solutions may still require extensive coding, the vast majority of business apps can be developed in a no-code/low-code environment. As low-code greatly reduces the complexity of software development, the barriers to entry are far lower, allowing for a much faster time to market.


With the demand for apps growing a lot faster than IT teams can deliver, there’s a bigger case than ever for simplifying software development. Low-code development doesn’t have to come with an increased risk of bugs and reduce functionality either. In fact, modern development platforms can achieve quite the opposite. Because they use standardized architectures and focus on reducing complexity, there’s a far lower risk of code failures and bugs.


Who should use no-code application development platforms?


Contrary to popular belief, no-code software development isn’t only popular among novices. A recent study found that two thirds of low-code application development platform users are professional developers. Many of these people are experienced programmers, but they choose to use low-code platforms to work faster and smarter. This has especially been the case since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, which has pressured millions of companies to develop innovative digital solutions in as little time as possible.


Most organizations have citizen development initiatives in place, whereby business users can build their own applications with little or no coding experience by using approved technology. This helps shift some of the burden away from IT, while addressing the business need to avoid so-called shadow IT and cowboy coding. This helps avoid unchecked development to reduce risk and complexity, while also giving IT full visibility into their technology environments.


Entrepreneurs and startups can also take advantage of low-code software development. For example, they can quickly build prototypes or minimum viable products (MVPs) to test-drive their concepts and find a good protect/market fit. Since startups and solopreneurs are unlikely to have the resources necessary to program software from scratch, low-code makes it possible to innovate quickly and gain traction with their target customers.


Final words


Instead of having to hand-code yet another system that does exactly the same thing as thousands of others, low-code development lets you get straight to work creating something new and valuable by building on the work of others. This means there are far fewer steps to take from drawing up the concept to releasing a working app.


Thanks to no-code/low-code software development platforms, it’s now possible to achieve an unparalleled time to market, build more at scale, and drive a culture of innovation in a way that simply wasn’t possible before.


iRithm helps small businesses and entrepreneurs build powerful web and mobile apps without ever writing a line of code. Our no-code platform features the most advanced AI-powered programing assistant on the market to guide users through the entire process. Request early access today to see how it works!

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