No Code and Low Code are some of the hottest topics in today’s software development sphere. While the concept has been there for over a decade, it has only recently started to disrupt the industry. One reason why people opt for No or low code is because it is fast, easy, and affordable. This makes it a good option for someone who starting out or is testing the waters.
Indeed, there is a certain allure in building a great website by mere drag-and-drop or point-and-click. However, as a serious entrepreneur building a website or app that is sure to grow and scale, choosing low or no code (and even custom development) needs careful consideration of all business requirements- present and future.
In this post, we will explain the things you should consider before starting with no- or low-code, and how you can move from a low code MVP (minimum viable product) to a custom, scalable product using traditional development.
Low Code / No Code- What is it?
Based on their names, it’s easy to give straightforward explanations to No Code and Low Code. No Code is a kind of development where coding is not required at all. Every functionality is added through pre-built templates, and you can choose what to integrate into your platform. Entrepreneurs who have zero technical knowledge find No Code convenient to build robust platforms themselves.
‘Low Code’, on the other hand, is for people who have some technical capabilities. Even non-technical people can start with low code, but they might need to learn a bit of code or get external help to complete the product. Low Code is for entrepreneurs who need a bit more flexibility and scalability in their platforms when compared to no code.
The advantage of choosing Low or No Code for your next build are:
- Simple and Ease-of-Use– One of the main advantages of Low and No Code is how simple it is to use. Most development is done through drag-and-drop visual interfaces, reducing time and effort. Their design is such that even people with no technical knowledge can easily interact with them.
- Low Maintenance– As Low code is based on stable pre-built templates, there is less chance of things going wrong. Unlike custom development, no-code is tested multiple times by users worldwide, and bugs and glitches are taken care of immediately. You can lower maintenance requirements by routinely updating the low code platform and providing good security features.
- Affordable– As expected, when compared to custom development, Low Code platforms are highly affordable. They achieve this by streamlining processes and providing only the basic necessary features. This also means that you might not be able to do high levels of customization.
- More ‘Productivity’ time– As low code requires fewer people to work on it, you can increase the productivity of your IT workforce. Further, different teams and departments can collaborate simultaneously, improving efficiency.
The biggest disadvantage of No Code / Low Code platforms is scalability. This encompasses everything from future development, new feature additions, security issues, and ownership. In the context of Scalability, No Code suffers the most. Due to the rigid structure of No Code platforms, expanding your operations as the platform grows becomes extremely difficult. Low Code, on the other hand, is built keeping in mind the need for at least some level of flexibility.
How to build a scalable ‘Low Code’ platform?
In order to build a scalable low-code platform, it is necessary to start analyzing your project requirements from the ground up. What do you need to achieve? What are the processes involved? Who will be responsible for checking the quality of code? These are all important questions.
It is important to understand that low-code can only get you so far, that too if you find one that can effectively deal with some of the scalability bottlenecks that will arise as your startup grows. Once your Low Code MVP is proven, it is best to move to the traditional tech stack to avoid issues that come with your lack of direct control.
Here are few things you need to be concerned about when opting for low code:
- Security: As low code platforms offer much less control over the source code, it becomes harder for developers to keep track of security threats and make contingency plans. As the templates are fixed and used on various websites, it could become easier for hackers to find and exploit vulnerabilities. Finding a low code platform that provides good security and timely updates is vital to build a solid MVP.
- Run-time and Dev-Time scalability: Run-time scalability allows large volumes of users to compute-intensive operations simultaneously. On the other hand, Dev-Time scalability enables multiple developers to work together and collaborate on the project. These are things that low code does well to a certain extent. Identifying future requirements will help you understand if low code is sufficient for your perceived scale of operation.
- Application scalability: As low-code is based on pre-built templates, application scalability is something that it lacks. If your new project doesn’t require high levels of customization, then you can go for Low code. Otherwise, it is best to seek alternatives.
- Nature of Code and APIs: It is essential to understand that you don’t own the source code of the low code platform you are using. So the type of code the platform uses as well as the integrations and APIs it allows, becomes an important thing to consider if you expect to scale up with alternative solutions in the future.
- Developer availability: While low code platforms are easy to use initially, additional customizations might require one or more skilled developers who are proficient with it. Always choose low code with a large community of users so that you won’t find it hard to get help if something goes wrong or needs it when you need to upgrade to traditional development.
- Promote Hybrid culture: If you decide to go with low code, start creating a hybrid culture in your company where low code developers and IT professionals combine and share ideas to build a platform that’s ready to scale. This makes shifting to a traditional tech stack faster.
Moving from Low Code to a Scalable Product
Not everyone can afford custom software development starting out. This is where Low Code becomes the go-to choice for many small entrepreneurs. However, you must always be two steps ahead and think of the scalability requirements of the future. You can mitigate a lot of the complexities of moving to a scalable product by considering the above points and optimizing your platform to comply with them.
If you have already started development in a low code platform and are concerned about the scalability, do a complete audit and determine how future-proof it is. You might need an experienced developer or software development agency to do this. You can share your future requirements with them and develop a plan to help you scale up.
Instead, If you have a proven low-code MVP and are starting to face the constraints of scalability, and security, this is the right time to look for traditional development options. Delaying the inevitable will only increase operating cost and reduce resource efficiency.