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No Code: digital creation rethought

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Le No Code: digital creation rethought

It’s time to rethink our habits and take a look at what’s being done elsewhere, what’s emerging and could help us improve our productivity and our work. In an era shaped by digital transformation, a new movement is emerging that is changing the way we think about digital creation: NoCode.

What is the No Code?

No Code (or No-Code) means enabling digital content creators (websites, video games, mobile applications, etc.) to develop through simple visual development platforms.

No-Code means doing away with the need to write lines of code (or almost), thanks to dedicated platforms that simplify the user’s task.

Users no longer need to “code” to create the elements of their project, but simply drag and drop the components represented by visual blocks to start creating applications.

The use of the word “creation” finds its meaning in the accessibility afforded by No Code’s various platforms.

We don’t “develop” in the traditional sense of the word, but create without the need for technical knowledge, leaving creativity and imagination to the creator.

The idea behind No Code is to considerably simplify and accelerate project development, making it possible to offer a first landing page in just a few hours, and at lower cost.

However, No Code is not a complete departure from classic “development”. While it is possible to dispense with the need for a developer in the first instance, it is still possible to integrate lines of code within No Code tools.

Once again, the idea is to speed up the creation process and make it accessible to a larger number of users.

No Code and Low Code: what's the difference?

We often hear people talk about No Code and Low Code, confusing the two when in fact they are two very different things.

So what are the concrete differences between these two practices?

It’s important to know that these two practices are not intended for the same audience or the same project.

Whereas Low Code is aimed primarily at developers who already know how to code, and who want to increase their productivity by improving the efficiency of existing IT resources, No Code is aimed primarily at people who don’t know how to code at all, and who want to set up and develop applications, websites or automated scrapping.

There are many Low Code tools used by a wide range of companies. If you’re using Excel spreadsheets or Google Sheets to analyze and process data and produce results, you’re already doing Low Code! It’s now possible to create a mobile application, a database, an API or a mobile Web application from tools such as PowerApps, Airtable or Excel – this is the emergence of Low Code.

Unlike No Code, which doesn’t require you to write lines of code, Low Code requires a certain minimum level of skill in writing a computer language. It requires around 20% to 30% programming, depending on the project. Low Code can be understood at first glance by a team member with no programming skills, but it requires the intervention of a developer in order to finalize the creation of the product. Low Code tools are therefore aimed more at developers wishing to improve their productivity by enabling them to build in a more efficient, agile and less complex way. Low Code is a middle ground between “classic” development and the No Code creation method, minimizing the number of lines of code to be written.

In practice, No Code and Low Code tools can complement each other. Some market players see No Code platforms as specialized Low Code platforms dedicated to specific corporate needs, or to prototyping projects in the process of being launched. It also happens that No Code tools are used for one part of a website (the front end) and Low Code tools for another part (the back end, for example).

Why No Code?

If No Code is emerging these days, it’s in response to a simple problem: the demand for developers is too great in relation to the supply, making recruitment difficult and costly. Mobilizing the necessary human resources in terms of skilled developers can take time and represent a substantial financial investment. No Code has emerged as an effective way of meeting these specific needs. Indeed, No Code offers a number of interesting advantages:

  • Agility: What appeals to many companies and individuals about No Code is the flexibility that these platforms can offer. Indeed, they eliminate the need for a development team. It’s much simpler to launch and test an idea to meet a need. For example, a company’s marketing department can easily set up a marketing project management application to improve department productivity, without depending on the IT department. You can then easily respond to a need and test an application by iterating on different versions of an idea to gain agility.
  • Lower costs: The accessibility of No Code tools, thanks to their minimal qualification requirements, results in a significant reduction in costs. The financial burden represented by a team of developers and maintenance staff (whether external or in-house) is considerably reduced. For entrepreneurs and small start-ups, recruiting a developer is an investment that is sometimes not possible, making No Code an interesting alternative for launching a project. However, No Code tools are not free, but their cost is negligible compared to a developer’s payroll. Many tools offer accessible pricing policies with trial packages.
  • Productivity: The aspect that brings programming insiders and outsiders together is productivity. As previously stated, developers can benefit from using No Code tools to improve their productivity. As these tools are by definition ergonomic and intuitive, many companies are seeing productivity gains by implementing tools to complement their existing IT resources.

No Code: the perfect solution?

Beyond the many advantages of No Code development platforms, it’s important to bear in mind that they are designed to meet a specific need, and that their use is associated with certain drawbacks. No Code has its limits, and is not suitable for all uses.

Constraining rigidity

No Code tools have a certain rigidity that forces us to rethink the way we design the various functionalities of an application. It’s no longer a question of thinking about what you want to do, but about what you can do with a No Code platform. As the possibilities offered by a platform are limited to the functionalities it provides, the final customization and migration of an application can quickly become complicated.

Websites developed with No Code are based on the use of pre-existing templates that are not very original and resemble many other sites. For more bespoke and complex projects, No Code finds its limits.

Even if the numerous No Code platforms make up for this lack of flexibility, you need to have an exhaustive knowledge of your needs in order to choose the right platform.


Lack of control

The use of No Code brings with it a technological dependence on the No Code platform used. Total” control of the No Code application is not possible, and if security problems appear on a No Code platform, there’s a good chance that No Code applications using this platform will also fall victim to these security problems. The disappearance of a No Code platform can then lead to major reliability and migration problems, which can result in a substantial loss of time and money.

What tools are available for No Code?

There are a considerable number of No Code tools available for every purpose, whether it’s website creation, mobile applications, chatbots, API implementation or database management. It’s difficult to make an exhaustive list of all these tools, but some of the most popular include: Bubble, Airtable, PowerApps, Glide, Zapier, Adalo, WordPress…

These are fast-developing platforms that are taking advantage of the financial constraints generated by the coronavirus crisis and the boom in the No Code market to expand.

Datascientest also offers training in the use of low-code data tools such as Power BI, through our Data Analyst and Data Manager courses.

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