At first glance, low-code and zero-code/no-code sound the same for one. If you consider moving away from traditional application development, you need to be aware of what each of the above approaches has to offer. 

Looking ahead, we’d like to mention that despite the fact (and as the name suggests) that little to no code writing is required to build applications using low-code and zero-code, it doesn’t imply that everybody is going to abandon custom software development or leave the developers jobless. Low-code and no-code solutions give a business great advantages in terms of system ownership cost, cost of system changes, cost of system creation error, and help understand how AI can speed up software development.

What Are Low-Code and Zero-Code?

Low- and zero-code is not something new. Visual programming, RAD (rapid prototyping and rapid application development), and other technologies exist for years.

Low-code and zero-code are closely related to PaaS (platform as a service) development that offers application capabilities as cloud services; it is the form factor of zero- and low-code solutions delivery. Model-driven platforms as a service, also known as application platforms as a service (aPaaS), provide the highest level of abstraction in the PaaS-category, allowing developers to model applications rather than program them, without having to worry about the operating system, storage, infrastructure, or software updates.

Both low-code and zero-code provide means to develop applications without the need for hand-coding and programming skills. Instead, users have access to a visual integrated development environment (IDE) where they can select the functional elements they need from an on-screen library and connect them in a visual workflow, using drag-and-drop to create a custom application. 

In a nutshell, what it is all about: you visually do something that a developer usually does with code. In low-code applications, you code only a little, in zero-code you use pre-defined templates and models, and code nothing.

Let’s talk about the above approaches in more detail: what they have in common, their pros, cons, and differences.

Low-Code Approach Overview

Low-coding solutions allow developers to build complete applications with modern user interfaces, data, logic, and integrations visually via a drag-and-drop interface, and with minimal hand-coding. They allow for building more scalable and flexible architecture when compared with zero-code solutions.

In addition to using a graphical user interface, low-code solutions also eliminate the need for creating frameworks, linking databases, and other tasks typically related to hand-coding. Individuals who have ideas for an application or software can build it on their own with low-code, creating flexible apps to get specific business tasks done much easier, quicker, and without an extensive tech background.

The biggest advantages of low-code approach for businesses include: 

  • Speed and agility. The drag-and-drop functionality, pre-built UI, logic and data models, pre-modeled business processes, and sets of other automated tools enable the quick development of complete, cross-platform applications. 
  • Decreased costs. The ability to build more apps in a short time, and a reduced need for more developers.
  • Reduced IT dependency. Development teams can focus on fundamental tasks instead of programming simple apps.
  • Higher productivity. With low-code development, there is no need to wait for skilled developers to finish up another project stage, and time is no longer a barrier for innovation.
  • Lower risk/ higher ROI. Data integration, security processes, and cross-platform support are already built-in and can be easily customized in the future.
  • Rapid deployment and easy maintenance. You can roll changes back with a simple click, and adapt your apps to meet the new requirements.

Major cons

  • Lack of customization, due to the modular structure of low-code platforms, and limited integrations. The more visual interfaces you have, the more limitations there will be. If you use a very powerful low-code platform, it will be as complicated as a code. 
  • Vendor lock-in. Many users assume they will be tied into the platform in one way or another: some vendors use open code and frameworks that can be maintained both within and outside of the platform, while others won’t let you edit your applications once you stop using the tool.

You can use the low-code approach to create more sophisticated solutions and to complete special tasks that require visual representation, where changes need to be applied rapidly, for building MVPs/ prototypes, etc. Many low-code platforms not only have a comprehensive pre-built component library but also connect with third-party cloud services, AI, machine learning, blockchain, image, voice, and facial recognition systems, etc. 

We at Evergreen have years of experience in using a low-code cloud process engine — Corezoid — for various projects, including business process automation, and to connect “uncombinable” systems.

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What exactly does Corezoid do?

Corezoid enables you to build business processes of any complexity, and the processing logic is represented graphically in a nice editor. Corezoid receives data from any system via API and has built-in functions for basic logic, allowing you to write code for anything you can't do in the editor. Also, it provides powerful tools to track processes and history of requests, and real-time analytics — all using an intuitive, visually pleasant development environment.

Some of the Corezoid use cases:

  • Mass service systems (implementing and processing the ordering logic in any chat or instant messenger like Skype, Slack, Telegram, Sender, etc.);
  • Bank and credit scoring;
  • Internet of Things;
  • More conventional cases for CRM integrations, notification systems, financial systems where the whole logic is processed by Corezoid, and much more.

If you would like to learn more about what Corezoid is capable of or have ideas for an innovative use case, we are more than interested to help you create a great project for your business! Contact us right away.

Is Zero-Code The Future of App Development?

No-code solutions are designed for citizen developers (business users within a company who have access to IDE) and require neither hand-coding nor any programming skills and knowledge. Being a visual programming language, zero-code enables you to build applications visually, through drag-and-drop and requires very little training. With no code, the app developer decides what the application does rather than how it does it: a declarative UI describes what the user should see, instead of how it should be laid out. 

Zero-code is often called the future of programming: it is expected that in the coming years, 80% of the tasks and apps will not require any code. 

"The future of coding is no coding at all."  Chris Wanstrath, CEO at GitHub

Zero-code platforms have many similarities with low-code solutions:

  • Quick development and deployment. Zero-code allows you to set up all app components through visual interfaces, allowing regular business owners to interconnect modules of their choice. In the case of a low-code platform, some modules and features may not be available out-of-the-box or in a template, so you cannot avoid coding. But with zero-code development tools, the most form elements and design components are part of the platform and can be handled with just a few clicks.
  • The emergence of aPaaS solutions that enable citizen developers to create cross-platform applications for different systems. APaaS can be used through a browser, regardless of the operating system users will be running.
  • Zero-code platforms, just as well as low-code, help business users create and manage their own applications while skilled developers can focus on more complex and essential software solutions.

The advantages of zero-code development platforms parallel the perks of low-code approach to a great extent: better agility, reduced development cost, reduced IT dependency and increased productivity, easy maintenance, and changeability. Other benefits include:

  • Simple, affordable and effective platforms for non-technical founders — the future of app development;
  • Speed to create an app allowing to launch an idea quickly — in days, not in months;
  • Beautifully designed templates — functionality and design out-of-the-box.
  • Easy-to-use interface —  with drag-and-drop, you only need to add the elements and publish. No need for testing and/or debugging.

Despite the appealing advantages of zero-code development, business owners need to understand the hidden drawbacks and risks associated with their use:

  • Rigidity. Zero-code solutions are not as flexible as coding from scratch, and rigid templates limit what you can build: your platform might not contain the needed components out-of-the-box to resolve specific use cases.
  • Users must have a clear understanding of their requirements and determine whether these fit within the capabilities and constraints of a particular tool.
  • Shadow IT risks, when the official IT loses visibility of the development processes that take place in other departments, and security issues arise from lack of control.
  • Source code ownership. Issues related to vendor lock-in that may arise when you decide to move away from your zero-code platform, limited or no access to your source code, lack of any clear documentation, etc.

AI as a Driver for Low-Code and Zero-Code Approaches

AI is doing what previously seemed impossible — it helps to make quick decisions and narrow down choices by suggesting the right options, etc. Again, the traditional development requires you to do a lot of routines to implement business logic, which can be done by the machine, provided that it 'understands' the business problem.

In essence, AI performs all the rough, crude work allowing human workers to proceed with more creative tasks. This helps boost low-code/ zero-code technologies significantly and speeds up their development.

It is difficult to argue with the value and possibilities of no-code development, especially when it comes to building simple applications. Zero-code development platforms are most suitable for businesses that require effective, out-of-the-box solutions. They are ideal for resolving tasks at the level of a specific department, e.g. sales, finance, or HR, and can be effectively used for more sophisticated tasks like chatbot development.

We designed Kwizbot for chatbot developers to simplify and reduce the cost of the modification and support processes, enabling you to create chatbot dialogues and interfaces for chatting using a visual development environment.

What is Kwizbot?

It is a zero-code web service developed by Evergreen that helps extend the functionality of a bot by building chatbot dialogues through a visual editor. 

Here are some of the Kwizbot's advantages:

  • No need to engage developers in creating dialogues;
  • Simple and intuitive user interface and visual editor;
  • X-platform;
  • The ability to create different displays for each messenger in one component;
  • API to connect to the back-end;
  • Multi-lingual;
  • Dialogues created in Kwizbot are available in JSON format;
  • Data security.

Low-code and zero-code platforms change the development process entirely. By eliminating the dependency on coding, business, and IT groups across an organization can collaborate, model, and build new functionalities together. It is a way to bring the business side into the development and to ensure the final result will meet the company's specific requirements.

If you're planning to optimize and automate your business processes and are looking for the most suitable solution, you would like to order our boxed software or develop a unique, AI-powered low-code/zero-code platform, don't hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to assist you in bringing innovation to your business, just call us or fill in the form.

 

22.07.2020
The images used in this article are taken from open sources and are used as illustrations.