No-code development platform
No-code development platform (NCDPs) allows programmers and non-programmers to create application software through graphical user interfaces and configuration instead of traditional computer programming. No-code development platforms are closely related to low-code development platforms as both are designed to expedite the application development process. These platforms have both increased in popularity as companies deal with the parallel trends of an increasingly mobile workforce and a limited supply of competent software developers.
Platforms vary widely in their functionality, integrations, and market niche. Some applications may focus solely on a specific business function such as data capture or workflow while others may seek to integrate entire enterprise resource planning tools into a mobile form factor.
NCDPs are used to meet the needs of companies that are seeking to digitize processes through cloud-based mobile applications. No-code tools are often designed with line of business users in mind as opposed to traditional IT. This shift in focus is meant to help accelerate the development cycle by bypassing traditional IT development constraints of time, money, and scarce software development human capital resources to allow teams to align their business strategy with a rapid development process. NCDPs also often leverage enterprise-scale APIs and web service catalogs, open data sets, and tested and proven template galleries, to help integrate existing business systems while adding a practical layer of user functionality. 
The transition from traditional enterprise software to a lean development methodology is also changing the role of traditional IT leaders and departments. Whereas IT once provided not only approval of new technology but procurement and development of new tools, IT's role is now increasingly one of governance over line-of-business who develop niche tools for their work stream.
The potential benefits of utilizing a NCDP include:
- Access - By 2018, it has been estimated that over than half of all B2E (business-to-employee) mobile apps would be created by enterprise business analysts using codeless tools. This ongoing shift is increasing the number of potential app creators from individuals with coding skills to anyone with internet access and functional business acumen. 
- Agility - NCDPs typically provide some degree of templated user-interface and user experience functionality for common needs such as forms, workflows, and data display allowing creators to expedite parts of the app creation process. 
- Richness - NCDPs which at one point were limited to more basic application functions increasingly provide a level of feature-richness and integrations that allows users to design, develop, and deploy apps that meet specific business needs. 
No-Code vs. Low-Code
The distinction between no code and low-code development platforms can seem blurry depending on the nature of an app platform's full set of functionality. However, there are a number of key distinctions that set apart the design and use cases for each type of platform.
- App Creator - No code platforms are accessible to any end-business user while low-code platforms require developers with knowledge of coding languages who can work within a platform's constraints to streamline the development process.
- Core Design - No code platforms tend to function off a model-driven, declarative approach where the end user dictates an app's design through drag and drop manipulation or simple logic. Low-code platforms often employ a similar development model with a greater dependence on hard code for dictating an application's core architecture.
- User Interface - No code platforms most often rely on a preset User Experience layer which simplifies and streamlines an app's design. Low code platforms may provide greater flexibility in UX options at the cost of additional coding requirements.
As no-code development platforms continue to gain in popularity, concerns over platform security have risen as well, particularly for apps that handle consumer data. A common assumption is that NCDPs are more vulnerable to security threats as these apps are often built by nontechnical business users. In reality, custom code is often a greater security risk than platform code which has been validated by its consistent use across multiple applications. No code solutions allow platforms to hide what happens behind the scenes from users, so that end-users can change or modify a field without manipulating the functionality of the app and compromising security. 
Some IT professionals have questioned whether empowering ordinary business users who cannot debug code is a sustainable endeavor. NCDPs have also been compared to other coding waves such as fourth-generation programming languages and rapid application development which promised to revolutionize software development.
Awareness of no-code tools by leaders outside of IT is a challenge that also threatens to undermine the industry's potential.
Notable no-code development platforms
- QuickBase, Inc.
- Salesforce.com Lightning Platform
- DronaHQ Studio
- Flow-based programming
- List of online database creator apps
- Low-code development platforms
- Rapid application development
- Lean software development
- Platform as a service
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