A team collaborates around a laptop, engaged in discussion. The scene reflects a modern workspace, emphasizing no-code development.

No-code software development involves using a visual development platform to generate code that would otherwise have been coded manually. The visual user interface-driven development environment allows software and data engineers to specify the required functionality to guide code generation.

Why is No-code Development Important?

No-code development allows a business to build and deploy applications fast enough to keep pace with the demand for new capabilities and features. Traditional application development requires highly trained individuals. No-code development enables developers to be more productive. They can use their talents to identify beneficial functionality rather than having to code it themselves.

Manually coded applications are more error-prone than built-for-purpose applications, requiring more extensive QA testing. The integrated development environment (IDE) usually catches simple syntactical errors, but forgetting to code for exceptions and corner cases leads to bugs.

Applications are not the only ones that benefit from no-code approaches. IT systems rely on a lot of code to manage applications and data, such as data integration scripts. Modern data integration tools also provide visual studio-style interfaces that allow data engineers to construct data pipelines without having to write manual scripts.

Generated code is generally more complete and built using reusable components, which make it easier to maintain and reliable. These components are not prone to variables like different development styles. As long as the specification is well documented, there is no need to dig into the generated code.

The Evolution of No-code

Early computers had no virtual memory, so programs were constrained to physical memory. Applications were coded at the CPU instruction level to keep their memory footprint small.

Servers often only had a single processor core with slower cycle times than modern processors. Today, applications can exploit multi-threading across processor cores and clusters.

As servers became more powerful, applications evolved to use higher-level languages such as FORTRAN, C, COBOL, and Java.

No-code application development was adopted slowly at first due to efficiency concerns. A 4GL usually generated relatively verbose code, which ran slower than custom code. Today, servers have so much CPU power and memory available that the benefits of no-code development outweigh any resource efficiency concerns.

Today, developers use code generators to get high-quality code written quickly. Even complex coding, such as multi-threading for parallel execution, is handled by no-code platforms and generative AI.

Application modernization platforms can reverse engineer legacy applications to create visual maps that developers can convert to specifications and generate fresh executable code that is easier to maintain.

Benefits of Low-code Development

Below are some of the benefits of using no-code development:

  • Applications are more reliable when generated by low-code as they are not prone to human error. It also reduces testing and maintenance costs.
  • Application development and deployment are faster because developers use visual tools to specify functionality and generate the code.
  • Specifications are easier to maintain because they don’t involve analyzing low-level, poorly documented code.
  • Support costs are lower for low-code generated applications because they have fewer bugs and code for exceptions, resulting in meaningful error messages.
  • Modern applications are more compact than traditional monolithic applications because they are designed to be deployed as microservices with more focused functionality.
  • As deployment platforms evolve to use new languages such as HTML 5, Python, and Java, low-code platforms can generate code for those languages.
  • Applications built from standard building blocks or components are highly reusable, protecting application investments.
  • No-code applications are the future, as most applications will use code generation.
  • Data engineers and IT operations staff can use no-code approaches to generate systems scripts.
  • A business can use many no-code platforms to reverse engineer existing applications and generate more maintainable and complete applications.

Actian and No-code Development

Actian’s OpenROAD Workbench is an integrated development environment (IDE) that creates and maintains low-code applications. OpenROAD provides a visual development environment where developers can design user interface components using drag-and-drop tools, visual editors, and wizards, making it easier for developers to create complex user interface layouts without writing extensive custom code.

Easily reuse business logic to preserve and protect your application development investment.

Deploy OpenROAD Server in the cloud using microservices and containers for portable and scalable business logic, fast communication between distributed systems, and simplified rapid development with Volt MX, .NET, Java, and OpenROAD.

The OpenROAD gRPC architecture supports multiple server architectures, microservices, and containers. Data-centric applications support popular databases on Windows and Unix, allowing a single Enterprise Access client application to access different data sources.

The Actian Data Platform simplifies complex data integration challenges by enabling data engineers to build data pipelines visually from reusable components. Actian DataConnect is a standalone, hybrid data integration and quality tool with over 200 connectors that can use legacy manual scripts as organizations transition to no-code data integration.

Data engineers should start by downloading a free trial of the Actian Data Platform. From there, they can load their data and explore what’s possible within the platform.