Could An App Be Built From An App?

By Raj Sanghvi

Wouldn't it be interesting if an app could be built from an app? In today's digital economy, we all understand that the future of every industry is directly connected with software and applications. There are several low-code/no-code apps and platforms popping up every few months. Low-code/no-code apps are an important technology trend and have been a cool topic for a while. Low-code/no-code platforms allow nontechnical users to develop apps and software without needing coding skills.

How does the low-code/no-code app work?

It provides a drag-and-drop interface of code blocks that allows users to stitch together apps easily and launch them.

Why is low-code/no-code interesting?

Turning ideas into business realities with software has gone through a huge revolution in the last few years. In the '80s and '90s, only enterprise companies were used to develop software, and it would cost millions of dollars to build. Today, new technologies such as cloud and programming frameworks that have evolved in the last few years have made it easier to build useful and scalable apps. Apps are buildable at a fraction of the cost but still need software developers, designers and cloud engineers to really take ideas to apps. Low-code/no-code apps allow nonprogrammers to build apps with little or no experience in writing code. These apps provide the ability to use drag-and-drop functional blocks and use basic logic and creative skills to build apps.

Who can drive value from low-code/no-code platforms?

We live in a world of digital enablement and transformation where everything starts with an idea. To turn ideas into a software application, you can either hire a software team to build a minimum viable product (MVP) as a starting point to test the product/market fit and evolve your product, or you can try to build an MVP yourself — and that's where low-code/no-code platforms can be a big game changer, as they can allow you to quickly build a prototype without needing a specialty in computer science or deep coding skills. Low-code/no-code platforms can also be effective for small-business entrepreneurs or individuals who want to build applications for their day-to-day automation.

Can low-code/no-code really build complex apps?

We are probably in the first era of low-code/no-code where these platform providers are starting to operationalize a specific type of software with some user journeys. Some examples of these software functions are e-commerce websites, a simple mobile app, deployment automation, analytics, forms/rules and workflows. These low-code/no-code apps are not evolved to a point where you can build complex apps to scale and grow to millions of users within your app that is built using a low-code/no-code app.

The learning curve on most low-code/no-code platforms is much simpler than building a custom application. The journey of building more complex apps will continue to evolve with the advancements in technologies such as machine learning and cloud automation services, where the software would be able to learn from the other developers building apps on the low-code/no-code platforms. Tech leaders can start using several low-code/no-code platforms available for building MVPs and continue to test a solution. The features that are needed for an application need to be mapped with what's available through these low-code/no-code platforms. The challenge might be to continuously evolve the app as the new features are being added to the platform.

We might still be a long way to go before we can build an app from an app using low-code/no-code platforms, but I am sure that will happen sooner than we think. It's exciting to imagine a time when there are no limits to imagination, and noncoders, such as designers, business users or anyone with the ability to dream an app, can build an app.

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