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9 Ways to Make Sure Your No-Code is Best in Class

Web applications are necessary for enterprises to compete for new business, facilitate internal co-operation, automate processes, delight prospects, engage customers, and improve performance. But creating applications has been dependent on budgets and a relatively limited set of highly skilled problem solvers with the know-how to build, maintain and operate them. With a 20% shortage of developers and an unending imagination for new opportunities, the status quo is no longer a sustainable model. While many Low- and No-Code Platforms look good at first glance, they fail to deliver sophisticated solutions. Most disappoint, limited to creating front end user interfaces only to get their projects greenlit for future expensive pro-coding. This article points out key selection criteria and caveats so you can catapult your productivity, accelerate your speed to market and gain an unfair advantage building your application, without being locked into a platform. 

Problem: Increasing complexity, little time to learn
Businesses have been here before. Necessity, the Mother of Invention, has driven the creation of more productive technologies and environments, addressing things like security, speed to market, higher user acceptance, digital automation and so much more. But learning and implementing these solutions, faster than the changing world, has also become unsustainable using traditional methods. 

Solution: Take the more effective, less complex road
Empowering non-technical problem solvers across a variety of business functions requires a leap in technology that has not been possible until now. Imagine not having to wait quarters or until “next year” for scarce resources to deliver critical business functionality, but rather taking control of the immediate opportunities. That’s the promise of No-Code Application Platforms. Yet, most platforms fail to enable both the technical, functional subject experts, and citizen creators, to deliver solid enterprise solutions, individually or together, resulting in lost time and wasted resources before the effort is abandoned or restructured.

How No-Code should work 
Your No-Code Platform should build Web Applications that have three layers, and for good reason. When you use any application, what you View is the user interface. How it works or what it does is the Behavior (i.e. the function). What it manages, or the information it handles, are the data Entities. These usually involve multiple programming languages, environments, specialized tools and process knowledge.

Example of Graphite Studio's View, Behavior, and Entity Builder
Example of Graphite Studio's View, Behavior, and Entity Builders

The ideal No-Code Platform
A No-Code Platform should take care of the technology by allowing you to simply determine what you want managed, how it will be viewed and interact with users, as well as what work it does. Ask yourself if the platform you are considering checks all of your boxes: 

  1. Visual without programming. Eliminate pro-coding entirely, from development to deployment.
  2. Vendor independence. If you need to ever walk away from the platform, although you’ll be giving up productivity, you should still have a way to continue with the application you've built without being locked in. This is only possible if the platform produces and delivers 1.) non-proprietary source code and 2.) doesn’t involve platform specific, proprietary “Runtimes”.
  3. One click deployment. Make sure the platform you choose makes launching your application as easy as clicking a button. No more resource burdening deployments.
  4. Easily builds and maintains. To change, maintain or expand the application, it should have a way for anyone to easily see how and where to make the improvement without depending on how well a person documented all previous work. Automatic documenting doesn’t rely on memory.
  5. Retires technical debt. It should allow for a rapid, iterative application development process that will never compound technical debt. For more information on technical debt and how it affects your business, read this other article.
  6. Be affordable. Success shouldn’t cost you. Look for a platform provider that will never charge you for more users. End-user fees can cause deployments to quickly surpass budgets. Application-based pricing is a better solution for staying in control of pricing.
  7. Ecosystem friendly. Can easily connect with other applications and data sources through what is called API’s, REST and gRPC and offers the capability to extend your application by calling binaries. Throw in the ability to easily add or customize the existing UI elements, when these are set up, citizen creators can easily employ these capabilities like the pros.
  8. No data expert needed. Specifying what you need managed and considering all the behaviors and view elements should inform the platform how to build, and re-build with each change, the proper way to handle information. Less reliance on the DBA during the development phase frees them to do other critical production support functionality
  9. Secure and bug free. Applications generated with a platform should be run through a code analyzer to identify vulnerabilities against the bad actors we hear about every day. If the code can’t be exported and analyzed, there’s no way to verify the quality of output.

What to expect
A No-Code Platform that produces the ideal enterprise solution is one that delivers while maintaining the usual three tiers of any application, or layers, and builds in good design principles, delivering efficient code with an appropriately scaled database. Building enterprise capable applications must also be easy to maintain and operate sustainably. Add in good design principles, multiple security capabilities and a way to build and deploy at the click of a button, and you can create any web application yourself, with others, or as part of emerging “fusion teams” with IT. 

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