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Discussion on: What is the "no code" / "low code" movement?

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lukeshiru profile image
Luke Shiru

I see "no-code" as "fast food". Is cheap, easy to create, but not that healthy. As soon as I actually see some value in those "no-code" solutions, I'll start using them (I'm currently using GitHub Copilot that feels like a good "middle ground" between writing my code, and having AI doing some of the work for me). But at least for now, it feels more like a gimmick for UX/Design folks that want create stuff without having to code, than an actual tool for developers.

One thing that is kinda concerning in the article itself, is this part:

It's no longer a privilege only for those who have vast financial resources or the opportunity to learn programming.

It makes it look like learning learning programming is a "privilege", when I (and many others) learned what I use at work daily, pretty much by myself, googling, watching tutorials, and so on. Programming isn't a "privilege", is something that anyone can do if they actually set themselves to do it. There are some stupid gatekeepers out there demanding "degrees" and shit like that, but people that actually live in 2022 will tell you that knowing is more than enough. I don't have a degree, and yet I was able to move from Argentina to the US thanks to a job that I got because of the things I learned by myself.

One other thing you should consider as well: How does a company choose between two candidates that use this "no-code" tools? They'll end up choosing based on which candidate asks for the smaller paycheck, because the product they both "create" with this tools will be pretty much the same.

Cheers!

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liviufromendtest profile image
Liviu Lupei Author • Edited on

Hi @lukeshiru, thank you for reading the entire article.

There are already tons of no code solutions being used successfully by large enterprises and small companies.

Here's a list of some of these no code tools:
Airtable
Zapier
Postman
Endtest
Bubble
UIPath

We're talking about creating secure enterprise apps, automating complex flows, and other tasks that would have required writing code in the past.

We're not talking about creating some silly little website with Wix.

It's not a question if this will happen, it's already happening.

If Microsoft got into this with Microsoft Power Apps, it means No Code is already mainstream, it's no longer a niche.

There's a huge demand for these tools. Companies are delivering results with these tools, without spending a fortune on R&D departments and without waiting 2 years for a product to be ready.

But don't believe me, look at the numbers:

UIPath had a revenue of $607M last year, and Google is one of their customers.

You can imagine that Google can hire all the Engineering talent that they want, and yet they picked UIPath (a no code tool) for certain processes.

At the end of the day, Google and other companies care about making as much profit as possible.

Knowing how to write code is a privilege. There are people in their 30s or 40s who didn't have the financial resources to own a computer in their teen years.

And maybe they're too busy with their current job and family and they don't have time to learn how to code, even if they would make it a priority.

And maybe those people have good ideas, and they want to start an online business, but they can't. I don't think that's fair.

As for your question, I think companies will always choose the candidate that asks for the smaller paycheck, as long as they meet the bare minimum requirements.

But it's not like they'll tell you that they picked you only because the other folks wanted more cash and more benefits.

That's available for most jobs out there, for developers and non-developers.

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rad_val_ profile image
Valentin Radu

Some projects/tasks are more suited for no-code solutions than others. Google will never power its search engine or cloud solution with no-code tools, that's nonsense.
Also, take Postman, once you fully understand its interface, it would take 20 mins to translate that knowledge to code. The concepts around making HTTP requests are the same, no matter if you code them or select them in a list. Ultimately, the true effort is poured into learning the protocol.

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lukeshiru profile image
Luke Shiru • Edited on

Not to mention tools like Insomnia, that are less "GUI like" and more "code focused" than Postman, yet extremely flexible. I prefer that over Postman any day.

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liviufromendtest profile image
Liviu Lupei Author • Edited on

The next Windows won't be built with No Code / Low Code tools.

I wouldn't worry about that.

As for your Postman example, think of it from a team perspective.

If you create a collection of tests in Postman, it can be easily understood by everyone from your team, even if they don't have advanced coding skills.

But if you write your own code to test the API requests, it might not be so easy to understand by some of your existing or new colleagues.

And those colleagues will also have to contribute to those tests.

And you don't want to waste precious time and resources on figuring out if the API endpoint has a bug, or if that bug is in the code you wrote to test it.

And by the way, I actually wrote code for the Send API Request action from Endtest, which is similar to Postman.

Endtest Send API Request

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lukeshiru profile image
Luke Shiru • Edited on

There are already tons of no code solutions being used successfully by large enterprises and small companies.

I know, that doesn't change my mind. Large companies will always invest in solutions that make them make more money paying less. Their dream is to have only the people of Product and an AI that codes for them, no more UX, Designers or Developers.

We're talking about creating secure enterprise apps, automating complex flows, and other tasks that would have required writing code in the past.

They still require code today. No-code tools are just tools that write the code for you. They might write a high-quality code (I doubt it), but there's still code in the background. I know is not just "Wix", but still for me is just "fast food". This is also not something new. "No-code" is a thing that has being happening for years, and it will keep happening because it has a market for it. My point is that it's a long way from actually replacing code (even more so when the thing you're creating is actually "original"). This solutions work great for companies and start-ups that want to do "the next Instagram", "the next Snapchat" and so on, but when you want to actually create something new and original, it still requires some code. You might need far less with this tools, but is kinda silly to say that you actually don't have to write a single line of code.

If Microsoft got into this with Microsoft Power Apps, it means No Code is already mainstream, it's no longer a niche.

You might have to take a look at the history of Microsoft. Is a big company ... and as such they can take risks without worrying about money. Just google about the Windows Phone.

There's a huge demand for these tools. Companies are delivering results with these tools, without spending a fortune on R&D departments and without waiting 2 years for a product to be ready.

I already covered this: Some companies obviously want this, that doesn't mean is a good idea. And products might be fast to deliver with this tools, but how about the quality of said products (perf, size, UX, etc).

UIPath had a revenue of $607M last year, and Google is one of their customers.

Google is not the best example about investments.

Knowing how to write code is a privilege. There are people in their 30s or 40s who didn't have the financial resources to own a computer in their teen years.
And maybe they're too busy with their current job and family and they don't have time to learn how to code, even if they would make it a priority.
And maybe those people have good ideas, and they want to start an online business, but they can't. I don't think that's fair.

I'm 32 years old, I didn't had a computer until my 17 birthday, and it barely ran Windows 3.1. Before that I coded with pen and paper and used computers from friends to try my code out, and used their internet to google stuff. In the school I dropped from that teach programming, I had 2 classmates (a woman and a man) of 50+ years old, in similar situations to mine about access to tech, both graduated and got into freelancing. Again: Learning how to code is not a privilege if you actually want to learn. It might be hard (initially it was pretty hard for me, at least), but that doesn't mean is a privilege.

Saying this is like saying that running like a marathonists is a privilege, so we should all get bikes instead. You have to train to run fast, or you can just get a bike, but that doesn't make running fast a privilege, or unfair for those that prefer to use bikes instead.

As for your question, I think companies will always choose the candidate that asks for the smaller paycheck, as long as they meet the bare minimum requirements.

Not quite. At my current job we value the personality and the skills of the candidates, not how much they ask for. There are candidates that ask for less money, but they are less capable or have some toxic behavior, and end up being discarded in favor of candidates with better skill sets and personalities. Money has nothing to do with this decision. Now with "no-code" tools, if skill is no longer on the table, and all candidates have great personalities, companies will just go with the one that asks for less money ... profitable for them, really bad for the industry and the candidates.

Don't get me wrong, no-code might be great to lower the barrier of entry to development, there are some schools that use Scratch as the first "programming language" so folks get familiar with logic structures without having to write if/for and so on, which is fine. But with big projects, no-code doesn't cut it, or at least not yet. I'm not the only one that thinks this way, you can check articles like this one and the responses in hacker news.

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liviufromendtest profile image
Liviu Lupei Author

Hi @lukeshiru

I don't know if it's fair to compare to strategies of Google and Microsoft with the comments written by some Java developers on HackerNews.

And it's perfectly fine if you don't change your opinion.

We need different opinions in general, that's what makes democracy great.

Thank you once again for taking the time to write those comments.

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cess11 profile image
PNS11

You forgot to mention that a main driver behind procuring tools that allow administrators to design software procedures is that they're easier to come by and often cheaper than engineers.

If a big corporation could find enough software engineers they'd hire those rather than buy some 'no code' tool, in part because those engineers could design 'no code' or code generation tools for internal use that are exceptionally well tailored to what the company does.

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liviufromendtest profile image
Liviu Lupei Author • Edited on

I did mention in my article that big companies will push the pedal on this movement, because it will allow them to save time and money.

And most Low Code / No Code tools are affordable.

As for internal tools, it depends.

Internal tools usually have a terrible ROI (Return On Investment).

And you rarely see innovative companies building an internal tool, when there is an affordable commercial alternative.

For example, I've never heard of a company building their own internal video calling solution, even if they can do it with open source technologies such as WebRTC.

They all just prefer to use Zoom or Google Meet.

And I've never heard of an innovative company trying to build their own Email Software, they just use Microsoft Outlook.

This is also how Endtest is a game changer, companies no longer need to build their own internal overcomplicated Selenium framework.

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cess11 profile image
PNS11

I get a feeling you don't have much experience as a developer. Typically internal tooling isn't something that is budgeted and replacing other tasks, it's something that happens alongside main duties.

Zoom, GMeet and Outlook aren't app builder or business automation applications. In enterprise settings those tools in the Microsoft offering are quite popular, which I assume is the reason you don't mention those.

Typically Selenium is used together with tooling that records user behaviour and/or generates configuration automatically based on some data source. Could you elaborate on why you think this is "overcomplicated"?

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liviufromendtest profile image
Liviu Lupei Author

Your assumption is incorrect.

I do have lots of experience writing code:
JavaScript, React, PHP, Python, Shell Scripts, Apple Scripts and a bit of Java.
I'd say my favourite one is Python.

But our discussion shouldn't be about what I think vs. what you think.

In the article, I'm mostly presenting the facts and the direction in which the market is moving, based on research from independent sources.

If you had news articles like this:

  • UIPath is closing down, because no company wants to do low-code automation

  • Airtable is not expanding, because companies don't want to build apps with their platform

I would have said that your opinion is correct.

If you have any data or valid resources to back up your claims, that would make the discussion more interesting.

You'd like me to explain why using Selenium leads to overcomplications?

I actually made a video about that last year:
youtube.com/watch?v=uJSC_YwXYZw

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cess11 profile image
PNS11

Junior developers worry about syntax and languages, experienced developers worry about data structures.

I'd appreciate if you linked a transcript instead.

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