Low-code/no-code development platforms have surged in popularity over the last year. As the world becomes increasingly digitized, the need for software engineers has exploded. To meet growing demands, tech giants such as Microsoft, Google, and Amazon, and other smaller companies have begun investing their dollars to compete. We’re going to explore what low-code/no-code is, why I was skeptical about it at first, and what platform we recommend for the right job.
What is low-code/no-code?
Low-code/no-code development platforms are user-friendly environments that tout making websites, web applications, and mobile apps fast and easy. The design uses a modular approach to construct pages that involve interacting with reusable drag and drop components rather than lines of code. Essentially, low-code/no-code takes a visual approach to software development and attempts to automate the build process by offering a selection of pre-built components—skipping developers' need to custom create every piece of a site.
Cynic turned enthusiast
I’ve worked in software for over two decades. Seeing the latest no-code/low-code trend reminded me of all sub-par shortcuts made by solutions in the past, such as the 1-pixel gif layouts and Dream Weaver. Deep down, I knew someone, someday, would attempt to automate web development. If you are like me, it was initially hard to get excited about something that has consistently failed to deliver. But over the last 20 years, I have taught myself to move forward with the right tool for the job. And after researching many solutions to meet business needs, we landed on (and, dare I say, am excited about) Webflow.
Webflow is a low-code/no-code builder that enables everyone, regardless of technical ability, to create powerful, flexible websites and applications. Minimizing the need for heavy backend development allows teams to spin up well-designed digital products fast with minimal errors. With the complexity of website development removed, business units are better equipped to adapt and respond to market changes or customer needs quickly. Win-win for everyone.
Testing our hypothesis
Based on our initial assessment of Webflow, we decided to test out the platform on an actual project. The BC Women’s Foundation needed help transforming an in-depth research report on women’s health inequities into an engaging and interactive experience. The team decided to build a microsite complete with bold design elements, web animations, and third-party integrations.
Our technical team was ready and available to support the project. However, the idea was to reduce the need for custom pipelines, component systems, expensive data modeling, cloud infrastructure, QA, tests, and other time-intensive activities required for these kinds of projects.
The result? A high production site that was launched in less than three months and required minimal developer input. The project cost the client less, yet the value was equal to that of a custom-designed site. It was clear to us that not only was Webflow the right tool for this job, but it would be the right tool for future jobs similar in size and scope.
POWER SHIFTER felt so strongly about Webflow's capabilities that we became an official enterprise partner. As a user-obsessed team of digital product design and development experts, we commend Webflow for how easy they make it to create functional, scalable, and user-friendly sites. Webflow allows us to set our clients up for success, increase their teams' productivity, and empower them to adjust their digital product as needed without developer help, or ours—saving them time and money.
A code-less future?
While history doesn’t have an excellent track record of success, platforms like Webflow may be the solution that causes low-code/no-code to stick around for good. In a world where speed to market is critical, low-code/no-code presents an opportunity to launch faster. Automating some development work frees up technical teams to solve more complex problems or innovate on other solutions (which is usually the stuff we prefer to work on anyway!). So, is the future code-less? No, but for some projects, low-code/no-code is the right tool for the job.
Want to know if your project is right for a low-code/no-code approach? Get in touch, and we’d be happy to chat.