Is Programming Dead?

In this episode we discuss Low Code and No Code solutions that are available. What are they good at? What are their limitations? Are they going to replace what we do here at Bixly, custom software?

Full Transcript Below:

Cody:

The goal is when you have a project to minimize the amount of actual code that’s written.

Cris:

What is a no code or a low code solution?

Cody:

You take that department itself and say, “Hey department. Go make an automated process that represents what you do.”

Cris:

You can still work within it or kind of what makes it work for kind of backend business stuff?

Cris:

Alright, Cody. Today we get to sit down and talk through a topic that’s pretty I wouldn’t say that necessarily it’s up and coming because it’s been around for a little while, but is definitely starting to get some buzz. We are going to be talking about no code, low code development solutions.

Cody:

Okay.

Cris:

Yeah. Let’s kind of break that down. What is a no code or a low code solution?

Cody:

Well besides the obvious definition of the term which is in the title.

Cris:

Okay.

Cody:

The idea is that when you have a piece of software for your business or really anything could be, I feel like a lot of people trying to apply to like apps and other stuff too for a user and consumer-facing stuff. The goal is when you have a project to minimize the amount of actual code that’s right.

Cris:

Okay.

Cody:

And by that eliminate and kind of reduce your IT overhead and all the planning and craziness that goes along with having a dedicated department for such a thing. The things I see with it is that principally it’s used in a lot of startup industries and also extremely heavy, large scale enterprises a lot of the time but from there-

Cris:

Like specific projects where it makes sense because again yeah, startups will try and use it, large corporations but where are they actually plugging that in? What types of projects [crosstalk 00:01:30] these corporations.

Cody:

Yeah. That’s what I was going to get to because I feel like there’s places where it’s kind of trying to be shoehorned in a little bit, which I would say is kind of the more entrepreneurial side where they’re trying to go light and fast, very common. But where it really is at home a lot of the time is in kind of business process automation and general back office like procedure and things of that sort is really where it shines a lot and where it’s typically in use nowadays.

Cris:

Okay. And why is that simply because of the fact that someone maybe a lower level development understanding can still work within it or kind of what makes it work for kind of backend business stuff?

Cody:

Well like most of these types of things, it’s a bit of a double-edged sword. Picture this, you’re a large scale enterprise. You’ve got thousands of employees.

Cris:

Sure.

Cody:

Quite a few departments and you are telling your IT department, “Hey. We need to make a business process automation of sorts for our logistics department.”

Cris:

Okay.

Cody:

Well now that department has to go understand the other department and know everything there is about them or force them to change. Both options are terrible generally. It’s just as part of the burden of making an automated process.

Cody:

The goal of low code, no code is that you take that department self and say, “Hey department, go make an automated process that represents what you do.” You would typically have the management within that team, figure it out. One of them who would be a little more technical than the other ones would be the one that actually does this. In a real sense what they would do is for a lot of these processes is very drag and drop. If you’re used to like a good example from what where we’re from Jira has a lot of process automation that’s very drag and drop in terms of how things flow to the next thing. I mean, we’ve also had a lot of experience with automation software in the past as well.

Cris:

Right.

Cody:

That’s kind of what we’re dealing with here. The problem on that double edged sword is well, that seems like a sweeter option. The issue is now that department is the only people that know how their entire system work and there’s no centralized management of it all.

Cris:

Interesting.

Cody:

So let’s say department heads quit, employee turnover who knows how to run the thing? Who did the low code? There’s not really a lot of ways to manage it because you’ve taken a centralized solution, which is difficult to implement because it’s centralized and moved it into a decentralized solution where every department is managing their own process that is now difficult to maintain.

Cody:

So there’s, yeah. It’s a double edged sword but that’s kind of the flow on how it goes. The idea is just to have individual departments managing their own processes instead of a centralized IT area.

Cris:

Interesting. What are the limitations, do we see coming out of this idea of no code, low code?

Cody:

I’ve talked a lot about business process automation and I think that’s really where it does fit. I think it works pretty well in terms of being applied to that space but when you start talking about low code, no code for other types of use cases let’s say if you’re making some sort of an application. You want to put it on the app store or something, or you’re making a website that does more than just kind of an informational page, that has an actual web application. There really isn’t a lot of solutions out there for that.

Cody:

That’s where I feel like low code, no code is trying to be shoehorned in. There’s a lot of products out there that purport custom application development through drag drop and so far the tech is not there. I’m not sure if there’s really, I don’t even know if it’s a technical limitation as it is almost a physical limitation. It’s really hard to write custom behavior by drag and drop.

Cris:

Yeah.

Cody:

I don’t really know of a better solution just from a human perspective, because every solution I’ve seen either just doesn’t work for the way that is typically purported or it’s so complicated that you might as well be a programmer anyway.

Cris:

Got you. So what does this mean for programmers, software engineers, developers? Is this low code, no code kind of feeling and vibe that’s starting to come into the community in a way of writing these applications, is that working companies like Bexley out of job? Is it giving us more? Is this basically creating a space where we’re eliminating custom software solutions because we can go at these no code, low-code solutions so quickly and easily? What are your thoughts?

Cody:

I think the answer is have no fear, generally.

Cris:

Okay.

Cody:

Because for the types of areas this is applied to, I think it is probably the best use case that business process automation. If you try and code that a lot of the time it becomes, in a lot of the areas I’ve outlined, almost inflexible and also very difficult to maintain and very difficult to integrate. So, I think where it’s applied for one, that’s already an incredibly difficult space to function as a programmer and that is probably where it belongs.

Cody:

As for all the other stuff we talked about, custom applications, web applications, games, even non-process oriented business software I think that that’s not going to change. I think that’s going to be around for a very long time. And at the current rate of development of the space of low code, no code I don’t think that that’s going to be an attainable goal anywhere near the near future for it. I would as a programmer myself have no fear that my job for that kind of stuff is going anywhere.

Cris:

So, it’s not going to get to a point where it’s sophisticated enough possibly in your lifetime and in lifetime that it’s going to work us out of a job and just no code low codes, so good that we don’t need the Cody’s and the custom software developers of the world.

Cody:

I look at it this way in the world of let’s use another industry, food service.

Cris:

Yep.

Cody:

I think a lot of technologists are predicting that when it comes to food service the low end jobs we’re making burgers or something of that sort are probably going to be automated to a certain degree coming up pretty soon. Due to the rising cost of everything and everyone wanting their cheap McDoubles.

Cris:

Yeah.

Cody:

That is the equivalent of what is being automated within technology. It’s that kind of very low it’s not so much a complex thing as it is a simple, hard to integrate thing. I think much like in food service where we still have chefs and high end restaurants and things that are an experience and et cetera, et cetera.

Cris:

Sure.

Cody:

That is kind of where custom software lives in the IT space and I don’t think that’s going anywhere on either side of the fence.

Cris:

Interesting.

Cody:

So, no. I don’t think it’s going anywhere.

Cris:

Good. Well obviously talking to this you have a lot of excitement around it. Definitely, we are excited about it as a company. What are the final thoughts do you have on this no code, low code kind of paradigm and where we’re going as a company and where we’re going as an industry?

Cody:

Yeah. To tie it all up basically, I think it’s definitely not something to fear. It’s definitely not something to stray away from if as long as it fits your use case. I think, like I said for business process automation or simple records keeping, I think it’s kind of the perfect fit for a lot of larger enterprises because you can have the departments that actually have those processes create their own process, instead of shoehorning them into a specific way of doing things or burdening an IT team to figure out what that is.

Cris:

Sure.

Cody:

But in terms of other software, I don’t think it’s quite the fit. I think for a long time we’re going to keep doing custom software and have plenty of jobs right there and for us.

Alexandra:

Thank you for joining us for this episode of Bixly Tech Tuesday as Cris and Cody discussed some of the options that are out there that are called low code or no code platforms and where they work great, what some of their limitations are.

Alexandra:

If you have any questions at all about what they talked about today, leave them in the comment section and don’t forget to check out our description box down below. We have a bunch of really helpful links for you guys, including a link to our free custom software guide and a link to our website where you can actually access Cris for a free 60 minute conversation. You just hit that button, start my roadmap right up at the top to be able to have a conversation with him about your next app idea. Until next time, this has been an episode of Bixly Tech Tuesday.