Developing applications isn’t an easy feat for developers. But designing, building, and distributing applications for the Internet of Things (IoT) poses an even larger challenge for development teams. These superconnected products and applications involve an elaborate mix of technologies, including endpoints, backend systems, as well as other platforms and data sources.
For companies working with the IoT and building applications for this interconnected world, developers require special skill sets that allow for the proper configuration and maintenance of the technologies. This adds quite a bit to the development life cycle as well as the devs’ workloads. They must then collaborate with business leaders to build out new ideas and develop apps quickly in order to stay relevant in the IoT world.
In addition to the existing challenges of the industry, the unbelievable speed of change makes it difficult for dev and information technology teams to stay ahead of the trends. Thankfully, the coding aspect of these advanced Internet of Things technologies is finally playing catch up with the power of no-code and low-code development platforms.
What Are No-Code and Low-Code Development Platforms?
Low-code or no-code platforms are development tools that allow less formally experienced engineers or people with no development knowledge to build applications. The name “low-code” means that users only need to know a little bit of coding to get the job done. “No-code” refers to platforms that don’t require any coding knowledge at all. On both, the use of drag-and-drop icons or features and a graphical user interface bring the project together.
Working with a low-code or no-code development platform is another step towards rapid application development for industries or technologies of all kinds, especially the Internet of Things. As new applications arise and require speedier time to market, these platforms help get devs out of the weeds of writing organic code and utilize the tools at their fingertips.
However, it’s worth noting that this form of development is still in its infancy in many ways. Each platform features its own characteristics and abilities: some require only business logic and integration skills to fully develop an app while others feature their own scripting languages, which means users must have some coding knowledge under their belt.
Once developers are set up on an Internet of Things platform, devs are able to create complex scripts and processes running on the managed devices without any major technical knowledge. This enables faster development overall and ensures more reliability in the eyes of the business owners or decision-makers, as there’s a bit less room for organic human error.
The Pros and Cons of Low-Code/No-Code IoT Development
All industries requiring operation technology assets could benefit from utilizing low-code or no-code platforms to build IoT applications. When companies choose to go the low-code or no-code route, they turn to automation during app development to reduce the time it takes to put said apps into production.
The idea behind using such platforms for the IoT is that users don’t have to depend on an IT expert to build an application or get stuck within the famous IT backlog.
Automatic code generators such as these platforms build code in a super generic manner, which means it will work with the general hardware and software environments it’s defined for. However, code won’t act as a custom fit to the company’s already configured hardware and software as a totally custom application or piece of IoT software would. Instead, they focus on saving companies time, effort, dev hours, and costs when usable.
Although working with these incredible platforms helps developers expedite their jobs and make things simpler, it doesn’t mean working in a no-code or low-code environment doesn’t come with drawbacks. These cons include:
- One of the most common complaints about these platforms is their inherent lack of true customization. These options vary across platforms, with some tightly limiting customization options and others providing more leeway.
- When developers write and work with their own organic code, they know it’s trustworthy. When working with low-code and no-code platforms, devs must accept that they are taking on some risk as they aren’t in full control of the platform and the code it generates.
- Some no-code and low-code platforms lack an API, which limits applications or acts as a restrictive factor for release.
- In some cases, the coding platform binds users to their platforms due to the complicated code it generates. It’s sometimes very difficult to maintain outside of the platform or via editing the application directly once the platform serves its purpose.
While all third-party development tools come with their own sets of pros and cons, utilizing no-code and low-code platforms for the development of Internet of Things applications helps save developers time and effort when developing for such a complicated field.