If you’ve ever run a Google search on no-code or low-code platforms, you’ve probably run into a handful of industry-specific terms that had no accompanying definition. For those trying to learn about software platforms that cater to non-technical users, it’s not a very fitting welcome.
Understanding the no-code/low-code industry shouldn’t be like cracking a cipher. Here are 10 common terms you should know to help you navigate the no-code/low-code space at ease:
“No code” or “no-code platforms” are application development platforms that can be built and customized with zero programming experience. No-code platforms often feature intuitive, drag-n-drop interfaces that allow non-coders to quickly build and run business applications. No code and “low code” are often featured together in articles, but refer to platforms with different technical competency requirements.
“Low code” or “low-code platforms” are application development platforms that require or offer the ability to build new code into the platform as part of creating business applications. These platforms are especially suitable for people who want to go beyond out-of-the-box solutions to create more complex, sophisticated business processes. Both technical-minded business users and developers can utilize a low-code platform (although programming language requirements may vary by platform). Many no-code platforms have built in low-code capabilities, making them accessible to both non-technical and technical users.
3. Citizen developer
“Citizen developer” is a term coined by Gartner, a global research firm that specializes in technology-related research. According to Gartner, “A citizen developer is a user who creates new business applications for consumption by others using development and runtime environments sanctioned by corporate IT.” Specifically for the no-code/low-code sphere, citizen developers are the business users creating business apps for themselves or their company.
4. Business applications
Business software designed to execute specific business-related functions. For example, an inventory tracking or assigned tasks application. Business applications can be developed for almost any function, from managing inventory to onboarding new hires.
5. Digital transformation
“Digital transformation” is another term largely influenced by Gartner’s role in the no-code/low-code industry. Gartner’s glossary identifies digital transformation as “the process of exploiting digital technologies and supporting capabilities to create a robust new digital business mode.” Essentially, companies who incorporate new technologies into their business strategy and execution are undergoing digital transformation.
Jason Bloomberg, president of agile digital transformation analyst firm Intellyx, takes issue with Gartner’s definition. “We define digital transformation as ‘customer preferences and behavior drive enterprise technology decisions,’” Bloomberg explains. “Such transformation requires an end-to-end rethink of how enterprises deliver value, which requires greater collaboration across organizational silos. Low-code platforms are becoming increasingly important for how they support and encourage such collaboration.”
6. Democratization of tech
The process by which technology is becoming more available to people. Technology that has few to no knowledge/learning barriers for the average person is considered democratic technology. No-code applications are probably the clearest example of of democratic technology in the no-code/low-code industry.
Short for: Application Platform as a Service. It often refers to cloud-based software you access the way you would a service. aPaaS are usually subscription-based.
High-Performing Application Platform as a Service. This term, developed by Gartner, is used for their annual report on the best-performing aPaaS available to consumers and businesses.
9. Rapid application development (RAD)
According to Capterra, is a “form of Agile software development technology” that “emphasizes working software and user feedback over strict planning and requirements recording.” Although RAD requires a series of steps to execute, its focus is much less software-oriented and much more people-oriented. RAD focuses heavily on testing and re-testing software to make sure it meets the end user’s needs.
A method of software development based on the principles laid out in the Agile Software Development Manifesto (which was developed in the 1990s and early 2000s as technology became more accessible to the average person). The Agile movement focuses on experiences, both shared and individual, as the heart of software development rather than relying solely on traditional software development principles. The full manifesto can be found here.
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