No-Code in 2024?

What Does the Future Hold for No-Code App Development?

Written by Ian C. Tomlin | 12th January 2024

2023 saw a significant boost in the popularity of No-Code platforms, as many businesses concluded the best way to grow out of an economic downturn (resulting from the pandemic) was to innovate.  Will 2024 be the year that no-code application development takes hold?  If so, what innovations can enterprise buyers expect from state-of-the-art platforms like Encanvas?  Read this article to find out.

Overcoming The Coding Bias

Few people involved in the enterprise applications development market would be unaware of the strong bias towards manual coding. The industry has been run by people who themselves trained as coders.  These individuals have invested in coding.  No question, coding offers unlimited versatility while any form of abstraction layer will inevitably lead to inflexibilities.  These inflexibilities come in the form of functionality shortcomings built into apps, or in the ongoing platform architecture—making it more difficult to protect data, integrate with other systems, scale apps or manage User and Group permissions.

This has led some IT leadership teams to focus their cultures and behaviors around coding.  When this happens it inhibits speed-to-market and business outcomes.  It is assumed, through this professional bias, that any product claiming to be able to produce enterprise apps without coding is intended for ‘citizen developers’—which these days has become industry-speak for ‘amateur.

The great thing about working with teams of awesomely clever and passionate people wanting to solve a problem, is they don’t see things like ‘bias’ as being an insurmountable obstacle; but rather just another bridge to cross.

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When Encanvas deployed its first enterprise platform for a top 5 professional services company back in 2002, it proved that a no-code appdev platform could do something coder couldn’t. And, in 2003, when it produced a system to manage Advanced Roadworks Plans for a community of over a hundred organizations digging up roads across Greater London, it proved that No-Code can handle ultra-complex enterprise IT challenges better than coded solutions.

No-Code Platforms Have Been Around For Years

The challenge has been to convince a profession whose holy grail is the manual creation of code, that there is a better way of producing enterprise apps.  Thankfully, enterprise projects to create apps have grown in volumes exponentially because of the potential of digital technologies to offer significant cost savings and customer service improvements. Speed-to-market of new applications has led to a drive for smarter ways of building apps. Every business has become an innovation factory.  In 2021, more enterprise buyers than ever started to explore the possibilities of no-code.

The Story So Far

Most No-Code solutions start their life by making it simpler to develop basic forms-based applications.  Almost any enterprise app born in the early 2000s required humans to enter data into it. Understandably, the numeracy of department-level forms-based apps has created a demand for rapidly deployed, ‘designed-to-fit’ solutions. This requirement has shaped the feature sets of No-Code tools. Features to expect include:

Displacing Coding Activity For Simple AppDev Tasks

To be awarded ‘Best No-Code Platform 2022’ solutions need to reduce or remove the amount of mundane coding tasks needed to author and deploy forms-based apps. Early solutions weren’t much different to DataEase or Microsoft Access (if you remember these popular self-authoring tools of the 1990s). Typical design elements included text, text area, numeric, date-box fields (etc.) and presentation building blocks like tables and charts.

Simplifying the User Journey for AppDev

Tools had to offer simple user journeys to intuitively guide developers through the stages of app design and deployment, including ‘one-click publishing.’ Few people are prepared to read user manuals anymore, so if Users can’t work out how to work with a tool without referring to a user manual, it won’t be popular with modern tech buyers.

Cloud Enabled

A big ‘digital tech’ shot in there arm for No-Code platform vendors has been the evolution of cloud platforms like Amazon EC2 and Microsoft Azure. Large tech vendors have invested billions of dollars into their cloud infrastructures and middleware tools over the past two decades. No-Code platforms are able to harness these capabilities to make it easier to integrate, secure and scale applications; both in their audience size and number. Much of the ‘heavy lifting’ for the back-office IT tasks is ultimately being performed by the cloud infrastructure supplied by one of the top 5 cloud vendors.

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The Rise of Fusion Teams

The demand to speed up the time-to-value of apps has led organizations to create Development Operations (DevOps) teams. These IT teams use agile scrum development methods to fast-track app developments. While operational innovations in DevOps teams and agile have revolutionized the pace of app development, they still gravitate towards coding and coders; which means they still don’t quite remove the barriers between IT and the business.  Business bosses remain hungry for FASTER, CHEAPER applications development. This leads to a move towards ‘Fusion Teams’ that fuse IT and Business People together in workshop-oriented app development teams.

According to the latest thinking by Gartner, DevOps teams are about to get displaced in the enterprise by FUSION teams. They say, “Many firms pursuing distributed delivery are transitioning to “fusion teams” to bring together IT and business employees to develop digital solutions. As fusion teams become more prevalent, enterprise architecture and technology innovation leaders must actively support these blended, multidisciplinary teams.”

Bringing Business People and IT Together

Fusion teams equipped with No-Code software—such as Encanvas, Mendix, OutSystems, BettyBlocks, etc.—encourage open discussions between the people who know what an app needs to do, and the Business Analysts (not coders) responsible for authoring the app solution. This results in better-fit apps, built faster.

 Look for ‘See-No-Code-Use-No-Code’ features in the best no-code platforms

While Low-Code tools reduce the amount of coding that needs to be done when creating apps, No-Code solutions remove code from the screen when apps are being developed. Coding is displaced by an abstraction later of ‘LegoTM’ styled building blocks that are designed to serve the various demands expected of the design element. For example, ‘Buttons’ can perform layer-upon-layer of actions to update data, check values, automate email workflows and escalations, etc.

Agile Codeless Project Methods

Of course, when you only need one person to build an app, there’s no point having a SCRUM for one. This means Agile Development methods and tools are also having to adapt to this new reality. Additionally, you can expect No-Code platforms to offer an Asset Library to manage assets and re-usable components. Tools like Jira and GitHub used by coders to manage code blocks in a traditional manual coding ecosystem are no longer needed. Instead, simpler ideation and project management tools are used to track progress of what are essentially much simpler and shorter projects, involving far fewer people.

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2024 Innovations

Here are a few pointers to some of the latest innovations in enterprise No-Code platforms:

Remote Development

It’s no longer necessary for the people designing and deploying apps to be in the same room. The pandemic of 2020 has encouraged the evolution of remote development tooling into No-Code platforms.

Encanvas, for example, supports an encrypted Passport system for its remotes designers and architects to make access to the platform simple for users, whilst improving platform security compared to applications using two-factor authentication (which presents the risk of someone stealing a Users’s smartphone). Using Passports, designers can safely build apps online with business stakeholders on Zoom, in a Google Huddle, or on Microsoft Teams. No data gets saved to the local devices and no enterprise data connections are exposed.

AI Coding (Or Specifying)

We can imagine 2024 as being the year that artificial intelligence starts writing code, perhaps not as much as humans to begin with, but we can imagine it will get there!  Already, Google’s Gemini is getting pretty nifty at supplying ready-to-use CSS scripts that take the load off of developers.  While fully coding applications may be a while off, we can imagine systems adopting AI tools to allow users to specify their requirements in a more transferrable and adoptable form. 


More ETL and Integration Ware

One of the main reasons why enterprise projects fail is the quality of data or the inability to harvest and blend data. The latest innovations in No-Code platforms go a step further with integrated No-Code tooling to mash up data from multiple sources and provide rich back-office software robots to orchestrate data uploads securely. These built-in No-Code features mean organizations no longer need to invest in third-party data integration or Extract-Transform-Load middleware.

More Support for Hyper-Automation

The big new phrase in the digital transformation industry is Hyper-Automation; or the ability to apply best-fit Digital Technology solutions to process improvements without incurring high frictional costs. Enterprise No-Code platforms are now able to plug in third-party AI algorithms, Maps, DLLs, code, script, blockchain, data visualizations, social messaging tools, etc. to make it simpler for companies to embed tech innovations into business processes without having to find third-party tools.

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Micro-Portals • Forms • Reports • Training Dashboards • Charts • Maps • Tables Checklists • Onboarding • Risk Registers • Presentations • eBooks


The last decade has seen tools evolve for coders and non-coders.  With the advent of Fusion Teams, No-Code platform vendors like Encanvas are now producing tooling to serve both audiences; namely, No-Code applications development tools for fusion teams underpinned by a No-Code cloud ecosystem for IT people to use so they can create data integrations, serve up an AppFabric, manage deployments, scaling, data security and User permissions.

Could this be the final step in the evolution of applications engineering; taking it from manual coding to codeless applications design and deployment? Probably not, but it will give business and IT leaders something to think about in 2024.