Codeless development environments, which rely on models and templates for building applications rather than strict coding, are gaining a foothold. But they are limited and won't render professional developers obsolete, observers of these technologies say.
Platforms from companies such as OutSystems and Mendix have emerged in this development niche, and with them comes growing interest in codeless tools, says analyst David Norton of Gartner. "We're seeing SMBs who are trying to lower costs" by looking at high-productivity, model-driven environments, he says.
Also driving interest is frustration with IT and business units that want to handle their own development. An official at Software AG, which is a player in the codeless development market, concurs. "Businesses do not want to be dependent on IT to get everything done," says Pankaj Malviya, senior vice president and general manager of application PaaS at the company.
"I see a lot of interest and a fair amount of adoption," of codeless environments, says analyst John Rymer, of Forrester. He cites software vendors participating in the market ranging from Mendix to Salesforce.com and Microsoft with its SharePoint collaboration platform.
Mendix, OutSystems, and Software AG vie in codeless dev
Mendix bills its cloud-based platform as the app platform for the enterprise, or PaaS for the business user. "We help our customers dramatically cut down the time it takes to build new apps," says CEO Derek Roos.
OutSystems offers a visual, RAD (rapid application delivery) approach to development. With the OutSystems Platform, Java and .Net applications are generated. "This [system] has been built to build any style of complex apps," says David Holmes, vice president of marketing at OutSystems. Enterprise Web and mobile applications can be built, and reusable modules and components are featured.