Software is blocky. It comes in blocks because each line and block of software code relates to an instruction, class or tree of logic that forms a definable area of functional programming in the resulting application or service it is built for. Software comes in blocks because we are now able to containerize smaller sub-component elements of software into so-called ‘containers’, which we can now successfully orchestrate with cloud-native technologies such as Kubernetes.
Further still, software comes in blocks because we can now use low-code and no-code technologies to shortcut some of the more definable, repeatable, automatable processes that happen inside applications through a GUI interface, sometimes via drag-and-drop easiness.
These blocky truths have often led commentators to use the Lego block analogy to describe the way software is being developed today. But could software development – particularly in the no-code space – be about to go one block bigger and better due to the extended ability to also grasp composable software architecture services to underpin our now increasingly block-based applications?
Creatio thinks so. The company is a software vendor that specializes in a product designed to automate workflows and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) functions using no-code tools i.e. predominantly visual interface-based software tools that enable users to drag-and-drop, point-and-click and (in some cases, where touchscreen use might be present) even pinch-and-zoom their way to software application development.
The firm’s latest updates sees it ramp up its composable software architecture functionality, which the firm has combined with an AI-driven recommendations engine for workflow design and automation.
Сreatio will now offer a composable architecture that empowers organizations to accelerate the application design process and maximize the re-usability of ready-to-use components. The platform delivers a library of composable elements that no-code creators can use to assemble functionality blocks, applications and full-scale products with no-code.
The composable no-code architecture means all components are pluggable, replaceable and reusable, which replaces a significant amount of configuration, customization and development work when applications need to be changed, depending on the needs of a business.
“As a part of the new architecture, Creatio will feature a revamped user interface (UI) and user eXperience (UX) factor for desktop and mobile versions of its platform,”notes the company, in a technical statement. “This provides users with an engaging experience and a high level of personalization. The updated Freedom UI Designer contains a comprehensive library of predefined views, widgets and templates to build beautiful applications at speed and scale.”
Alex Petrunenko, Creatio product evangelist further states that his firm’s technology is providing a very granular level of composability on the application functionality level. Now that developers can use the tiniest aspects of the application (such as a set of fields or a button) as components, this literally turns traditional development into an ‘assembly’ effort. Such components can be combined into blocks that are further used for creating apps and full-scale products via no-code.
“In addition to that, with such an approach, we have the opportunity to engage a much wider population of non-technical people in the development process. We see a rise of a new persona – a no-code creator that is a natural problem solver without deep tech skills but with an understanding of a business process. Such no-code creators can now use components and blocks without much dependency on corporate IT and the availability of their resources. This means that we push the boundaries of the Lego-based approach in software development by democratizing the entire process,” said Petrunenko.
AI-assisted workflow automation
Creatio’s process management designer has also now been extended with an AI-assisted development functionality.
The new AI-driven capabilities provide a ‘no-code creator’ with guidance and recommendations on how to design and automate workflows to maximize their impact on business outcomes. The engine uses historical data as well as in-built best practices to provide intelligent recommendations. The AI-assisted workflow automation capabilities are focused on boosting the productivity and efficiency of the end-users while increasing the speed of the workflow design.
While some old school coding purists will wince, grimace and squirm at the term, the use of ‘no-code creator’ to describe someone (typically a businessperson, often a work-function domain specialist, generally a person without a formal education in software engineering or data science etc. and most likely someone with financial bottom line responsibility for business actions) that will now be capable of creating software that could be used by a variety of people across an organization, the reality of these non-programmers is real and is something the die hard types will now have to live with.
Are ‘no-code creators’ dangerous?
For any company to use no-code software safely, they will need to set policy guidelines to govern software usage and scope at a level above that at which the business users touching no-code software exist. This is not the same as business rules, which work at a more operational level to describe how a no-code (or other) application is supposed to function in any given scenario (for example, whether to flag an employee’s overdue status if they have used more sick days than generally permissible), this is policy to stipulate how much functionality a no-code creator can actually bring to bear inside the working operations of the business.
This type of functionality appears to be fully in evidence at Creatio. Petrunenko says that when it comes to policy control, the company has created a full-blown application on the Creatio platform that manages governance and policy control processes.
“This app is built based on the No-Code Playbook governance framework. It allows users to access the application complexity level (simple, medium, or complex), define and assign needed governance checklists… it will also initiate automated approval processes engaging the right employees from the compliance and IT security side,” explained Petrunenko.
The app also includes a number of inbuilt rules that can proactively identify potential risks during the application-building process (for example, if the no-code creator start building an app that touches financial and personal information), provide alerts, and suggest appropriate governance approvals.
The whole world of low-code no-code is getting more controlled, more automated and (it’s tough to argue against it) more interesting. No-code is the new yes-code, wait for the branding slogan soon.