Building Apps Without Code: 7 Options For Your Enterprise - InformationWeek

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IoT
IoT
Data Management // Software Platforms
News
8/23/2015
12:06 PM

Building Apps Without Code: 7 Options For Your Enterprise

Application building no longer means learning to code. Here are seven products and services that can help you develop apps without developing programming skills.
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Salesforce1

If you're in the enterprise world, you know Salesforce. For many people and organizations, Salesforce defines software-as-a-service (SaaS). Teams of IT professionals spend their days building applications on and around Salesforce, but with the Salesforce1 platform -- and specifically, with the Lightning canvas within Salesforce1 -- business unit employees can go a long way toward defining their own applications.
In order for the applications to be most useful, they're going to need to take advantage of your enterprise databases, and you're probably not going to want to turn a business unit non-programmer loose on either the database or the APIs to get there. This is an opportunity for cooperation and application integration, but it still starts with the application defined by the business unit. And that's a good thing.
Pricing for the Force.com bundle that includes the Salesforce1 platform ranges from $25 to $150 per user, per month, with custom enterprise pricing available. If you're a Salesforce.com customer, it's possible you're already paying for this. And if that's the case, the opportunities for cooperation with your business units are bigger and better.

(Image: Salesforce)

Salesforce1

If you're in the enterprise world, you know Salesforce. For many people and organizations, Salesforce defines software-as-a-service (SaaS). Teams of IT professionals spend their days building applications on and around Salesforce, but with the Salesforce1 platform -- and specifically, with the Lightning canvas within Salesforce1 -- business unit employees can go a long way toward defining their own applications.

In order for the applications to be most useful, they're going to need to take advantage of your enterprise databases, and you're probably not going to want to turn a business unit non-programmer loose on either the database or the APIs to get there. This is an opportunity for cooperation and application integration, but it still starts with the application defined by the business unit. And that's a good thing.

Pricing for the Force.com bundle that includes the Salesforce1 platform ranges from $25 to $150 per user, per month, with custom enterprise pricing available. If you're a Salesforce.com customer, it's possible you're already paying for this. And if that's the case, the opportunities for cooperation with your business units are bigger and better.

(Image: Salesforce)

6 of 9
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SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
8/24/2015 | 10:45:20 AM
Re: Programmer's Perspective
@Somedude8: I have been using the Zoho environment for quite some time now, frankly because I didn't want to develop web apps by hand, i.e. I thought wasting time on simple projects is really unnecessary, and that is why I sought Zoho's help and you should know that it is not completely useless. 
Somedude8
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Somedude8,
User Rank: Ninja
8/24/2015 | 10:44:04 AM
Re: Programmer's Perspective
Exactly! I am often the first to question the ROI of having simple things programmed from scratch when there are OTS tools available that fit the bill. I suspect that that most non-IT departments still have the scars from IT smacking their fingers with rulers for so many years at the mere mention of doing something without their blessing, so relish the 'freedom' they mostly have these days. A middle ground like you describe is exactly what I believe needs to happen for the most effective results to be achieved.
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
8/24/2015 | 10:43:10 AM
Re: Programmer's Perspective
@Curt: I don't think IT has anything to do with thinking itself to be an "integrated system" because it is not. Support and side development is all what I manage to picturize when thinking about IT. Core computing and core development cannot be classified into IT, IT as we know is Information Technology but in real life IT means backup and support. Having worked in an IT firm for 2 years I have learn't the use of many tools and how to solve problems with these tools at your disposal. 
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
8/24/2015 | 10:40:06 AM
Re: Programmer's Perspective
@Somedude8, I think your experience is why IT needs to be involved, even if IT staff isn't doing the "front line" app development. If you were involved in the selection of tools and "consulted" on program design, it might well maximize the effect of your time while allowing the business unit the control (and speed) they're looking for.

I hear from more and more executives that enterprise IT needs to think of itself as an internal system integrator rather than the only team allowed to touch application development. Picking the right tools and developing the right process for using them are steps that (it seems to me) IT should work on if they want to retain both influence and sanity.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
8/24/2015 | 10:31:21 AM
Re: Shadow IT
@Gigi3, thanks so much for your comment. I'm curious about your experience with Kepler: Do you find you can do everything you need just by dragging and dropping components, or do you have to hand-code specific routines? Most of the examples I found allow you to drag-and-drop for straightforward projects but admit that, for specific, high-demand cases, you would either need to code routines separately or choose another tool. It seems like that might crop up a bit more frequently in the scientific and engineering fields, but I'll admit that I could be wrong on this!
Somedude8
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Somedude8,
User Rank: Ninja
8/24/2015 | 10:24:35 AM
Programmer's Perspective
As a programmer, freelance for the last few years, I have mixed feelings and experiences regarding build-the-application-without-a-programmer applications.

When directly exposed to them, its usually because their programmer-less program has reached some sort of capability or practicality ceiling, and now they need a programmer to 'extend' what they have 'built'. In theory, this can be done with some of these DIY applications, but in practice have never seen one that didn't require a complete rebuild. Its not a total loss though if lessons were learned about the business rules needed. But usually, its a disaster by the time I get called in.

The indirect exposure I get to them is almost always hearing about things that were built with zero input from IT. Sometimes these applications come to light because they are melting a server, or have been hacked, etc.

I guess I have an off center persepctive, as I don't usually get exposed to these applications until something goes pretty badly wrong. But that is part of the problem, the complete shutting out of IT in IT related matters.
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
8/24/2015 | 1:56:22 AM
Shadow IT
Kurtis, that's for leading an insight to such programming model. I think Canvas is almost similar to Kepler work flow; where building blocks can be drag and connect to form a programming model. We are using Kepler workflow models for engineering and scientific application developments.
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