The No Coding Myth, Part II





Eric Simone

CEO, ClearBlade Inc.

About a year ago ClearBlade published a blog entitled “The no coding required myth”.  We pointed out the obvious, “using mobile and web no coding required tools are a fantastic way to build a subpar user experience, while trapping developers onto a platform that can’t keep up with emerging trends.”


At a macro level, it’s an incredibly easy statement to make because we have seen these promises and failures many times before.  More personally, we at ClearBlade have worked on tools that were highly ranked in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for visual design and drag and drop functionality.  When we took those tools to the real world, we watched them fail to protect the developer from the realities of coding and instead, watch them be more confused over simple code issues.


At the time, MEAPs were big news and software vendors were promising easy button tools for creating apps.  The good news? That wave is finally dying. Today, most mobile developers write real code. The snake oil is no longer in demand.


Here we go again


With IoT at the peak of the hype curve, the charlatans have returned.  Many are promising a single product to solve every IoT problem.  They promise “no coding required” and an easy button for everything from cloud to hardware connectivity.


The reality is that IoT represents a huge maturity in software architecture.  It will take the very best practices and patterns we have today and stretch them.  If we simply break down IoT into a few segments of architecture, we would see:


1. Device layers

2. Gateway layers

3. Server layers

4. Integration layers


Here you have four distinct areas being innovated, advanced by vendors all over the world.  Best of breed solutions will appear both proprietary and open source, and released multiple times a year.  Picking a leading solution in just one segment is challenging - who would have seen the demise of Blackberry and the rise of Apple an MP3 player maker in enterprise mobility? Or Amazon, a bookseller, becoming the dominant player in enterprise computing?


What does this mean?  History says the current wave of IoT easy button vendors is hopelessly doomed.  The promise of a single platform that will deploy to devices, gateways, cloud, and has the integrations you need is a complete pipe-dream.  The investment effort to keep up with the innovation wave that’s coming makes chasing mobile look pedantic.


Even more ludicrous than promising to support all the IoT solution needs are their statements of no coding required.  It is tempting to think that computing will get to the point that we don’t need developers to write actual code.  When there is a complex revolution like IoT, that the developer community doesn’t understand at large, no coding required gets even more alluring.  The history and the reality is that these tools are all just vapor ware in the long haul.


In the end “no coding required” and “complete cloud to device” platforms won’t survive.  My advice is to find the best solution for your IoT challenge in context.  Like client-server communications, like the Internet revolution, like mobility - developers will catch up, standards will be defined and change is a constant.  Don’t be afraid of learning and investing in IoT, but invest in IoT platforms that understand and learn from history.

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