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Low-code and no-code are approaches to application development meant to get apps to perform tasks with as little coding as possible. The idea of no-code applications has made its way into the communications space with communications platform-as-a-service vendors offering APIs that eliminate the need for developers to spend time and resources writing core infrastructure code for communications applications.
Communications APIs enable application developers to write less code dealing with communication infrastructure. Instead of the developers writing core infrastructure code, the code can be outsourced to CPaaS vendors that offer relevant APIs. Developers can take a low-code approach to application development because CPaaS vendor APIs can be integrated into the app's infrastructure. The developer is only responsible for coding what is not covered by the vendor's API.
CPaaS applications are no longer simply transactional and have evolved in complexity, such as using one-time phone numbers to maintain a customer's privacy when using a ride-share app. A low-code approach means that while the app's capabilities are more complex, coding those capabilities is not. Abstraction simplifies coding by hiding any complexities of the app to show only the relevant and necessary visual information. In a low-code approach, the more abstraction an application has, the less overall code a developer needs to write.
The areas of development most affected by a no-code application approach are serverless and flow layers. With serverless, small pieces of code are written by the developer, and then hosted and managed by a CPaaS vendor. In a serverless setup, the CPaaS vendor is responsible for the code's maintenance, including security and scale. This approach reduces the workload for developers; however, few CPaaS vendors currently offer serverless capabilities.
Today, the focus for CPaaS no-code applications is the flow layer, which focuses on visual design. Visual drag-and-drop tools enable developers to diagram workflows and interactions without writing code or writing only a small amount of code as needed. Vendors such as Twilio, MessageBird, Plivo and Voximplant offer these tools.
No-code and low-code both target application developers; however, due to the visual interface of flow layers, nondevelopers within an organization, like those in marketing, can have more input when creating applications.
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