The Definitive Codeless Guidebook

What codeless is, who it’s for, and how to get started

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Table of Contents

Introduction

What is Codeless Architecture? 

Low-code vs. no-code vs. codeless

Codeless vs. cruft

Codeless to the rescue

Codeless case studies

Codeless resources

 

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 Introduction

There’s a lot of buzz in the low-code/no-code space. And where there’s buzz, marketing hype and misconceptions are sure to follow. This is especially true with technologies as rapidly evolving as low-code/no-code. The emergence of Codeless Architecture adds even more potential for confusion. 

This guide aims to unmuddy the waters and provide a north star for anyone curious about this new codeless frontier. 

In short: Codeless Architecture is a technological paradigm that empowers enterprises to overcome long-standing development challenges, such as:

  • Never-ending backlogs of requests from the business
  • Managing increasingly complex, disparate digital ecosystems
  • Ineffective collaboration with non-technical colleagues

Codeless Architecture isn’t some theoretical future state. Right now, some of the world’s largest organizations are “going Codeless” to secure and gain a digital advantage in the marketplace. 

READ: Codeless Success Stories

You’re probably reading this guide because you’ve heard about Codeless Architecture and want to learn more. Or perhaps you aren’t sure if it’s applicable to your organization. We’re here to help. In this guide, we will: 

  • Define Codeless Architecture
  • Explain who it’s for, and how it differs from low-code/no-code
  • Explore the ways codeless overcomes three long-standing challenges to enterprise development 
  • Document innovative, enterprise-grade solutions built using codeless
  • Show you how quickly you can get started with codeless
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 What is Codeless Architecture?

Quote 1-1

Codeless Architecture is a developing open standard for building complex, enterprise-grade software, including integrations with virtually any legacy and third-party system—all without writing, managing, or even seeing a single line of code. 

Inspired by Serverless Architecture, Codeless Architecture takes the power of abstraction to the next logical step. 

Whereas Serverless Architecture makes it easy to tap into the cloud without purchasing, setting up, or maintaining any servers, whether physical, virtual, or container, Codeless Architecture makes it easy to build & manage applications via a streamlined, intuitive interface so that you can focus exclusively on application logic. 

Codeless Architecture goes the next step by abstracting any piece of code into a reusable element. As a result, you can compose complex workflows and enterprise-grade applications within a simple, visual drag-and-drop interface. Not only can you focus all your attention on application logic, but you now no longer have to translate that logic into code.

And no, this is not some future state. Enterprises are already building mission-critical solutions with codeless. 

  Want to go even deeper into the tech? Check out this the codeless whitepaper

Why codeless? 

Demand for modern enterprise applications is growing, and yet it actually takes longer to build them today than a decade ago. Meanwhile, there are not nearly enough engineers to meet this accelerating demand. And developers you do have on the payroll are spending a third of their time managing the technology that already exists. 

Codeless addresses all these challenges by accelerating development, expanding the potential pool of developers, and reducing future tech debt by eliminating net-new, manual code.  

 
+17% 
 Dev hours per app, 2010s vs. 2000s1
 
 
 
~1 million
Number of unfilled IT jobs2
 
 
 
33%
Developer time spent on tech debt3
 
 

Who benefits from codeless

By making development 100% visual and composable, codeless serves everyone with a stake in enterprise application development, including:
  • Developers. Free yourself from “cruft” (boring, repetitive, and mundane tasks), and spend more time on more creative, rewarding work
  • Tech leaders. Focus more on innovation and less on managing backlogs and tech debt
  • The business. Get the modern applications you need to stay competitive 3X faster 
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 Low-code vs. no-code vs. Codeless Architecture

The market is filled solutions that promise to lighten the burden of traditional coding, or even get rid of it all together. But they are not all created alike. 

“No-code” website builders

  • Who they’re for: Small businesses needing brochure websites & basic commerce 
  • Examples: Wix, Squarespace
  • Limitations: For websites only

Niche low-code workflow management tools

  • Who they’re for: SMBs needing to solve niche business problems 
  • Examples: Airtable, TrackVia, Retool 
  • Limitations: Complex & code-based customization. Limited integrations. Updates on vendor schedule.

Low-code tools 

  • Who they’re for: SMBs that want to reduce lower coding burden 
  • Examples: Pegasystems, Outsystems, Appian, Mendix 
  • Limitations: Proprietary languages. Limited support for advanced logic and business rules. Lack of legacy integrations. No custom styling. 

Codeless/Enterprise no-code platforms

  • Who they’re for: Any organization with any business problem, even with complex governance and compliance req.
  • Examples: Unqork
  • Limitations: Virtually none

Workflow GIF

Who is Codeless Architecture for?

Subhra Kanta Patra Quote

Codeless isn’t a tool that allows inexperienced developers to "catch up" with seasoned engineers. In fact, developers with years—even decades—of experience regularly use these tools to eliminate “cruft,” so they can focus on the cool stuff. 

Business users 

By making development entirely visual (think Visio), business users can: 

  • Actively participate in development, rather than handoff requirements
  • Build straight-forward applications and add/change functionality
New developers 

People new to development can begin composing complex, enterprise applications within weeks, because Codeless Architecture:

  • Doesn’t require learning a new coding language
  • Makes building workflows and apps entirely visual, including integrations and data management
Seasoned engineers

By eliminating large amounts of “cruft,” seasoned developers can focus on high-level functions like:

  • Quality control
  • Security and governance
  • Management of mission-critical legacy systems
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 Codeless vs. cruft

Here is a list of some of the costly, time-consuming, repetitive tasks that codeless takes off your place across the application lifecycle. 

Infrastructure planning & management

  • No need to purchase or manage servers
  • No dependencies to install 
  • No DNS to configure or URLs to hook up
  • No manual management of scalability or availability

UI/Application development

  • No need to need to master HTML/Javascript (or any code)
  • No need to connect fields to databases
  • No need to manually implement validations
  • No need to manually build validation displays
  • WATCH: Codeless UX Design & Presentation 

Integrations

  • No need to understand how to make requests or find libraries, codes, etc. 
  • No need to create secure store for credentials
  • No need to manually build out logic of multiple authentication type

Quote 3

 

Database management

  • No need to set up databases or establish connectivity
  • No need to run commands to create or alter tables
  • No queries to write
  • No time or effort to scale or manage availability

Security

  • No manual setup of secure user authentication 
  • No manual setup of secure data storage and encryption 
  • No manual setup for resiliency against cyber attacks

Deployment 

  • One-click deployments and rollbacks
  • No broken builds
  • No time spent on managing builds

Upgrades

  • Only upgrade your business logic
  • No code changes when upgrading applications
  • No need to upgrade underlying tech as it evolves
 
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 Codeless to the rescue

By taking so much cruft off your plate and making application building entirely composable, Codeless Architecture helps you solve three of the most intractable problems tech teams face. 

Challenge #1: A never-ending backlog of requests from the business 

Demand for new apps is exploding. Code-based development is actually slowing. There are not nearly enough experienced developers to keep up. And talented developers spend more than one-third of their time managing existing code. 

Why codeless makes the differenceShashank Raj Quote
  • No tools to choose. 
  • No need to build and manage a platform
  • No need to understand the underlying code 
  • No new code to write. 
  • No new code to maintain 
  • Up to 600x reduction in bugs 

Challenge #2: Inability to collaborate effectively with business colleagues

Developers must turn business requirements into code, and something always gets lost in translation. And because of complex dependencies, a seemingly minor change can take days and dozens of hours of precious developer time. 

Why codeless makes the difference
  • A shared visual language. Because codeless development is entirely visual, business people can often sit side-by-side with developers, follow what they’re doing, and collaborate in real-time to get things right the first time. 
  • Iterations on the fly. By speeding or eliminating so many steps in the development process, codeless enables you to build POCs faster, make changes quickly, and deliver an MVP at least 3x faster. 

Challenge #3: Painful integrations and upgrades Chris DeBrusk Quote

Today’s ecosystems are held together by a complex spaghetti of APIs and other connectors. And too often, they are poorly documented. Integrations must be painstakingly maintained, and you have to settle for the lesser of two evils—stuff breaking because you didn’t upgrade, or because you did. 

Why codeless makes the difference
  • Modular integrations without a single line code. Create, authenticate, and centralize APIs, gateways, and reusable microservices within an entirely visual tool. Unqork’s codeless platform even generates API documentation automatically.
  • Upgrade. Or not. You choose. Keep legacy systems that work well enough, but simply upgrade interactions with both users or other systems via the API engine. Avoid the hassles of forced upgrades if that is the best option. If you do upgrade, there’s no need to refactor code. No matter how you execute it, the logic remains untouched.   

 
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 Codeless case studies

CHUBB-1

Transforming a global insurer with codeless

 

Chubb’s Shekar Pannala (Global CIO, Co-Leader Technology) and Max Gelfer (North America CIO) discuss the ways Unqork’s codeless platform opens up intriguing new opportunities in a complex and highly regulated sector like insurance—and how Unqork amplifies developers’ abilities rather than replacing them. 

“The ability to represent complex problems visually and let the platform translate it into executable code is one of the big advantages of Unqork,” says Gelfer.

FOXO-RGB

Creating high-quality, quick-to-market software with codeless

 

FOXO Technologies’ Tyler Danielson (CTO) and Taylor Fay (Director of Product Management) discuss a complex re-insurance administration solution built at speed on Unqork’s codeless platform. 

“It's faster, it's cheaper. And even for complicated systems found in insurance or banking, it's everything that you could possibly imagine, but were never able to get before,” says Danielson. 

MARSH-1

Unifying business and technology to transform placement and policy servicing

 

Marsh’s Andreas Wetterwald (Global Marsh Deputy Chief Information Officer/CIO Marsh Americas) and Kathleen Kreuzer (Chief Business Officer for Global Operations) discuss how they used no-code to build a digital workspace, so Marsh’s brokers—and their insureds—can quickly and accurately perform key services.

“Within days, we had a working POC. That was impressive,” says Kreuzer.

fannie-mae-logo

Remediating EUCs with codeless

 

Brett Krasner, Principal Digital Engineering Consultant at Capco, speaks with Satya Addagarla (Vice President, Lender & Servicer Technology and Enterprise Cloud Migration) and Elton Fernandes (Senior Manager, Lender & Servicer Technology and EUC Cloud Migration) of Fannie Mae discuss how codeless has helped them increase security, lower development time, and digitize and automate manual processes.

“This intuitive interface allows business users to be easily trained on the Unqork platform and build their own applications under proper testing and design guidance,” says Krasner.

broadbridge-1

Rapidly develop innovative wealth management products

 

Broadridge Financial Solutions’ VP of Wealth Product Innovation Joseph Lo discusses how Unqork’s codeless platform enabled his company to build a secure, robust private market hub from the ground up built at unprecedented speed.

“Unqork allows me to take my ideas and what we are hearing from our clients and bring them to life,” says Lo. 

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 Codeless Resources

Academy & Community Hub

With Unqork Academy, Creators can master no-code in no time with robust guided curriculums, certification assessments, courses, and resources. The Unqork Community Hub is an active, self-sustaining community of Creators for continued support, education, and feedback. 

Unqork Marketplace

Using the Unqork Marketplace, users can easily surface and integrate enterprise-grade pre-built snippets, templates, integrations, and accelerators designed by industry experts, Unqork technology partners, and fellow Creators to further expedite your application development.

Implementation Partners

If you need to get up and running right away, assistance is available. Accelerate the delivery of your solutions by partnering with Unqork Digital, Unqork’s own professional services team, or one of our Certified Implementation Partners with deep industry and Unqork expertise. 

Integration Ecosystem

Take advantage of Unqork's expanding partner ecosystem and easily integrate specialized third-party functionality into your applications. Unqork's API functionality empowers Creators to seamlessly add new external services to existing workflows and business processes.


Long Term Trends from 40 Years of Completed Software Project Data. (2021, November 2). QSM SLIM-Estimate. Link [back]

2 Liu, J. (2019, November 6). The US has nearly 1 million open IT jobs—here’s how much it can pay off to switch industries into tech. CNBC. Link [back]

3 Omeyer, A. (2021, July 28). The Cost of Technical Debt. dzone.com. Link [back]



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