Low-code and No-code Technologies Adoption: A Gray Literature Review
Context: In the last years, the software demand has been growing fast. With the Covid-19 pandemic, companies were forced to adapt to remote work, accelerating the digitalization process. According to Gartner, the demand for software will increase five times faster than the capacity to supply them by the industry, as result of the shortage of developers. Seeking to reduce this problem, tools that abstract the programming complexity have emerged. These tools promote software development via graphical user interfaces and allow people without programming knowledge, or with little knowledge, to develop their own applications. Such tools are known as low-code and no-code tools. Problem: Although low-code and no-code tools have been gaining popularity, their benefits and limitations have not been adequately evaluated, including their impacts in terms of evolution, maintenance, and quality of the generated code. The absence of scientific works that investigate and evaluate the development and use of low-code and no-code tools is a gap that should be explored to improve such techniques. Solution: This paper presents a review of the gray literature of low-code and no-code development tools, investigating publications that discuss the topic aiming to better comprehend the challenges related to the use and development of these tools. IS Theory: The work was developed based on the Expectation Confirmation Theory. Especially, in the evaluation of expectations based on perceived performance, given the great expectation of significant productivity gains with the adoption of low-code and no-code technologies. Method: We conducted a systematic review of the gray literature through the selection and analysis of online posts on the subject, given the lack of scientific works on this topic. Results: The results demonstrate the existence of several low-code and no-code tools, covering different markets and purposes, such as web, mobile, and desktop development. The ease of use, resource savings, and fast prototyping were identified as the main benefits of these tools. On the other hand, platform dependency, limited functionality, and data security were mentioned as the main challenges. Contributions: The main contribution of this work is, through a gray literature review, to present a study of the state of the art of development and use of no-code and low-code tools, particularly their benefits and limitations.
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