For anything sufficiently complex, the design UI tends to be just as complicated as writing code – or at a minimum, too complex for non-coders to use, and too inefficient for coders to want to use.Maximum simplicity is certainly a worthy goal, and definitely is gaining visibility. (Saw this in spades at the AIIM Conference two weeks ago too.) But it is unrealistic to expect we will eliminate all coding any time soon -- if ever -- unless we are talking about single-button interfaces to the least complex processes imaginable.
One day there will be an IT platform that will require no code to deploy and maintainSaid no-one ever outside of marketing. Won't happen. We can expect increasing levels of pre-existing 'customization' code to take care of integration requirements, or for predictive workflow conditions for example but at some point even standard rule sets will require tweaking. Each client, each implementation, every process, every IT landscape is different, you can't escape the certain amount of customization to make BPM effective for individual client scenario. For sure, predetermined code can help the business user gain some experience and knowledge around BPMS to navigate it to a point but to get the best out of any BPMS you will need to learn some of the nuts and bolts. Zero code has nothing to do with design UI. Let's junk that myth please. Design UI and end UX is a separate entity to be dealt with. BPM isn't about being cookie cutter. So why market it like that.
Full disclosure: I have represented Intalio ("zero code") and Magic Software ("code free") as a sales person; although the statements about code were established in both cases before I arrived. Whatever anyone thinks about the technologies in question, the statements nevertheless resonated with many prospective customers.
Paradoxically, I agree with most of the statements expressed by participants here -- both for and against the idea of zero code and model-driven anything. And it is possible to hold both conflicting views simultaneously, by segmenting my prospects into more or less technical audiences. Some people want the velocity possible with code-free; others want to know they can punch out to full coding in Java.
Are there compromises in code free? Probably. Is the technology evolving to make code free and declarative technology more powerful? Sure. Should we all be using more patterns? Probably. Is this a black and white question? No. Will code free technology get better in the future? Absolutely.
The one thing I do know is that "the tail should not wag the dog", which is to say that business should work to ensure that it is not held hostage to code. Business is about business and software technology is about enabling the objectives of business. Insofar as models and declarations and patterns enable us to express the concepts of business directly and explicitly, as opposed to being mediated by layers of code and complexity, we will be further ahead.