One necessity in fighting the current pandemic has been the ability to react rapidly to changing circumstances, which, in the case of software, has meant the trend towards low-code or no-code development could not have been better timed.

No-code means what it says: not a line of code is required to build an application. Instead, a graphical user interface allows reusable components to be dragged and dropped in, or a form can be filled out to create a feature. Last March, New York City used Unqork’s no-code tools to create Covid-related apps such as tracking, donation and food distribution systems in just 3 days for each one. Low-code is very similar, but the term acknowledges that some coding may be needed for integration with other applications or particular customisations.

The trend is suited to remote-working “citizen developers” — non-IT professionals — creating useful apps at speed for their departments and companies. It has also been leapt upon by cloud companies offering low-code tools as a service.

Amazon Honeycode is a no-code development tool, as is Google’s AppSheet. SAP’s Ruum helps develop workflow apps and Salesforce has a similar offering.

On Tuesday, Gartner reported a 23 per cent rise in low-code/no-code revenues last year and predicted the global low-code development technologies market would reach $13.8bn in 2021, up another 23 per cent.

By 2025, it expects 70 per cent of new applications developed by enterprises will be low-code/no-code, up from less than 25 per cent last year, as businesses recognise they have cheaper and faster options.

“The economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have provided an extraordinary validation of the low-code value proposition,” it said. “Accelerated adoption is seen both in the short term and is expected in the long term.”

1. Murdoch makes news deal with GoogleRupert Murdoch’s News Corp has agreed a groundbreaking deal with Google, securing “significant payments” for its journalism and setting a new standard for relations between international publishers and Big Tech. The agreement goes beyond Google’s current problems in Australia, extending to titles such as the Wall Street Journal and New York Post in the US and the Times and the Sun in the UK.

2. Epic takes Apple fight to EUEpic Games has filed a formal antitrust complaint against Apple to the European Commission, the latest shot in an escalating feud between the Fortnite developer and the Silicon Valley giant. The games company alleged Apple was imposing commercially unviable burdens on rivals, in particular, the 30 per cent “tax” on App Store purchases.

3. Amazon Covid case, Shopify doubles salesNew York’s attorney-general has sued Amazon, claiming it failed to protect its employees adequately during the coronavirus pandemic. Amazon said it cared deeply about health and safety. Shopify capped a blockbuster year for online retail by doubling sales for the third quarter in a row, though it warned it would be unable to maintain that breakneck growth in 2021.

4. Now snow hits semisThe Arctic weather sweeping through Texas is threatening to exacerbate a global shortage in semiconductors, after several manufacturing plants near Austin were forced to shut down. Samsung, NXP and Infineon all announced a halt to production.

5. The surveillance agenda behind the digital yuanAsian countries are racing to launch digital currencies, reports this week’s #techAsia. Among large economies, China is making the running with a digital renminbi that is being trialled in several cities and looks set to sharply enhance the surveillance capabilities of the state, according to our Big Read.

Hublot announced on Tuesday a Premier League limited edition of its Big Bang e smartwatch launched last June. Restricted to 200 pieces, the £4,300 timepiece features a strap in the Premier League’s signature purple and an app that provides users with animated notifications of kick-off times, goals, penalties, substitutions, yellow and red cards, and time added on. It will also show team line-ups and VAR decisions. Premier League referees are being given a special version including goal-line technology that signals to the referee when the whole of the ball has crossed the line.