Metasoftware, legal technology, software creation, functional software, information technology, cloud-based software platforms, no code software


This Article develops a novel concept in information technology called “metasoftware.” It then applies the concept of metasoftware to developing legal technology.

Metasoftware enables users to create the software of their choosing and stands in sharp contrast to traditional, functional. Functional software is the default type of software that is currently produced and includes word processing, email, social networking, enterprise resource management, online marketplaces, and video game software. Metasoftware, by contrast, is not functional. Metasoftware presents the user with a blank slate upon which to build functional software.

I argue that software is metasoftware to that extent that (1) it enables users to build user interface elements, workflow logic, and perform database operations; (2) provides connectivity with external data and software systems; and (3) can be stored and run independently from the platform that is used to build the software.

My identification of metasoftware contributes to the academic literature on information systems and technology. Metasoftware is a hitherto unrecognized category of software for analysis in terms of several foundational lines of information technology research including user acceptance and usage, diffusion within an organization, and impact on organizational innovation and success (e.g., business performance).

I analyze three types of metasoftware platforms to determine how metasoftware characteristics are implemented in each and their inherent tradeoffs. These platforms are those closely tied to major producers of cloud-based software platforms, standalone proprietary “no code” software builder platforms, and open-source visual development platforms. This Article also describes how metasoftware platforms can be used to build functional legal technology and analyzes how the tradeoffs between different types of metasoftware platforms impact how metasoftware platforms should be used as building blocks for “legaltech” software.