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No-Code vs Low-Code: How to Know Which One You Need

Kate William

8 min read

Ever been confused what the terms no-code and low-code meant?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

While both no code and low code platforms speed up the development of applications, each has its own benefits, problems, and challenges.

In this article, we discuss: what the two terms mean, the best features and use cases of each platform, the key differences, similarities, and challenges, and what the future holds for these platforms.

Ready? Let’s dive in.

What is Low-code?

Designing applications with minimum hand-coding by dragging and dropping blocks of existing code into a workflow is a low code platform.

you can rapidly develop apps using the automation and abstraction it provides. While you don’t really require coding expertise to use the low code app, professional developers, even a junior developer or a technical business user typically tend to use it.

You’ll find a ton of shortcuts when you opt for this way of building your applications. Building software in the traditional way involves being aware of the latest programming framework, hand-coding a user management system, and so on.

Features of a Low-code Platform

Drag-and-drop interface

What makes a low code development platform an easy way to build software applications is its drag-and-drop facilities. From professional developers to non-technical users, it will be easy for anyone to create applications with the help of this interface.

Cross-platform accessibility

Multi-device compatibility is an attractive feature as not being on a particular device might make it impossible for you to capture these people. Low-code platforms can run on any type of device that runs major operational systems. If you build one application, you can deploy it immediately on all devices, and it should happen with little effort, resources, or any coding.

Security & Scalability

Low-code systems are easily scalable. You will be able to build new apps which can handle an increase in traffic. There was a time when low code platforms were only used for smaller applications that had less critical features, but today they are also used in enterprise-grade applications. Thankfully, they have all the necessary security certifications in place which makes it possible to scale the application too.

Model-based development

With the help of frameworks and visual methods, it becomes easy to create applications faster. Thanks to this, business users will be able to understand the logic behind what they intend to create.

Reusability

You can find a lot of reusable modules to build your app. It’s a huge part of reusability. With a low code application platform, you can reuse the assets, modules, and applications in their entirety.

What is a no-code platform?

No-code platforms are the simplest of the two as all they have is a visual drag-and-drop interface, and you can only build functional apps with it. You cannot use no-code platforms to rebuild legacy applications or scale applications. You can use it for certain specific needs when you have a limited time frame.

No-code software is best suited for enterprise businesses that are looking to build advanced applications. It addresses the challenges of using traditional programming methods and helps you add new benefits and possibilities to the development process.

For those who are new to no code, they might be wondering how no-code development makes it possible for building advanced applications without having to write a single line of code. That’s how efficient it is.

Some of the most popular no-code platforms are Bubble, Monday.com, Airtable, Shopify, Wix.com, WordPress, Zapier, DaDaBik, etc.

Features of a no-code platform

Data connections

Most of the no-code software development systems are pre-configured with database and server-side applications that provide a basic UI that connects to your preferred database.

Drag-and-drop interface

No-code platforms are extremely popular because of how easy it is to use them. Its drag-and-drop interface allows people of any technology capability to build with ease. The efficiency of building the application becomes high thanks to this feature.

Faster GTM

The no-code platform allows for rapid prototyping which means that you can bring products faster to the market by using this when you compare it with traditional programming. It makes your business more agile by allowing you to respond to the changing requirements and customer demands in a faster manner. No-code solutions reduce the time taken for enterprise software projects to get completed. You can respond to changes on an ad-hoc basis.

Democratic software development

Gartner defines a citizen developer as “A user who creates new business applications for consumption by others using development and runtime environments sanctioned by corporate IT.” No-code platforms allow citizen development by allowing non-technical users to build feature-rich and robust applications which do not need advanced computer science degrees or need inputs from the IT team.

UI builder and visual modeling

Most of the no-code platforms allow the user to assemble pre-configured components to build an application. If you want to build features in a no-code platform, all you need to do is drag and drop the modules in logical order. There is no scripting necessary. Either everything has already been developed or visually modeled, the only thing that you are required to do is to drag and drop.

Cheaper costs

Hiring good developers will certainly put a dent in your budget. The associated costs of hiring, benefits, and onboarding are only going to cost you a ton of money. Thankfully, with a no-code platform, you will be able to decrease your IT costs as most of the work is already done by the platform.

Mobile capabilities

Most of the enterprise applications these days are run on mobile devices. When you are developing applications for mobile devices, ensure that the no-code platform that you choose has all these capabilities.

Uses of low code and no-code development platforms

You can create apps using both platforms, assuming that the programming requirements are not extremely complex.

  1. They lower the cost of application development and accelerate the time-to-market.
  2. With the help of visual interfaces and pre-built reusable components, it is possible for even non-technical personnel or citizen developers to build applications that can be integrated with existing systems easily.
  3. Both low code and no-code platforms eliminate the need to hire specialized developers.
  4. Thanks to the amount of code reusability which low code and no-code platforms allow for, the process of application development becomes extremely easy.
  5. It also promotes greater adherence to following the best practices and guidelines for application development.
  6. Applications that are built using no-code and low code platforms can be adjusted quickly based on changing business requirements.
  7. It provides a wide variety of integration which makes it possible for existing systems to make customized business processes.
  8. Organizations will have greater control over the application as they do not have to engage with the services of developers.
  9. No-code and low code platforms make it easy for non-experts to build applications. A no-code environment is easier to deal with tasks that are standardized and repetitive.
  10. Since there is little to zero coding in both these platforms, it allows businesses of all sizes and budgetary constraints to create fully functional apps.
  11. Thanks to the pandemic, the IT teams are working from home, and it becomes impossible to manage the volume of network connections, features, and application preferences. With the help of low code and no code tools, employees can work on their requirements with little technical help.
  12. It results in increased task efficiency. If the employees can build their versions of familiar apps or deploy functions quickly, they will be able to address the issues that they face with no outside assistance.
  13. It helps in creating proofs of concept. You can create a working proof and drive executive buy-in and even convince the leadership team to allocate more resources for the completion of the project.

No-code vs Low-code: What are the similarities?

The low code and no-code platforms provide the infrastructure to build software applications without having to write code. To explain it in a better way, it provides a visual approach to application development. In traditional methods of programming, you need developers with a lot of experience to create applications, these platforms do away with that requirement. Because of this, even people who are not tech-savvy will be able to be a part of application development. If you want flexibility and control over the development cycle, you can build your application using both low code and no-code platforms.

Both low code and no-code development platforms make it possible for both developers and non-developers to make applications with greater efficiency. You will be able to save a lot of overhead costs such as standing up environments and maintaining infrastructure.

No-code vs Low-code: How is low code different from no code?

  1. The main difference in no-code vs low-code is that the former doesn’t require any coding at all while the latter can still include coding in certain places.
  2. No-code technology is essentially for citizen developers while low code is for both citizen developers and professional coders.
  3. In no code vs low code, it becomes possible to build and deploy applications because of its ready-to-use code blocks which operate under predefined constraints, thanks to its elegant drag-and-drop interface.
  4. While low code platforms still involve a bit of coding, it is useful to create large applications, even complex ones.
  5. You can use low-code platforms to create apps for running critical processes of a business. On the other hand, you can use No-code tools to create applications that keep evolving through updates.
  6. No-code is not susceptible to hand-coding or manual coding errors as you don’t need to code in this platform at all. But low code is susceptible to hand-coding errors, especially when you are trying to change functionalities which might even result in problems in the future.
  7. No-code does not allow you to customize your presets or templates. More often than not, this results in designs that are almost similar. For those who want a highly customized application for their organization, this can be a dampener. Low-code applications offer customization options and it is possible to code and change the elements according to your requirements.

No-code vs Low-code: When to opt for low code over no code?

When deciding what to choose in a no-code vs low-code debate, perception plays a huge part in it. Here are some key things to remember:

No-code platforms don’t support complex applications and low code platforms are too difficult for non-developers.

Let’s say you build a simple solution with the help of no-code platforms, you’ll have trouble scaling it. Once a situation like this arises, you can’t save much money by opting for these tools.

When you use a low-code platform, you are more likely to do it at an incredible speed when compared with traditional programming platforms. But the pertinent question here is whether the solution that you have come up with meets the requirements of the business. If your development team has to go back and rework the application, does the go-to-market time matter? What is the cost that you will be giving just because you could get the applications done on time?

The business, when it is stuck at no code vs low code, there are many variables that come into play in choosing the right one. It is not just about technology anymore. You must see how you can achieve the expected solution with what your users actually want. By entering into a partnership with a strong IT team, you will be able to get the right solution. When you work in collaboration with other IT experts, it is possible to build robust, scalable, and enterprise-level applications.

Challenges in no code vs low code platforms

No code and low code platforms come with their own set of challenges.

Most businesses lose track of what is being built. Why? No-code and low code offerings are low-cost and simple-to-use, which makes the stakeholders take it lightly. It means that there will be no visibility, the data might not be taken seriously, and they might be used inappropriately.

Managing and maintaining these apps can be a little difficult. Scaling these solutions can cost a lot in terms of infrastructure and storage. Some tools might not actually be compatible with both no code and low code platforms.

Future of no code vs low code platforms

It is predicted that low code will see increased enterprise adoption from businesses. But do know that low code software is not going to replace traditional programming.

In the future, anyone can develop high-quality apps with these tools. It will provide the necessary infrastructure and governance for application development across various business functions.

Thanks to low code and no-code solutions, you don’t have to rely on an IT team. Once you have sufficient training, you can make apps incredibly faster.

Conclusion

We have tried to break down the basics of both these platforms. You should be able to find the right platform based on your business needs. Make sure that you keep in mind all the parameters before choosing either tool. A lot of businesses make the wrong decision when it comes to using these application platforms. Do remember that you can use no code and low code simultaneously to achieve the right results. The objective is to create a fully functioning application that solves the pain points that you are facing.

Kate William

Content Marketer at SurveySparrow

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