Low-Code vs No-Code: What You Need to Know

DXDirections

Low-code and no-code applications are driving the growth of digital transformation initiatives for businesses of all sizes.

In fact, by 2025, it is estimated that over 70% of companies and organizations will use low-code and no-code technology to create new business applications for both internal and external use.

Whether you’re using low-code or no-code development tools for your own projects, or trying to understand how these platforms will fit into your overall business transformation strategy, it’s important to understand the differences between the two,

Let’s take a look at low-code vs no-code platforms, so you can harness the power of these tools and accelerate development for your projects.

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Low-Code and No-Code Platforms are on the Rise

Every day, billions of people worldwide go online to their favorite platforms for one reason or another. Millions still use a myriad of apps designed to make their lives easier, keep them informed or help them navigate their specific environments.

To say that the hunger for newer, more advanced software has exploded would understate the matter.

According to research, about 500 million digital services and web applications will not only be developed but also deployed come 2023.

To put that in context, 500 million is about the same number of web apps that have been developed and deployed so far over the last 40 years. That’s how much of an uptake this industry is experiencing.

As you can imagine, that much demand has to be causing some kind of shortage somewhere. This comes in the form of qualified developers. Tech-savvy individuals or skilled developers who can build these applications aren’t being trained or qualified at the same rate.

programmer Team Development Website design and coding technologies working in software company office

Far from it. In the US, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted that there would be about 1.4 million software development and computer science-related jobs in 2020. Only about 400,000 computer science students graduated and were qualified to fill those jobs in the same year.

There aren’t enough qualified individuals to meet this demand. That’s why low-code and no-code platforms are quickly becoming popular.

So, what is low-code and no-code? How can it help bridge this gap, and how can you take advantage of it in your small business?

What Is Low Code vs No-Code?

Low-code and no-code development platforms allow professional developers and novices alike to quickly build effective applications using simple visual design tools. Most of the work involves dragging and dropping elements onto an interface.

This saves a great deal of time by eliminating the need to write hundreds, if not thousands, of code lines and allows almost everyone to build their own custom software by drawing a flowchart. You don’t even need coding knowledge or coding skills.

What Is No-Code Development?

It should be stated that there really is no such thing as “no-code” development. As long as it’s a computer program or app, there’s always code running somewhere. The only difference here is that you, “the user,” don’t necessarily need to know about it.

No-Code is a term used to describe platforms that don’t require users to know anything about coding to create an app.

No-code development platforms have become extremely popular because they allow users who have no technical coding skills to create apps and other no-code tools. Non-technical users find no-code applications friendlier because there’s no need for coding at all. At least not on their part.

Instead, no-code applications use intuitive interfaces, which typically call for drag-and-drop functionality. With this, non-technical users can breeze through application development without needing a developer.

No-code platforms have made it easier for business owners to become application developers. They can easily and quickly respond to any business needs that would typically require traditional software development and the attention of a traditional programming expert who would take the time and resources to build tools and apps.

canva logo

There are a host of no-code solutions on the market today. One of the most popular no-code platforms is Canva, a popular graphic design platform currently valued at around $3.2 billion.

There are other easily identifiable options, such as Pipedrive for CRM and Airtable for creating cloud-based spreadsheets, apps and collaboration tools (and much more).

All of these no-code solutions have one thing in common: the developers have worked tirelessly to all but eliminate the difficult areas that would typically require extreme coding skills and make these platforms accessible to every kind of user. This includes business users who have no coding skills or experience whatsoever.

What Is Low-Code Development?

Unlike no-code development platforms, low-code development platforms call for a little bit of coding. These platforms typically eliminate up to 90% of the necessary coding process, leaving the user with about 10% of the coding process. Like no-code applications, low-code applications use innovative drag-and-drop tools to make life easier for the user.

Even though these platforms are typically marketed to professional developers, the truth is that they don’t require that much coding expertise. In fact, a business user with some technical skills can use a low code tool to create a highly functional web application or mobile app.

It should be noted that just because a platform sells itself as low code doesn’t always mean that it requires some coding or software development skills on the user’s side. Today, many low-code solutions allow users to automate their business processes or create low-code applications without coding.

Low-code platforms are designed to help save on turnaround time and streamline the app development process. When using a low-code platform, you don’t need specialized language knowledge because most of the groundwork has been done. This makes application development faster.

The low-code platform eliminates the need for in-demand skills that create bottlenecks in the software development workflow. 

There are many low-code platforms on the market today. Some of the most popular include Salesforce and Zoho. These platforms provide a wide range of frameworks that allow the business user to create a host of custom applications.

Both platforms provide a majority of the code for their clients. That way, users can customize what they present to the end-user. This allows for rapid application development.

What About Tools That Are Labeled Both Low-Code and No-Code?

programmers writing a program code sitting at the workplace with three monitors in the office

Some tools are labeled both low code and no code (LCNC). What this typically means is that these tools are essentially low code tools.

However, they have some no-code aspects depending on what kind of app the user wants to build. This is true even for most low code tools.

In some cases, you will find that you can go through some low-code app development without needing to write a single line of code.

It should also be noted that the terminology “low code/no code” no longer applies to just development platforms. Some tech solutions label themselves low code or no code simply because they allow for some extensibility or custom development beyond what the user gets out of the box.

These solutions, however, are not the same as general-purpose no-code or low-code development tools. The latter can be used for rapid application development and building a host of solutions. 

How to Choose Between Low-Code and No-Code for Your Business

Since low-code and no-code development platforms both target non-technical users, it’s understandable that there’s a bit of confusion when it comes to choosing the most suitable option.

If you are looking for rapid application development, here are some tips that will help you pick the right one for you:

Platform Architecture

Like most things, it’s advisable to ignore the marketing hype from the vendor and actually look at what the tool is made of in terms of platform architecture. This will show you the technological approach by the developer and highlight whether or not the tool would be a good fit.

Integration

While there are a number of no-code and low-code tools that can build complex solutions, as a business owner, the idea is to focus on what can build the kind of solution you need.

Look at how scalable that solution can be, how easily it can integrate with outside vendors or other solutions within your business framework, and what kind of data sources you will need to use. Simply put, look at how and who will be the end-user.

Whenever you consider a low-code or no-code development platform, it’s important to take a critical look at how it operates and the underlying approach.

Unfortunately, some vendors are marketing their tools as low code, but that doesn’t always mean they’re suitable for professional developers. Others are marketing theirs as “no code,” but that doesn’t always mean it is suitable for citizen developers.