No-code and low-code are the development ways the world is turning to! They completely eliminated the prospect of endless coding hours and expensive processes. You just need to turn to these methods to build websites, apps, automation tools, databases, and so much more. And you can do all of this without a speck of coding knowledge!
Sounds thrilling, right? However, which development method will suit your requirements the best? As a business owner, should you go for low-code? Or is no-code better?
Read on if you want to satiate your curiosity and discover definite answers. You'll find:
- What is no-code development?
- What is low-code development?
- Similarities between no-code and low-code
- Differences between no-code and low-code
- Advantages of no-code and low-code
What is No-Code Development?
No-code development is a programming platform based on visual interface and drag-and-drop functionality. It allows users with no technological and coding background to develop software for a specific use, often pertaining to their company work departments.
Everything a citizen developer might need is already in the pre-set templates of no-code platforms. This includes fonts, colors, heading, pictures, etc. In ways, no-code is similar to blogging platforms and e-commerce designing sites which have pre-built pages to launch blogs and businesses in minutes.
A few examples of no-code platforms: Webflow, Bubble, Glide, Zapier, Adalo, Thunkable, etc...
Also read: Our definitive guide to no-code platforms
Also read: Our in-depth guide to no-code app development
What is Low-Code Development?
In contrast to no-code, low-code is more easily customizable, although less than pro coding – a middle ground between them. They, too, are visual based with drag-and-drop functionality.
Since it is open and enlargeable with both manual and scripting options, it is usually used by semi-expert developers. The platform enables coders to code faster without repeating basic code.
A few examples of low-code platforms: Appian, Mendix, Zoho Creator, Microsoft Power Apps, Nintex, etc...
No-Code vs Low-Code: Basic Similarities
While No-code and low-code are two different terms with their characteristics, they share some standard features. These include:
1. Helps in Spreading Technology
Both low-code and no-code are made with the objective of eliminating expensive and hard-to-hire specialists in favor of spreading technology to every individual, regardless of educational background.
2. Faster Engineering
With the help of these coding platforms, velocity and productivity have seen an evident increase. IT backlogs and project time, a product of developer shortage could be overcome through it.
3. Easier Feedback System
Low-code no-code or LCNC had given developers the chance to get quicker feedback based on a quickly built prototype. Hence, by solving issues at the beginning of the coding process, you'll be able to reduce risk and cost.
4. Code Consistency
LCNC also promotes structural and code consistency, which helps debug any application problem. As a developer, you could spend time troubleshooting specific issues rather than understanding frameworks.
5. More Build Than Buy
Low-code and no-code have helped create a decisive answer between the buy vs. build plight. The commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) advocated for a buy approach because of its expensive and one-size-fits-all approach. However, with LCNC's in-house customization, one can go for the build stance.
6. A Balance Between Business And IT
Traditionally, business and IT conflicted with each other. But with the business department participating in the development process through LCNC, there is now a collaborative scene with a seemingly balanced understanding.
No-Code vs Low-Code: Key Differences
LCNC might be similar in promoting a productive and accessible environment for app development, but they're two different methods with unique features. The apparent differences you can spot between the two are:
1. Target Audience
Low-code is targeted at professional developers who wish to avoid rewriting basic code repeatedly. On the other hand, no-code is for business professionals who want to make a website or application with no coding knowledge.
No-code is best suited for developing front-end apps, like UI, through its drag and drop interface. However, low-code can be used for more exhaustive apps that require business logic and are scaled significantly.
3. Development Speed
No-code is the key if you're looking for a quick solution. It is usually template-based software that needs a simple selection and execution. Low-code deploys more effort and training due to its highly customizable nature.
4. Open and Closed Systems
Low-code works with an open system, so you can create extended functionality using it. So, it's flexible in its usage, and you can use the same code several times. No-code, however, is a closed system with functionality limited to just pre-set templates.
5. Risk of Shadow IT
While this risk runs in both methods, no-code is more prone since it has almost no backup from the IT department. With no intervention, infrastructure could be created that leaves the app vulnerable. However, an IT team can look for any structural integrity flaw with low code.
6. Structure Range
Low-code has firm support for scalability and flexibility. You can carry out various implementations and work on multiple platforms with additional plug-ins. No-code has no such feature to extend its range. It also has limited chances of connecting with legacy software.
Advantages and Disadvantages of No-Code & Low-Code Platforms: A Comparison
There are numerous benefits of no-code and low-code over each other. Some of the notable ones are:
Advantages of no-code over low-code
- Independent Creation: No-code has helped overcome the software developer shortage by making the independent creation of apps, websites, databases, etc., possible. You can now create apps with absolutely no prior knowledge.
- Cost Effectiveness: The cost of development is considerably less than traditional coding. You'll only require money to launch the app or host the site.
- Less Training Time: While low-code requires you to have some form of coding language to develop the app since it only gives you a base, no-code has no such requirement. You will be only required to remember where all the resources lie to make it; the rest, the software, will do for you.
- Citizen Developers: No-code is almost always used by people with no coding background, the citizen developers. So, if you find yourself in a stitch, you can turn to other such developers who'll help you out.
- No Shadow IT: Your team can quickly develop applications, websites, or any other requirements and solve their unique problems without the involvement of a third party (which can lead to Shadow IT).
- Easy Updates: With a simple interface and no complicated copy, you can use the no-code software to update your software quite easily.
Also read: Our complete guide to no-code movement
Advantages of low-code over no-code
- Speed: Low-code allows you to work on multiple projects simultaneously. You can show a rough draft to stakeholders or heads within days or even hours.
- Low risk with high returns (ROI): Through its built-in sturdy security system and cross-platform ability, you'll risk less and get more, with extra time to focus on business.
- One-click deployment: All it'll take is a click to change the project's status from application to production. You no longer have to set aside a launch day!
- More resources: Even slightly skilled people can input into the development process. There need not be a long wait for the expert team to finish one part of the project to start the other. This also significantly reduces the strain on their shoulder.
- More Customization: Low-code offers a lot more customization than no-code. In contrast to no-code templates, you'll work with codes allowing you to shape the app according to your preferences.
- IT Security: There is no chance of Shadow IT with low-code. This is because you need to have some coding knowledge to develop using low code. So, in case of any mishaps or bugs, you'll be able to correct them.
No-Code vs Low-Code: How (and When) To Choose?
No-code and low-code both certainly have their advantages and drawbacks. While the former gives you a set template that needs to be shaped according to your requirements, the latter handles your extreme application projects effortlessly. So, which one should you go for? Is it low-code or no-code?
The answer to it lies in the essence of each coding method and how they'll be able to serve your specific project. Let us take a look at the parameters that can help decide which way is best suited:
1. Project With a Mission
Are you creating software to expand the business? Will it lie at its very core? If yes, it is better to stick with low-code development. Only they'll do justice to the concept you seek to establish. However, if your mission is short-term with minimal effort, then no-code should be preferred.
2. Time Period
If you're working within a limited time frame and wish to launch it within a few days, stick to no-code; for a few weeks, low-code, and if you've ample time, then traditional coding.
3. Comprehensive Roadmap
How do you see your product performing in the future? If your roadmap shows an upscale, then changes are likely; hence low-code development should be your option. However, no-code development is fine if there are no possible changes and you'll like your software to remain intact.
If you have abundant development resources (developers, computers, coding knowledge), then go for low-code. But, if you're currently short-handed, no-code is the best way.
5. Number of Users
Customizing and making changes can be a massive problem with no code if your user base becomes vital in the future. It's still possible in low-code and completely viable with custom development (allows unlimited scaling). No-code has no option for revamping as its options are fairly limited.
The money you wish to allocate is integral as it decides how your software will turn out. More implies more customization options. A budget below $10,000 is best worked with no code, between $20,000 and $30,000 for low-code, and anything above $50,000 for custom development.
7. Unique Interface
If you want your app to have a unique interface, then traditional/custom coding is the way to go. Low-code still has some wiggle room made possible through a professional designer, but it is difficult for no-code (there is only so much you can do with pre-set templates).
8. External Integration
Your decision must also rely on the external integration your app will require. While software like Zapier allows the integration of almost a dozen different services in its platform, custom development will enable maximum integration. It is a reliable option if you want to include data from the other source, process it in the app, and send it to other platforms.
9. Convoluted Logic
Low-code should be your only option if your app relies heavily on convoluted logic, i.e., intricate and complex coding. If not, then no-code should do.
Is No-Code/Low-Code the Future?
Absolutely! The future of software development rests in the hands of no-code and low-code software. They've revolutionized how we perceive application coding. It is no longer a prospect with hours of development and an expensive process. The future of no-code says it all.
A report by IDC states that over 500 million digital applications are to be commissioned by 2023 – that's the total number of apps developed in the past 40 years.
However, in contrast, a 2022 report states that there is a shortage of developers; there's a requirement of 1.4 million in the USA itself. Hence, the developer shortage has exploded the number of people turning to low-code and no-code. Gartner predicts that over 50% of medium to large ventures are expected to adopt these methods.
Due to the pandemic, they are also becoming businesses' "table stakes." The audience now expects products to be shown on the phone and delivered home. Another reason could be how resources to develop highly customized apps rest in the hands of multi-million companies.