Low-code vs. No-code - How are they different

March 25, 2019


In today’s fast-moving world, where newer and newer software development concepts and approaches compete against each other, enterprises are looking for solutions to scale and pace up their development processes. While the traditional DevOps philosophy has rigid expectations for highly-skilled professionals who are able to deliver high quality, robust code, there are two other digital schools of thought that seem to materialize and overcome the others.


Due to the pressure of constant improvement in the IT industry, and the increasing number of high-tech SaaS (Software as a Service) and PaaS (Platform as a Service) companies, the notion of “low-code and “no-code” evolved to keep organizations in competition. Nowadays, IT companies’ goal is full automation, so that they are aiming for Software Defined Everything (SDx), which is a current movement toward promoting a greater role for software-controlled hardware systems, to ride the wave of innovation and stay highly productive. These factors triggered the emergence of low-code and no-code development. Even though these two approaches seem quite similar for the first sight, and many people confuse them, there are significant differences between them in practice and their use-cases.


Low-code vs. No-code platforms: The similarities


The topmost objective of low-code and no-code platforms is to connect laymen in the companies’ business line who have a say in the output of the software development process, even though they lack the sufficient knowledge, and professional agile developers to facilitate productivity. As a result, the development process becomes available to a greater number of people. Both platforms provide predefined templates, so the users can easily select the already-coded components from the library. These innovative solutions help business users and developers to work together faster, thus increasing their effectiveness and efficiency. However, the list of similarities is exhausted by this point.


Low-code vs. No-code platforms: The differences


Due to the nature of the two approaches, they can complete each other, even though they can serve different purposes at the same time. Let’s dive into their application and practicality a little bit deeper, to discover how they can aid your business, and to see which one is more suitable for your needs.


No-code solutions


These development platforms use a visual environment to put together your desired application using predefined components. It is great for those, who do not have developer knowledge, because it requires zero coding, as its name tells. Think about Salesforce CRM, where you have a chance to put together your own simple application. Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it?


It’s drawbacks


In contrast with this all-encompassing, high-sounding solution, it has quite a few limitations. To begin with, they offer no consideration to integrate them into your wider organizational infrastructure, because the architectural integration capabilities of no-coding platforms are very limited. Due to this fact, it is hard to imagine a no-code application as part of a micro-service infrastructure, where the service is decomposed into loosely coupled services to facilitate modularity, thus forcing the developer team to stick to monolithic approaches. Moreover, most no-code platforms do not support on-premise or private cloud deployment, which again constrains the team to the public cloud only.


Because of their no-coding nature, these visual platforms do not allow third-party service integrations, as a result, limiting the company to minimum business partnerships and confined user experience. What is more, data governance may again pose a challenge to the developer team. Due to this stand-alone solution, the use of no-code applications creates unconnected data clusters within the organization, as well as unmanaged data levels scattered across departments.


Taking these pitfalls into consideration, we only advise the use of no-code platforms in the following use-cases:


-Simple applications concentrating on data manipulation

-Reporting apps

-Workflows

-Apps with very simple business logic




Low-code solutions


The range of applications that can be developed with low-code solutions spans from intelligent mobile apps to sophisticated enterprise apps. This approach is suitable for business of all sizes, as the use-cases are a lot less limited.


Low-code’s advantage over no-code solutions


First of all, it is good to know that they provide open APIs for in-house extension and reusability. As a result, they are much more in sync with your tech governance requirements, data synchronizations, and architectural integration.


This next-generation technology allows your developers to use their coding knowledge to build tailored applications and bring in third-party services for higher user satisfaction. Still, business users have access to the visual environment, where they can customize the application using the tool based method.


Moreover, your developers are also enabled to personalize the application for your business needs. You can use your own branding, improve the user interface and optimize for better usability.


As we have mentioned above, no-code platforms are mainly recommended for apps with very simple business logic, or for apps used by a single department. In contrast with this, apps developed with low-code platforms can be used throughout the whole company, so it is not confined to solely one department or a type of task.


Taking these benefits into account, we recommend the usage of low-coding platforms for the following use-cases:


Due to its nature, low-code solutions are perfect for component-based apps, aiming for micro-service systems using container solutions and continuous deployment. And some more...:


-Complex applications

-Mission-critical apps

-Foundational apps that run important organizational processes

-Long lifecycle apps

-Apps requiring more customization and developer control and sophisticated business logic

-Any workflow





Conclusion


Rapid Application Development (RAD) brought about newer and newer solutions for software development, each laser focusing on agile processes. These innovations are inevitable if an enterprise would like to stay on top of their field and get a reasonable market share, even in highly competitive markets. By increasing productivity, efficiency and effectiveness, companies have a chance to overrun their competitors in the long run. As scalable solutions enable them to serve more customers, those who leverage the advantage of either no-code or low-code solutions stay on top.


We hope that this insight into the realm of no- and low-coding provided you with sufficient information to see, which one is more suitable for your company’s requirements. Remember, if you would like to build analytical, reporting, tracking apps, or any other application that serves a minor cause, not affecting the whole company, you can stick to no-coding. However, if your objective is to develop an all-encompassing app or a mobile-friendly web application that requires a sophisticated and more complex business logic, the use of low-coding platforms will be the right choice for your enterprise.


Do you have any questions or comments? Feel free to ask our experts.

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