By 2023, over 500 million digital services and apps are expected to be developed and deployed globally to support enterprise digital transformation efforts. The number is the same as apps that have been developed over the last 40 years in human history! So, how are businesses and enterprises going to get them made? There has to be a quick and efficient way of doing it, right? Yes, there is and that’s where low-code and no-code capabilities come in.
It’s easy to confuse low-code and no-code at the first glance, but they are distinct, and not understanding the differences can derail the digital journey of any organization. So, let’s get to the difference right away!
The Basic Difference between No-code and Low-code
There are fine details and capabilities to differentiate between low-code and no-code. The differences aren’t apparent at the UI level which leads to confusion making a lot of people believe that the two terms are interchangeable. We address the capabilities that set the two apart for you to decide which is better fits your organization.
Low-code tools let developers of all skill levels create fully functional apps quickly, with minimum coding. It is open to using both visual-based drag-and-drop elements, and extensible manual coding, giving developers the best of both worlds – speed of development without replicating basic codes while enabling customization. To put it subtly, building apps and solutions using low-code are the same as creating them using conventional ways, with the difference being the use of shortcuts on offer. It can be seen as an incremental improvement over coding frameworks such as .Net or Java with a reduced number of codes for programmers.
Skilled developers using low-code as a development option work smarter and faster as they are not hamstrung with duplicating, and repeating coding. The visual drag-and-drop elements and plug-ins are meant to take up the place of repeatable codes. They use their expertise in customizing the application as per its needs as they drag, drop, and script only necessary codes for the best solution. Bringing together pre-built blocks, and plugins to build customized solutions requires coding. This is where developers write out the codes to build the tailored fit of an application. Scripting for low-code solutions has to be done in specific languages that are mostly proprietary.
No-code is a platform that is meant for non-professional developers; it does not mean that the person using it does not need any technical skills. This programming platform is pre-architected with visual drag-and-drop elements, plugins, and access permissions to them. It lets non-professional developers build applications using the visual development interface to drag, and drop software components, and create fully working applications. Those using the platform do not need any previous coding experience to build these applications.
No-code platforms come with all tools and elements that developers may need to create a complete and functional app. These are much similar to eCommerce design pages or blogging platforms that come with pre-built pages letting users launch their business or blogs in a matter of minutes. In fact, new generation No-code platforms pre-create libraries to further facilitate the process of putting the visual elements together, letting them envision a smooth flow. The key difference between low-code and no-code is that low-code only lets you re-use pre-created modules. No-code lets you re-use pre-created blocks, and also allows you to create components for unlimited use cases that low-code may not envision.
Differences that Distinguish Uses of Low-code from No-code
Low-code is meant to be used only by professional developers to let them ease the burden of re-writing the same codes. It, however, does not eliminate the need for writing codes; these tools are not very suitable for resident or citizen developers, or end-business users who do not have any programming knowledge. No-code can be used by anyone, empowering everyone to build applications by concretizing business ideas to digital solutions at a rapid pace.
Low-code tools are meant to accelerate application building processes by bringing together different pre-built blocks as in website building or creating formats to input data. No-code platforms let their users build end-to-end applications for almost all types of workflows.
Low-code incurs high costs as tools are limited, and they come with several added plugins, each of which continues to add to the total cost. Coding requirements in low-code are usually written in proprietary languages that call for investment in terms of time and money. There is also the need for specialized skill sets to tailor and create customized applications that work in the best interest of the organization.
If appropriate security practices are not followed, then the code written out to build low-code applications can be vulnerable to security threats. These codes then have to be tested for vulnerabilities with each newly written code tested to ensure that it is foolproof.
When to Use Low-code and No-code
Both Low-code and No-code are used with a single purpose in mind – speed of development. But it is good to know which to use when successfully without ending up burning resources in the wrong place.
Low-code is ideal for building applications that have to be integrated with other data sources and systems in the enterprise stack. It is good to go when building any applications except those that need multiple external data resources and backends. Low-code is then the best option when developing simple, user-friendly, and responsive applications with little customization. No-code on the other hand is best used to only develop front-end use cases.
Summing it up
Low-code and No-code tools are finding increased use as they speed up the process of building and delivering applications. They offer endless opportunities to build a myriad of applications without any, or limited coding. While low-code uses a set of tools to drag-and-drop blocks, and code lines to hold them together as an application, no-code uses only the drag-and-drop method to build an end-to-end application. As low-code requires coding, it is to be used by professionals alone whereas low-code can be used by resident developers. Both have specific use cases and their usability is analyzed well before employing them to build appropriate solutions.