Low-code vs. No-code🔗
Every few years a new trend in tech industry gets hyped up as the next big thing. You don’t even remember Segway, that weird two-wheeled vehicle of sorts which was expected to revolutionize transportation, do you? How about virtual reality, which was supposed get us all hooked but instead fizzled out without any of us noticing? The “next big thing” of the last decade in the software industry was low-code and today it is accompanied by no-code. But can they live up to the hype?
1. What is low-code?🔗
Low-code is an approach to building applications that uses a drag-and-drop interface, involves a high level of abstraction but minimum coding. What is being dragged and dropped in low-code applications (LCAPs) are existing blocks of code. Actually, programs like MS Excel and Powerpoint were nothing more than early forms of low-code, so we have been quite familiar with the concept for decades.
2. What is no-code?🔗
No-code takes the low-code approach to an extreme, where there is no traditional coding involved in the way an app is designed and built. In other words, it raises the abstraction level present in the LCAPs up a notch and makes it possible for the user to build an app through a visual interface only, while eliminating code altogether.
In their idealized, puristic forms, low-code and no-code are located on the two extremes of a spectrum, but in reality, every low-code and no-code platform (NCAP) occupies a different spot along that spectrum. They share common points and differ on some others at the same time. Let’s dive in and have a look at the similarities and differences between the two approaches:
3. Main similarities between low-code and no-code🔗
- Visual approach to app building: Letting the user use drag-and-drop mechanism to bring together predefined blocks of code and build an app is key to both low-code and no-code.
- Filling in for developer skills: A recent survey conducted by Tonkean has found out that 24% of employees working at enterprises are not happy with the tech stack at their disposal. 49% of the respondents in the same survey have complained about lack of access to IT/engineering. Low-code and no-code platforms help bridge this gap and reduce IT backlog by empowering frontline employees to develop tools that their jobs demand.
- Dealing with the shadow IT problem: The term shadow IT refers to any IT programs or solutions used in an organization without the knowledge of the in-house IT team. Companies might be using tens or even hundreds of different programs outside the IT department’s blessing at anytime. This creates problems with respect to security, integration and scaling. Low-code and no-code platforms help deal with this phenomenon, streamline processes and bring cohesion to the systems run by a company.
- Speed: Both low-code and no-code platforms reduce the time it takes to build and launch an app. They reduce the time between successive iterations, shorten processes and tie in really well with the principles of agile development.
4. Major differences between low-code and no-code🔗
- Cost: While LCAPs help companies save on money that would otherwise be spent for expensive developer skills, they are still significantly more expensive than NCAPs. LCAPs may charge thousands of dollars per month, which is a good deal higher than the couple of hundreds of dollars per month that NCAPs charge for comparable capabilities.
- Ease of use: Users of LCAPs have to be familiar with the fundamental concepts in software development and able to inject code in order to tweak the apps according to their wishes. NCAPs, on the other hand, come with more strictly defined constraints and do not require coding knowledge as long as the user stays within those boundaries.
- Functionality: Because of the cost and the skill level required to operate an LCAP, it tends to be a better fit for enterprises with the means to justify such an investment and personnel to operate it. LCAPs are also better at serving the needs of enterprises (wholesale digital transformation, elimination of shadow IT, deployment of complex workflows, integration with legacy systems). On the flip side, NCAPs are better positioned to cater to the needs of startups, SMBs, solo entrepreneurs and freelance developers.
What about Code2? We at Code2 like to describe our platform as “no-code-first.” I can almost hear you exclaim “Oh no… Another fancy term?” Bare with me: Code2 comes with a very easy-to-use, intuitive UI, but it offers the ability to handle complex workflows and integrations as well. A person with no coding background can easily create a landing page, or a fully-functioning app on Code 2. However, the platform also enables users to embed code in, if need be. Thus, on the spectrum extending from no-code to low-code, Code2 is situated closer to the former while catering to a wider range of needs than platforms that are purely no-code. To put it simply, it is the best of both worlds.