Development without programmers: low-code and no-code systems

What is no-code?

No-code is a technology that allows users to “program” a solution without actually coding it. This approach is gaining momentum worldwide. The kernel of the technology is drag-and-drop. This approach allows users to create solutions by dragging elements from the platform’s library of components.
The number of no-code platforms grows every year. They don’t require special technical skills, so any user can try to create a solution with enough functions to be usable or an MVP. Simple low-code and no-code software allows you to build and manage:

  • Web apps.
  • Simple websites.
  • Marketing email templates.
  • Reports.
  • Databases, etc.

What is low-code?

Low-code is a technology that allows creating business apps without much coding even if you are a non-tech expert.
Low-code allows you to create relatively complex solutions and prototypes using visual drag-and-drop tools. The logic of the business processes is usually configured by the user. Only integration with IT solutions is carried out using coding. In any case, using these platforms requires technical knowledge. It takes time and effort to understand the functions and the principles of the platform and achieve a certain level of proficiency. Low-code requires some coding skills.

Difference between no-code and low-code

The key difference between the two is whether coding is used when you work with the platform. No-code platforms offer ready-made stock solutions. Even though their libraries offer a variety of components, a no-code solution can’t be called tailor-made.
If you are creating a unique product that is not on the market yet, you can’t get by with a standardized solution. You’ll need coding to customize it, and this is low-code. Low-code is a way to develop solutions much faster and easier than with traditional development, and it helps to shorten some processes. You’ll need some coding skills to use it. 

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Use

 
No-code and low-code tools are perfect for projects that are just starting when you need to test the viability of an idea. No-code and low-code platforms allow you to create an MVP in a few days without spending a lot of money on development. Each group of users has different reasons to use a simple no-code or low-code software:
 
  • Marketing/product managers...
    ...can delve deeper into the technical aspects of web development that will enhance their professional knowledge and save the business money.
  • Developers...
    ...can make the development cycle shorter and get time and energy to turn their attention to more high-grade programming tasks. They can stop developing interfaces on their own and combine no-code and low-code capabilities with traditional development.
  • Business owners and startuppers...
    ...can create MVPs on their own relatively fast, test ideas for new products without spending a lot of money on development.

Security

Security and confidentiality of data is a crucial aspect of working with apps and services on all levels. When you use no-code and low-code, security and confidentiality are ensured by default, as these processes and integrations are generally already part of the platforms’ structure. It’s an obvious advantage. This will reduce the risks and maintain or increase the revenue.

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Customization

As a rule, no-code platforms don’t require further adjustment. On low-code platforms, all data, including reports, can be structured using visual tools. Users can change all parameters on their own using built-in low-code tools.

Limited scalability

Even though no-code and low-code platforms are relatively user-friendly, help to create MVPs faster, and overall make development easier, these approaches have their limits. This includes limited scalability and customization. No-code doesn’t suit for large-scale projects because you’ll have to pay higher rates as the number of users in the system grows. This is not always cost-effective — the annual fee can be equal to the cost of traditional development. It’s also impossible to have full control over a no-code platform as it belongs to the developer. In this respect, solutions created with low-code can be scaled easier because of some level of coding. They can grow with the business.

Development

Low-code and no-code can be contrasted with traditional development. The tools they offer allow business users to launch and test ideas for MVPs fast. Moreover, you can correct errors and add features to the prototype quickly, in real time, without wasting a lot of resources. Low-code platforms are more flexible, thanks to coding. Unlike no-code platforms, they are not limited to the built-in library of elements.
 
Speed
The distinctive feature of no-code and low-code tools that makes such platforms different from traditional development is the speed. Using no-code and low-code functions, you can create MVPs in a few days, test them, and correct them in real time. It’s obvious that no-code overperforms low-code in terms of speed, as low-code includes some programming. However, the low-code technology is still very valuable for business.

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Dependence on the vendor

Many no-code platforms don’t allow you to download their open source code when you create an app. The platform becomes some sort of support mechanism for the app that is crucial to its functioning. A significant disadvantage here is that if the platform goes down, the app created on it will go down, too.
Some low-code platforms are open-source and provide their source code and frameworks. So, if an error occurs, you don’t need to wait for the vendor to resolve the issue as you can correct any errors on your own. The advantage is that the business gets a flexible tool to adjust the system without programming and an opportunity to add the necessary functions not provided by the vendor.
Closed-source code and framework are not an exception. In this case, if an error occurs, you’ll need to work on the issue together with the vendor’s technical support.

Coding skills

Low-code and no-code platforms are relatively easy to use tools, which is one of their advantages. With no-code, you don’t need to know how to code, as the platform will provide all the elements you need.
On low-code platforms, apps are generally built using visual tools. Users (for example, analysts), can model the entire business logic on their own.
Unlike with no-code, you’ll need some programming skills to use low-code tools, as integration with IT solutions and modules requires coding. 

Summing up

The number of no-code and low-code platforms on the market grows every year. These platforms are in high demand and help to accomplish a wide range of business tasks.
Choosing an approach to tackle business tasks, business owners need to understand how complex and how ambitious their plans are. Is an app or a solution built by dragging and dropping standard software components enough for the business task at hand? Or is the project going to be scaled, with more complex tasks appearing on the way? Are the employees ready to learn how to use the new platform?
You need to consider the pros and cons of each approach for the business. Of course, low-code and no-code are not a panacea, and both of them have their disadvantages, but constant technological development brings more and more features that can give your business a competitive edge.