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Mar 2 2022 | by Vinaya Krishna

How Does Low-Code Differ From No-Code? 

No-code and low-code platforms are fast gaining popularity in the enterprise. And no surprise too! With businesses running on tight schedules and being forced to scramble to meet the needs of digital-savvy customers, any technology that helps them save time on building new revenue and customer channels is sure to find a lot of takers.  

No-code and low-code application development came into the popular limelight thanks to their abilities to help businesses accelerate the time they took in building and deploying digital channels into the market. In fact, studies show that the global spending on no-code and low-code platforms will skyrocket to nearly USD 125.4 billion by 2027. It seems clear that the future of enterprise application development strategies will largely rely on these two technologies to rapidly scale up their digital presence.

However, it is important for enterprises to clearly understand exactly what these 2 approaches are and how they differ from each other. Only then would they be able to leverage the benefits of both, by adopting them aptly in their technology development initiatives.

The Similarities 

Let us first look at the similarities: 

Both no-code and low-code development methodologies aim to reduce the time spent by organizations in building and deploying an application for customers. They run mostly on a GUI that has provisions for scripting for additional functionality in the case of low-code development approaches. Now let us examine 3 major areas where no-code and low-code have their own inherent advantages and disadvantages. 

Intended Audience

No-code app development, as the name implies, is meant for the development of applications without any element of coding required in the process. Hence the intended audience is clearly the business user and the people in the workforce with no coding knowledge whatsoever. These folks have a clear idea about how the application needs to be built and deployed for customers and what the application needs to do.  

As for the low-code software development paradigm, the audience is different. The IT team and the app developers who address traditional software or app development scenarios are probably best placed to take on low-code. Of course, this could also include even those with less coding skills or technical knowledge. They can leverage the approach to build apps faster and with less effort. 

Customization 

Low-code systems, in general, are amenable to customization and the extension of specific functionalities through easy scripting. The approach allows for the addition of custom code which results in many more use-cases being made possible over time. Low-code systems, however, come with the disadvantage of limited backward compatibility. When there is an upgrade or update to the system, every department within the enterprise that introduced a custom code or script for their own use will need to test and validate the working of their custom code with the new upgraded version. 

No-code software however doesn’t offer quite so open an architecture that supports custom extensions and feature additions. It’s usually a single version existing in an organization at a given time. In the case of no-code systems, updates are not quite so problematic due to the closed architecture. 

Another element to consider is security. No-code and low-code development paradigms do open a whole new dimension of compliance and regulatory question given that an element of control is being reduced by not developing the app from scratch. In the case of no-code development, it is largely the platform vendor that determines the security aspects that get embedded into how the app and its features are developed. For low-code development, there is more flexibility for businesses to create custom security measures and abide by the regulatory and legal complications surrounding compliance. 

User Experience 

In low-code software platforms, businesses can create more engaging user experiences for end-users through minimal scripting. It helps them achieve desired levels of customer engagement through iterative improvements and modifications of the UI of apps. They can review and refresh the apps based on user feedback. 

The same doesn’t however apply quite as easily to no-code software platforms. They are restricted to the user experience offered by the platform vendor. The best that no-code platforms can offer in terms of UI is selecting from different pre-built templates for front-end experiences. In essence, this focuses on enabling the easiest possible user experience that can help users perform the most basic of tasks easily and in no time. 

So, which should a business select? 

What most enterprises would want to know is, when should they deploy each of these 2 approaches?  

As for low-code platforms, there is more predictability and fast app development. This puts them in a competitive spot for app developers that want to build slightly advanced-level applications like an e-commerce website or a responsive mobile app. Here the key value proposition is increased speed and efficiency. 

For no-code development, the focus is on empowering non-technical business users to create simple applications through a drag and drop UI without having to wait for the IT team to build it on their behalf. It is most suitable for apps such as simple CMS-powered websites or projects of similar small sizes. The key value here is the democratization of app development. 

Businesses that wish to flourish in the digital space with minimal complications can surely achieve the same by adopting both no-code and low-code platforms to accelerate and amplify their digital ambitions. Contact us if you wish to know more about how powerful low-code platforms like OutSystems can help you achieve your digital goals. 

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