10/30/2018 11:28:50 AM
No-code vs Low-code: Which is right for you
Low Code Software,Citizen Developer,No Programming
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App Developer Magazine

No-code vs Low-code: Which is right for you



Dave Landa Dave Landa in Low Code No Code Tuesday, October 30, 2018
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Finding the right low code vs no code platform for your needs takes a bit of self-diagnosis so you can determine the ones that best suites your goals, and your skillset.

The market for low-code and no-code application development platforms is growing rapidly and becoming more popular with organizations - both very large and small and across nearly every industry - which are finding the ease of use, flexibility, workflow features, and data integration capabilities indispensable. In other words, traditional software applications are facing stiff competition from more agile, workflow-capable, SaaS-based low-code and no-code application development platforms and will continue to grow in the years to come.

One major advantage to organizations adopting either low code or no code application development platforms is that they are “platform agnostic” so productivity, or the user experience, isn’t affected because of operating system updates and potential conflicts that might arise. Whether your organization is using Mac or PC, or both, apps built on a low code or no code platform will weather every OS update and still provide the workflow and collaboration capabilities without any hiccups. 

The fact that teams can “own” the applications they build on low code or no code platforms is a key driver to the growth and adoption of these platforms and why they’re currently experiencing rapid growth. However, there’s still confusion over the difference between the terms low-code and no-code, which are frequently used interchangeably. There is a big difference between low-code and no-code platforms, most notably, they have very different technical competency requirements. This post takes a look at the two platforms, how they vary, and the key points that will help you choose the right solution based the level of technical ability across teams and personnel to help you make the most of the platform you choose. First, let’s look at how these two platforms are defined:

No-code

No-code platforms are application development platforms that can be built and customized with zero programming experience. No-code platforms often feature intuitive, drag-and-drop interfaces that allow non-coders to quickly build a solution to replace day-to-day business applications or replace spreadsheets, paper processes, email or other outdated systems. These platforms are for business professionals with basic spreadsheet skills while low-code platforms are intended for skilled developers with scripting experience. They are ideal for smaller organizations that need to build specific applications quickly and lack personnel that have coding experience. Out-of-the-box apps with a focus on task management and real-time reporting, such as a CRM, supply chain inventory and general project management are best suited for no-code.

Low-code

Some no-code platforms have built-in low-code capabilities, making them accessible to both non-technical and technical users. However, low-code platforms may require the ability to build new code as part of creating business applications. Low-code platforms are especially suitable for people who want to go beyond out-of-the-box solutions to create more complex, sophisticated business processes that integrate with other applications and services. Both technical-minded business users and developers can utilize a low-code platform, although programming language requirements may vary by platform. 

With a low-code platform, power builders and developers can build on top of these out-of-the-box apps, or start from scratch, using advanced processing modeling, back-end scripting, and open APIs to integrate with third-party services and provide a truly custom visual interface. More technically-minded business users and developers can use low-code platforms to build enterprise-class applications that include strong security, compliance, and audit and permissions capabilities. 

Low-code platforms are a great alternative for enterprise IT departments as well as for organizations with limited IT resources that don’t have access to a full development team. More advanced users can utilize CSS to change the look and feel and JavaScript to customize and automate steps. While many developers are hesitant to use low-code platforms, this may be attributed to not being familiar with their full capabilities.

Profile of the No-code vs Low-code User

No-code platforms are for innovative and motivated problem-solving professionals who want to see their organizations stay ahead of the competitive curve. With basic spreadsheet skills, business professionals can use these no-code platforms to quickly create custom business applications to solve operational challenges, securely manage data, view real-time reports, seamlessly collaborate and accomplish tasks more efficiently without having a code a single line. They can use existing templates or drag-and-drop tools to build apps from scratch. Continuous business improvement is a piece of cake as app admins with access permission can easily update apps and workflows as needed. No-code platforms are flexible and can be light-weight and easy to learn for simple, standalone apps, or built to endure more mission-critical functions by integrating with core business systems.

Low-code platforms are for professional coders and developers as well as “power users” with scripting skills who want to better serve their clients and line of businesses by streamlining the application development process. Using declarative tools, these developers can build complex, enterprise-grade apps with high-control data permissions to support long-term business user needs. Whether it’s tracking core business process for supply chain inventory or building a complex customer database, low-code platforms allow developers to be on the cutting edge of innovation while reducing project backlogs with self-service tools to support line of businesses.

As you evaluate no-code and low-code platforms, determine what your end-goal is. Do you want to decrease your IT spend on traditional software applications that require maintenance and yearly renewals?  Or, are you working towards digital transformation across your organization, empowering teams, and more technically-minded personnel to create the applications that incorporate the features and workflow they need to be successful. Then you’re in luck: no-code and low-code platforms can help. After you determine what you hope to accomplish, evaluate the skill level of your staff. No-code and low-code application development platforms have a lot to offer and choosing the one right for your needs and goals will go a long way.



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This content is made possible by a guest author, or sponsor; it is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of App Developer Magazine's editorial staff.


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App Developer Magazine November-2018 for Apple and Android mobile app developers