There are many solutions available to businesses and citizen developers who want to quickly test their software ideas without spending a huge part of their budget.
For example, low-code and no-code platforms can help business owners fulfill their vision in terms of apps and software quickly and cost-efficiently. At the same time, combining these approaches with high-code development can bring excellent results.
In this article, we explore the nature of low-code and no-code development approaches as well as how they differ from high-code development. This article will be useful for business owners looking for a way to optimize their web application development processes, speed up release times, and save developers’ resources.
We will also focus on those cases when a traditional development approach is more suitable for your project instead of the low-code or no-code method.
High-code vs low-code or no-code
Traditional coding, also known as high-code development, relies on the expertise of programmers. With this approach, developers create custom code utilizing web frameworks, Agile development practices, various programming languages, and hardcore manual coding. This process can take from a couple of months to several years depending on the project’s complexity, even with a whole team of professionals.
The evolution of alternative development approaches that don’t require as much effort as traditional coding began in the late 1990s. The first attempts to create something that would allow developers to write less code and still deliver software solutions included:
- fourth-generation programming languages like Ramis, SQL, and FOCUS
- rapid application development platforms such as Kintone, CUBA Platform, and Mendix
- spreadsheets, which introduced a non-procedural and non-algorithmic computational method
These attempts served as a starting point for creating low-code and no-code environments that are widely used today.
What is a low-code development approach?
Low-code is an approach to software development that doesn’t require writing hundreds of lines of code to create applications. In low-code development, a visual development environment is the main platform for creating software.
Low-code development platforms (LCDPs) like Microsoft Power Apps, Google AppSheet, Salesforce Platform, and others heavily rely on visual elements, allowing users to drag program components around, change them, and connect them with one another. This is why in comparing low code platform vs traditional development, users of low-code platforms don’t need extensive knowledge of programming languages or web frameworks to build their own products.
Low-code is a great solution for IT and business professionals who need to create custom applications under a short deadline. However, low-code platforms still use various programming languages, including:
One of the differences between low-code and high-code for development is that users of low-code platforms don’t necessarily see how these languages are used because of the platforms’ wizard-style interface and dependency on visual elements.
On the other hand, a low-code approach may require some level of coding. For example, say a company has a product that needs to be customized and integrated with third-party services. When creating an app on a low-code platform, enabling certain functionalities of these services may require manual coding. Also, problems that arise after integration, such as the need to make configuration changes or fix bugs in scripts, require coding skills.
For those who possess zero knowledge of any programming languages or just want to simplify the development process, a new approach was created — no-code. Let’s take a look at this approach, as well as the difference between low code and no code development.
What is the no-code development approach?
No-code is a software development approach where no coding knowledge is needed. No-code development platforms (NCDPs) don’t utilize anything except visual elements from the end user’s perspective. In other words, users of NCDPs can build, test, and release apps without actually writing a single line of code!
Even when an organization has a dedicated software development team, applying the no-code approach allows them to speed up development and spend their time and resources on more complex tasks. Citizen developers can use no-code platforms to create their unique apps faster and focus on other goals. This kind of independence is among the most important arguments for no-code when choosing between no code vs traditional development.
On the other hand, there are some things to keep in mind while working with a no-code development platform. The simpler a system is, the easier it is to break it. And without any programming knowledge, it will be harder and harder to fix this system every time as you diverge from your initial project.
Also, citizen developers might not find the functionality they need within a particular no-code platform, so they will have to compromise and potentially decrease the quality of the final product. Or they might not use all built-in functionality, which will slow down the application in the long run. As a result, sometimes not all features are utilized in the end product but are still paid for.
Comparing low-code/no-code and high-code
One of the key arguments in the low-code vs no-code vs high-code debate is the speed of development, which increases significantly when you work with low-code and no-code platforms. With the LC/NC approach, you can develop and introduce an application in two to three weeks, while it might take at least two months to deliver the first substantial results with high-code development.
There is also the issue of cost-efficiency and paying for expertise and experience. Because LC/NC platforms require minimal programming knowledge, development is faster. Thus, the cost-efficiency of your project increases in terms of the end product and its quality.
The agility of a low-code approach is different from traditional coding as well, since any errors in LC/NC can be backtracked and resolved on the spot. To be generic, solutions must be parameterized. And the more parameters a system has, the harder it is to customize.
Unique features of the LC/NC approach:
- Drag-and-drop elements are easy for citizen developers to use
- Pre-installed templates promote reusability of modules
- Model-based development shows the logic of the process to business users
However, all of these features can’t compete with the agility, customization, and quality of traditional coding. There are many things to consider before deciding whether LCNC development is enough for achieving your goals. For example, if an app will be further integrated with third-party solutions, custom software development from the very beginning can be better.
Also, not every non-trivial issue can be resolved with the help of LC/NC. Usually, no-code platforms don’t allow for any deviation from traditional solutions. On the other hand, with low-code platforms, you can achieve some non-typical results if you have at least some programming knowledge.
Let’s take a look at some of the fundamental differences between low-code/no-code and high-code approaches to application development:
The choice of the most fitting approach will depend on the specifics of the project at hand. Let’s take a closer look at potential areas where low-code or no-code platforms can be used to streamline business processes.
What can you use LC/NC platforms for?
LC/NC solutions can be applied by anybody in any industry without losing much quality in the final product. However, since the customization of such products is usually limited, businesses often choose to combine low-code or no-code with custom development. This is an extremely promising and lucrative market that attracts businesses from all industries. Recent research by Prescient & Strategic Intelligence Private Limited shows that the revenue generated from LC/NC is set to reach $187 billion by 2030.
For most organizations, it requires a lot of resources to maintain a full team of expert software engineers in the long run. Use of codeless application development tools might alleviate some of an organization’s financial strain, allowing the company to allocate extra resources for complex and innovative features that would improve both the quality and competitiveness of the final product.
What types of business applications can be built with LC/NC?
With a little knowledge of traditional coding, there are no limits in building something unique and tailored to the needs of your organization. A simple low-code platform can offer the user complete control and automated maintenance/updates. Here is what businesses can create with LC/NC platforms to streamline their daily operations:
Common use cases for LC/NC development
Of course, not all needs can be resolved with an LC/NC approach. Still, there are some universal use cases that can be handled by low code no code software development service no matter what industry your business is in.
- Business process automation
Low-code business process management (BPM) systems are dedicated to eliminating repetitive tasks, modernizing approval workflows, and improving long-term operational productivity.
- Customer engagement
The LC/NC approach can create a more tailored digital experience for clients and targeted requests from the marketing department. An omnichannel customer-facing application can address these issues and streamline sales and marketing operations.
- Legacy code updates
An outdated legacy product can put a hold on a company’s digital development. Business users need to update, digitize, or even completely rebuild their software if they want to stay afloat.
- Communication between teams
LC/NC platforms offer an opportunity for different departments to express their ideas and thoughts. For example, while a team of developers may know how to communicate with each other, a visual interface can potentially engage other non-developer teams as well. The simplicity of use also promotes an easy data flow and improved productivity across the board.
- Database management
Any company has to deal with huge amounts of data, which needs to be managed without delay. Codeless apps can fragment data across multiple departments and streamline database management according to the needs of every branch.
- Reporting and analytics
Custom generated reporting might be a great alternative to manual reporting, which takes a lot of workers’ time. Codeless app development allows you to add any features to dashboards that are relevant to the team. These features can analyze the KPIs of the employees and their close-up performance, or make plans for meeting long-term goals.
Using LC/NC for industry-specific tasks
The LC/NC approach is used in a wide range of organizations that rely on horizontal business functions, including accounting, HR, marketing, and customer support. In general, any organization that is open to digital transformation and streamlining workforce efficiency can use LC/NC to some extent.
Here are some common tasks you can use LC/NC development platforms for in different industries:
Of course, these are only the most common tasks that can be completed with the help of the low-code/no-code method. This is not a full list of prospects for this method, and each developer can add something new to the low code vs traditional development debate.
Application development capabilities vary from platform to platform. In the next section, we overview some of the most common LC/NC platforms you can use when building your software solutions.
Overview of existing low-code/no-code platforms
There are many low-code/no-code platforms that can fill many business requirements. First, let’s look closer at some of the most popular universal website constructors:
WordPress — Initially, this platform was made for blog writing, but it quickly became one of the most popular open-source content management systems. It offers a mix of traditional code and no-code development for the users. There are plenty of WordPress plugins, templates, and tools that can assist people in creating their perfect app. At the same time, with some programming, business clients can use WordPress to create custom widgets and use CSS to create their own designs.
Wix — This cloud-based tool allows users to create websites with drag-and-drop elements. There are many design templates to select from. You can also add e-commerce features and marketing instruments at additional cost.
There are also a number of specialized solutions that serve particular purposes but still offer a combination of low-code and no-code development:
Appian — This is an efficient low-code tool that provides a basis for business process management apps. Additionally, Appian has the capacity to handle any workload. It can be integrated with other applications and unify all company resources by creating a straightforward workflow diagram.
Shopify — If you want to set up an e-commerce platform without any coding experience, Shopify is one of the best and most user-friendly no-code tools for the job. This is a great platform on which to build an online shopping store from zero. With a couple of clicks, you can set shipping and payment methods, add a check-out cart, and create a product display for your web store.
Stripe — This payment processor provides payment infrastructure for websites. No coding knowledge is required to start accepting payments on your website and grow your business.
Zapier — This integration platform allows you to automate your web apps and introduce them to the world without having to write any code. Zapier is one of the easiest ways to create time-saving automated workflows.
HubSpot — HubSpot is a great CRM platform that utilizes the low-code approach, allowing users to be flexible and build tools without having to get development teams involved every time. It is created specifically for marketers. Of course, you still need developers for more customized solutions.
Typeform — This is a no-code platform for building forms and analyzing received data. With Typeform, an organization doesn’t have to go to the IT department to create something as small as an online quiz.
4 cases when you should use LC/NC
Low-code/no-code solutions can be an easy fix to a lot of problems. Codeless application development also presents businesses with a lot of opportunities for further development while saving developers’ resources. Here are four common cases when it’s better to use LC/NC to build your web application:
1. Development speed is your main priority
Building a project with a codeless approach is quick and easy. A simple static website doesn’t require complex coding, even with e-commerce and online banking elements. LC/NC platforms grant similar results to traditional manual coding, only much faster.
2. You need to cut costs
Using a codeless platform helps companies redirect funds to other departments like marketing, sales, or customer support. Another way of putting the funds into other innovative ideas is to use a combined LC/NC approach and custom development. This way, some parts of the development process can be simplified.
3. There’s no need for extensive customization
The majority of LC/NC platforms come with templates. There is still some room for creativity and customization when it comes to low-code/no-code platforms. Sometimes, for more extensive customization, you might need to involve software developers. On the other hand, it’s still much quicker than developing everything from scratch.
4. Data security is not your top priority
Since you don’t have access to the source code with a low-code or no-code platform, you will never be completely sure about the security of your apps. In other words, you are giving up sensitive information to third parties without having full control of who can access this data.
When is it better to go custom or use a combined approach?
There are cases when you don’t have to choose between low code vs traditional development. Sometimes, using a combined approach to software development is best. For anything that goes beyond pre-built template websites or a standard application, a team of software developers will go a long way.
1. Your idea is unique
When business owners think about what’s best for their clients and company in general, they might come up with something exceptional. Their idea might become a breakthrough in the industry with the right approach! In this case, there’s no sense looking for a pre-built template on existing platforms. A dedicated team of IT developers can work together with other departments to execute the vision to perfection.
2. You have outdated software
Sometimes, existing web solutions within the organization work just fine, but they lack a modern touch. With codeless application building, there is no chance of updating the code and effectively and promptly integrating it with existing platforms. An expert software development team can seamlessly update the core app, implement new features, and connect all existing platforms for greater performance.
3. You need to process large amounts of data
Of course, with pre-made templates and simple web applications, there are data processing frameworks that can be included into an LC/NC platform as well. Still, you may need help implementing complex algorithms or large amounts of data.
4. Stability, security, and reliability are your top priority
For many industries, speed of execution and full control over the product are vital. Developers need to be able to fix any bugs or issues at any time as soon as they are identified. While a low-code/no-code platform can grant this kind of speed, it often lacks security. Business owners may receive the highest level of security only with custom projects that are stored on their private servers.
5. Tailored product constructor
Custom development allows the end user to customize the product or service. In other words, your business will receive some kind of product constructor or a tailored application to address all requirements.
Today, low-code and no-code practices offer many opportunities for users who don’t have any programming knowledge. These approaches to software development can easily compete with manual coding in terms of usability, customer-friendly interfaces, and product quality. Of course, for more complex solutions, there is no better approach than a dedicated team of software engineers.
Apriorit has a team of expert software development specialists who would gladly create an exclusive application just for your business. There is no need to settle on a simple solution when you can have an app tailored to your every need!
Contact us to discuss your perfect application!