- Grace Lau
- Last updated
As the online demand for digital services grows, software developers are beginning to feel the heat. And with the prospect of endless coding hours alongside expensive processes and unexpected challenges, it’s easy to see why.
Thankfully, low-code and no-code web development provide a helping hand. With visual builders such as Plasmic, businesses and individuals are constructing applications more efficiently and at a lower cost without extensive coding knowledge.
Even though traditional hand-coding software is still in the mix (and completely necessary in some cases), low-code and no-code is the better option for many development projects.
So whether you want to build websites, automation tools, or databases, low-code and no-code software is a viable alternative to traditional development processes. It’s why 70% of new business applications will use low-code and no-code technologies by 2025.
If you want to find out more about these new development trends, look no further. Here, we’ll dive into the differences, drawbacks, and unique properties of low-code and no-code.
What is low-code?
Low-code web development uses scripting and predefined code to create mobile and web applications. Instead of employing complex programming languages, low-code requires some coding experience. The platform is accessible and allows for manual coding, so developers can extend the capabilities of low-code with their own scripting.
In place of writing code from scratch, developers utilize low-code visual interfaces with drag-and-drop functionality, pull-down menu interfaces, and automated code generation. These intuitive methods allow users to build software like a hosted VoIP system and add logic and workflows to web pages.
What is no-code?
As with low-code web development, no-code uses a visual integrated development platform (IDE) that allows drag-and-drop capabilities and pre-built templates. But whereas low-code targets professional developers, no-code is geared towards non-professionals.
Image sourced joyform.io
No-code requires no experience in programming. It’s a hands-off approach that doesn’t require prior knowledge. The purpose of no-code is to make web development more accessible to non-technical users so they can build web-based apps without developer assistance.
Where do low-code and no-code overlap?
As you’re probably aware, both low-code and no-code share the similar goal of making web development accessible. And with IT modernization on the rise, companies are eager to dip their toes in the water. It’s even predicted that by 2024, 80% of non-IT professionals will develop IT products and services.
So before moving forward, let’s look at the similarities between low-code and no-code:
Low-code and no-code makes development easier and less costly
What sets low-code and no-code apart from other approaches is the user-friendly drag-and-drop interface. Aside from being highly convenient, the feature allows both IT professionals and non-professionals to build and design any form of web application. It also reduces the need for hiring expensive developers.
Whether setting up a website or creating quick-to-build standalone apps, users just drag and drop various elements to design their web application. Without prior coding knowledge, users can develop and launch functional apps within minutes.
Automated workflows reduce project timelines
If you’re familiar with traditional development methods, you’ll know how time-consuming the process can be. Building workflows via individual coding can take anywhere from one to three months.
Image sourced from nagarro.com
Thankfully, low-code and no-code can easily incorporate automated workflows into your applications. And because these workflows require no coding, they’re instantly added to your apps, eliminating additional costs while saving project time.
Automated workflows automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks along with building data-driven applications and optimizing assets (such as images and videos). These processes ensure code consistency with minimal troubleshooting.
Visual web development ensures design and code consistency
Low-code and no-code askew the need to write code and replace it with a visual experience. Users are presented with pre-built templates that secure design and code consistency from start to finish. Additionally, most low-code and no-code platforms reuse code snippets, so your visual experience remains the same.
Visual-integrated development environments (Visual IDE) make app development accessible to a wider array of people. And as there’s a reduced reliance on technical expertise, the ability to make changes to applications is streamlined. Essentially, both platforms are designed to be used by anyone.
Where do low-code and no-code differ?
On paper, it’s easy to view low-code and no-code as one and the same. Both encourage users with little-to-no coding experience to build and design applications, but there are still critical differences between the two. Let’s take a look:
Web development speed
As mentioned above, due to no-code’s visual and template-based approach, it boasts a quicker solution for users. As it’s highly configurable, applications take less time to build, and because there’s no manual coding, there’s less chance of potential errors.
Image sourced from userguiding.com
Low-code requires coding knowledge to utilize its capabilities, calling for a steeper user learning curve (sometimes training is needed). Even so, it’s still a more efficient approach than traditional hand-coding.
Use cases and goals
Whereas low-code platforms are suitable for user customization and creating complex apps, no-code development is much more limited. Because no-code is a closed system, it’s ideal for front-end apps like UI.
No-code’s simple drag-and-drop interface makes it perfect for importing and exporting data and creating automated workflows. It’s entirely visual in its approach. On the other hand, low-code is flexible in its usage.
Low-code’s open system includes an exhaustive component library, so apps integrate with multiple data sources and external APIs (application programming interface) such as IVR telephone systems. And because users can incorporate custom code as needed, its customization options are endless.
Low-code targets more competent web developers with some level of coding experience, providing tools to write code that welcomes customizability. This allows for more complex and custom solutions to be built. Thankfully, low-code platforms can be scaled to meet your ever-changing needs.
However, as no-code development offers a more user-friendly approach, it incorporates limitations on customizability and adding additional code. Thus, it’s much more difficult to scale the platform to meet specific business demands.
Overall, because no-code is ideal for applications that handle simple functions like web forms and surveys, its scalability options are limited compared to low-code web development.
Shadow IT risk
Low-code and no-code platforms amplify the risks associated with shadow IT. Because security best practices may not be followed in no-code (as users are non-technical), the process will be more vulnerable due to little IT intervention.
Low-code is tailored to IT professionals and generally integrated with your organization’s existing systems, meaning it falls under the security of IT teams.
You can avoid Shadow IT with a no-code/low-code platform like Plasmic. It seamlessly integrates with existing codebases, while allowing non-developers to build and make changes without coding.
How to choose between low-code and no-code?
Choosing between low-code and no-code can be challenging, as both have their own pros and cons. Due to the similarities in visually building pages, determining between the two can be difficult. It’s essential to consider the following questions:
1. What are the goals of the resulting software?
The goal of both low-code and no-code is to make web development more accessible to a wider range of people. Due to low-codes customizability options, the platform provides users with increased flexibility and control. No-code is easier to use but includes more limitations.
2. Who are the target users and what are their experience levels?
Low-code web development is perfect for semi-expert developers. It’s the middle ground between manual coding and no-code web development. To put it simply, it’s a great alternative to traditional web development; as processes are sped up and require minimal resources, they can also be modified.
No-code is more accessible than other software development methodologies because everything the user needs is pre-built into the no-code software—pictures, fonts, colors, etc. Think of it as the software equivalent to blogging platforms that provide users with the tools needed to build online pages instantly.
3. What is the software’s scope and ability to solve a problem?
Your product roadmap also influences the platform you should consider. If your timeline consists of changes, low-code will be better suited to make these changes. But if you don’t envision any modifications along the way, no-code will see that your software roadmap remains intact.
4. How intricate are the needed custom integrations?
No-code’s ease of use covers simple tasks and processes, but it’s limited in terms of functionality. Its visual drag-and-drop interface doesn’t require any coding at all, however, this means its level of control is restrictive. Low-code users have more control over the final product.
5. What’s the target turnaround time?
Even though both low-code and no-code web development speed up the app building process, there will be an avenue best suited to your needs. For instance, if you don’t have any coding knowledge and are facing a tight schedule, no-code is your best option.
6. How much control over the code is needed?
If you’re an IT professional, low-code will fit your needs better as it offers customization via coding. But here’s where the compromise lies, low-code sacrifices accessibility for complexity in your web development.
7. How much confidential data and security management need to be included?
Low-code and no-code platforms typically have built-in security features such as user authentication and access controls. However, as low-code users have more control over customization, they also have the option to write custom code for additional security needs.
No-code platforms, on the other hand, are designed with zero coding required, so there’s limited security customization available. This means there’s less potential for user error and unauthorized access to confidential data.
Do you need to choose between the two?
You don’t necessarily need to decide which is the best option for you. With the right platform, such as that provided by Plasmic, you can have the best of both worlds.
It’s built for developer and non-developer teams. So, non-developer teams can build & make changes to apps and websites without waiting on developers and developers can maintain visibility & control over web and app functionality.
This allows you to utilize the skills of developers without losing productivity, keeping projects on track.
What’s crystal clear is the impact both platforms will have in the future. With statistics showing that both no-code and low-code help reduce app development time by 90 percent, it’s easy to see why. Suffice it to say, low-code and no-code development technologies will change software development forever.
Low-code and no-code web development offer unique properties that make them ideal for digital applications. They can even be the solution for users looking for a free virtual phone number.
And, with Plasmic you don’t need to choose between the two. It bridges the gap between the no-code and low-code world, allowing you to build websites and applications that integrate with codebases. So, developers have more control over projects, but no-code pros still have the freedom to build without needing to wait on the backlog.
Grace Lau - Director of Growth Content, Dialpad
Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad and AI-powered cloud communication platform for better and easier team collaboration with features like toll-free numbers for businesses. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy. Currently, she is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies, partnering with SEO and Ops teams to build and nurture content. Here is her LinkedIn.
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