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Low Code vs No Code: How Do They Compare?

by | Mar 13, 2024 | Low-Code

Despite having the same underlying concept, low-code and no-code are unique. To help you understand which one will work best for your organization, here’s a breakdown of their unique qualities, use cases, and purposes.

 

Key Insights

  • Low-code app development requires some coding skill but far less than traditional, full-code dev
  • No-code development enables people without any coding skills to build apps
  • In the no-code vs low code discussion, low-code development gives you more control over your final product, but in many cases, a no-code solution may not give you enough granular control to produce an effective app
  • Visual LANSA provides low-code development that makes it easy for regular employees to quickly build apps that are easier to maintain and upgrade

 

What is Low Code?

In the conversation of no-code vs. low-code vs. high-code, low-code app development involves a measure of coding skills but far less than what you need with full-code dev. People with relatively little technical knowledge can use low-code no-code tools to build and alter apps by dragging and dropping components together and using pre-built application programming interfaces (APIs). Low-code tools may also feature templates that you fill in using regular text or simplified code. The tool then uses what you input to control how the app behaves.

In this way, a low-code solution is a lot like a Lego set with several pre-made components. You don’t have to manually build each and every element of your end product. You combine different elements that have already been designed to fit together.

 

Low-code Pros

Low code Cons

More customizable than no-code Basic coding skills required
Easier to build and maintain than pro code Higher costs than no-code
Much faster than full-code Less admin control than full-code

 

Examples of Low-code Platforms

Each of the following low-code platforms offers varying levels of control but is relatively simple when compared to full-code:

  • Visual LANSA. Visual LANSA is a straightforward, drag-and-drop design solution that you can use to deploy apps both in the cloud and on-premise. Unlike some other solutions, Visual LANSA makes it easy to reuse workflows and components between apps. It also enables rapid application development and the option to adjust code manually, making it a more flexible choice for many companies.
  • Airplane. Airplane is a useful low-code tool for building workflows and user interfaces. It makes it relatively easy to build apps for reporting, collaboration, and data analysis.
  • Kissflow. Kissflow specializes in providing tools for automation and interconnecting multiple systems. It also gives users a flexible interface they can customize to fit their workflow.
  • Appian. Appian provides low-code process automation and data analysis tools. Depending on the service you choose, you can also incorporate AI into your workflows.
  • Zoho Creator. Zoho Creator enables you to build apps for both internal users and customers. Zoho Creator also enables users to use visual tools to design automations.

 

What Is No-code?

With no-code low-code development, you can build applications without any coding skills. Similar to how someone with no musical skill can make a beat in Garage Band for iOS, an employee with zero coding knowledge can build an app using no-code tools.

In many ways, no-code is similar to low-code because it also uses drag-and-drop tools and pre-designed components. But you don’t have the freedom to customize your solution with as much detail as you would if you were using a low-code approach.

 

No-code Pros

No-code Cons

SImple and fast A no-code platform is required
Easiest to build and maintain Little flexibility for app functions
Low development costs Limitations when integrating other apps

 

Examples of No-code Platforms

Some of the examples below offer a lot of flexibility, while others are better designed for a relatively narrow range of use cases:

  • Glide. Glide can be effective for creating mobile apps, but it can also work for building desktop apps if you don’t mind using a mobile-friendly workflow. Glide creates progressive web apps that work via the internet as opposed to natively on your device.
  • Draftbit. Draftbit enables you to build native mobile apps similar to how you’d design a website with a pre-made template. While Draftbit may not be as user-friendly as some other options, it offers you more control over what your app can do.
  • Bildr. Bildr leverages a highly visual user experience to simplify the app-building experience. It also lets you turn helpful combinations of elements into patterns that you can then reuse in other applications.
  • Backendless. Backendless began as a back-end-as-a-service solution that gave users tools to construct their own backends. It then added a user-interface builder, which gives you the ability to build an entire app — both the front- and back-end — using its tools.

 

Low-code vs. No-code: Key Similarities and Differences

Low-code and no-code platforms both save time and require minimal technical knowledge, but their differences may make one or the other a better solution for your business.

Similarities

With both low-code/no-code, you can:

  • Use them as platform-as-a-service solutions, renting the ability to build apps via a low-code no-code platform.
  • Drop the barriers of entry for non-tech-savvy employees who need to build out solutions.
  • Build apps using consistent code. This makes it easier to debug applications and use predictable, comfortable workflows, which saves time and energy.
  • Save money on paying developers. In many cases, you can use your internal staff — even if they’ve never built an app before — and skip the costs of hiring external developers. And, if you do hire a programmer, you may be able to save money because the process is faster.

Differences

The differences between low code/no code tools often stem from the degree with which you can exercise control over individual components.

Use Cases

With no-code, your use cases are relatively limited when compared with low-code. For instance, some choose no-code design when they have to build apps for pulling data from multiple sources for analysis. For this, they need very few options when it comes to creating pleasing or unique user experiences. No-code is also a good choice for automating monotonous tasks or building business apps with modest features.

A low-code design tool enables greater control, making it ideal for apps requiring significant business logic. Developers also use low-code tools to maximize scalability and flexibility for enterprise use cases.

Target users

Low-code users tend to be developers seeking to avoid the time-hungry task of replicating simple code so they can focus on creating richer, more innovative features. Also, because low-code erases the need to learn specific coding languages, it makes it easier for dev leaders to expand their team of app-builders — simply because they don’t have to learn a new language to help build solutions.

Speed

Even though low-code tools make app-building fast, no-code is even faster. Because your tools are plug-and-play, you’re simply connecting elements together instead of configuring components one by one. You also save time during the testing and deployment phases because you cut down on the number of manual errors.

Architectural Limitations

A low-code-built app may offer more choices when it comes to scalability and the number of platforms it can interface with. You can introduce custom-designed code that expands your app’s abilities or integration options.

With no-code, on the other hand, you have limited potential when it comes to integrating with legacy systems that aren’t natively compatible with your new app. The same goes for new apps created using different tools or provided by other developers — it could be hard to integrate the two.

Open vs. Closed Systems

Low-code features open or semi-open systems that enable you to make considerable changes. You also get the power to create reusable tools, such as plugins, that you can recycle in future apps.

No-code, on the other hand, is far more closed. You need to stick to the predesigned template and components, which results in fewer use cases. At the same time, however, because you don’t have to manually write code, it’s easier to ensure backward compatibility. This makes a no-code solution a better choice for users who need to ensure a new version of the app integrates well with a previous version.

The Risk of Shadow IT

No-code introduces a higher risk of shadow IT because users can design without consulting with your IT team. As a result, users may design systems with security vulnerabilities or compatibility issues.

By way of contrast, a low-code solution may still require some oversight by IT, which could reduce the chances of users DIYing solutions that could threaten security or future data integrations.

Training Requirements

Low-code tools may require a good amount of training, depending on the solution you choose and the apps you have to build. With no-code, however, you need little-to-no training. This makes it easier and faster to onboard new developers and get novices started if you opt for a no-code solution.

 

Benefits of using Low Code Tools

Low code and no code are both useful, but low-code comes with distinct benefits, several of which tip the scales for organizations that need a combination of ease of use and flexibility in their app-building solution.

  • More agility
  • Faster app development
  • Improved productivity
  • Rapid iterations
  • Better customer experiences
  • Enhanced security
  • Easier maintenance and upgrades
  • Automation
  • More collaboration between the IT team and others
  • Faster innovation
  • Less expensive and fewer barriers to entry
  • Integration with legacy systems. 

Read more about the benefits of low-code.

Honda Australia, for example, used Visual LANSA to low-code its way to a versatile web solution. The automobile manufacturer leveraged the Visual LANSA platform to create an app for sales registration, managing warranty claims, and uploading parts orders directly from dealer management systems to Honda’s iSeries, a centralized data management system.

 

Low-code vs No-code: Which one should you choose?

Below are the things your business should think about when deciding between low code code or no-code solution

 
Consideration Low-code No-code
Cost Low-code may be more expensive than no-code because it has a longer development lifecycle. A no-code solution, while more limited, may cost less.
Time Low-code may take more time than no-code because there’s more customization involved. The lack of customization options and simple building workflows may make no-code faster.
Security Low-code can be as secure as no-code but only if you avoid introducing vulnerabilities as you customize app features. No-code is often more secure because it’s relatively closed-box, and the components are already secure.
Maintenance and agility With low-code, you get more agility because you can quickly and easily adjust how your app functions. Maintenance is similarly simple but may involve more detailed adjustments than what you have to manage with no-code. No-code solutions often lack agility because you can’t alter how their components behave. Maintaining a no-code solution is fairly straightforward due to the simplicity of its components and their interconnectivity.
Customization You have considerable customization options, and with the right platform, you can fully customize your app. Few, if any, customization options if you want to alter app functions.

 

Low-Code and No-Code: Different purposes

Your choice of a low-code or no-code platform will depend heavily on how you want to use it.

App Development

For developing apps, a low-code solution like Visual LANSA may be the better choice. The flexibility of low-coding with Visual LANSA may offer more long-term benefits, such as more diverse app functionality.

Data Integration

If all you want to do is data integration, no-code may be a more convenient option. Data integration is very straightforward as long as you’re working with clean data and have a well-designed data map.

BI Reporting

The choice of low- or no-code for BI reporting depends on the complexity of the reports you want to develop and the platform you choose. Some platforms offer robust no-code reporting that may be more than adequate for your needs, while others may not give you enough ways to compile and present reports.

IBM i Modernization

For IBM i modernization, you’ll want to go with a low-code solution. In this way, you get the flexibility you need to modernize a range of IBM i-based systems, building agile, creative solutions.

 

Conclusion: The Future Is Low-code

The Force is strong with low-code development. Even though it may take a little more skill, it has a much lower barrier to entry than full-code development. However, no-code development enables people without any coding knowledge at all to build apps. Low-code development is preferable for many organizations because it gives you more control over your final product.

On the other hand, in many cases, a no-code solution may not give you enough granular control to produce an effective app. Visual LANSA provides low-code development that makes it easy for regular employees to quickly build apps that are easier to maintain and upgrade. Contact us to learn more about how Visual LANSA can meet your business needs.

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