[LIVE WEBINAR] Integrate Visual LANSA with Salesforce. Register to join on April 30.
[LIVE WEBINAR] Integrate Visual LANSA with Salesforce. Register to join on April 30.
Home » Low-Code » Low Code vs Traditional Development: Speed or Control?
Home / Blog / Low Code vs Traditional Development: Speed or Control?

Low Code vs Traditional Development: Speed or Control?

by | Mar 20, 2024 | Low-Code

In this tech-driven industrial revolution, software is as important as steam power, steel, and railroads were to innovators back in the 18th century. To keep a step ahead of the competition, modern businesses need software. But despite the thousands of apps on the market, business leaders often have to design their own solutions to meet their unique needs.

This raises a pivotal question: Is it better to use traditional development, or would a low-code solution, which is easier, faster, and more accessible, get the job done? To decide whether you should use traditional coding, low code, or a combination of both, here’s a guide to their benefits, drawbacks, differences, and use cases.


Key Insights

  • Low-code development enables rapid application development because it incorporates pre-designed tools that users combine to build a solution
  • Traditional development requires specific coding knowledge, but you have more flexibility during the design process
  • Visual LANSA gives you tools and data integrations that make it easier for non-IT staff to quickly build effective solutions


What is Low Code Development?

Low-code development streamlines the process of building applications and websites through the use of preset templates, modules, and functions. To build an application, you simply drag and drop the elements you need into place. At the same time, low-code app design often gives you the option to make changes to the pre-made components you’re working with. You may also be able to incorporate your own code from scratch, which gives you a measure of flexibility.

Many organizations lack the resources to either hire outside developers or teach internal staff complicated coding languages. Low-code development enables them to modernize within budget quickly.


Examples of Low-Code Apps Businesses Can Develop

The kinds of low-code apps you can build are limited only by the types of low-code tools you have access to. In the low code vs traditional development debate, many see this as a key drawback. However, with low-code, you can easily design apps for:

  • Data analysis
  • Scheduling
  • Help desk management
  • Operational cost management
  • Timesheets
  • Payroll
  • Managing approval processes
  • Event planning
  • Inventory tracking
  • A range of HR functions, such as requesting leave and workforce management
  • Service requests


What is Traditional Development?

Traditional development refers to the process of using coding languages to build applications and websites. With this approach, each element of the software is built by either typing in code or using pre-written code from a library.

For instance, with traditional development, you may write several lines of code in Python to create a data entry field where a user can input their name. While coding, you specify the width, height, and color of the box. You could also design a “Submit” button, which would include directions regarding what happens when a user clicks it.


Low Code vs Traditional Development — Comparison

When considering high code vs low code, there are several differences — in addition to whether or not you have to write lines of code:


Low Code

Traditional Development

Tools You code using programming languages like React, Java, Python, and PHP You code using programming languages like React, Java, Python, and PHP
Coding Knowledge Required You need advanced coding skills to create effective solutions You need advanced coding skills to create effective solutions
Development Speed Developing an app often takes several months or longer Developing an app often takes several months or longer
Customization Limited customization options because you work with pre-made components You can customize your app in any way you’d like because you’re creating code from scratch
Agility Changes are quick and easy to make, and fixing errors is relatively simple Changes often take considerable time, as can fixing errors
Deployment You can deploy an app relatively quickly because you do very little coding It takes longer to deploy apps because you have to build each component from scratch
Quality It’s easy to create a high-quality, integrated app because you’re working with quality, pre-made components You get a scalable, flexible app, but it can take time to make the app stable and bug-free
Maintenance Simple, straightforward maintenance because your low-code platform provides you with security fixes and component upgrades You may need an internal team to update and maintain the app
Technical support Relatively little tech support needed More tech support needed due to the complexity of the manually-written code
Template Availability Plenty of pre-made templates No templates. You code everything from scratch
Cost You pay for access on a monthly basis, and the fees range according to your provider You pay developers to build the app via a one-time payment and may have to pay for its maintenance and upgrades. The cost may be between $20,000 and $60,000
Scalability You can scale relatively quickly when you have to add new users or functionalities Scaling often requires additional coding by software developers
Security Low code solutions are often equipped with SOC2 and ISO 2007 security features and align with data protection regulations You need to depend on your dev team to keep the app secure and ensure it meets any applicable compliance regulations
Multi-platform You can often use a no-code app on several platforms You have to choose whether you use native or cross-platform development, which enables use on multiple platforms
ROI High ROI due to low development and maintenance costs Lower ROI due to potentially expensive development and maintenance expenses


Low Code vs High Code — Benefits

The answer to “Why low code?” often begins with understanding the benefits of low code vs traditional development. Then, you can figure out which one will work best for your organization.

Benefits of Low Code

Here are some of the benefits of low-code development:

  • Easy to use: You have access to drag-and-drop templates and modules that make it easy to piece together your app.
  • Less work for IT: If you have your IT team develop your code, you save them time and effort with pre-made toolkits, which frees them up to focus on other projects.
  • Low barrier to entry: Thanks to straightforward tools and drag-and-drop app creation, low code makes it easy for a wide range of employees to design solutions.
  • Shorter time-to-market: With pre-made tools, you can get an app produced and deployed in far less time.
  • Less expensive: You avoid having to hire expensive developers because you can build your solutions in-house.
  • Straightforward updating and maintenance: Maintaining and updating your app doesn’t require paying someone to write many lines of code from scratch. Your low-code platform takes care of necessary updates to the platform.
  • Better security: Low-code platforms may have built-in security features that factor in the most recent threats and compliance considerations.
  • Helpful, convenient data and analytics: Your low-code platform may offer pre-built visual reports and insights.
  • Automate repetitive tasks: You can create automations that make your day-to-day work far easier and more accurate.


Benefits of Traditional Development

With traditional development, you can benefit from:

  • A highly customizable solution: You can build whatever you want, enabling you to meet very specific business needs.
  • Scalability and adaptability: Since you have your own team of developers, you can pay them to scale and make changes whenever you have the need.
  • More possible functions: You can have your developer code a broad range of functions because you’re not limited to a preset list of capabilities.
  • More integration options. Even though low-code apps have plenty of integration possibilities, apps built with traditional dev can be integrated with any app or workflow the developer can write code for.
  • Flexible deployment options: You can design the app to be deployed in a wide range of environments.
  • Greater control: You can control even very granular elements of your app’s business logic and user interface.


Low Code vs Traditional Development — Drawbacks

By considering the drawbacks of low-code and traditional development, you can identify challenges ahead of time that could impact your budget or operational agility.

Disadvantages of Low Code

With low-code dev, you have to deal with:

  • Limited customization: You can’t fully customize with many low-code platforms because you’re working with pre-built components.
  • Limited scalability: Even though it may be easy to add new users, scaling up a low-code solution to make it work with additional apps can be difficult.
  • Limited integrations: Low-code platforms typically provide a range of integrations, but it can be hard to integrate outside that range.
  • Inflexible templates: You may have to create workarounds if the templates you’re given don’t meet your needs.
  • Limited quality: Low-code apps may not be able to do as much as traditionally coded solutions.
  • Limited deployment options: You have to stick with the deployment choices your low-code platform provides.

Disadvantages of Traditional Development

When you opt for traditional development, you may have to wrangle with:

  • Laborious maintenance: A traditionally built app may require a more hands-on approach to maintenance and security improvements.
  • Higher costs: The expenses associated with hiring developers to build, maintain, and update your app can be considerable.
  • Longer testing and implementation timelines: Working through the complexity and bugginess of custom apps can take time.
  • Time-consuming updates and changes: Because each update and change has to be coded in by a developer, they can take significant time.
  • Skill-dependent development: Developers need to be able to work with specific, complicated coding languages.


How Can Visual LANSA Overcome the Limitations of Low Code

Using Visual LANSA, you can overcome the limitations of low-code development without sacrificing any of its benefits:

  • Limited customization: Visual LANSA gives you the freedom to customize much of your application because you can make edits to individual lines of code.
  • Limited scalability and integration: It’s easy to both add new users and integrate with additional apps because Visual LANSA can integrate with IBM i, Windows, Linux Native, AWS, and other cloud solutions.
  • Inflexible templates: Visual LANSA’s templates offer a vast array of options and are customizable for use with a range of applications.
  • Limited quality: Because you can integrate Visual LANSA with cloud environments, your app design can incorporate a wider variety of functions.
  • Limited deployment options: You can use Visual LANSA to design progressive web apps, which can deploy on any device with a compatible web browser.


Key Differences: Low code vs Traditional Development

Low-code development differentiates itself from traditional application development by making app and website creation available to a wider audience. Unlike traditional coding, which requires the expertise of dev professionals, low code requires minimal knowledge and gives you user-friendly tools.

Here are some questions you can ask when choosing the best solution for your projects:

  • Is the project extremely complex, necessitating many modifications and updates?
  • What are your integration needs, and what will they be in the future?
  • How soon do you need your app to be ready for deployment?
  • How much do you have to spend on each development project?
  • Do you have specific security or compliance needs?
  • How much time can your IT department allocate to the project?
  • Are there non-developers on your staff with some coding knowledge or who have an interest in enhancing their ability to build apps?


Low Code vs Traditional Development — Steps Involved

Traditional and low-code development involve unique approaches to the software creation process.

Low Code Development

Developing in a low-code environment involves:

  • Assessing your business’s unique needs and requirements.
  • Modeling using visual tools to design the user interface, workflows, and data structures.
  • Configuring the app’s function using pre-made components.
  • Integrating your app with other systems using APIs in your low-code platform.
  • Testing the app to make sure it functions as needed, then deploying it.
  • Monitoring and maintaining your app, making sure it’s secure, and addressing any scalability requirements.
  • Updating and modifying the app with the same tools you used to create it.

Traditional Development

The steps involved in traditional development have some overlap with those of low-code, but they’re different due to the manual coding required:

  • Assessing the needs of your business and choosing the right coding language to meet them.
  • Designing a detailed, technical layout for the app’s data structures, architecture, and algorithms.
  • Coding then testing the app, which happens both during production and after each iteration has been completed.
  • Choosing an app design approach, such as Agile or Waterfall, will determine how frequently you produce iterations and how you involve different members of the dev team.
  • Integrating the app with other systems using manual coding and APIs you source from other developers.
  • Deploying your app, which could involve configuring dedicated servers, networks, or databases.
  • Monitoring, maintaining, and updating post-deployment. This may involve checking your code for errors and addressing bugs users surface, as well as re-designing app elements to mitigate new cybersecurity threats.


When Does Low Code Work Best?

Low-code works best for small-to-midsize businesses (SMBs), startups, and enterprises that need to design and deploy simple apps quickly. For instance, low-code may be best when you have to:

  • Develop a minimum viable product quickly without using too many resources.
  • Build a website or web app in a matter of hours.
  • Create apps based on microservices.
  • Foster a work environment that invites collaboration around app design and relieves pressure from your IT team.


Using Low Code and Traditional Development Together

In some cases, it’s infeasible to replace traditional development altogether, but low-code can alleviate some of the workload of your IT team and make it possible to create more apps faster.

In a low-code environment, developers can get projects off to a good start quickly, making sure they can execute basic functions well. If more in-depth functionality is later required, you can use traditional dev to code it out manually.

Also, low code gives your traditional developers additional tools they can use to build fully-functional, straightforward solutions in a short timeframe. If they need to build a more complicated application, they could use traditional development instead.


Get started with Low-code development

Leveraging low-code development, you can create apps faster because they give you pre-designed tools that you combine as you build your app. Even though traditional development gives you more flexibility, many opt for low-code because you can use it to build an app without learning any coding languages.

Visual LANSA provides you with tools that make it easy for both IT and non-IT staff to build effective applications.



What is the main difference between low code development and traditional development?

The main difference between low-code and traditional development is that building in a low-code environment involves combining pre-built components while traditional development uses manual code-writing.

Does low-code development replace developers?

No, low-code development doesn’t replace developers; it just gives them tools that are easier to use than traditional coding languages and frameworks.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of low-code development?

Low code enables faster, simpler, easier development, but you may not be able to build in as many functions as you could with traditional development.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of traditional development?

Traditional development gives you ultimate flexibility regarding what you build, but it’s time-consuming, expensive, and difficult to maintain because it requires manual coding.

What development approach is best for my project?

If your project requires a simple app and you don’t have much time to create it, then low-code may be best. But if you need a complex app, don’t have strict time constraints, and have between $20,000 and $50,000 to have it designed, traditional development may be a good fit.