Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Low-Code vs. No Code: What’s the Difference?

If you’re reading this post, you’re likely a marketer or savvy business leader which means you’ve thought about building a mobile app for your company at one time or another. However, you’ve also likely struggled with even knowing where to begin since it’s just a small portion of your overall responsibility and the app development environment and technology are constantly changing. Trust me…it can be really overwhelming at first.

Good news! There are now app development platforms that enable you to build a mobile app with little to no code required! Seriously! These platforms are often referred to as no-code or low-code app development platforms. While this may be your first time hearing about these two types of platforms, the no code and low code movement has been around for many years. So, let’s dive into what each one means and how they’re different.

No-Code Platform

The best way to describe a no-code app builder platform is that it doesn’t require ANY coding to actually build an app. Yep, that’s right. Absolutely no coding required. In fact, if you ask the CEO of Github, Chris Wanstrath, he says “The future of coding is no coding at all.”. This means that every single person in your business that has access to a computer and the Internet can become an app builder. Gartner refers to this type of individual as a “citizen developer.” Using a no code platform, citizen developers are able to build numerous types of apps without ever learning how to write a line of code. The most common pillars to a no-code platform are:

  • Reusability of the foundational blocks that are easily made accessible in no-code platforms. You’ll have pre-built building blocks that you can reuse across multiple apps.
  • Simple User Interface Builder that often has drag-and-drop capabilities.
  • Integrations with some of the common martech platforms, CRM, social media, and other applications that most businesses already use. Each no code platform has its own list of integrations and you’re typically confined to only what they offer.

Low-Code Platform

Another option in the app development platform world is low-code which oftentimes brings together the speed and ease of use that no-code platforms are known for with the flexibility of bringing in your own code. Basically, it allows citizen developers to build apps with or without code. For example, most low code platforms have a library of reusable building blocks that can be assembled to create numerous types of apps. These platforms also provide the ability for developers to write their own code to extend the functionality provided by the platform or create a custom solution for their business needs. In many ways, a low code platform brings together both the citizen developer and traditional developer together and enables them to both do what they’re best at.

The primary benefits of a low-code platform are:

  • Reusability of the foundational blocks provided by the platform and your own development team.
  • Developers use their time to differentiate your product/application by spending less time on developing the foundation of the app and more time on the specific integrations or code that will make your app unique.
  • Build more value quicker by taking out the process of building the app from the ground up and enabling more individuals in your organization to become app builders.

Head to Head: Low-Code vs. No-Code

This leaves us with the big question of “which is better? Low-code or no-code?” And the answer is a bit difficult because, well, it depends on your business needs. If you’re a small business looking to quickly build apps with a very constrained functionality that is dictated by the platform then a no-code platform is likely the best option for you. However, if you’re a mid-market or enterprise organization that needs the ability to enable business users to build apps quickly while also occasionally needing to incorporate your own code then you’ll likely want to use a low-code platform instead. No matter which option you choose for your business, you’ll still be building apps faster than ever before!