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Mary Ludloff
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March 06, 2019

What’s the Difference Between No-Code and Low-Code App Development?

If your business uses custom apps or is in the market for one, you’ve probably come across the terms no-code and low-code.

If by some chance you haven’t, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve published a primer on no-code development here, and this piece explores the differences between no-code and low-code.Both no-code and low-code app development platforms enable organizations to quickly and efficiently develop apps without having to manually write code. This means that new apps can be created in less time and for a fraction of the cost. It also means that iteration is easier than ever before.

Low-code and no-code platforms are based on framework known as rapid application development (RAD), which, generally speaking, enables users to visually assemble an app via drag-and-drop tools. (Some leading no-code development platforms, however, can automatically create apps by analyzing business data. Those apps can then be further iterated by citizen developers.)AdobeStock_191062622

So, what exactly are the differences between no-code and low-code development? And which approach is best for your company? Let’s take a look.

What is low-code?

Low-code app development was originally rolled out to streamline workflows of professional developers.

Instead of having to manually write each line of code, developers could navigate pre-built app templates and user-friendly interfaces to quickly create and scale their applications. Low-code also enables more advanced developers to integrate an organization’s applications with other enterprise services. For example, a marketing team might want to create a custom app that automatically sends all social media notifications to one location, and a finance team might want to connect Quickbooks to an ERP or CRM solution.

Low-code development, however, typically requires some level of technical coding expertise—more than the average citizen developer has.

An easy way to remember all this: The word “low” doesn’t imply “nothing.” Low-code still involves a bit of effort on the employee’s end.

Who should use low-code?

A low-code platform is better suited for enterprises with in-house developers. With a low-code platform, developers can take advantage of:

  • Packaged modules and templates that make it easy to reuse code.

  • Design tools—most commonly drag-and-drop—that make for easier app design, especially when it comes to the UI.

  • Lifecycle management functionality that simplifies the deployment, devops, and application management processes.

Taken together, low-code platforms make developers more agile and productive.

But if your employees don’t know how to code, or if you don’t have an IT or development team, low-code is probably not the best choice.

What is no-code?

No-code app development relies on the same RAD framework mentioned earlier. Depending on the no-code platform, apps can either be created automatically through data analysis or by using intuitive drag-and-drop techniques.

In either case, the main advantage is that employees don’t have to know anything about coding to be able to build transformative applications. (That’s why it’s called no-code development, after all.)

Not only does no-code save a ton of time (months and potentially even years of development), empowering all of your employees to be able to create apps may in fact boost morale.

A recent Gallup study, for example, found that 87% of millennials want professional development opportunities within their organization.

In other words, no-code is a win for your customers, your organization, and your employees.

Who should use no-code?

No-code platforms are ideal for organizations that want to build their own apps to increase efficiency and streamline business processes, yet have limited development resources.

As an example, a leading Colorado-based construction contractor relies on AppSheet to automate reporting, maintenance, payroll, and repairs.

The future is no-code

Low-code and no-code app development platforms have revolutionized the app development industry. Projects that used to take months or years now take far less time, enabling organizations to build apps more quickly and efficiently to solve their unique problems.

At the same time, everyday employees are becoming more engaged as they participate in the digital transformation of their organizations, using no-code platforms to build applications that make their teams, departments and entire companies more effective.

Add it all up, and it’s safe to say the future is no-code. We expect to see organizations increasingly adopt no-code development platforms as we move into the future.

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