Understanding Low-Code/No-Code (Part I)

in Software Development

No-code offers you the opportunity to build digital solutions without learning any programming language or manipulating code

From the developers' and business owners' perspectives, there are many misconceptions about what no-code/low-code means, the difference between them, and whether developers can use them.

This article tackles these popular misconceptions and gives a clear explanation of what no-code/low-code is.


    Thanks to the pandemic, no-code, and low-code platforms are increasingly gaining popularity among developers, technical and non-technical individuals, and business owners. This is because it offers technical capabilities to non-technical peoples, allowing them to build digital business solutions without involving a developer quickly.

    But, what exactly is no-code/low-code? Is there any difference between them?

    Are these platforms really useful to developers?

    These are some of the questions you may have, and we've answered them duly in this article.

    What is No-Code?

    No-code is a way to build digital products, apps, websites, etc., without writing a single line of code. No-code offers you the opportunity to build digital solutions without learning any programming language or manipulating code.

    No-code software allows you to build almost anything from websites, landing pages, messaging apps, analytics dashboards, and SaaS tools with a visual interface.

    All you do is design a visual representation of whatever you want to build, then drag and drop various components to make up your application.

    What is Low-Code?

    As soon as you write a single line of code in a no-code application, it becomes low-code.

    Low-code is basically a no-code solution manipulated by writing a few lines of code to enhance the technical ability of the solution further.

    Like no-code, low-code platforms use visual interfaces with simple logic and drag and drop features to build various digital solutions. You can then write some advanced parts of your application that can't be easily done with the available features on the platform.

    What Are the Differences Between No-Code and Low-Code?

    The idea behind both no-code and low-code technology is pretty much the same, but their implementation differs somewhat.

    Target Users

    The major difference between no-code and low-code development is in the target users. No-code is aimed at regular individuals and business owners who have little or no coding knowledge to build and ship their business and workflow automation solutions easily. Even though they need to get familiar with the no-code platform they want to use, they are not expected to have any knowledge of programming or the underlying complexities.

    Low-code, on the other hand, is targeted at developers of all levels. Low-code allows you to easily build and deploy business solutions using a graphical interface combined with little lines of codes from beginner to pro developers.

    Speed

    Even though both no-code and low-code platforms are significantly faster than building an application from scratch, No-code allows you to build and deploy software solutions way faster than low-code. A comparison conducted by Betty Blocks concluded that No-code is at least four times faster than low-code. This is because of the extra time it takes to write extra features in low-code, while with no-code, everything can be built and deployed quickly.

    Ability To Implement Complex Functionalities

    No-code is ideal for building a basic frontend and creating simple solutions because it does not have the capability to handle complex use cases. Low-code can be used for complex logic and algorithms because it allows developers to improve the built-in functionalities to achieve more complicated business solutions.

    Security

    No-code and low-code platforms generally leverage on the high-security level incorporated into it by the platform provider - a security level you may be unable to implement if you were to build the application from scratch. Some exceptions exist.

    Usually and not always, since no-code platforms do not allow the writing of codes, they are more secure because there's no additional code that can open the system to vulnerabilities.

    Customization

    Since you can write your own code in a low-code platform, you can customize your application as much as you want. Customization is limited to the built-in templates for no-code platforms, leading to identical designs between many users.

    External Integration

    Apart from the pre-built integration with popular CRM, emailing, e-commerce, or analytics platforms, you can't extend the functionalities provided by the platform. In contrast, you can integrate with any API that you need to use to deliver a feature-rich solution on low-code platforms.

    No-Code/Low-Code Use Cases For Developers

    As a developer, there are many ways you can use no-code/low-code platforms in your development workflow. Below are some of the use cases of no-code/low-code platforms as a developer.

    UI Design

    Designing a user interface for users on different platforms then writing the codes for each platform can be tasking and time taking. With no-code/low-code solutions, you can get an automatically generated UI code which you can use as a starting point in developing the application.

    Quick Ideation Testing

    With no-code/low-code solutions, you don't have to wait until the end of the usual life application development process before you can test your solution idea and see if it works. No-code/low-code platforms allow you to build applications faster, and if your idea works, you can double down on improving and customizing it using code.

    API Generation

    Especially for applications or platforms that were not designed to integrate one, manually generating an API is usually a nightmare for developers. Low-code API generators can automatically generate APIs based on the existing application codebase.

    Platform Integration

    Instead of taking the time to write unique codes and integration keys for different platforms needed in your application, you can leverage a low-code tool to integrate with popular CRM and CMS tools with little coding.

    Containerization

    No-code/low-code platforms are beginning to integrate deployment environments like Kubernetes in their platforms. This will allow developers who leverage this platform to enjoy the benefits of running their applications as isolated containers.


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