The terms low-code and no-code are often confused with each other. While both low-code and no-code have some similarities, they’re actually two completely different solutions for app development.
With that said, some low-code development platforms also offer no-code capabilities. Other platforms that are branded as no-code tools have some low-code options built in. (It’s no wonder that even savvy business users confuse these terms).
If you need help distinguishing the difference between low-code and no-code platforms, you’ve come to the right place.
This guide covers everything you need to know about low-code vs. no-code, including a clear definition of each, the differences between them, the pros and cons of no-code/low-code, and the best no-code/low-code platforms for development. Let’s dive right in.
What is Low Code?
Low-code makes it possible for professional developers of varying skill levels to quickly build applications with minimal hard-coding efforts.
Using no code to create software can best be compared to traditional development. The only difference is that no-code platforms offer different shortcuts that streamline the process. Rather than spending time coding repetitive tasks from scratch, low-code platforms have basic software elements and infrastructure already built.
Low-code platforms follow a rapid app development (RAD) approach that includes things like automated code generation through drag-and-drop interfaces, pull-down interfaces, and other visual building blocks.
Developers can focus the majority of their efforts on writing code for the smaller parts of the application that make it unique compared to other apps on the market. But all the boilerplate and repetitive code is handled by the platform.
As a developer, you can still write custom code over the automated code provided by a low-code tool.
What is No Code?
No-code is exactly what it sounds like. It enables anyone, regardless of technical knowledge or programming experience, to create applications without writing a single line of code.
The possibilities of no-code development stretch far and wide. They’re trusted by citizen developers to create apps for business processes, entrepreneurs launching new websites, and business owners building mobile apps to expand.
Similar to low-code, no-code development also uses a RAD approach. But it’s completely hands-off when it comes to coding and programming.
No-code platforms are 100% dependent on using visual tools, plugins, modules, and drag-and-drop builders to create an app.
In simple terms, anyone can use no-code platforms without any specialized skills or training.
Some of you might have experience building websites with platforms like Wix or Squarespace. Both of those tools fall into the no-code category.
What’s the Difference Between Low Code and No Code?
There are definitely some similarities between low-code development platforms and no-code app makers. But at a granular level, you’ll see that there are major differences between low-code and no-code when you look at the details.
Let’s take a closer look at these differences below:
Low-code solutions are made for professional developers. These users need to have a background of programming and development to use a no-code tool. But they’re just looking for a shortcut that doesn’t require 100% custom code from scratch.
Anyone can use a no-code platform, including average business users who don’t have any development experience. While professional developers could technically use a no-code tool, most would prefer a low-code system—as it allows them to use their unique skills.
Open vs. Closed System
Low-code leverages open systems that allow users to add functionality to an application by writing code. For example, developers can create a custom plugin or feature on an open system and then re-use that code later for another project.
Traditional no-code platforms are close. This means that you’d need to rely on pre-built plugins and templates for functionality. There’s no manual code written that can customize anything beyond the platform’s capability.
With that said, there are some no-code platforms that do offer custom extensibility through an open system.
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