Technology has become an underlying catalyst for adaptability in business and growth. However, its advancement could be impeded by a talent deficit, as a recent survey by McKinsey reflected that 87% of executives across the globe said they are experiencing skills gap issues in the workforce or expect them in the near future. This challenge is particularly apparent in the Asia-Pacific region, where majority of companies, from SMEs to large enterprises, have accelerated digital transformation in the past couple of years as a response to the COVID-19 crisis. The outcome was an alarming shortage in tech talent.
To continue the momentum of digitalisation, no code and low code have proven to be quite crucial in providing businesses with the platforms they require without the technical complexities that accompany it, but what is the difference between low code and no code?
Setting all the market ambiguities aside, at the outset, it might look seemingly hard to draw tangible differences between low-code and no-code. However, there’s a thin line of distinction between the two technologies. The capabilities that differentiate low-code platforms from no-code solutions aren’t apparent at the UI level, which is where much of the confusion between the two stems from. This difference stems from understanding the basic yet imperative details such as the target audience – who is going to use the platform, and the complexity of applications that need to be developed using the same.
“No code” is aimed entirely at business teams who might not have any coding knowledge. Non-technical teams that can chart out the underlying business logic to build an app visually can reap great benefits out of a no-code development platform. The action of just dragging and dropping lets anyone build apps.
By automating and bundling multiple workflows and processes together in a single console, even the non-technical folks can build custom apps for their everyday operations.
However, what’s important is to choose a platform that will also cover issues such as scalability, technical debt, shadow IT etc.
While no-code can help organizations achieve shorter development cycles and lower the dependencies on IT it still comes with its own limitations. For example, to add advanced components in a no-code application, just visual programming might not be enough. That’s when you would need a low-code platform.
“Low code” is an app development technique that brings business and IT together to build custom applications with a minimal amount of coding. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean writing extensive lines of code. The true motive behind adopting a low-code approach is to shorten development cycles, accelerate time to market, and reduce developer dependencies as much as possible.
Enterprises that recognize the significance of a fast MVP, require such technologies to expedite the development process that helps build responsive, varied, and powerful applications.
Generally, low-code platforms are open systems that allow bigger venues for custom code thus making themselves compatible for multiple use cases.
Consider an e-commerce application that entails feedback forms, chatbots, FAQs, shopping carts, store, and products pages, etc to be brought into a single application. This act of bundling them together under a single console requires you to write some amount of code, which is where low-code platforms come into the picture. Such technical customizations may not be possible with no-code platforms as they are meant to build only frontend applications.
Low-code platforms help extend the capabilities of your current core system through extensive integrations. The existing blocks of reusable components can be used to build off the core system just by adding small snippets of code. For example, you can build off your existing HRMS by adding some of the missing modules such as employee onboarding and offboarding to it thus transforming it into a holistic HRMS stack. All of this is possible just by integrating multiple data sources.
But with such sophistication also comes the risk of technical debt as app-building is democratized to a great degree. Since the applications are not entirely pre-architected unlike the ones built on no-code platforms, it allows citizen developers to add new code thus, eventually leading you to deal with vulnerabilities or inefficiencies in your codebase.
Benefits of low-code and no-code platforms
There are a plethora of benefits to adopting a no-code or a low-code platform. Let’s dive into the biggest perks of low-code development.
Speed of application development: With low-code, you can build multiple apps synchronously and show stakeholders working prototypes in days or even hours. The entire development process is so agile that any modifications to be made in the prototype can be done in a continuous manner thus avoiding unnecessary regressions.
Bringing business and IT together: You can involve business teams by empowering them to translate their ideas into apps with the help of low-code development platforms. Since the coding requirement is minimal, for the most part, they have to just drag and drop to build what they want to build. This also implies that you no longer have to wait for developers with specialized skills and hence be able to get things done more quickly and at a lower cost.
Low risk, high ROI: Robust security processes complying with various data regulations, seamless data integration, and cross-platform support are some of the built-in capabilities of low-code development platforms. This means less risk and more time to focus on your other important aspects of application development without shelling out a lot of resources.
Unified interface. One-click deployment: With low-code development platforms, besides building and testing, a single click is all it takes to push your application to production. You can provide different environments to different users on a single platform so that your application development platform looks as organized as it can be.
Ultimately, the agenda is to enable business and IT users to create practical applications faster and cheaper. Low-code and no-code platforms can help circumvent the skill shortage gap prevailing in the industry by enabling people with basic coding knowledge to build what they want to build.
Hence, it is safe to say that approaching app development in the low-code or no-code way can certainly let you lead the pack by enabling your organization to be digitally ready. This also puts you in a stance where you can take quick actions to outperform your competition.
While the primary features of both low-code and no-code development platforms are the same, it is important to delineate the factors such as the amount of coding knowledge required, the type of end-user who is going to develop the app, and the complexity of the app before choosing one technology over the other.