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No Code or Low Code Development Platform? Which One Best Suits Your App?

No Code or Low Code Development Platform? Which One Best Suits Your App?

by Adrian Ababei on Nov 11 2017

Your current scenario, as we see it:

You're facing an app building type of situation! An app that should streamline workflow within your company or that would help your team deliver an unparalleled customer experience. Backlogs are out of the picture and dependency on “power builders” as well. Should you go for a low code development platform or for a no code one?
 

Decisions, decisions...

How do you pick when they seem so very much alike? They both spoil you with most tempting conveniences such as:
 

  • minimal coding effort
  • minimal (to none) technical expertise
  • app building efficiency (you get to assemble your app in no time and benefit from faster time-to-value)
  • out-of-the-box UI components for you, the app builder, to mix and match and put together into an app
  • automated horizontal scalability
     

Now let us come to your aid with a “list” of criteria to help you differentiate these two seemingly identical app development platforms. A more like a list of questions meant to help you:
 

  • “draw” your own profile as an app builder/app building company
  • better define your own needs and goals
  • draw an “identikit” of your future business app
     

… and, most importantly, (help you) decide whether a low code development platform or a no-code app building experience best suits your project's needs!
 

A Low Code Development Platform: What Is It & Why Go for It?

What sprang up as auto-code generation tools has gradually grown into enterprise-level platforms for building large-scale apps.

Low code development platforms made their entrance a while ago (dominating the web in 2016 ) and seem to be here to stay since more and more companies are jumping on the “quick and easy” app building bandwagon.

By providing you, the app builder, with multiple low-code stages, these modern platforms speed up your whole app development and app delivery cycle.

But let's point out precisely those key aspects of an app delivery cycle that this type of platforms impacts dramatically:
 

  • all services (SOAP, CRM, databases, security, REST APIs etc.) benefit from the visual development approach; they get incorporated via conveniently intuitive visual interfaces
     
  • the time-consuming coding “ordeal” is replaced with a visual app building approach: your development team can now create the whole user experience right from the start by simply mixing and matching the UI components that a low code development platform puts at their disposal
     
  • app deployment and continuous integration get streamlined via one-click deployments
     
  • human error, risking to impact the coding process, is taken out of the equation: standardized best practices ensure that all tasks related to front-end, back-end, executable, configuration etc. get “error-proofed”
     
  • the needs for future scalability (as well as for continous maintenance) are anticipated: low code apps are highly scalable due to their easy to use, lightweight containers that development teams just need to “fill in”
     

A No Code Development Platform: How Is It Different from a Low Code One?

No code app development platforms are nothing more than low code platforms adapted to specific app building scenarios. And, therefore, equipped so they can serve specific development needs.

And these “special” scenarios are all those requiring a higher level of customization. Let's say that you need to leverage your company/industry-specific template design for one of your app's pages, for instance. 

This is where no code platforms excel at! They “spoil” you with more templates and more pre-built industry-specific or company-standardized components, that you can just drag and drop and use for assembling your app.

But let's talk... examples! Here are 3 of the most common scenarios where a low code development platform delivers you a no coding experience:
 

  1. when it offers you, right out-of-the-box, industry-specific components to just assemble; then, your industry-specific app's building cycle calls for almost no coding at all
     
  2. when drag-and-drop UI components get built, “in-house”, by your own technical team, following your company's specific standards and then “passed on” to your business-pass team; for the latter it will certainly feel like they're putting together apps with zero coding: they'll just need to drag and drop the already built-in components
     
  3. when standardized styling is used (fonts, colors etc.) and “template UI design” gets incorporated into the platform; design templates meant to match those of the third party software used within your enterprise; with all these pre-created components at hand, low coding seamlessly turns into a no coding app building experience
     

What Is Your Skill Set as an App Builder?

For it makes a whole lot of difference whether you have back-end scripting skills (you “swim through” JavaScript, Node.js, Ruby or VBScript code like a fish in the sea) or you're a line-of-business professional with a great idea of an app and Microsoft Excel expertise (only).

Here's why:
 

  • no-code app building platforms empower business professional to step into the shoes of “business app builders”; to have their desired apps up and running in no time, with no dependency on a team of IT professionals
     
  • delivering drag and drop pre-built UI components and point and click tools no code platforms give the whole app development process a dramatic boost (so, no need for coding expertise for getting apps built at high speed)
     
  • low code app building platforms provide you with highly intuitive, visual modeling tools for trimming down code, even if it's an architecturally complex app that you want to build way faster than via a traditional app development approach 
     
  • and as a general rule of thumb a low code development platform addresses “power builders” with an advanced processing modeling, back-end scripting and business analytics skill set; such “audience” is able to fully leverage this modern platform's capabilities, those that set it apart from a standard app building process
     

An On-Premise or a Cloud-Based Hosting Solution?

Here's a key question to be asking yourself when you're still investigating each one of the 2 app development platforms' pros and cons: Where will it be hosted? And also: by whom?

You should know that:
 

  • low-code platforms are web-based and on-premises hosting solutions
  • no-code platforms are cloud-based
     

And the benefits that you'll reap from using a cloud-based web hosting solution are more than obvious:
 

  • you'll place the burden of monitoring the whole infrastructure's overall health and level of security onto your service provider's shoulders
  • starting small and integrating new features/functionalities later on gets so much more streamlined than with an on-premise platform
  • you save valuable time that you could then invest in... creating brand new challenges-solving and daily workflow-optimizing apps  
     

What Type of App Are You Building? Who'll Be Using It?

Sketching your business app's identikit is crucial before/in order to choose the right app development platform for your project.

So, what kind of app are you planning to build?

Is it an app integrating well-defined processes and running on a complex infrastructure? One aimed at keeping a close track of core business processes?

Or is it an app that could run either as a standalone one or as one incorporated into your business system? An app with a lifespan ranging from a few months to... several years?

But let's make your decision-making challenge easier to respond to! Let us list both the low code and the no code apps' specific “profiles”:
 

Typical Low Code Apps:
 

  • large scale apps, dependent on high stability
  • CORE transaction processing & business management apps
  • long-term apps (with a 5+ years lifecycle)
  • architecturally complex apps (dependent on frequent updating)
  • apps having well-defined processes
     

In short: low code apps make a crucial component of your whole core business system and they result from taking the conventional app building approach and... streamlining it.
 

Typical No Code Apps:
 

  • apps which may or may not be invested with a mission of critical importance for your core business process 
  • apps with a shorter estimated lifecycle
  • apps integrating innovative (or company/industry specific) business processes
  • apps that you build either to integrate into your business system or to run as standalone business apps
  • apps used for business process tracking, reporting, processing etc.
     

In other words: no code apps allow you to come up with quick-to-implement app solutions to specific business challenges and all this irrespective of your level of technical expertise
 

In Conclusion

If you want it built fast, a no code app development platform might suit your project best. 

If you want:
 

  • it to feature custom UI elements and styling aspects following your company's predefined standards
  • to “grow independent” of a team of “professional coders”
     

… go with a no code platform
 

But if you:
 

  • don't want to trade freedom of decision-making for more convenience, for more pre-built components to just drag and drop
  • want to be in charge (or to invest your development team with such power/responsibility) with your future app's deployment and integration processes
  • want to speed up the traditional app building process by using visual development tools and less coding
     

… then a low code development platform might suit you and your app project best.
 

So, which one will it be?

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