What Is No-Code?

No-code is a software development approach that doesn’t require programming skills. It is typically designed for line-of-business users. The user relies on a drag-and-drop interface to assemble the necessary elements to produce an application, applet, or other software elements.

What Is a No-Code Development Platform?

No-code platforms provide a drag-and-drop, visual development environment and are designed to create simple applications.

No-code tools offer greater simplicity and ease of use so that anyone can create applications quickly, regardless of their development experience. The purpose of no-code platforms is to let business users, or citizen developers, build their applications, often for a particular use case like an app that helps them increase the efficiency of their daily activities.

This way, business users don't have to wait 3-6 months for IT to deliver the app they need, and IT doesn't get diverted from mission-critical development projects.

How Does No-Code Work?

The term “no-code” is somewhat of a misnomer. All software requires code, but no-code tools abstract software development from a programming language, including logic and syntax. Different objects, elements, and components — such as visual boxes — represent tasks. A user combines and arranges these objects to build an application.

In a no-code environment or tool, data abstraction hides the underlying instructions and details and only displays required functionality. An app or tool is usually represented by visual objects and mapping features that show how various elements interconnect.

No-Code Use Cases

Organizations use no-code for a growing array of tools and tasks, including:

  • New employee onboarding
  • Invoicing and purchase order tracking
  • Office automation
  • Calendaring and scheduling
  • Employee directories
  • eCommerce catalogs, sites, and apps
  • Order management

Examples of No-Code Platforms

A few of the most popular no-code platforms include:

Advantages of No-Code

No-code is an excellent alternative to coding if you need a simple app to solve a single business or department problem. IT often deprioritizes these types of projects, so with a no-code tool, business users can take matters into their own hands and get the apps they need much faster without disrupting the work of IT.

No-code platforms require very little training, so anyone in an organization can build an app, usually in the realm of business process management, such as expense approvals.

No-Code Disadvantages

The downside to no-code is that it can result in shadow IT, whereby people develop apps without proper supervision or consideration. Predictably, the results can lead to a proliferation of apps with similar functions but no standards (which stresses IT systems), security concerns, compliance issues, integration problems, apps that use more resources than necessary, and increased technical debt.

There is much to be said about having the technical know-how to consider all angles of automating a business process with a user-friendly interface before starting to build an application.

Are Low-Code and No-Code the Same Thing?

Low-code and no-code are two different development solutions. Both approaches reside on the same side of the development spectrum — veering away from the need to use written code to develop functionality. They remove the complexity from software development while making it easier to manage the enormous volume and complexity of code that’s needed for today’s enterprises.

But while no-code tools are targeted at business users, low-code typically targets professional developers. And that makes all the difference.

No-code providers aim to offer an easy-to-use platform to empower business users to create their departmental applications and relieve IT backlogs. Low-code, on the other hand, aims at helping IT reduce backlogs by accelerating developer productivity.

So no-code is a good solution for simple<, departmental applications with a limited number of users, and low-code is for business-critical solutions and sophisticated, enterprise-grade applications.

Take a look at the Low-Code vs. No-Code article to explore the difference between the two in greater detail.

Should Your Organization Adopt No-Code or Low-Code?

Like any tool, it’s important to understand what you want to accomplish and know what a particular tool offers. For basic needs, no-code may be sufficient. However, for enterprise, scalable, secure, and future-proof apps, low-code is the better choice.

If you’re unsure where to start, take a look at our page How to Evaluate Low-Code Platforms, where you’ll find a 4-step guide to find the right solution for your business.