What Is No-Code and When Should You Use It

No-code is a software developmentapproach that allows individuals without a technical background or traditional programming skills to create and deploy software applications.

With no-code app development, users can build web and mobile applications without writing a single line of code, using a visual development environment with drag-and-drop functionality and pre-built components.

Let’s explore what no-code is in more detail.

What is a no-code platform?

A no-code platform is a software development technology that uses drag-and-drop interfaces, visual workflows, and pre-built components to allow users to build, customize (to some extent), and deploy applications quickly and easily.

Example of a no-code platform. Source: Team Nocoloco.

Common functionality provided by a no-code tool includes:

  • A friendly user interface that includes a drag-and-drop editor, visual workflow, and other tools that make it easy for users to build their applications without writing any code.
  • A range of pre-built components like forms, tables, buttons, and other UI elements commonly used in software applications.
  • Website, mobile, and workflow templates that users can use as starting point for their no-code apps.
  • Integration with other tools and services, like email marketing platforms, payment gateways, and customer relationship management (CRM) systems, allowing users to connect their apps to other systems and data sources.
  • A range of deployment options, allowing users to deploy their applications to the web, mobile devices, or other platforms.
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Examples of no-code tools and platforms

A few of the best no-code platforms include:

How does a no-code platform work?

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

Who are the no-code developers?

No-code developers are typically non-technical users, such as business analysts, marketing professionals, and product managers. They can also be called “citizen developers”.


These are people with no experience or background in software development that are looking to create simple applications quickly without dependency on their company’s IT team.

Why the rise of the no-code movement?

The so-called no-code movement has gained popularity thanks to the pressure on organizations to accelerate their digital transformation initiatives.

This has led to increasing IT backlogs, leaving dev teams with little to no time to focus on internal, team and departmental applications.

As a result, we see business users taking matters into their own hands and using no-code software tools to automate repetitive tasks, streamline workflows, and build simple applications that allow them to perform their daily activities more efficiently without incurring the cost and time associated with traditional software development.

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

In addition, no-code development is also quite popular among small businesses and startups with small or non-existent dev teams to overcome the common challenges of traditional software development, namely the cost of developer talent and infrastructure.

No-code app examples

A few app examples that can be built with no-code include the following:

no-code platform example

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

No-code pros and cons

By now, many of the advantages of using no-code development should be obvious, but there are also a few drawbacks to consider. Let’s take a look.

No-code benefits

No-code benefits include:

  • Reduced development costs by eliminating the need for traditional programming skills and development teams.
  • Faster time-to-market as it enables users to create software applications often in a matter of hours or days, which can help businesses launch new products or features more rapidly.
  • Improved business efficiency by automating repetitive and time-consuming tasks, reducing employee workload, and improving overall efficiency.
  • IT democratization by enabling non-technical users to create and deploy software applications and freeing professional developers to focus on business-critical projects.

No-code disadvantages

The downsides of no-code include:

  • Limited customization: although no-code platforms may offer some customization, users are mostly limited to the features and functionalities provided by the platform.
  • Scalability: no-code platforms are unsuitable for complex and large-scale projects requiring a high degree of customization and scalability.
  • Limited control: no-code platforms don’t provide the same level of control over the software development process as traditional programming or even more advanced low-code platforms, which limits the ability to fine-tune or optimize certain aspects of the application.
  • Vendor lock-in: users of no-code platforms are locked in the platform, meaning they won't be able to change and maintain the apps created if they decide to migrate to another platform.
  • Security and compliance risks: the lack of technical knowledge and experience of no-code developers may lead to security concerns, compliance issues, integration problems, apps that use more resources than necessary, and increased technical debt as users don’t have a deep understanding of the underlying code and security best practices.

Are low-code and no-code the same thing?

low-code vs no-code

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 systems 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 Low-code platform comparison page, where you’ll find a questionnaire to help you find the right solution for your business.

And if you wish to give low-code a try, you can sign-up for OutSystems free edition (no credit card info needed).

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, you can build a no-code app without traditional development knowledge. That's the main benefit of using a no-code platform - it allows people without coding skills to create software applications.

Typically, no-code platforms provide pre-built backend functionality, like data storage and API integrations, so it shouldn’t require backend development. If you need to go beyond the no-code integration capabilities offered by the platform, you’ll most likely hit a wall as no-code technologies are very limited when it comes to extensibility. In those scenarios, low-code for professional developers is a better option.

Some no-code vendors call themselves open source, but many platforms are not as they are built on proprietary technology. Therefore, users have limited access to the platform's source code, making it difficult to modify or customize the platform beyond its built-in features. So, businesses should carefully consider their needs and requirements before choosing a no-code platform.