Low-Code vs No-Code:
What’s the Difference?

At first glance, it’s easy to confuse low-code and no-code. Even the big analyst firms seem to have a hard time differentiating between them. Market confusion aside, it really is possible to distinguish between low-code and no-code platforms.
There are literally hundreds of small details and capabilities that differentiate low-code platforms from no-code solutions. Most of them aren’t apparent at the UI level, which is where much of the confusion between the two comes from.

Low-Code vs. No-Code:
When to Use What

Low-code is good for developing standalone mobile and web apps and portals that are likely to require integration with other systems and several data sources. In fact, it can be used for just about anything.

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No-code tools, by contrast, should only be used for front-end use-cases. So, unless you’re developing only the simplest applications, and require little in the way of customization, low-code is likely the better option.

Low-code enables you to build user-friendly, responsive apps..

Although not as simple as no-code, there is still enough simplicity inherent in low-code tools to get those apps up and running much faster than if you were to hand-code them. And, since low-code still requires some knowledge of coding, you know the people creating your applications will do so properly, and your new applications won’t saddle you with security risks or compliance issues.

Let’s examine the pros and cons of both low-code and no-code more closely.

Low-Code Advantages

There are numerous benefits to using a low-code platform. Let’s take a top-level look at the biggest perks of low-code development before we examine what no-code brings to the table.

Speed

With low-code, you can build apps for multiple platforms simultaneously and show stakeholders working examples in days, or even hours.

One-click deployment

With low-code, a single click is all it takes to send your application to production. Launch day is no longer a nerve-wracking experience.

More resources

If you’re working on a big project, you no longer have to wait for developers with specialized skills to finish up another lengthy project, which means things get done more quickly and at a lower cost.

Low risk/high ROI

With low-code, robust security processes, data integration, and cross-platform support are already built-in and can be easily customized—which means less risk and more time to focus on your business.

Low-Code Disadvantages

If you’ve been enchanted by the list of advantages and you’re ready to adopt low-code, don’t be too hasty. Low-code has disadvantages. For one, if you only have a smattering of development knowledge, most low-code platforms will be difficult to master quickly. Also, although low-code makes it possible to create a working application fast, low-code tools can stop just shy of enabling the development of enterprise apps. Scalability, high quality, high performance, and other non-functional requirements are not always easy to meet with low-code, nor is it easy to change them with the platform.

What Is No-Code?

No-code solutions feature drag-and-drop, visual development.

Unlike low-code, they mostly cater to business people or others in IT who may not know any actual programming languages but want to develop an application for a specific use case—often for their department. In other words, no-code allows organizations to equip teams with the tools they need to create applications without formal development training.

Everything the no-code vendor thinks the user needs to build an app is already built into the tool. No-code solutions are similar to popular blogging platforms and e-commerce website design companies that have prebuilt pages you can use to launch your blog or business in minutes.

No-Code Advantages

No-code is great if you need a simple app to solve a single business or department problem, and you don’t want to wait for IT to build and deliver it 3-6 months from now.

No-code platforms require very little training, so anyone in your organization can build an app, usually in the realm of business process management, such as expense approvals. No-code gives business users the freedom to address an immediate need without diverting IT from mission-critical development projects.

No-Code Disadvantages

The downside to no-code is that it can result in shadow IT, whereby people are developing apps without proper supervision or consideration.

Predictably, the results can lead to 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.

Additional Resources
Low-Code Demos

Watch demos of application development with a low-code platform.

Evaluation Guide

Learn the details about OutSystems modern application development platform.

Accelerate Digital Transformation with a Low-Code Digital Factory

Join OutSystems and Jason Bloomberg, President of Intellyx, expert on agile digital transformation, as we unveil the Low-Code Digital Factory. This new approach provides ready-to-go guidance on how to accelerate digital transformation with low-code, including the team structure, talent, ecosystem, and processes you need to scale from first app to enterprise-wide adoption.

Low-Code Blogs
Evaluating the Best Low-Code Development Platforms

When the time to choose the best low-code development platform comes, do you know where to start? This blog post will guide you through the evaluation process to find the right technology for your business needs.

How Low-Code Is Changing the COTS Versus Custom Dilemma

The COTS versus custom is one of the most common dilemmas organizations face. Many of them opt for a combining approach where they buy narrow commodity services and build the rest. For that portion of software that needs to be built, several companies are turning to low-code approaches. In this blog post, you'll learn why.