With a shortage in software developers, low-code and no-code platforms have drawn a lot of interest over the last few years. These platforms, which are very similar to e-commerce CMS platforms, were built to allow the creation of apps with little to no coding knowledge necessary. Low-code and no-code platforms are often mistaken for one another. While they both use the same “building blocks” approach, it’s important to clarify that they are two different things with different purposes.

What exactly is a Low-Code platform?

A low-code platform allows users to build web or mobile apps using a visual application system. This generally implies drag and drop processes (dragging and dropping visual blocks that have been pre-coded to model your app). Low-code, as its name suggests, still requires some development skills. This means it mostly targets professional developers or tech savvy business users with the aim of facilitating and accelerating the process by focusing on coding essential features. 

A low-code platform is a good choice for building more complex apps that have mission-critical feature needs that a no-code platform may be unable to provide while sparing developers the repetitive and time-consuming manual processes they would normally need to write when developing an app the traditional way. 

Some of the available low-code platforms are Mendix, Appian or KiSSFLOW.

What exactly is a No-Code platform?

Like a low-code platform, a no-code platform uses a visual application system that will allow the user to develop an app using drag and drop processes as well as use application functions made available by the platform. With the no-code platform, there is no coding involved. It primarily benefits business users or citizen developers who want to develop their apps without requiring any coding knowledge.

No-code platforms are best suited for basic projects that need to be delivered quickly. They happen to be an amazing tool for in-house apps! Let’s say you work in a marketing department and you would like to collect specific marketing-related data. You did your research and there is no such app available on the market. The no-code platform provides you the opportunity to generate a perfectly tailored solution, making your internal operations a lot easier. And that’s just a single example — imagine what you could do by automating manual tasks (and increasing efficiency)! Bye-bye excel sheets!

A few examples of no-code platforms are Salesforce, Airtable or Appsheet.

The Disadvantages of Low-Code and No-Code Platforms

If there are advantages, unfortunately, there are also disadvantages of using low-code and no-code platforms:

  • Flexibility — you will be limited in the customization of your apps and this can be a challenge when trying to adapt to a constantly evolving digital world. 
  • Security — without any proper supervision from professional developers, security concerns may arise. It is very important to be well informed on the platform used. Make sure to review its privacy policy, its procedures and the way it manages and handles data.

With the numerous advantages they offer, it seems both low-code and no-code platforms have a successful future ahead of them. In a recent report, Gartner predicted that low-code applications will be used for 65% of all application development activity in 2024. This could make many developers cringe! However, it is important to remember that the value of any tool is created by the person using it, meaning these platforms will not take over anytime soon. Still, their influence will be felt across many industries. Hand in hand with artificial intelligence, there is no doubt that low-code and no-code platforms will revolutionize the way we work. In the meantime, they will be a considerable asset for any developers and business users for increasing app agility, efficiency and, hopefully, for fighting against Shadow IT.

Want to learn more? Take a look at the “Low-Code vs. No-Code: What’s the Real Difference” article available at Outsystems.

Do you have experience with low-code or no-code platforms? Which ones do you prefer? What do you think about their influence on application development? Let us know in the comments!

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