5 min read

Overview of the Low-Code and No-Code space

Published on
November 7, 2022

In the tech world, we are seeing a massive shift towards platforms and services that enable anyone to build software and take on application development projects without needing to learn how to code. This movement has been christened "no-code" and "low-code", and it is completely changing the way businesses operate and how people build custom software solutions. In this article, we will explore what no-code / low-code means, why it’s growing in popularity, and what you can do with it.

What is no-code and low-code (LCNC)?

Low-code and no-code tools refer to a class of software applications that enable people to build common or complex software applications, websites, internal tools, automations, and more, with minimal or sometimes no coding skills required by the end user. In the no-code and low-code space, these non-technical users who create application and software programs outside of engineering or IT departments are often referred to as "Citizen Developers".

The term "low-code" is typically used to describe platforms that require some coding skills, whereas "no-code" refers to those that don't require any coding whatsoever. In reality, there is a lot of overlap between the two terms, and many platforms can be classified as both low-code and no-code.

Why is no-code and low-code growing in popularity?

While the concept of building software without needing to know how to code has been around for many years (Visual Programming, for example), it's only in the last few years with the rise of companies like Webflow, Bubble, Retool, Airtable, Appian, and Quickbase, that the LCNC space has gone mainstream only in the last few years with the rise of companies like Webflow, Bubble, Retool, Airtable, Appian, and Quickbase. that really started to hit the mainstream.

There are a few reasons for this growth in the low-code and no-code space:

  • The cost of building software has come down dramatically. In the past, you needed to hire expensive developers and designers to create anything beyond a basic website or app. With LCNC platforms, you can build sophisticated internal and external applications for a fraction of the cost by using off-the-shelf tools and database or API connections.
  • The barriers to entry are much lower. Previously, if you wanted to build a website or an app, you needed to learn how to code or hire someone who could code. With LCNC platforms, you can build sophisticated applications with no coding skills whatsoever.
  • The ease of use has increased dramatically. Building software used to be a complex and tedious process. With LCNC platforms, you can build sophisticated applications with drag-and-drop simplicity. It's now possible to rapidly build and test MVP (Minimum Viable Product)  level software to validate ideas before investing in more complex efforts.

What does low-code mean?

Low-code as a category essentially means that the person building the application will likely need to have some minimal knowledge of coding and development principles in order to get the most from the platform. This is in contrast to "no-code" platforms, which focus more on providing a code-free experience for the end user.

At its core, low-code means that the platform allows you to quickly build applications without needing to write or manage a lot of code. This can be done through visual programming, where you drag and drop pre-built components to create an application, or through a more traditional coding interface that leverages collections of shared structures and components to reduce the time and effort required to get an application to a production-ready state.

Low-code platforms typically offer a wide range of features and capabilities, including:

  • User interface builder: A visual editor for creating the front-end user interface of your application.
  • Data modeling: A way to define the data structures and relationships of your application.
  • Business logic: A way to define the rules and logic of your application.
  • Integrations: A way to connect your application to third-party services and data sources.
  • Deployment: A way to deploy and host your application.

In today's market, a low-code platform like Quickbase, Appian, Mendix, or Outsystems are typically positioned for the needs of an enterprise customer at a medium or large organization. Think use cases like internal applications, workflow automation, modernization of legacy systems, and other business critical applications, including those that might be customer-facing.

What does no-code mean?

No-code is an evolution of low-code where the emphasis is on providing the end user with an experience that requires as little coding and development knowledge as possible. Most no-code tools are built around visual drag and drop interfaces that tend to resemble other platforms that non-technical audiences may be more familiar with - like a document editor, spreadsheet, website builder, or graphics editing program.

With no-code tools, most of the knowledge of core development principles required in code-first or low-code projects is abstracted and happens in the background of the project instead of being front and center. The goal is to provide users with an experience that is as close to a WYSIWYG editor (what you see is what you get) as possible.

Generally speaking, most no-code platforms allow users to build websites, applications and automation with pre-built components or templates, which can then be customized depending on the requirements of the project. Many of the same features and capabilities found in low-code platforms are also present in no-code tools, but with a focus on making them accessible to a wider range of non-technical users.

Because of this, you'll frequently see no-code platforms positioned for small businesses, entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, hobbyists, startups, or for specific teams at small to medium sized businesses that need to build software but who may not have dedicated programming or development resources at their disposal.

Some well-known no-code platforms include: Webflow, Bubble, Carrd, Adalo, and Glide.

Is no-code or low-code better than code?

This is a difficult question to answer because it depends on a number of factors, including:

  • The type of project you're trying to build
  • Your development team's skillset and experience
  • The resources you have available
  • The timeline for your project
  • Your budget

That said, there are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches that are worth considering.

Advantages of no-code or low-code:

  • No-code platforms tend to be more user friendly and easier to learn than their code-first counterparts. This means that you can get started building your project faster, with less training required for you or your team.
  • No-code platforms often have shorter development cycles, which can save you time and money.
  • Because no-code platforms don't require as much (sometimes none at all) coding, they tend to be more accessible to a wider range of users. This means that more people on your team can contribute to the project —- not just developers. It can be easier and faster to integrate other third party systems, workflows, or business logic thanks to platforms like Make, Zapier, and others.

Disadvantages of no-code and low-code:

  • In some cases, you may be limited in the types of projects you can build with a no-code or low-code platform. More complex applications may require a code- first approach.
  • Most no-code platforms and tools are cloud software purchased in a subscription model. Because of this, your organization needs to be comfortable working with cloud software instead of the on-premise installations that are sometimes more common at the enterprise level.
  • Although this has gotten better in recent years, Ssome no-code tools are thought to have problems with scaling to large groups of end users, or for heavy-use applications (though this has improved in recent years,).
  • Vendor lock-in - Iif you one day decide to move your application to a new platform one day, it may be difficult to do so due to “vendor lock-in.”.

Is low-code and no-code the future of development?

There's no doubt that no-code and low-code has been gaining in popularity in recent years - but it's tough to say if it will completely replace code first development. or not.

For now, the best approach may be to think about how you can use both approaches to get the most out of your project. Code when you need the flexibility and power that only code can give you, but don't be afraid to try a no-code or low-code platform for tasks that are well suited to those tools.

Low-code vs no-code, what's the difference?

When evaluating low-code vs no-code tools, you should know that Low-code and no-code they are largely similar in that they both enable rapid development of software and complex applications by both technical and non-technical users. Llow-code tools typically require some knowledge of coding and development best practices, while no-code platforms are focused on providing a code-free experience.

Both can be good options to build your project but there's a lot of nuance in that decision which factors into your project requirements, which is one of the many areas where the team at Nymbl can help.

Benefits of low-code and no-code Tools

What are some important benefits of low-code and no-code development?

There are a ton of benefits that teams can realize when deciding to move forward with application or software development with a no-code or low-code development platform. At Nymbl, we focus on the following key benefits of low-code and no-code tools:

  • Faster delivery of applications and systems
  • Movinges the business stakeholders closer to technical execution
  • Enablinges non-technical users to build business critical solutions
  • Allowings for rapid development and idea validation
  • Reducinges rate of technical debt accumulation
  • Making it eEasier to iterate and refine

Low-Code and No-Code Use Cases and Examples

What can low-code and no-code development platforms be used for?

The great thing about today's no-code and low-code tools is that they can be used for just about anything you can think of. That's why at Nymbl, we focus first on understanding the business requirements and the problem to be solved at a very detailed level. We then use that knowledge to create a comprehensive strategic plan and development scope that provides a detailed roadmap for the specific tools you should use to solve for a given for whatever your business problem is.

At a high level, no-code and low-code tools are great for: some of the following use cases:

  • Internal applications
  • External applications
  • Marketing websites
  • Enterprise websites
  • Workflow automation
  • Mobile app development
  • Data storage and access

Low-code and no-code example projects

Here are some of our favorite no-code and low-code example projects, collected from some of our favorite platforms.

There are tons of other examples out there (published and not) of companies of all sizes using no-code and low-code tools to build custom, high impact solutions to complex business problems.

These days, if you can dream it, no-code and low-code (plus the team at Nymbl!) can help you build it.

Where to find more information on low-code / no-code tools

There are a ton of places you can turn to online for information on no-code and low-code tools. The best course of action of course is to shoot our team a note. We can answer your questions about no-code and low-code, and point you in the right direction for your project needs.

Alternatively, check out the great resources at:

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