No-code / Low-code: What is the Difference?

No-code / Low-code: What is the Difference?

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No-code development promises programming without typing a line of code thanks to graphical tools that erase the complexity of programming languages.

What is no-code?

The concept of no code refers to a software development method that hides the complexity of the application’s source code. No code development tools combine different techniques:

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  • Pre-packaged graphical templates and widgets to assemble user interfaces,
  • Drag and drop of application components to create the application’s synoptic, and to combine the different steps of the processes: conversion tunnel, order tracking…
  • Workflow automation to trigger actions based on events, such as the generation of alerts or countermeasures below a certain turnover or traffic threshold on a website.

Guided in his work by a 100% graphic development environment in the logic of WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get), the user will be able to perform tests and proceed to several integrations until the application works as desired. Presented differently, no code defines the ability to create software without having to fill in a single line of code.

What is the difference between No-code and Low-code?

Globally, the applications listed in this article are part of a logic that aims to be as code-free as possible. The concept of low-code (which literally means “little code”) consists in completing a no-code environment with the possibility to edit the application’s source code in parallel.

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In the end, the simpler the no-code development tools are to use, the more limited they are. On the other hand, the more complex and low-code oriented they are, the richer they are and the more they leave the door open to so-called specific developments, off the beaten track, even innovative, and requiring coding. Specific developments that will obviously involve the intervention of programmers. The main low-code development platforms include Appian, Mendix, Microsoft (with its Power Platform), OutSystems, Salesforce, and ServiceNow.

Why no-code?

No code has multiple advantages. First of all, it allows business teams to create their own applications without having to rely on developers. This practice is realistic for the simplest no-code projects, for example creating an online survey with Google Forms or automated processes with Zapier and IFTTT. Two tools that capitalize on an equivalent logic: triggering actions in response to events, for example generating an alert following a software or web content update.

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Targeting small businesses and freelancers, the no-code platforms Strikingly, Weebly and Wix allow the creation of websites. Even if they go as far as creating online stores, they are still limited to very standard features. For example, it is impossible with this type of tool to create complex conversion tunnels involving the integration of third-party software coupled with specific management rules.

How to do No-code?

No code development tools allow you to create applications without having to touch the underlying code. You don’t need to be a developer to use them. However, it will be necessary to have basic skills in navigation, ergonomics, and graphics.

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The advantage of no code? It gives business experts the possibility to automate routines, for example, to generate a response to a certain type of email or to integrate data from one software to another. It will also allow them to quickly create application mock-ups (or proofs of concept) in order to validate the development of a more substantial project that no code, due to its limitations, will not be able to address 100%. A project that will then involve the intervention of programmers.

Which no-code tools?

There are many no-code development tools. They can be classified into several categories:

  • No code forms: Google Forms, Microsoft Forms…
  • No code productivity management: ClickUp, Monday, Notion…No-code application development: Appy Pie, Builder.ai, ksaar, Quixy…
  • No code website development: Bubble, Sitalacarte (french), Strikingly, Webflow, Weebly, Wix…
  • No code database: Airtable, Smartsheet…
  • Workflow automation no code: IFTTT, Microsoft Flow, Zapier…
  • AI platform: Alteryx, C3.ai, Google Vertex, H2O.ai…

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What are the no-code open source tools?

Faced with proprietary and paying no-code platforms and software, there is a whole series of open-source no-code development tools that can be used for free. In the same way as proprietary offers, they allow you to create applications without having to put your hands in the source code of the software. The logic is equivalent.

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The no-code open source development solutions are based on graphical environments allowing to visually model the interfaces, and the navigation, integrate pre-configured functionalities and assemble the associated processes.

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What are the low code tools?

The low-code application platform (LCAP) market includes Mendix, Microsoft (with its Power Platform), OutSystems, Salesforce, and ServiceNow. These five technologies are among the leaders in Gartner’s latest magic quadrant in this field.

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Forrester also ranks Mendix, Microsoft, OutSystems, and Salesforce as leaders in the low-code development platform segment.

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