Category: Blog, Business, Development

Low-Code vs. No-Code Development – Comparison for Business Owners

Low-code and no-code solutions simplify and accelerate app development. Discover their advantages and pitfalls to make an informed decision for your next project.

low-code vs no-code comparison

Imagine being asked to bake a cake from scratch without a recipe. You might end up with a mess rather than a masterpiece. But if you were given cake mix and all you had to do was add water, oil, and eggs, you’d be on your way to becoming a pastry chef.

Low-code and no-code platforms are the cake mix of the software development world. Instead of having to measure and mix each ingredient (and write each line of code) yourself, these platforms provide you with the pre-packaged essentials. You can assemble complex applications without knowing the intricacies of coding.

Understanding the difference between low-code and no-code is critical to choosing the right tool for your skill set – especially if you’re more comfortable following a baking recipe than writing a computer program.

What is low-code development?

Low-code is a bit like having a cheat code for app development. You still need to know a little bit about coding, but it’s nothing like the old-school, full-blown coding marathons. With low-code, you can play around with drag-and-drop features, APIs, handy templates, and simple tools that don’t require you to write lines upon lines of code. 

In other words – low-code tools give you pre-build features, which you need to adjust to your specific needs. Forget about building an app from scratch! 

It’s a huge step forward for organizations that want to deploy new applications or update existing ones super fast, without the heavy lifting traditionally associated with coding.

Low-code pros and cons

Pros of low-code developmentCons of low-code development
Faster development and deploymentLimited customization and flexibility
Simplifies the coding processDependency on the platform provider
Lower barrier to entryPotential performance issues
Facilitates collaborationLess control over security and compliance
Cost-effective for rapid prototypingScaling challenges as complexity grows

Examples of low-code platforms

  • Mendix: Highly regarded for its comprehensive environment that supports complex, scalable enterprise application development and fosters collaboration across large teams.
Mendix low-code platform example
  • OutSystems: Recognized for its rapid enterprise application development capabilities that balance speed with advanced functionality for mobile and web platforms.
  • Microsoft PowerApps: A key player due to its integration within the Microsoft ecosystem, enabling users to build custom business applications with minimal coding effort.
  • Zoho Creator: Notable for its ability to automate business workflows and manage data, making it a powerful tool for developing custom applications that streamline operations.
  • FlutterFlow: Known for its no-code platform that speeds up app development across iOS, Android, and web. Founded by ex-Google engineers, it simplifies app creation and regularly updates with new features to enhance usability.
FlutterFlow low-code platform example
low-code platforms examples

Looking for more examples? Check out our low-code guide for a snapshot of leading platforms. Categorized by their primary use in enterprise software development, business process automation, and rapid prototyping for MVPs.

Top companies using low-code app development

Many leading companies are using low-code platforms to develop applications, streamline operations, or launch successful products. While details of specific tools and processes are often private, these examples illustrate widespread industry adoption:

  • Shell uses low-code platforms to develop and deploy applications across multiple departments, improving operational efficiency and employee engagement.
  • Schneider Electric used low-code solutions to streamline its processes and improve customer service, creating applications that support its global operations.
  • Mercedes-Benz used a low-code platform to simplify its complex logistics operations, improving manufacturing processes and supply chain efficiency.
  • ADP, a leading provider of human resource management software and services, has used low-code platforms to innovate and rapidly develop applications that enhance its service offerings.
  • Transavia Airlines has used low-code platforms to develop several applications to improve customer service and operational efficiency.
Top companies using low-code app development

What is no-code development?

No-code platforms are a game-changer for those of us without a coding background. Imagine building an app without writing a single line of code! Platforms look like sandboxes in which you pick the right elements and stack blocks into your app.

A specific no-code tool is often designed for a certain use case, such as landing pages, e-commerce shops, or workflow automation. Keep an eye out for this when you consider picking the right tool – a bad match could make you beyond frustrated!

These platforms are becoming increasingly popular with businesses for their simplicity and inclusiveness, enabling anyone to contribute to digital projects. So even if you’re not a tech guru, no-code platforms are ready to help you bring your innovative ideas to life.

No-code pros and cons

Pros of no-code developmentCons of no-code development
Anyone can build applications, no coding requiredChoices may be limited to what the platform offers
Rapid development and deployment of applicationsApplications may not be as optimized as custom-coded applications
Reduces the need for expensive development resourcesHeavy reliance on the platform vendor for updates, security, and uptime
Easy to update and modify applications as needs changeMay not be suitable for very large or complex projects
Enables more people to bring ideas to life, fostering innovationPotential concerns about data control and security policies

 Examples of no-code platforms

  • Bubble: Enables users to design, develop, and deploy powerful web applications without coding through a visual programming interface.
Bubble no-code platform example
  • Webflow: Helps designers to visually build professional, responsive websites without writing code, bridging the gap between design and development.
  • Wix: Provides an easy-to-use platform for creating beautiful websites through a drag-and-drop interface without the need to code.
  • Adalo: Provides tools for building mobile and web apps alike, enabling users to bring app ideas to life with drag-and-drop components.
  • Zapier: Automates workflows between applications and services without coding, connecting over 2,000 web services for seamless automation.
Zapier no-code platform example
no-code platforms examples

Top companies using no-code app development

As for large enterprises using no-code development, here are a few examples:

  • Netflix uses no-code platforms for certain internal tool development to streamline workflows and operations.
  • Amazon uses no-code/low-code solutions to streamline its large and complex operational processes.
  • Unilever uses no-code platforms for marketing campaigns and to automate certain business processes, increasing efficiency and agility.
  • GE (General Electric) uses no-code solutions to accelerate application development across multiple departments, improving productivity and operational efficiency.
Top companies using no-code app development

These companies demonstrate that no-code development isn’t just for startups or small projects; it’s a powerful tool that can support the innovation and operational efficiency of some of the world’s largest organizations.

How do low-code and no-code tools work?

Low-code and no-code tools streamline app development by providing intuitive, visual development environments where you can build applications using drag-and-drop interfaces and pre-built components. These platforms eliminate the need for extensive coding skills, so you can quickly design, build and deploy applications. They work by abstracting complex code into easy-to-use elements that enable rapid development, customization, and integration with other systems, making app creation accessible to both technical and non-technical users. This approach significantly reduces development time and costs, facilitating innovation and efficiency in building digital solutions.

Low-code and no-code: Similarities

Low-code and no-code platforms share a common mission: to simplify the application development process, making it faster, more accessible, and less dependent on deep coding skills. Here are their key similarities:

  • Both low-code and no-code platforms simplify the application development process.
  • They enable rapid development with less reliance on deep coding skills.
  • They leverage a visual, drag-and-drop development environment.
  • Both democratize application development, making it accessible to a broader audience beyond professional developers.
  • They aim to reduce the time from concept to launch, enabling faster deployment of software solutions.
  • They support rapid iteration, enabling rapid updates and enhancements to applications.
  • They provide integration options and pre-built templates that focus on efficiently solving business challenges.
  • Both transform the software development landscape by making it more inclusive and streamlined.

Low-code and no-code: Differences

The main difference between the two lies in the level of coding expertise needed to utilize them effectively.

Low-code platforms might require some familiarity with a programming language that they use, along with some basic development concepts. It gives more freedom, but entails a greater risk of bugs when lacking proper experience. Even with some coding background, users might find themselves needing additional help to navigate and troubleshoot in these environments. In contrast, no-code platforms eliminate the need for any coding knowledge. Users can simply choose and customize pre-built components within a visual interface, making app development accessible to anyone.

The decision to use low-code or no-code depends on several factors, including:

  • The goals of the software,
  • The programming expertise of the users,
  • The scope and complexity of the project,
  • Integration requirements,
  • Turnaround time,
  • Desired control over the code,
  • Security considerations.

In general, if the project is complex, requires custom integrations, or is critical to business operations, low-code platforms are a better choice. This approach may require collaboration with IT teams or additional training, but it offers greater flexibility and potential for customization.

No-code platforms excel at simplicity, making them perfect for quick solutions to simple and well-defined problems. They are aimed at business users who value ease of use. Often, they address specific niches and give you ready digital solutions without the need for coding. Dedicated websites, landing pages, and simple web and mobile apps are all within your reach. No-code platforms also help non-tech business owners with business automation by providing simple interfaces for integrating various processes.

However, in complex cases, completely replacing coding work may not be feasible. Low-code solutions, which offer a middle ground, provide greater customization and the ability for more complex development. These tools are primarily aimed at developers who want to speed up development by automatizing many tasks, offering AI support, and providing adjustable pre-built components.

In summary, low-code platforms are for IT professionals and developers who want to create complex, custom applications that offer a blend of speed and flexibility. No-code platforms empower business users to address their needs directly with straightforward app-building tools. The choice between low-code and no-code depends on the specific needs, skills, and goals of the users and projects at hand.

Benefits of using low-code and no-code platforms

  • Less money, less time

Yes, it’s possible to go from idea to launch in just 30 minutes with no-code tools for beginners! For instance, a small business owner with little coding experience can easily create a customized landing page to attract clients. These platforms keep your wallet happy by vastly cutting development costs. You’ll often find there’s no need to break the bank with a team of developers – one skilled programmer with these tools can do wonders.

  • Accessibility game-changer

Now anyone can be a tech maestro. If you can drag and drop, you can build an app. That opens doors for all kinds of creative minds and makes tech innovation everyone’s game. Imagine a marketing team using a no-code platform to design a customer feedback form on their own, without any help from IT.

  • Fast feedback, lower risk

Low-code/no-code platforms enable developers to rapidly gather customer insights by supporting the quick sharing and iterating of products. This facilitates agile and data-driven decisions based on real feature usage from the start. Early feedback is key for reducing product risks and should be taken into consideration during making critical decisions.

  • Flexibility and customization

Low-code platforms offer a range of customizable capabilities, from designing user interfaces to integrating with APIs, creating data models, and setting up workflows. For example, an eCommerce company could use a low-code solution to customize an inventory management system that fits seamlessly into its specific operations.

  • Bridging business and IT

Traditionally, business and development teams have operated in a tug-of-war dynamic. However, low-code/no-code platforms have changed this by fostering collaboration and mutual understanding. Business users can now participate directly in development, breaking down data silos. With these tools, they can easily build applications to collect, share, and manage data to make informed decisions.

  • Locking down security

This low-code or no-code development helps keep sensitive projects in-house, minimizing risk and securing your digital fortress against cyber threats. This approach also reduces reliance on external developers, enabling faster iterations and better alignment with business needs.

In short, low-code and no-code platforms don’t just simplify app development – they make it faster, smarter, and more accessible to a broader audience.

Key low-code/no-code challenges

  • Limited customization and flexibility

These platforms may not provide the granular control needed for highly customized or complex applications.

  • Performance issues

Applications built on these platforms may suffer from inefficiencies or slower performance compared to custom-coded solutions.

  • Vendor dependency

Organizations may become overly dependent on the platform vendor for updates, security, and functionality, risking disruption if the vendor changes terms or discontinues service.

  • Data security concerns

Ensuring data security and regulatory compliance can be challenging, as control over the hosting environment is often limited.

  • Scalability limitations

As businesses grow, applications may not scale as needed without significant rework or migration to a custom solution.

  • Skill and knowledge gap

Over-reliance on these platforms can lead to a knowledge gap in traditional coding skills within the team, potentially hindering more complex development in the future.

Low-code and no-code solutions: Use cases

Low-code use cases:

  • Business software development: Low-code app platforms drive business operations and digitization efforts, enabling rapid, cost-effective experimentation with new methodologies.
  • Business process automation: You can automate the business process by clicking, without hiring the entire software team. You can build a workflow between the different tools you use daily in one place. Then, you can optimize the company’s lead generation communication flow and more. 
  • Data integrity: Often, businesses collect data from various sources. Then, different branches could use different data to make decisions, leading to inefficiencies. Low-code tools can optimize data workflow by connecting multiple tools in one complex system, ensuring all branches have access to the same data, thereby improving decision-making processes. 
  • Rapid prototyping: Low-code reduces prototyping costs with drag-and-drop capabilities, enabling rapid user feedback and data-driven decisions critical to startup success.
  • Customer engagement apps: Create interactive apps to improve customer service and engagement, potentially opening up new sales or marketing opportunities.
  • Internal tool development: Develop custom tools to meet team needs and increase productivity.
  • Low-code MVP development: With an eye toward cost optimization, low-code tools enable organizations to quickly test new ideas and find their product-market fit, preventing financial burnout through rapid creation, testing, and integration capabilities.

No-code use cases:

  • Streamline business workflows: No-code platforms enable users to automate and streamline business processes, reducing manual effort and increasing efficiency with easy-to-use tools.
  • Build websites and e-commerce platforms: Individuals and businesses can effortlessly design, launch, and manage websites or e-commerce sites, including payment systems and customer databases, without coding skills.
  • App creation for non-techies: No-code tools enable entrepreneurs and professionals across industries to create functional apps for customer engagement, operational tools, or internal use, bridging the gap between ideas and implementation.
  • Data collection and analysis: No-code platforms make it easy to set up forms, surveys, and databases for efficient data collection and management, enabling better decisions and insights without technical barriers.
  • Rapid prototyping and MVP launches: Startups and innovators can use no-code to quickly prototype products and test MVPs with real users, significantly reducing development time and costs while iterating based on feedback.
  • Develop custom CRM and project management solutions: Organizations can tailor CRM systems or project management applications to their unique workflows and requirements, improving team collaboration and customer relationships without the complexity of traditional software development.
  • Create education and training tools: Educators and trainers can use no-code platforms to create interactive and engaging learning materials and activities, making education more dynamic and accessible.

When to choose low-code/no-code vs. full-code

Let’s break down when you should consider low-code or no-code solutions, and when your way is definitely the good old full-code way.

CostMore affordable; often one tool can serve multiple purposes, enhancing ROI.Typically more expensive; requires a team of developers for building, updating, and maintaining.
Time to MarketRapid; can be implemented in hours or minutes.Longer development cycles without pre-written components.
SecurityInherits security protocols from the platform (e.g., Zapier’s security standards).Customizable to specific requirements, but establishing robust security measures is complex.
MaintenanceUpdates and scaling are easier to manage.Requires ongoing developer input for updates; complexity depends on initial code structure.
CustomizationOffers significant customization within the platform’s limits.Allows for complete customization, offering flexibility to meet exact requirements.
ControlDependence on the platform for features, limitations, and data hosting.Full control over the development process, hosting, and data management.
Skill RequirementMinimal technical skill required, accessible to a broader audience.Requires skilled developers with knowledge of programming languages and development frameworks.
IntegrationMight be limited by the platform’s existing integrations and APIs.Can integrate with virtually any system or API, assuming the necessary development work is undertaken.
ScalabilitySufficient for many applications, but may encounter limitations for complex projects.Highly scalable, subject to good architecture and coding practices.

Having trouble making a choice? Imagine you’re choosing between a fast, easy-to-use scooter (low-code/no-code) and a customizable, powerful motorcycle (full-code) for your city commute.

The scooter gets you where you need to go with minimal hassle and cost, so it’s perfect for quick trips and those less familiar with mechanics. The motorcycle, on the other hand, offers the thrill of full customization and control, ideal for those who crave a customized ride and don’t mind the extra maintenance.

It’s the same with app development. Low-code/no-code zips you through projects with ease and efficiency, so it’s great for simple tasks or if you’re not a coding expert. Full-code gives you the freedom to explore all possibilities, which requires more time and skill, but offers limitless customization. Your choice depends on where you want to go and the tools you’re comfortable with.

Low-code and no-code with Droids On Roids

At Droids On Roids, we’re diving into how low-code and no-code tools can streamline the creation of MVPs. The benefits? Faster time to market and lower development costs. These tools increase our agility and adaptability, which are critical to the early successes of startups. They’re also a big part of how we validate and discover new products. Wearing our developer hats, we’ve got the know-how to blend low-code tools with traditional development methods, broadening their application and maximizing their benefits. We’re also discovering low-code tools to boost and enhance traditional development processes in complex apps.

Low-code vs. no-code: The final comparison

Target UsersDevelopers and IT professionalsBusiness users and non-technical individuals
Coding Experience NeededSome knowledge required for use and customizationNone required; designed for simplicity
Customization and ComplexityHigher customization; supports more complex applicationsLimited customization; best for simpler applications
Integration CapabilitiesStrong; often includes advanced options for external and internal integrationsBasic; mainly supports popular services and platforms with limited integration
Development SpeedFast, but might require some coding, slowing down non-expertsVery fast, with drag-and-drop simplicity enabling quick deployment
Use CasesSuited for complex, business-critical applications requiring custom solutionsIdeal for straightforward problems or internal tools with well-defined requirements
FlexibilityOffers a balance between speed and the ability to customize and integrateFocused on ease of use and accessibility, with less emphasis on flexibility
Training RequirementMay need training for non-developers to fully utilizeAccessible to anyone without the need for specialized training
App ComplexityCan handle complex app development with more demanding business operationsSuited for less complex, often internal, applications
Platform Lock-inSome flexibility in moving between platforms or extending capabilitiesPotential for greater lock-in due to platform-specific capabilities
PurposeRapid Application Development with a focus on developer efficiency and application complexitySimplifying app creation for business users with no coding skills

About the authors

Aleksander Beck

Aleksander Beck

Product Manager & Scrum Master

Generalist Product Manager and Scrum Master with 5+ years of experience working with startups and scaleups. He helps build services and digital products from initial ideas to launch.

Inez Bartosińska

Inez Bartosińska

Content Marketing Specialist

A Content Marketing Specialist with a rich background of over four years in IT and tech-related topics. She has a knack for turning complex industry jargon into relatable stories. Collaborating with our team of developers, business analysts, scrum masters, and designers, she ensures our technical insights are understandable for everyone. Outside of the office, she's a globetrotter with a passion for discovering new cultures and experiences.