Low Code vs No Code vs Visual Development, What’s the Difference?

There is a lot of grey area when you are trying to figure out the difference between Low Code vs No Code. It’s partly a fault of marketers and journalists who use “No Code”, “Low Code” and “Visual Development” interchangeably. For example, Zoho and Appian call themselves Low Code platforms but you don’t have to write a single line of code to use the basic functionalities of these platforms effectively.

Another reason for this confusion can be that Low Code and No Code both work for the same end result. Don’t worry if you are confused and can’t decide on what platform to use for your next project, let us make things simple for you.

What is No Code?

No Code platforms provide you with tools and features to develop web apps, websites, and software without being an expert at any programming language. They do so through Visual Development, a methodology that enables app building by dragging and dropping pre-made visual elements that are connected with easy-to-configure, pre-coded workflows.

It is a discipline built to serve non-tech people who have the vision to solve a problem through technology[1]. Since the platforms are inbuilt with various simple-to-use and relatively powerful functionalities, there is no need to get the IT department involved in the development. This reduces your burden of maintaining the system and other overheads.

For example, Bob is a smart business management student working part-time as an Uber Eats driver to pay his tuition fees. He comes up with an app/software idea that would make deliveries faster and cost less money.

He has no idea how coding works and how to develop an app. With No Code platforms, on the other hand, he has an opportunity to execute his idea without spending piles of cash or months of learning to code.

A visualisation of two people building software with No Code

What is Low Code?

As the name suggests, Low Code platforms are the initiators of a movement that made software development accessible to the masses.

Low Code platforms allow developers to build software using the Visual Integrated Development Environment (using a drag-and-drop interface) with minimal coding[2].

For example, Matt is a web developer who is developing a new feature for his MicroSaaS idea. He can use Low Code platforms to integrate this new feature. This would save his time and boost his productivity. He uses a Low Code platform because he knows his way around coding and can easily figure it out.

What is Visual Development?

It is an approach to program development that allows you to develop a program with graphical and visual cues. The drag and drop functionalities, graphics, and icons will work as input, processes, connections, and output for your software. It is a methodology that both No Code and Low Code tools use.

What is the difference between Low Code vs No Code?

To put it simply, Low Code was the beginning of a movement that made secure web development accessible to the masses. Let’s understand the exact difference between Low Code vs No Code with this table:

 Low CodeNo Code
Pre-requirement Technical background or understanding of at least one programming language to fully utilize the tool. Visual Development functionalities make it easy for anyone who wants to use No Code.
Speed It takes relatively more time to develop a website, web-app or software with Low Code No Code allows users to develop swiftly without any hassle.
ErrorsSince some form of coding is involved, you might have to stay aware of the errors and bugs in the code. No worrying about making mistakes in your syntax.
EaseIt is a little difficult to understand the functionalities of Low Code. It is easy to use since it caters to a bigger audience.

Which one is suitable for you?

Now that we are clear about the differences between Low Code and No Code, let’s figure out what is apt for you.

No Code can eat Low Code for breakfast

Shawn Wang, Former Senior Developer Advocate at AWS [3]

Since both platforms help you achieve a similar goal, strategic decisions on choosing a platform can seem like a daunting task. We'll make it simple for you.

Choose No Code if...

You've just discovered these tools. We would suggest you to go with the No Code approach to get your bearings, especially if you have a non-IT background and are planning to develop your project with limited IT resources.

These tools are efficient, easy and fast. This is 2021 - we need to bust the myth that software development is expensive and limited to technically-savvy individuals.

Choose Low Code if...

You have some software development skills and are proficient in at least one programming language, as the only point of choosing Low Code over No Code is the ability to add your own code.

If you ever think that No Code is not flexible enough and feel like writing your own code to spice up your applications, it will be time to make the move to Low Code.

Conclusion

Before deciding on what approach to use, ask yourself the following crucial questions:

What is the amount of customization that you require?

Little customisation - No Code, much wider customisation - Low Code.

How much technical proficiency does your team have?

Little proficiency - No Code, at least some proficiency - Low Code.

How many integrations do you want to add?

A few - No Code, as many as you want - Low Code.

The answers to these questions will help you figure out whether to go for a Low Code or No Code platform for your digital project. I hope we were able to help!