The increased demand for automation and the need for faster application development has been met with a limited supply of skilled developers. And between 2022 and 2030, we can expect another 22% rise in the demand for software developers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Since businesses struggle to align with these trends, many IT projects are behind schedule, over budget, or completely fail.

The end result for organizations across the globe is continued operational inefficiencies and a longer time-to-market for products and services.

So how can businesses address this skills gap and still achieve their development goals?

The answer is simple: low-code and no-code application development platforms.

What Is Low-Code?

In the most general sense, low-code is a platform for creating software applications with less code than in traditional development environments.

Rather than writing thousands of lines of code by hand, low-code platforms provide drag-and-drop interfaces and other tools that make it possible to build applications without traditional coding.

Low-code platforms are often used for rapid application development (RAD), as they can significantly reduce the time and effort required to create working prototypes and MVPs.

In addition, low-code platforms can be used to develop production-ready applications with minimal development resources quickly.

Examples of low-code applications include custom workflow applications, simple CRUD (create, read, update, delete) applications, and basic web or mobile apps.

While low-code platforms vary wildly in terms of features and functionality, they all share the goal of making it possible to build software applications with less code.

What Is No-Code?

No-code is another RAD approach, and it's sometimes thought of as a subset of low-code. While in low-code, developers still write some scripting and manual code involved, no-code platforms provide a visual interface that allows users to create applications without any coding whatsoever.

In theory, this means that business users with no coding experience can build and deploy working applications without the help of professional developers.

In practice, however, most no-code platforms require at least some basic understanding of how software works and how to put together different modules to achieve a specific goal.

Some applications that work well with no-code development are self-service apps for employees, marketing landing pages, and simple workflows. You could also use no-code to quickly prototype an application before handing it off to a development team for further refinement.

No-code platforms are often compared to lego blocks—individual pieces that can be snapped together without any real programming required.

The benefit of using a no-code platform is that anyone can build an application–regardless of their coding experience.

Like low-code, no-code platforms also offer a faster development time than traditional coding environments.

Low-Code Automation

A low-code application platform (LCAP) provides teams with an integrated development environment (IDE) such as Visual Studio that includes a library of prepackaged software components. These components include APIs, databases, user interface (UI) controls, and business logic that can be dragged and dropped into place.

In addition to the visual interface, most LCAPs also include scripting or programming language so developers can write code when necessary. This code is typically used to extend the functionality of an application or to connect different software components.

Low-code application platforms are generally available as Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). This means that the platform provider manages the infrastructure and hosting of the applications.

No-Code Automation

Sometimes called citizen development platforms, no-code application platforms (NCAPs) provide a visual interface for building software applications without any coding.

Unlike LCAPs, NCAPs are controlled completely through their drag-and-drop interfaces. This means that there is no need for coding or scripting, making it possible for anyone to build an application–regardless of their technical skills.

NCAPs are also generally available as Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS).

Even though they don't require coding skills, NCAPs are still used by experienced developers as a way to quickly prototype an application before writing code or to automate mundane tasks such as data entry.

Low-Code vs. No-Code: Similarities

There are lots of similarities and benefits that low-code and no-code platforms share:

1. Build advanced business apps with ease.

Low-code and no-code platforms make it possible to build complex business applications without much coding. With these kinds of platforms, businesses can create the applications they need without having to deploy their expensive development resources or learn to code themselves.

What this means for developers is that they can focus their time and energy on more important tasks, such as adding new features, fixing bugs, and improving user experience.

2. Deploy applications without infrastructure headaches.

Another similarity between low-code and no-code platforms is that they are both available as Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). This means that businesses can deploy their applications without having to worry about managing the underlying infrastructure.

The platform provider takes care of things like hosting, scalability, security, and maintenance. This frees up businesses to focus on their core competencies–not IT.

PaaS also makes it easy to deploy applications in the cloud, which can further reduce costs and increase flexibility.

3. Reduce time to market.

Because of their ease of use and short learning curves, low-code and no-code platforms can help businesses reduce the time it takes to get their applications to market.

With these kinds of platforms, businesses can quickly create prototypes or even launch minimum viable products (MVPs) in a matter of weeks–not months or years.

This is a huge benefit for businesses that need to be agile and responsive to market changes.

By shortening the product life cycle, businesses can get their applications to market faster and start seeing a return on their investment sooner.

4. Consistency in software architecture.

A lack of consistency in your tech stack is one of the main reasons why digital transformation fails. A centralized low-code or no-code platform helps businesses manage and maintain their applications over time by providing a consistent software architecture for all applications.

By sharing a common software architecture, businesses can more easily keep track of changes made to their applications and ensure that those changes are compatible with other applications in the system. This also makes it easier to add new features and functionality to existing applications, as well as to create new applications from scratch.

In addition, a centralized platform makes it easier to train new staff on how to use the applications and provide support for existing users.

5. Cross-functional collaboration.

Business and IT are no longer siloed–with low-code and no-code platforms, they can work together from start to finish.

Because these platforms are designed to be used by both business and IT users, they facilitate collaboration between the two different groups throughout the application development process.

This kind of collaboration is essential for building successful applications that meet the needs of both business and IT.

What Are the Differences Between Low Code and No Code?

Low-code and no-code share a lot of the same benefits, but there are also some important differences between the two.

No-code platforms are designed for business users who want to create applications without any coding, while low-code platforms are designed for developers who want to be able to prototype applications quickly or automate tasks.

And while they get lots of the same jobs done, how they reach the finish line can be quite different.

  • Target Users: No-code platforms are designed for business users (e.g. HR, finance, and other non-IT functions) who want to create applications without any coding, while low-code platforms are designed for developers who want to be able to prototype applications quickly or automate tasks.
  • Use Cases: Some common use cases for no-code platforms include creating simple workflows, CRM applications, and data visualizations. They can also replace monotonous tasks like Excel spreadsheet reporting. Low-code platforms, on the other hand, use component libraries for complex tasks such as building mobile apps, integrating with legacy systems, or developing custom reports.
  • Onboarding Time: No-code platforms are usually very easy to use and have short learning curves, while low-code platforms require some coding knowledge and may have steeper learning curves.
  • Customizability and Flexibility: Low-code systems are open and flexible, allowing for customizations and a high degree of control. No-code platforms are usually closed systems that rely on templated solutions, making them inflexible and difficult to customize.
  • Compatibility With Business Apps: Since developers can build just about anything on a low-code platform, there’s no limit to its compatibility with business applications. No-code platforms may be limited in their ability to integrate with other business applications or systems.

Are Low-Code and No-Code Applications the Future?

The short answer is: yes!

As the world becomes increasingly digitized, the demand for custom applications will only continue to grow. And as businesses strive to keep up with this demand, they’ll need platforms that allow them to build applications quickly and efficiently–without sacrificing quality or functionality.

That’s where low-code and no-code platforms come in. These platforms make it possible for businesses of all sizes to create the custom applications they need–without the need for expensive, time-consuming development cycles.

So if you’re looking to get ahead of the curve, low-code and no-code are the way to go