In response to code limitations, low-code/no-code trends emerged. Here’s how no-code succeeds where low-code falls short.Request a Demo
—Andee Burling, Software Engineer
Building applications in code is inherently limiting. For one, writing code by hand is a meticulous process that can’t keep up with the expectations of the modern connected enterprise. Two, any code you write instantly becomes a legacy time-bomb that will need to be addressed down the line as your technology evolves. And three, you are forced to compete with a small pool of experienced developers with the programming knowledge to build the functionality you need.
As the demand for custom software skyrocketed over the past several decades, it became abundantly clear that the natural productivity limits of code had been reached. In response, low-code/no-code trends emerged in the early 2000s and late 2010s respectively to accelerate custom development.
Some of you may have used a low-code platform and found that while it amplifies productivity in certain areas, it also brings some additional challenges (and maybe even falls short of promises), making some of you wary of the claims of a no-code app builder. These two technologies, however, are fundamentally different and shouldn’t be casually tossed into the same class. Read our Low-Code vs. No-Code guide for a more-pointed run down.
To assuage any fears and highlight the key differences between these technologies, here are four common pain points you may have encountered with low-code—and how a truly no-code platform mitigates (or even eliminates) them.
Low-code platforms require less coding than traditional applications, but coding knowledge is still needed. In fact, some low-code systems use their own proprietary languages, which your staff will have to learn.
While less code is better than a fully manual process, low-code doesn’t democratize development the way that no-code does. To build with a low-code platform, you’ll still have to hire people with extensive coding expertise, which continues to pose a problem as the IT skills shortage grows and languages shift, update, and ultimately become obsolete year after year.
No-code, on the other hand, entirely replaces code with configuration. To build with a no-code platform, users only need to learn how to visually configure logic and workflows. Business users without technical expertise are able to create complex applications and bring their ideas to life. By lowering the bar to complexity, organizations are able to expand their recruiting efforts without worrying about niche or expensive coding skills.
Building with low-code platforms isn’t so different from building a house with Lincoln Logs—the modular components you are building with can never change, which can be very limiting. You could, for example, try to build a whale, but in the end, it probably just wouldn’t look right.
And just like building with Lincoln Logs, building with chunks of scripted code provided by low-code is limiting. In low-code, you don’t have the ability to customize the components to fit your business needs, so you’ll have to customize your business to fit the components. If you ever need a component that the platform doesn’t offer, you don’t have the ability to add custom functionality to an existing component to get what you need—at least not without applying a hand-coded workaround. This, in addition to negating the point of low-code, can lead to blocky, choppy workflows that aren’t intuitive for users (not unlike trying to fit a square peg in a round hole).
No-code platforms use drag-and-drop self-validating components that are modular, but still flexible and customizable. The Unqork platform in particular has an expansive, ever-growing library of components that are sure to fit any use-case you can come up with—and you won’t have to force a component to do something it wasn’t designed to do. If you need a component that doesn’t yet exist in our library, the Unqork team can help build it and then show you how to best use this new functionality.
No application exists in a vacuum—any new app will become part of your larger stack, so you have to think about how it will work with your existing systems. Integration is arguably the biggest frustration developers face when working with low-code. No-code can handle integrations purely through configuration, but legacy systems or more-complex data transformations still require code.
The reliance on code makes it nearly impossible to seamlessly integrate existing legacy systems—and as you build further, you generate more code that will require continuous maintenance.
No-code eliminates this pain-point completely by enabling users to configure modern and legacy integrations sans scripting. Unqork lets you easily integrate with modern APIs, legacy systems, and everything in between. You can hook directly into any legacy file format, extract relevant data, and build data transformations with an intuitive visual interface.
Building with low-code is faster than traditional coding, but it’s not as fast as it could be. The applications you end up building with low-code are rarely optimized for efficiency. With low-code, code is inserted into the configuration before being interpreted and rendered by the browser. You’ll still have to go in and test the code you wrote, meaning you’ll inevitably spend a lot of time debugging errors that you didn’t catch—which is one of the primary reasons that hand-coded projects take longer than anticipated in the first place.
No-code is entirely visual, meaning it’s built for speed. In contrast to low-code, the entire application is configured visually before it’s interpreted and rendered by the browser. The changes you make in Unqork are immediately represented, meaning you can make any modifications in real-time and account for issues before you go all the way through the building process. Plus, no code and no syntax means fewer errors and less time fixing said errors. As a result, a multi-year project can be done in a matter of months.
Businesses shouldn’t let a poor experience with low-code turn them off from alternative methods to enterprise app development altogether. Low-code/no-code trends for the enterprise emerged because we needed a better way to build, and now no-code has surpassed its predecessor in usability, function, and speed.