Low-Code vs. No-Code: What’s the Difference?

Jan 19, 2024

Low-code and no-code are software development approaches designed to accelerate the software development process by removing the complexity associated with traditional development. Both approaches use visual programming and automation to create software solutions rather than manual hand coding.

But low-code and no-code are not the same thing.

1. What is low-code/no-code?

Both low-code and no-code platforms provide a visual IDE, pre-built components, templates, and out-of-the-box integration capabilities to accelerate app development. But that’s how far the similarities go.

Essentially, five characteristics differentiate low-code and no-code solutions:

  • – Technical expertise and target persona
  • – Customization and flexibility
  • – Development speed
  • – Scalability
  • – Use cases covered.

1.1. Low-code app development

Although low-code development platforms remove part of the development complexity by allowing users to build applications using drag-and-drop functionality, some coding knowledge is highly recommended.

Some low-code vendors may target business users (or citizen developers). Still, it is advisable under IT governance to avoid security and compliance risks and integration problems and ensure the apps follow the essential development best practices.

The more advanced low-code platforms target professional developers and are focused on maximizing developer productivity rather than replacing developers.

In addition, low-code typically offers more flexibility and customization options than no-code, and the more advanced ones can even allow developers to extend the capabilities provided by the platform with traditional code.

Low-code platforms are also more scalable and address more complex, enterprise-grade use cases, as they can accommodate more complex application requirements and handle larger volumes of data.

1.2. No-code development

No-code platforms, on the other hand, provide an even more simplified interface and are designed to be accessible to users with no technical background. This way, business users can create solutions without the supervision of IT.

No-code development platforms, like low-code, provide drag-and-drop interfaces and pre-built components that users can combine to create simple software applications even more quickly and easily than with low-code.

But unlike low-code, no-code is less flexible and has limited customization capabilities. No-code apps are also less scalable, making them more suitable for simple, departmental-level needs.

2. Low-code vs. no-code: zooming in on the main differences

The following table showcases the main differences between low-code and no-code.

Note that in the no-code and low-code buckets, not all platforms are equal.

For example, in the case of low-code, some platforms are more suited to business process and case management solutions rather than modernizing legacy IT systems. The table below compares the features of a standard no-code platform versus a more advanced low-code platform.




Main audience

Business user or citizen developer

Professional developer

Adoption objectives

Easy to use platform to empower business users to create their departmental apps, and relieve IT backlogs

Augment developer productivity so they can focus on strategic projects and free IT up from “keeping the lights on”

Coding expertise and ramp up


Highly recommended, quick ramp-up

Type of project

Simple, departmental apps

Business critical solutions and sophisticated apps

Platform extensibility


Developer can integrate with any enterprise system of record



Developers can add custom code whenever needed


Limited to departmental users


3. Low-code and no-code examples

Here are some examples of low-code and no-code platforms:

  • Low-code platforms: OutSystems,Mendix, Appian, and Microsoft PowerApps
  • No-code platforms: Airtable, Bubble, Zapier, Glide, and Webflow.

3.1. Low-code vs. no-code: when to use what

As we saw, no-code is a good solution if you need to develop simple applications that require little to no customization and are based on improving the efficiency of a simple workflow. An example is replacing a spreadsheet report with a dashboard that is easier to understand, improving employee efficiency.

Common use cases for no-code include:

  • Expense approval
  • Employee onboarding
  • Calendaring and scheduling
  • Order management
  • Vacation approval

Low-code, because it is more flexible than no-code and was made for pro-developers, is well-suited to enterprise use cases.

The more advanced and modern low-code platforms allow developers to extend the existing building blocks, such as pre-built patterns, screens, widgets, and even app templates, if they need to go beyond the functionality offered by the platform out-of-the-box.

They also provide advanced security features and enterprise scalability making them well-suited to any enterprise use case where you’d use traditional code but without the unnecessary complexity.

Common low-code use cases include:

  • Internal business applications
  • Customer and partner apps and portals
  • Core systems.

3.2. Are low-code and no-code the future of app development?

The short answer to this question is yes.

The increasing pressure for organizations to accelerate their digital transformation journey has led to unpreceded tension for IT as their backlog co


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