No Code vs Low Code
A Guide to choosing application development platform with high level technical review of no code, low code and traditional development platform.
- What is Low Code?
- What is No Code?
- An Analogy
- High level Comparison of development effort
- Simple CURD Scenario
- Low Code? No Code? Hybrid?
- Which Approach to Choose?
- Comparison of development effort
No Code and Low Code platforms allow you to create application by connecting components together using a visual interface.
Beyond that generic definition of low code and no code, there are some specific features that make them very different when it comes to developing application on top of database.
Let's first start with the definition of each.
What is Low Code
Low code development platform allows you to build tools and applications using considerably less code compared to traditional development effort.
For instance, to get data from a table in database, you only have to write SQL statement, other work of connecting to database, querying database and getting data back is handled by the platform. Similarly for UI, your main task is to connect data from SQL and map it to platform provided components like table. Framework will do the rest of work of actually displaying data using say HTML.
What is No Code
No Code development platform allows you to to build tools and applications using almost no code compared to low code development effort.
For instance, to get data from a table in database, you only have to select table, work of writing SQL, connecting to database, querying database and getting data back is handled by the no code platform. For UI, it becomes even easier, as just selecting table gives you a complete page with table and form components, all pre mapped and pre wired to the backend.
It might be easier to think of effort required in low code vs no code similar to effort required in driving car with manual transmission vs automatic transmission.
With automatic transmission, you only have to set car to drive, similarly with no code, you only have to select table, rest of work is done by the no code platform.
High level Comparison of development methodology
|Full Code||Low Code||No Code|
|Write SQL||Write SQL||Select Table|
|Write Code||Wire Decision Logic||Configure|
|Write HTML||Use Component||Use Component|
|Write Integration||Map Integration||Use Template|
Simple CURD Scenario
Let's say you want to get list of items and show them on the screen, add new items, edit existing items, and delete items.
In traditional programming, this is refereed to as a CURD operation.
- Create = add new item
- Read = read items
- Update = update an existing item
- Delete = delete an item
When working with a database, you need to write SQL query to perform CURD operations.
Let say table in database is named "item" and it has two columns
table = item
|Column Name||Column Data type|
Following are SQL statements that you could use to operate on above item table:
|Create||INSERT INTO item ( id, name) VALUES (1,'Test');|
|Read||SELECT id, name from item;|
|Update||UPDATE item SET name = 'Test2' WHERE id = 1;|
|Delete||DELETE FROM item where id = 1;|
- If you are doing traditional development with code, you will either write SQL by hand or use some library (ORM) to auto generate them based on a defined schema.
- With Low code, you will have to write SQL by hand
- With No Code, you just have to select table you want to work with, like item table and tool will do the work of getting data from table by creating appropriate SQL as needed.
User interface is used to show data to user and take action on that data. UI is usually made up of components that present data in logical manner and encapsulate popular data visualization patterns.
Table is one such component. Like Spreadsheet, it show data to user in a tabular format.
- For full code, you will either write HTML by hand or use some UI library with a table component and write mapping and integration logic.
- With Low code, you will normally user pre-built table component from platform and wire component with data either through mapping or writing some logic.
- With No Code, you will normally have page with table already wired and ready to use.
In order to modify data, one popular pattern is to show a data record in form view and let user modify the data.
- For full code, you will either write HTML by hand or use some UI library with a form component. You will need to write code to track changes and then submit those changes to database.
- With Low code, you will normally user pre-built Form component from platform and write logic to wire Form with selected table row. Additionally configure appropriate SQL to use to save data to database.
- With No Code, you will normally have page with Form already wired and ready without any logic or configuration required.
Above is just one example. It gets complicated as we add more features like Search, Sort, paging, parent child records, related items, validation, error handling and so on...
Low Code? No Code? Hybrid?
No Code and Low Code development platforms are rapidly evolving and you are likely to see low code tools that are expanding and providing no code functionality. Similarly no code tools are including customizable capabilities that allow you to define logic that would have traditionally require writing code.
An easy way to spot the difference is the approach the platform prescribes. If the platform requires to write SQL for working with database, you are certainly using a low code tool. If you have to map data to UI using code, you are most probably using low code tool!
If on other hand, tool requires you to just select table instead of writing SQL, you are using no code tool. If you are primarily using editor to configure user behavior, with rarely using code as escape hatch, you are probably using no code tool!
Which Approach to Choose?
Like everything it depends on the context. If you want build a bespoke application and have a solid use case that has tangible business benefits, custom application development with code often will yield the best results. Albeit, it will cost more in time and effort, and after you develop application, you will also need to have ongoing maintenance and enhancements!
If you are building an internal application to improve business operations, start with no code. It can help you get up and running quickly and immediately see results of application usage.
If on other hand, you are building external application, and have good gasp of SQL and know how to debug, then low code tool might be a better option. Please keep in mind that with low code, you are still writing code and have to maintain it or else you will quickly build up technical debt.
Comparison of development effort
|Feature||Full Code||Low Code||No Code|
|Cost of Development||$$$||$$||$|
No code visual application development platform like BAPPAZ help you rapidly create and deploy internal application without hassle of writing SQL or code.
Connect to database, select table and instantly get a ready made page. Page includes pre-wired components with responsive user interface and database integration. You can select from variety of pre-built page templates, like list, dashboard, reports and more. BAPPAZ provides workflow to model complex business logic, condition editors to configure user behavior based on various data conditions and provides easy means to inject custom SQL and Code when needed.
Try out BAPPAZ for free and experience the benefits of no-code for yourself!