No Code vs Low Code

Why is there a distinction between No Code and Low Code platforms? I asked myself the same question as it was not very clear to me either. Is it a marketing thing, is it some kind of religion, and is there a major difference?

No code implies that there is absolutely no programming involved. You can compare this with assembling standard LEGO blocks to create an application or mobile app. Like with LEGO you are dependent on the available blocks and your own creativity to create some thing awesome. But you are also limited to the available blocks. If the block provided do not do what you want you can be stuck.

Low code implies that there is still some programming involved. The way I see it is that these platforms provide you with standard LEGO blocks as well but also with the possibility to create new LEGO blocks or determine what a programmable block, like in LEGO Mindstorm boxes, can do yourself.

What is better you ask? As with many things it depends what you want to do and whether it fits with the app you want to create. And how much you can compromise if functionality does not exist (yet…).

For example I have used a ‘no code’ platform to create an assessment* where I wanted to send the results in a PDF to the participant. I discovered that there was a very useable spider diagram that I could show on the screen but there was no way to get it to also be part of the PDF. Because I am no programmer this left me with 3 options:

  1. Wait for the platform provide to add this functionality (as it exists for bar charts)
  2. Use another diagram
  3. Create a new diagram (myself or hire someone) using the ability that exists to extend the platform.


*) I hear you think why not use SurveyMonkey… I had my reasons but that is a story for a different time 😉