What’s best – High Code, Low Code or No Code?

Understanding the pros and cons of high-code, low-code, and no-code development is key before deciding which is the best approach for your project.

Historically, businesses have relied on a developer to write code and create systems from start to finish. Today, this is not always the case. New approaches mean that the responsibility for devising user focused software systems has expanded to business users, marketers, customer success teams, and others. With so many specialties and departments in the mix, modern development requires multiple approaches and solutions to creating new applications and services.

These different approaches can be grouped into three distinct categories: high code, low code, and no code.

The differences between high code, low code, and no code

High code

High-code relies on developers to write and deploy code from scratch, there is usually no framework for them to follow. Developers will use JavaScript tools like React or Angular or one specifically designed for mobile or native applications as necessary. Content and data are typically provided via a headless CMS or other API-based services.

Content and data can be managed and updated from remote systems on demand, but developers control the actual experience and interface.

With a high-code approach, businesses are heavily reliant on developer resources. When everything requires a developer’s hand, it takes time away from the more valuable work they could be doing, such as creating new features and innovations.

Low code

Using low-code tools such as Claris FileMaker, developers focus on building a system made up of a series of predefined components within the low code development environment. For example, re-purposing and re-usable code, basic requirements like a calendar, can often be added to the solution quickly and with a minimal time / cost to implement. They can also reuse parts of the code within other areas of the bespoke solution which makes it faster to develop and deliver.

The primary benefits of low-code solutions are speed and collaboration. Low-code solutions generally leverage some pre-built components, design systems, and functionalities that can be rearranged and repurposed to shape different experiences.

Low code means that both users and developers play a vital role in the process. This collaboration can accelerate time to market and produce greater overall customer satisfaction for the business because users can directly translate their insights into actions.

No code

No-code assembly puts business users directly in the driver’s seat. True to the name, these solutions involve no need to write a single line of code once they’re launched. Instead, they rely on forms, configuration, and simple input tools to manage the experience.

No-code solutions are great for solving smaller business issues, like updating content or assets on a page, without pulling the attention of developers away from other projects. They can also be leveraged to help scale solutions by using more of a cookie-cutter approach.

However, no-code tools are limited in terms of bringing about large-scale innovations or building new platforms. They’re typically more difficult and expensive to extend, and while fast to set up and use, their flexibility is often limited.


Taking a collaborative approach to application development

Now that you’ve got a grasp on the three assembly models, how do you decide whether to standardise on  a high-code, low-code, or no-code approach?

It’s actually pretty simple; you just have to decide who owns the assembly of the experience.

  • If it’s a code-driven application where the developer owns the assembly, then you want high code.
  • If it’s a content-driven application where the user owns the assembly, then you want low code.
  • If it’s a standardised application following more of a “cookie-cutter” model of assembly, then you want no code.