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Low-code platforms was a buzz word among big companies last year. In fact, in 2016, big players like Google, Microsoft, Oracle, SalesForce staked their claim in this market segment through acquisitions and organic product launches.  However, what are these low-code platforms?

Low-code platforms are app development platforms that allow you to build your apps faster with minimum coding.  These low-code platforms have been in existence for some time now.  They initially sprang up as just-auto code generation tools but have evolved since then into enterprise-grade app development platforms covering the entire app delivery.  Modern low-code platforms speed up the entire app delivery process from requirements to go-live.  Some critical areas in app delivery cycle that get optimized in low-code platforms include the following:

No-code platforms – Is it a new phenomenon?

Of late a new breed of platforms, akin to low-code platforms, have sprung up.  They are called the No-code platforms.  What are they? Are they any different from low-code platforms? Are they one and the same?  

Let’s understand, that during the development phase, low-code platforms score over traditional development approaches because they involve a more intuitive visual development approach.  The visual development approach allows the app builder to drag and drop predefined out-of-the-box components into the work area.  However, many a time, during app development, there are features that require customization.  For instance, when building a particular page of an app, your visual designer would have given an innovative clock widget, in his screen mocks based on the company's standardized widget set, and that is not a part of the default UI widget library of the platform.  In this scenario, low-code platforms like WaveMaker, allow you to extend the platform capabilities by letting you build such a widget and make it available as a drag-n-drop component for future projects.  

However, what if the company employed a team of developers who built a UI widget library based on the company’s approved design template and is made available out-of-the-box in the platform itself.  Then app-building becomes a no-code experience.  

Hence no-code-platforms are more like an evolution of low-code-platforms to particular scenarios, where the coding extensions are taken care of by providing out-of-the-box visual components.  The interesting part is that no-code platforms do not actually guarantee a no-code experience.

So, when does low-code become no-code?

There could be many scenarios in which a low-code platform can start acting like a no-code development platform.  Some of the broad categories include:

To Summarize, no-code platforms are no different from low-code platforms.  They are just a specialized version of the low-code platforms, where the customization has been taken care of by pre-building all the required visual components.  The next time a vendor claims to be a no-code development platform, feel free to refer to this article on where they fit in.