ELI5: low code vs no code

Low code vs no code. These two categories are constantly pitted against each other of late. Some use the terms interchangeably. Others insist there is a significant distinction to differentiate them.

Both low code and no code are purported to resemble a large chunk of the future of human-machine interaction. Both involve making app development, or process building, more accessible to those without extensive coding know-how.

So, low code vs no code: how do they compare?

Defining terms

The first thing to do when looking at the low code vs no code comparison is to define the two terms.

Both low code and no code refer to a type of platform that allows you to develop apps, programs, automated workflows, and so on. The terms low code and no code get used interchangeably, but there is a subtle difference between them.

Key difference

  • A low code platform requires a limited amount of coding knowledge to use effectively.
  • A no code platform does not require any coding knowledge to use effectively.

With that understood, you can choose to use code within a no code platform, and you can choose not to use code in a low code platform. So, the line between the categories in low code vs no code is blurry.


Low code and no code are siblings. In a low code vs no code comparison, then, it’s worth knowing where the two share qualities.  

Both are platforms that work to reduce the programming expertise needed to build applications or set up automated processes.

These applications can therefore take less time and require fewer resources to create.

Both work using a visual interface. Most often, this takes the form of drag and drop blocks with which to build features, structures, or processes.


Low code
  • Help developers increase productivity

Low code platforms are quick and convenient for developers to use. Your tech department can use them to boost their efficiency and productivity.

  • More control over customisation (flexibility)

In the low code vs no code question, one strength of low code compared to its counterpart is the level of flexibility it offers. While not as flexible as traditional coding methods, low code platforms give users more control over customisation.

  • Helps to fight shadow IT

Instead of bringing in unapproved software tools, (known as ‘shadow IT’,) employees can use an approved low code platform to develop their own tools or processes, as needed.

No code
  • Lighten the burden on the IT team

More people can build the tools they need with a no-code platform. The work doesn’t fall solely on the IT team, freeing them to focus on the technical stuff

  • Short learning curve

There’s no need to have coding knowledge, and so there’s a short learning curve for using no code platforms, making them accessible and convenient.

  • Helps fight shadow IT

Like low-code platforms, no-code can help to fight shadow IT by enabling needed tools to be built with approved software.


Low code
  • Requires some coding knowledge

There is a slight barrier to entry with low code platforms in that they require some coding knowledge to use effectively. In the question of low code vs no code, this means low code has slightly lower accessibility.

  • Risk of vendor lock-in

Vendor lock-in is where the costs and disruption of changing vendor are too high, effectively trapping you with that vendor. Low code platforms could put you at risk of this.

Note: this varies from vendor to vendor

No code
  • Platform dependency and risk of vendor lock-in

If the no-code platform you chose to use changes, you may also have to adapt the tools you’ve made. You’re dependant on the vendor of the platform.

  • Limited flexibility

Compared to low-code platforms, no code offers very limited flexibility. You can only use the pre-defined blocks and customisation option provided.

Low code vs no code

So, the comparison of low code vs no code sees one of them relying on the user having some coding knowledge, while the other ensures that they don’t need it.

Ultimately, when it comes to the question of low code vs no code tools, it’s best to focus on which tool will best fill your needs — rather than how much coding you may or may not need to do.

Useful links

The secret to a successful automation rollout

What does low code mean? A simple overview in 500 words

Automation and the concept of mental energy