You’ve probably heard the the terms “low code” or “no code” thrown around to describe various mobile app development solutions. To a developer vs. non-developer, “no coding” can take on two different meanings. For mobile developers, low-code/no-code is seen as a method for reducing the workload for a project. However, for non-programmers wishing to get into mobile, it often means eliminating code and avoiding those (expensive!) mobile developers altogether.
Over the past few years, a great number of MADP (mobile app development platform) solutions have emerged that claim to be either low-code or no-code. According to IDC, 35 percent of large enterprises will be using mobile application development platforms in 2015. Selecting the right MADP is key to minimize development costs.
So, what’s the difference between Low Code and No Code, and what’s the best MADP for an organization that wants to get into mobile quickly?
Low Code MADPs
These are developer-oriented tools that automate and simplify part of the app creator’s job and allow the reuse of code. The ‘low code’ definition meaning that developers can write custom code — Kony Inc. and Alpha Software both claim to be low-code, but rely on developers to use their products.
Pros for Low Code:
- Some drag-and-drop functionality
- Reusable code
- Some degree of automation
- Doesn’t eliminate the need for developers
- App performance is dependent on the skill of the developer and what custom code is used
- UI not optimized for non-programmer use
No Code MADPs
No Code platforms might be confusing – you would think that ‘no code’ means that you will never see, manipulate, or write code. A Virginia-based mobile application software company App47 describes it thus: “Rapid mobile app development presents a codeless (in most cases) environment.”
The key phrase here is “in most cases“. The fact of the matter is that you still have to be a developer to use these tools, even the ones that claim “no coding”. To your average marketer looking to create a customer-facing mobile app, learning how to work with code isn’t an attractive option–and spending a lot of money hiring a development team isn’t either.
Pros for No Code:
- Cost effective for an organization looking to minimize development costs
- Quicker development
Cons for some No Code platforms:
- Most are still developer-oriented. E.g. Mendix allows you to edit code structures but still requires mobile developers
- Many are template-based, and lack the development tools needed to deliver fully native enterprise apps
Are There Any Truly No-Code MADP Solutions?
There are a bunch of MADP’s that do not expose code, but most of them are more or less template-based and lack customization as mentioned earlier. According to a recent interview in TechTarget, Adam Bookman describes codeless as being a way to build an app “quick and dirty”, but he questions if codeless platforms are suitable for enterprise standards. Companies want more flexibility to edit the UI and user experience, so that their branded apps look unique and reflect their brand. When your competitor’s app looks, walks and talks almost exactly like yours, you know you have chosen the wrong MADP.
MobileSmith is a truly code-free platform, but unlike the majority of no-code MADPs, we provide complete flexibility when it comes to UI/UX design. A user of the MobileSmith platform gets a PowerPoint-like canvas, on which any idea can quickly come to life.
According to our own Drew Ramsey, Product Director at MobileSmith,
“We use the term “No Coding” for our platform, but we actually mean something completely different than other RMADPs. When we say “no coding”, we mean that in a more literal way; not only can you not write code, but you can’t ever see it or break it.”
With MobileSmith, your branded apps can be truly ‘code free’ – and yet win awards for outstanding design and user experience.