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Low-code no-code web development, explained

Inside the low-code no-code movement, its benefits for web designers who want to streamline their process, and the top 10 platforms in 2022.

Illustration by Anita Goldstein.

Profile picture of Rebecca Strehlow

4.19.2022

6 min read

No-code and low-code development platforms are changing the way people and businesses create online tools. While software development was once the exclusive domain of programmers and developers, now anyone–including designers, content creators, and business owners–can build websites and apps of their own.


According to Statista, the global low-code market revenue is forecasted to reach 65 billion dollars in 2027, compared with 13 billion dollars in 2020. Gartner predicts that by 2023, more than 50% of medium to large enterprises will have adopted low-code or no-code as one of their most strategic application platforms. Today, no-code and low-code tools are just about everywhere.


In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at the no-code low-code movement, its benefits, as well as the reasons for its rapid emergence in the digital creation space. We’re also providing a list of the top 10 low-code and no-code tools so that you can try this trend yourself.



What is the low-code no-code movement?


The origins of the low-code movement can be traced back to fourth-generation programming language, which allowed users to specify what they wanted a computer to do without specifying how it was supposed to do it. This made coding more versatile and user-friendly, allowing non-computer professionals to develop software. In the 1990s and early 2000s, rapid application development tools sped up the low-code revolution. These predecessors used model-driven design, automatic code generation, and visual programming, which inspired the low-code no-code platforms we have today.


Low-code and no-code platforms like Wix Studio enable programmers and non-programmers alike to create websites, apps, and other software without writing code. In the no-code space, people can create fully functional platforms without any programming knowledge at all. The low-code space is similar, enabling for the creation of more advanced applications with minimal coding.


An illustration of two laptops side by side. The left laptop as coding on its screen, while the right shows a webpage with a strike over a coding symbol.
Low-code and no-code platforms enable programmers and non-programmers alike to create websites, apps, and other software without writing code.

Before low code no code capabilities were around, creating and designing a website seemed like a long shot for a lot of people (unless creative coding is your thing). Now, however, these tools have democratized a space that was once dominated by developers. Whether people specialize in tech, real estate, wellness or somewhere in between, they can now create their own websites without relying on a programmer. Likewise, web designers can focus on the visual element of website building, without needing to learn coding first.


On the technical side, these tools make use of drag-and-drop building blocks and templates to create websites and apps. The code is still there–it’s just prearranged into bite-sized visual elements that creators can use to start designing right away. While developers will always have a role in creating the code that underlies every feature, anyone can piece together these features themselves. This means you still get the functionality of HTML5, JavaScript and CSS, but the building process is simpler and more efficient.



What are the benefits of working with a low–code no-code platform?


There's lots of hype around the low-code, no-code movement, and for good reason. There are several benefits of working with such a platform:



1. Simplifies prototyping


Before going live with a new product, you can use a low-code or no-code platform to efficiently create a prototype. While it’s wise to do engineering or programming prior to the launch stage, drag-and-drop tools can be used to build the initial model without the involvement of a developer. This will communicate your idea to potential inventors, early adopters, team members and other stakeholders before you invest time and resources in programming.



2. Speeds up digital transformation


One of the main reasons for the movement’s growing popularity is that it speeds up the time it takes to produce new applications. Using a low-code platform, you can build software that readily adapts to increases in traffic or scalability. For enterprise-level businesses, a project that otherwise may have taken one year is now reduced to a few months.


Because the process of building and producing software is faster and less complex, low-code development platforms can help companies innovate more quickly and keep up with changes in the market. Using these platforms, businesses can stay competitive by efficiently adapting to meet the market’s needs.



3. Enables a smarter use of resources


Low-code and no-code development platforms help businesses allocate their resources in a smarter way. Because these platforms make use of existing templates, pre-built forms and other elements, even low-code platforms don’t require a programming background to build functional applications.


If custom coding is needed to further develop the application, IT departments can dedicate their time and focus exclusively to those more advanced elements. This helps them prioritize more critical projects, rather than writing each line of code manually.



4. Improves workplace efficiency


Relatedly, the low-code movement means that team members without programming knowledge–such as designers, content creators, and project managers–can have a hand in software, website, and app development directly. When it comes to website development, for instance, content and design teams can work together to independently create landing pages and other site elements, without needing to pull a developer from important product work.


Another advantage of this is that it reduces the number of cooks in the website building kitchen. Writers–rather than simply writing the content on a separate document and then relying on other teams to upload it–can add the content directly to the CMS. Likewise, designers can create and manipulate visual elements without needing to work hand-in-hand with a developer.



5. Inspires creative autonomy


Whether you’re working independently or on a team, low-code and no-code platforms support the goals of creatives.


Because these platforms are readily adaptable, marketing, design and content professionals can experiment with the layout of landing pages, forms, and other key assets. This means they can adjust these elements based on their own research, data, and user feedback, and act on their findings right away.



6. Supports independent business owners and hobbyists


For those creating a website, app or software to support their own hobby or small business, low-code and no-code platforms help them turn their creative visions into reality. Artists and designers, for instance, can build a custom website to showcase their portfolio–displaying their work online while also highlighting their style and skills through their site design. Likewise, small business owners can create websites, apps and even software of their own to promote and sell their products online.


An illustration that depicts a black screen with old-school coding in the background and a colorful website in the foreground, set against a light purple gradient.
Low code website builders like Wix Studio give users the flexibility to customize a site with code when they want, without wasting time coding basic features like menus. They're a good option for designers who are more advanced than working with templatized sites.

Best low-code no-code tools and platforms


For those curious about using no-code and low-code platforms for your own projects, here are some of the best:



1. Wix Studio


Wix Studio is a low-code website creation platform for advanced, professional designers. The tool allows you to conceptualize and design responsive websites using smooth drag and drop tools. Wix Studio is equipped with advanced design features, including flex and grid layouts, full breakpoint control and custom interactions.



2. Oracle APEX

Oracle APEX is a low-code tool for building enterprise apps. Because it doesn’t require scratch-made code, it allows companies to quickly develop and deploy apps. The apps are scalable and secure, with features such as data filtering and charting and a responsive user interface.


3. Quickbase


Quickbase is an application development platform with both low-code and no-code functionalities. It offers tightly integrated dashboards, reporting, and insights in order to streamline project workflows. The tool enables citizen developers to continuously improve business applications while maintaining enterprise-level security and compliance standards.



4. Zoho Creator


Zoho Creator is a low-code application development platform that lets you use drag-and-drop elements to create iOS and Android apps. It offers over 550 pre-built integrations so that you can connect all your business’s tools–including your CRM, email platform, and project management tools–and run them from a single app.



5. Kissflow


Kissflow is a low-code digital workforce software with a drag-and-drop interface. It includes mobile access, drag-and-drop coding as well as hand coding, and data synchronization. The platform has multiple use cases for businesses, including project management, issue tracking, and process automation.



6. Voiceflow


Voiceflow is a no-code collaborative tool for designing, prototyping, and building virtual conversational assistants. It enables companies to rapidly integrate and deploy custom chatbots, interactive voice response assistants, and in-car assistants. The tool doesn’t require any knowledge of coding, instead using drag-and-drop tools that let people create and reuse components.



7. Bubble


Bubble is a no-code platform for building web apps. The tool is usable on both computer and mobile browsers and offers advanced capabilities such as creating chats, news feeds, and other real-time interactivity. It allows multiple team members to collaborate in the creation process simultaneously and share feedback within the platform.



8. Airtable


Airtable is a no-code platform that brings spreadsheets and databases together. The tool is highly versatile, helping businesses manage workflows by creating calendars, assigning projects, and syncing data. The platform offers pre-made templates that can be customized for different projects.



9. Zapier


Zapier is a no-code workflow automation tool that integrates between more than 3000 web apps without requiring the help of a developer. The tool passes information between these apps to create efficient workflows and automatically completes routine business actions, such as copying attachments or sending updates through Slack.



10. Mendix


Mendix is a low-code RAD tool that allows enterprises to create apps with little coding. As a cloud-native platform, it allows citizen developers without specialized expertise to build portable, scalable, easily deployable applications. It also makes use of built-in automation and machine learning.

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