[Opinion] No-Code vs Low-Code. There is a difference! It.does.matter.


This blog post is not a reaction or an answer to this article, nor an intention to offend anyone. It's not a response to @swyx opinion, who has done a fantastic job at emphasizing the main issue with wording and marketing BS all over the world wide web today.

We need conventions, not semantics.

First, we need to agree on something - we need to have a convention. We need to have a common baseline for our discussion. We need to have a language (I know, it's English). I'm suggesting a need to divide the world into technical and non-technical. Pushing, even more, I would dare to purpose a convention to further use the terms "technologist" and "non-technologist". We need to use this convention since the same word can mean nothing or different things for both human "types". To our point, as a non-technologist hearing the term "no-code" for the first time can have different meanings:

  1. For the healthcare industry, the term "no-code" can mean an order not to revive or sustain a patient who is experiencing a life-threatening situation [according to Merriam-Webster]. BTW, if any healthcare workers even get this message - we applaud you, and we thank you for the beautiful work during #COVID-19.
  2. For the rest of non-technologists humans, the term "no-code" is not defined in Oxford, McMillan or Cambridge dictionaries, so it will probably mean absolutely nothing.

For a technologist, however, the very same term can mean a lot of things - but I am inclined to purpose a simple definition that hopefully will become a convention in our _new_ world (post-#COVID-19):

No-Code/No Code noun \ nō kōd \
Technical Definition of "No Code": 1: Building a computer application by using pre-existing blocks of instructions for a computer (as within a piece of software) // using no code for a new app
Synonyms: noun: codeless Similar terms: Low-Code, Rapid Application Development

By comparison, the "low-code" term definition should be: using pre-existing blocks AND unique instructions to build a piece of software. It would be also nice to see an enterprise that cares how analysts define trends.

As long as the world finds a convention for these two terms and we agree upon the differences, I'll think it's time to stop with the debate. But it's imperative to have appropriate wording and terms for what we debate. And Yes, we shouldn't waste any of our reader's time about this debate - it's not beneficial to anyone, and most certainly semantics are not necessary.

Pick sides.

All these companies (including ours, corebapp.com) are trying to get into that no-code/low-code momentum which will eventually transition into a global disruption of how people are doing things today for everything that drives the digital transformation. All these companies are trying to monetize on what is presumably the next "coding revolution".

So there's no side to pick, just that same, unique motive that drives everything and everyone around it. The biggest challenge will of course be the execution for all of these companies (oh, what a shocker). And yes, the spreadsheets are here to stay for another decade. But as days go by, I think we can quickly feel some shaking of that 90's touch.

The user.

Categorizing the user of n-code platforms is still a fuzzy one, because it can essentially be:

  • an entrepreneur that wants to validate its idea
  • an 11-years old kid that wants to impress his friends
  • an employee inside an enterprise feeling constrained by the slashed COVID-19 budgets
  • anyone.

Industry analysts coined the term "citizen-developer" to add to the confusion. Visual developer - a new trend - has to do with findings names around the no-code community and allows a lot of other 'things' to develop around it.

The big question is when will unleash the full potential and when will we see this momentum adopt Moore's Law and get things exponential.

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