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No-Code vs Low-Code: navigating the code-less landscape

Updated: Nov 25, 2023

Disclaimer: this blog post is not an answer to this article or an intention to offend anyone. Instead, it needs to comment on @swyx's opinion, which has done a fantastic job emphasizing the main issue with wording and marketing fuzz 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. Then, we need a language (I know, it's English). I suggest dividing the world into technical and non-technical. Pushing even more, I would dare to propose a convention further to 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:

  • for the healthcare industry, the term "no-code" can mean an order not to revive or sustain a patient experiencing a life-threatening situation [according to Merriam-Webster]. By the way, if any healthcare workers even get this message, we applaud you and thank you for your beautiful work during covid-19

  • 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 propose 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 individual instructions to build a piece of software. It would also be nice to see an enterprise that cares about how analysts define trends.

If the world finds a convention for these two terms and we agree upon the differences, it'll be time to stop the debate. But we must have appropriate wording and phrases for what we debate. And Yes, we should save our reader's time on this debate - it's not beneficial to anyone, and most certainly, semantics are unnecessary.

We should pick sides

All these companies (including ours, are trying to get into that no-code/low-code platform 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 the following "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, we can quickly feel some shaking of that '90s touch.

The user

Categorizing the user of no-code platforms is still a fuzzy one because it can essentially be:

  • an entrepreneur that wants to validate their 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 many 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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