Low-code no-code web development, explained

Profile picture of Rebecca Strehlow

{date}

{#hash1}

{#hash2}

Illustrations by {name}

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.

6 min read

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.

Stay informed on all things design.

Thanks for submitting!

Shaping Design is created on Editor X, the advanced web design platform for professionals. Create your next project on Editor X. 

Get our latest stories delivered straight to your inbox →

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, going over 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 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