High-Code, Low-Code, or No-Code? Choosing the Right Development Approach

June 29, 2022

In the early era of software development, businesses had to rely on skilled developers to build, update, and develop all their digital products.

Those times have changed.

Today, there’s a plethora of apps and tools that make software development more accessible to product teams, marketers, and anyone else who needs it. 

But that doesn’t mean traditional software development has become obsolete, either. Rather, it simply means there are more options available for building or iterating applications.

To bring your product to market efficiently and effectively, it’s essential to understand the difference between high-code, low-code, and no-code product development (and how they can work together).

What is Traditional (High-Code) Development?

Traditional development, also known as high-code development, is when skilled developers manually write and deploy code. As the most traditional form of software programming, high-code development allows teams to create highly customized products and product experiences. 


With traditional software development, the possibilities are endless. Whether it’s building a product from scratch or launching a specific feature, having a team of high-code programmers empowers companies to build nearly any type of digital product—and maintain full ownership.


One drawback of traditional development is that it relies on certain skilled developers to build and update products. 

In other words: a company can only evolve as fast as their developers can code. So if marketing and product teams send a high volume of requests to a small team of developers, they could sit in a backlog for months, hindering progress. 

Lastly, since high-code developers are very skilled and sought after, it’s the more expensive option. Additional costs are incurred with the creation and maintenance of developer support systems—including the tools they use to code, the leadership required to guide them, and the processes for bringing complex projects to market.

When to Use Traditional Development

A traditional development approach is ideal for companies who want full control over how their product is created—and to what extent it can evolve. 

It’s also great for companies with large budgets, as this means they can afford to hire many developers to work on a range of projects over time—including the tools, employees, and infrastructure to ensure developer success. Companies in the finance or healthcare space may also prefer to use high-code for their products because it can foster greater security and control over sensitive user data.

Additionally, traditional development enables a company to roll out features that integrate with their daily operations, such as ensuring that a new product connects to on-premise systems that support vital business functions.

For example, let’s say a SaaS company has a small number of high-paying enterprise clients. Having a team of high-code developers enables the SaaS company to roll out customized product updates for each client quickly, and the ability to do so serves as a differentiator for future clients.

The bottom line: when you need to build a mission-critical, high-performance product, traditionally development is the best approach. And, teaming up with a partner like Crux Digital can ensure that product comes to life in the most organized, efficient way.

What is Low-Code Development?

While they do require a level of technical expertise, low-code platforms add ease and speed to development by using components that are already coded and built. Usually, platforms in this category have a visual interface where a developer can drag, drop, and rearrange items, like images and text columns on a website. Yet they also have access to the back end, where they can customize elements as needed.


Low-code programs are a helpful way to speed up development for cross-functional teams. For example, a marketer can design a new layout for their company’s website, yet tap a developer when they need to add a customized popup box. Such collaboration is also great for crafting a strong, more human-centered customer experience that meets user needs as both marketers and developers understand them.


Since low-code development leverages an external platform, it doesn’t offer the same amount of control over security and functionality. Therefore, companies who require deep layers of security may be more invested in using traditional development to build a product that, while more time-consuming, offers greater oversight and less privacy risk. However, there are ways to build governance and regulations into the types of components and systems being applied. 

When to Use Low-Code Development

When it makes sense for a marketing team to be deeply involved in a product, low-code development is a great choice. 

For example, marketing teams could lend their insights to the user experience of a new customer service app, which could be structured around common questions and pain points they hear from customers. 

These tools also help to rapidly prototype ideas and concepts with minimal investment. Unlike traditionally built products, low-code prototypes are fast to create and affordable to deploy. 

They can help a business understand if a customer is interested in their product—and get critical feedback on how it works. This provides the development team with the insights they need to resolve bugs, improve functionality, and understand how a product might perform among its target audience. 

In other words, low code development is perfect if you need to bring an idea to market (or test it) quickly, cheaply and efficiently.

What is No-Code Development?

No-code development allows non-developers to create software. It’s similar to the visual, drag-and-drop nature of low code platforms, yet it doesn’t require any additional code on the back end. 

Instead, it can rely on forms, blocks, configurations, and other simple tools that are easy to arrange in an interface. Website builders like Webflow, Wix, Squarespace, and Shopify all fall into this category.

Tools in this category can also be more advanced. Recent advancements in no-code development have enabled non-developers to create more complex projects using more robust, feature-rich tools like Adalo and Airtable.


No-code tools are revolutionary for non-developers. Marketers, small business owners, bloggers, and other non-technical workers can get up and running with a blog, landing page, simple mobile app, or web application—no code needed. 

No code tools usually entail drag-and-drop features where changes can be viewed in real-time. They’re also great for resolving issues quickly (like if content needs to be updated on a page) without having to enlist the help of developers—who are likely already busy. 

Another perk of low-code tools is that they provide creative team members with a stronger role in determining the look and feel of a website.


No-code tools offer ease and speed, but they come with limited capabilities. They’re not the best for large, complex projects, especially those that need deep security features, strong branding customization, or integrations into customized enterprise data sets and tools. Since no-code development is built on a third-party platform, it’s not always a viable option for building a new application that you host and own in its entirety.

When to Use No-Code Development

If you’re creating an application that follows a more well-established format, no-code assembly is the best option. 

This is especially true if you just need to focus on creating a seamless user experience that supports a simple action (like providing information or directing someone to purchase), without the need for special features or customization.

Similar to low-code development, no-code makes it easy to prototype new products and features quickly. This is important to gain buy-in from customers and stakeholders, and to discover key issues and functionality needs that support the success of a full, scalable product build while reducing time-to-market.

Once a low-code prototype is demoed and pitched, it can be fully deployed with high-code development—and all the robust, customized features it requires. In that way, low and no-code development can work in tandem with high-code software development. 

A Flexible Approach to Software Development

Perhaps you’re using a no-code tool to prototype an app quickly, so you can assess customer feedback. Or, maybe you’re using traditional software development, so you can build a customized web application that integrates with on-premise solutions. Either way, each type of coding approach has a place in software development. 

In fact, a mixed approach to development helps teams exceed the boundaries of a one-size-fits-all mindset, and instead gives them access to the right tools at the right time.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to deploy your company’s mission-critical digital product in a scalable, sustainable manner, our experts can help. Contact us to learn more about how we can bring your ideas to market.