Low-code vs High-code Development


In the race to stay ahead, most enterprises are embracing digital transformation. Most larger organizations rely on custom application development using traditional programming languages such as .NET, JavaScript, or Java. Compare low-code vs high-code to choose the best approach for your specific projects.

As the demand from the business continues to grow, current IT resources struggle to keep up. Therefore, more organizations are now considering alternatives, such as low-code development, to accelerate their digitization.

But how does low-code compare to high-code development? There are strong arguments for both, often even within the same organization. Read on to learn all about low-code vs high-code.

Insight in Low-code vs High-code

More than 10 years ago, low-code platforms began to emerge as IT departments felt increased pressure to deliver value within the tight timelines of the business.

High-code platforms often fell short in several aspects. Companies were frequently hindered by the speed of development and the lack of agile processes. Other issues included the complexity of testing and deploying applications.

The primary advantage of low-code was to make software development accessible to a broader workforce. Additionally, low-code also enables faster application development.

Over time, the focus of low-code platforms has evolved. Platforms like Mendix and OutSystems now concentrate on bridging the gap between business and IT, enabling faster delivery of high-quality software solutions.

Benefits of low-code development

With low-code, you can rapidly and efficiently develop applications with minimal manual coding. Low-code offers a faster time-to-market, lower costs, and greater agility. When comparing low-code vs high-code, the following advantages become apparent:

  • Development is 2-5 times faster than with traditional coding. We have conducted experiments to prove this.
  • Not only development but also implementation is largely managed by the platforms.
  • Low-code platforms provide opportunities for collaboration with the business because the visual feedback loop is considerably faster. This results in a greater focus on the actual delivery of value.
  • Popular low-code platforms are continuously improving, providing access to new features and tools to speed up development, with AI becoming increasingly important. Patches and upgrades are also largely managed by the platforms.

Low-code offers some real benefits, but most organizations won’t fully utilize them immediately. Your organization and development teams need to gain knowledge of this new technology from the start.

Not everyone can become a great low-code developer in one day. But you can make a good start in a few months and become a decent developer in one year, making the learning curve much steeper than with other programming languages.

Furthermore, low-code platforms have licensing costs, so your business case must be sound. Investing in low-code is worthwhile. Low-code software grows with your needs, eliminating the need for migration later.

Benefits of high-code development

Mentioning ‘high-code development’ often highlights the bubble in which enthusiasts of low-code live. But the ability to now compare high-code to something like low-code also enables us to point out the advantages of traditional coding languages such as .NET, Java, or JavaScript:

  • Applications can be controlled at a more granular level, enabling a more detailed focus on the quality and performance aspects of your solution.
  • There are large communities of developers, freelancers, and service providers to work with.
  • The high flexibility of development and deployment can make it a better fit with organizational standards and requirements on architecture and security, enabling you to prevent long internal discussions.
  • Open-source standards eliminate or minimize recurring costs for licensing.

Use cases for Low-code vs High-Code

With our experience in various use cases, we have gained experience with different technologies and languages. Technology is not chosen solely based on technical specifications. Every technology should align with its users and the goals of the organization.

The speed of low-code can be a significant argument, for example, if your organization can differentiate itself by delivering features faster, whether it’s for end-users or internal automation. In such cases, the speed of low-code can be a crucial factor.

On the other hand, a high-code approach may work better if your organization is built around a limited number of fundamental applications. In this scenario, the detailed performance and application quality level become more important than feature delivery. Here, it’s more about control and precision rather than speed.

Companies that choose low-code and high-code

The choice between low-code and high-code is not always absolute; many organizations integrate both. Low-code is used for applications that require rapid delivery, while high-code is used for other critical aspects, providing granular flexibility.

Choosing between low-code and high-code depends on specific use cases and organizational goals. Prioritize speed, automation, and IT/business collaboration with low-code, or emphasize control, precision, and community support with high-code. Opting for multiple technologies can be a well-suited approach for any larger, dynamic organization.

Low-code and high-code coexist and will continue to do so in the future. If you’re considering how to integrate low-code alongside high-code in your organization, we’re happy to help map suitable use cases to the right technology, drawing from our experiences in various industries, including retail, finance, insurance, healthcare, and logistics.