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low-code vs no-code vs hand-code development.

Hand-code, low-code, no-code?
Which is which and which one is better?

At Nimblex, we would classify ourselves as both “no-code” and “low-code” depending on the task at hand.

Both these options make for rapid development that is versatile and less expensive than a fully hand-coded route.

Low- and no- code development is often seen in an enterprise environment and are by and large cloud-based. They are used with visual application development which eliminates the need to know a coding language, thus empowering users to create their own applications.

Configure sophisticated and complex solutions

The good news is that Nimblex has broken the barriers associated with a low- or no-code approach by increasing the level of complexity and configurable outcomes that can be achieved.

The result is that with Nimblex we can configure and create far more sophisticated management solutions compared to traditional low- or no-code applications. 

But let’s first understand what is the difference between writing code and the no/low-code solution building approaches. 

What is No-Code Development?

No-code development allows non-techie “citizen developers” to build applications or eForms, i.e. “self-service”.

With no-code development, the users do not need a lot of technical training or any coding knowledge as it uses a drag-and-drop visual method of development.

Users can configure their solutions to operate the way they want them to without having to go back to the IT professionals each time a change is needed.

Although users can make changes and create their own workflows, eForms, etc. there is still control over what is built to make sure it is compliant and falls within a company’s acceptable parameters – no need to worry about rogue apps being created.

These apps are usually for front-end functions that are non-critical to the business but are useful, such as report and dashboards creation and setting up workflows.


For the Nimblex solutions, for both no-code and low-code development, we use eForms (sometimes called ‘smart forms’). Read here for a more in-depth look at eForms and why they are so powerful.

The Benefits of No-Code Development

  • It is efficient and agile.
  • It is accessible to those without advanced coding skills (“self-service” development).
  • It is easy to make changes and update, i.e future-proof.
  • It is a more inclusive development process.
  • It is cost-effective.
  • It allows for re-usable modules that scale easily.
  • It is quick to develop and thus shortens the development cycle.

The disadvantage of no-code development is that it’s not as easy to configure to exactly as you may want it to be, i.e. limited customisation. Also, it is fine for simple process stories, but it falls short of digitising highly complex user stories which have various dependencies, abstract requirements and conditions associated with them. 

With Nimblex you will never be ‘boxed-in’ by your requirements. We can digitise your simple and multi-faceted user stories using the same Nimblex Platform. 

What is Low-Code Development?

Low-code development uses a visual IDE (Integrated Development Environment) to create applications using blocks of code or form elements that are dragged-and-dropped into place. 

Unlike no-code, with low-code a developer can also add lines of hand code if it’s needed which makes it more powerful and versatile, and enables the user to create more complex apps.

Low-code automates the coding that was previously done by hundreds of lines of code that had to be hand coded and debugged. (Why reinvent the wheel each time?)

The Benefits of Low-Code Development

  • It is used in more critical business functions as there is more control in the development process.
  • It allows for advanced customisation and configuration, and promotes innovative, intuitive designs.
  • It is quick to create and develop.
  • It integrates well with other platforms, e.g. using an API.
  • It is agile and versatile.
  • It is low risk (compliance and security functions are encoded).
  • It is scalable, robust and reliable.
  • It is rapidly deployed.
  • It is good at handling business rules and workflows.
  • It has high ROI and is much less costly than a hand-coded option.
  • It is quick to respond to urgent changes as the build process is fast.
  • It ensures you future-proof your solution as it can grow and change where needed.
    Read How low-code can future-proof your solutions.
  • It facilitates user-centric design with a focus on positive customer experiences.

All the above benefits are directly associated with Nimblex. The way we structure our configuration means we have further perfected the low-code approach, which results in Nimblex delivering in a more effective, efficient and simpler way. The end-gain is that we can be more creative with how we digitise your unique requirements within your solution to ensure a best-fit outcome. 

Where Does that Leave Hand-Coding?

Organisations that decide to use a hand-coded approach for building a solution by starting with a ‘clean canvas’ may encounter a few headaches.

The Downside of Hand Coding

  • A hefty upfront investment may be required.
  • Find it risky as it may not meet expectations.
  • Changes can be very costly.
  • It comes with long delivery lead times.
  • If your developer moves on then you might be stuck. 

Nevertheless, there is still a need for hand-coding, especially in developing the “building blocks” that are used in no-code and low-code environments. Also, if a solution is needed that can only be achieved with a brand new system, then hand-coding will be employed.

With Nimblex, we only revert to hand-coding if there is a need to supplement our low-code blocks when extra functionality is required that the drag-and-drop elements can’t provide. This is in very rare cases, but Nimblex’s development is lead by the requirements of our user community. We will code new functionality into our Nimblex Platform, which can then be deployed within our client’s solutions using a no-code or low-code approach.

Low-Code Development is the Future of Solution Creation

However, we are seeing a potential “digital disruption” where low-code development becomes the norm as it grows more and more powerful. Even large enterprise systems are moving towards low-code development.

We believe that our Australian made Nimblex Platform is part of this disruption and in an ideal position to help our clients with all their digitisation needs and to remain competitive in their specific fields.

A powerful solution without the traditional price tag.

Custom Software
Implementation time   4 – 8 weeks3 – 9 months6 – 24 months
Flexibility of process automation and workflows   ConfigurableHighly configurableLimited to best practises
Features   OOTB set of features (can add)Large library of features to choose fromLimited to best practises
Self-maintenance   Client can configure eForms, workflows, reports, etc.Client can configure eForms, workflows, reports, etc.Limited to administrative tasks
Integration   Advanced capabilityAdvanced capabilityLimited capability
Life span of solution   Long: Low-code flexibilityLong: Low-code flexibilityMedium. Fixed code
Technology   Low-codeLow-codeHand coding
Custom branding   Client’s brandingClient’s brandingNo branding

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