The terms LowCode and NoCode was coined in 2016. The year afterwards the market size was 5 billion dollars. It's grown by 42 percent each year since, and will have a market cap of 50 billion dollars by the end of 2024. These figures are similar to the hyper growth AI, machine learning, and social media had some 10 to 15 years ago.
Such growth numbers results in that everybody races in to get a piece of the pie. When this happens there tends to become a lot of confusion related to the concepts, since it's so hot that even software companies not even closely related to the terms wants to capitalise on the growth. In this article I will try to eliminate some of this confusion by looking at what the terms actually means, while putting both terms into a historical perspective allowing you to more neutrally understand them. At the bottom of this article is a YouTube video where I loosely talk about the terms if you prefer listening to "talking heads" types of videos.
LowCode is typically the art of increasing developer productivity by creating automation processes that can generate parts of the code automagically. The simplest example of this is "ng generate" from Angular, and generating C# model classes using entity framework. At the other end of the spectrum you've got tools such as our stuff that allows you to automatically generate entire CRUD LowCode web apps with the click of a button.
NoCode is typically high level graphical user interfaces allowing non-software developers to create software using drag and drop, or other high level constructs, not requiring understanding code. One example of this is WordPress and Elementor allowing everyone to rapidly create fairly rich and complex websites without understanding HTML.
LowCode and NoCode's commonalities
Both LowCode and NoCode arguably tries to solve the same problem. The problem of course is that software development is really, really hard, and very few people know how to create software. At the same time there is a screaming need for more software and more software developers. LowCode tries to solve the problem by making your existing software developers more productive, while NoCode tries to create more software developers by lowering the bar required to create software. In the video below I am walking you through both of these constructs. Both from a historical perspective, in addition to putting it into the context of the 4th industrial revolution.
There is nothing new with LowCode and NoCode. Both of these ideas have been with us for more than 50 years. Macromedia Dreamweaver was a NoCode tool quite popular back in the late 1990s. Visual FoxPro and Microsoft Access were LowCode tools. Visual FoxPro and Microsoft Access was created in the mid 1990s. What is new though, is the momentum these ideas have today. Another thing that's new is that today we have more hardware power and better architecture, allowing us to more easily implement tools and frameworks facilitating for these ideas.