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Low Code or No Code/Zero Code: What to Choose for an MVP Marketplace

Low Code or No Code/Zero Code: What to Choose for an MVP Marketplace

This article is about Low Code / No Code / Zero Code development methods. When they are applied and how they differ from each other. Based on this knowledge, you will be able to select the appropriate method to start your MVP marketplace.

Why do businesses need Low Code/Zero Code?

Creating a website without programming skills, making a chat bot, an online store/marketplace, an application, automating a business process without developers is a reality.  Low Code and Zero Code, development methods without code or with minimal programmers involvement, are promising areas for business. 

26% of executives consider Low Code and Zero Code as priority investments: investments in this area increased from 10% to 26% during the pandemic. The cost of a developer hour is rising, and finding a specialist is not easy. For small businesses, such a developer is not always available due to a limited budget, and launching an online venture is critical in the digital era.

What is Low Code

Low code is a drag-and-drop development method in a visual interface with manual code elements. In a Low Code development platform, the user moves blocks with ready-made code and gets a product with the desired functionality. Ready-made modules speed up routine tasks and eliminate repetitive actions, but for individual solutions, settings and personalization, you will have to write some code. Development is done based on the ready-made templates or freely. Integrations are also supported, there are also built-in services.

Low Code does not exclude classical development and programmers, but speeds up their work. Even manual coding is not always a project from scratch. Experienced programmers sometimes take readymade pieces of their own code to save time.

Examples of Low Code platforms

  • ELMA 365 is a platform that automates business processes and CRM. Here you create corporate applications with a minimum of code.
  • Mendix is a platform where you can choose from a No Code environment or an interface for professional developers. The platform makes applications for iOS and Android, which are deployed in the cloud in one click.
  • WF Core is a platform that manages data from any system, even from CRM. The service has graphical and API interfaces to handle business processes.

Benefits of Low Code

  • Speed: Ready-made templates and process automation in development speed up the creation of a new digital product. No long preparation is needed – a viable product is created in a few days.
  • Flexibility: The need for code in Low Code applications, on the one hand, complicates the work, on the other hand, gives flexibility in creating a product. The traditional drag-and-drop builder is convenient, but limited when solving non-trivial tasks. Manual code allows for scaling the solution and expanding the functionality of the product.
  • Cost of development: There is no need to inflate the staff of developers. A project with Low Code will take fewer hours of work than a development from scratch, so business costs will decrease.
  • Reducing workload on the IT department: Making a product on a Low Code platform is a lifesaver when the IT department cannot meet deadlines. IT specialists can take on high-priority projects where deep expertise is needed, and employees without programming skills can create, for example, an application for the company’s internal tasks. The role of programmers will remain minimal.
  • Low risks: Investments in Low Code development are lower than in regular ones. Creating a product MVP with an app builder and failing is not such a risk as developing for months, investing resources and not getting a return on investment.

Disadvantages of Low Code

  • Programming skills are still needed if the standard functionality of the Low Code platform is not enough. Therefore, this development method is not for all companies.
  • Platform dependency. Not all development services provide open source and give free rein to developers.

What is Zero Code

Zero Code or No Code is a method of creating websites and applications without code. Nocode development is suitable for non-professional developers (Citizen Developers) – ordinary users who do not know how to write code. Such a zerocoder creates a drag-and-drop product in a visual interface where there is no code at all. Zero coding is as simple as possible. It’s easy to learn how to work with the platform – you don’t need in-depth knowledge of how digital products work. It is enough for the user to understand the future functionality and be able to create a piece of software from ready-made blocks.

Zero coding is inexpensive for developing a solution for a specific business task: creating a landing page, an application, or automating processes. The company does not have to hire a big staff of developers.

Examples of Zero Code platforms

  • Airtable is a tool for creating online spaces for teamwork. It is based on tables with flexible settings and data visualization, there is also a calendar, web form elements and Kanban boards.
  • Adalo is a platform for creating interactive applications for mobile devices and the web in a drag-and-drop interface. The application has a payment system and tracking user actions.
  • Wix is a website builder without the need for code. You can create a product from a template or from scratch. 

Advantages of Zero Code

Zerocode benefits are almost the same as for Low Code: speed, low cost of development, reducing the workload on the IT department, and low risk of financial losses.

Other benefits include:

  • Maximum simplicity: Any No Code platform is a tool without code that is clear to an average user. Simple and often intuitive interfaces make such platforms easy to work with without special knowledge.
  • User support: As most zerocoders are inexperienced programmers, Nocode tools are supported with a knowledge base: manuals, video tutorials, and courses on their products.
  • Low risk of errors: If there is manual code in Low Code development, there remains the possibility of errors. In a Zero Code platform, there are only ready-made modules with code that have already been checked and corrected by the developers themselves more than once at the request of hundreds of users.

Disadvantages of Zero Code

  • Lack of flexibility and customization. Only the functionality of the platform itself is available. No Code builders have enough options, but they are not suitable for non-standard ideas.
  • Lack of control from IT specialists. Creating products on the No code platform uncontrollably is a risk. Such a self-made tool without the participation of IT may be incompatible with other systems and harm security.
  • Software dependency. The user will have to stay within the framework of the platform; scaling the Zero Code solution to meet new conditions is not easy.

Where are Low Code and No Code used

Both methods are used for similar purposes. You can create websites, browser or mobile applications, chat bots, collect and automate mailings, create tools for automating business processes with both methods. For example, with No Code it is possible to pull data from different marketing channels into one report automatically.

Other business tasks resolved by Low code and No Code include:

  • Launch and validation of MVP (minimum viable product). If the project fails, the company will not lose as much money as it could with full development.
  • Testing hypotheses or a standalone feature.
  • Assembling a prototype of a future product.
  • Easy to master. Marketers, product managers, analysts, designers, and even entrepreneurs themselves can work with No Code platforms. If earlier it was impossible to make a website without money or programming skills, now the method without code is available to everyone. Also, development on No Code is already a separate profession. People without programming skills master platforms without code and offer their services to create business tools.

Differences between Low Code and Zero Code

Zero Code and Low Code are referred to as PaaS (Platform as a Service) and aPaas (Application Platform as a Service). At the interface level, the platforms are similar: the product is created from pre-built blocks, but with code fields in Low Code. 

Low Code is a development method in the visual interface with ready-made code modules and the ability to write manual code. It does not require professional skills, but for non-standard tasks you need expertise – a professional programmer. It is a flexible development method that allows some scalability.

Zero Code or No Code is development without code and special knowledge. It is not flexible enough for individual solutions, but simple. Zero code eliminates human factors because there is no manual code in development.

Zero Code and Low Code platforms create sites, mobile applications, automate business processes, test hypotheses, and allow running an MVP at no additional cost. Both methods speed up and simplify development, but do not compete with the programmer’s work.

Which development method to choose to create an MVP marketplace

To compete in retail, the first step is to streamline processes and reduce the cost of launching new products. The No Code approach will help you quickly test business hypotheses and save on the IT team. But how to choose the right approach to creating an MVP? Ilya Makarov, CEO of the company that develops the platform for launching the CS-Cart marketplace, shares his opinion in his interview for the New Retail journal.

CMS and No Code approach

Simply put, the MVP (Minimum Valuable Product) concept helps to get an answer to the most important question for business: will your idea bring money? The only way to get such an answer is to create a “probe”. This is a product with a minimum set of functions, with which you can implement and release a business idea to the market and see if it will take off or sink. The principal factors here are the speed and cost of obtaining feedback.

No Code solutions involve creating an IT product in the Lego style, dragging and rearranging ready-made blocks in the right order. However, even website builders that are as close as possible to this ideal, for example, Tilda, require programming skills if you need a solution more complicated than a landing page. It would be more correct to use the term “Low Code development”, which means creating a “framework” of the future application from ready-made blocks using drag & drop and then writing a certain amount of code that will determine the business logic of the application.

If we continue the analogy with Lego, you can order individual lego bricks for your set. As soon as we accept the need of programmers to create our product, CMS falls under the definition of Low Code development tools. Here app marketplaces with add-ons are available. They offer the user the same Low Code approach with a choice of ready-made “bricks” and, if necessary, their subsequent “tuning” using additional code.

What to choose – custom development or No Code? 

To create a marketplace, you need a team that consists of a project manager, one or three programmers with a middle qualification, and a tester. You have to pay for each specialist. Often, designers are also involved and need to be included in the project.

No Code allows you to reduce the cost of the development team by offering a set of tools to create your product out of the box. The cost of a account is from $25 per month, Shopify will cost from $80 to $300. Launching and setting up a CMS-based platform costs from $1500, and the optimal set with a high-quality theme and a large number of available add-ons costs around $5000. Choosing a platform for MVP development in “classic” No Code solutions, such as, you can quickly test a hypothesis by building an MVP “from blocks”. And after receiving a positive result, you run the risk of encountering restrictions that do not allow you to expand and scale the product. SaaS platforms such as Shopify or Creatio are also ready to go right after registration, but offer much more opportunities for expanding functionality, being classic Low Code solutions.

CMS requires preliminary deployment and infrastructure setup, after which the business can also create MVPs on its own, choosing the appropriate add-ons from the application market. To step beyond the limitations of No Code, you can hire programmers and continue to develop your product. Each of the options has its pros and cons, and the main criterion for choosing is the right estimation of the MVP and the project as a whole from the business side. Formulate the most important things for the project in the form of a checklist, and note what can be sacrificed, and without which it will not make sense. Choose a platform that will allow you to implement not only the MVP, but also all the requirements that cannot be abandoned.

Read how to build your MVP here.


So, when you have decided on the requirements for the MVP, it’s time to find an IT agency to implement your idea. We can help to impose your specific requirements for MVP taking into account the capabilities of the CS-Cart low code platform, so that your project could keep its flexibility and scalability in the future.