High Code vs Low Code: Which One Does Your Business Need?

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Friday, August 13, 2021

Many businesses struggle to understand the differences and decide between various CMS applications and architectures. But what if there was a solution that combined both for all your business and user requirements?

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High Code vs Low Code: Which One Does Your Business Need?

When assessing high code, low code and no code solutions, businesses often believe it’s a case of one or the other. There are various key differences and benefits of each approach, resulting in specific advantages for the marketing, IT and developer teams that will be using them.

These solutions are often framed in the argument of choosing between modern and legacy applications, but it’s important to first understand the differences between these approaches. In fact, many will try to avoid a legacy or ‘monolithic’ solution altogether by building a decoupled application, but what they actually end up building is a monolithic decoupled application.

The difference between monolithic and modern applications

Many view monolithic or ‘legacy’ applications as the opposite of their modern equivalents, but this isn’t the case. 

  • A monolithic application describes software that is created as a large interconnected jumble of code, hence why it is often referred to as ‘spaghetti code’. Monolithic applications are characterized by high coupling and low cohesion, often resulting in slow development and technical debt.
  • A modern application focuses on composability - where each component (service, module, web component, content piece, etc) is independent and can be assembled individually. Composability allows these components to be selected and assembled in various combinations, resulting in low coupling and high cohesion.

A system with high composability can better satisfy specific user and business requirements.

The benefits of selecting a modern application over a monolithic one are clear. The real choice is deciding on the method of assembly - specifically high code, low code or no code.

High code vs low code vs no code

  • High code: High dependency on developers to write and push code. Typically a decoupled or native application.
  • Low code: Configuration and low code tools. Content is decoupled from code deployment.
  • No code: Simpler tools and interfaces. Greater standardization, but fewer options.

Advantages of high code

  • Smaller system = smaller problems: High code solutions are smaller and benefit from more streamlined procedures, making them easier to manage. In contrast, low code requires far more management and configuration to operate successfully. This means staff must go through a more in-depth training scheme to fully understand a low codesolution's capabilities.
  • Less complexity: Compared to a sleek toolbox of high code, a low code solution has more tools than the average developer or marketer might need for success. These added features can be beneficial for larger organizations with multiple departments that can make use of them, but can overcomplicate and provide confusion for a large percentage of users.
  • Focus on developer capabilities: Within high code, there is more equilibrium between what marketers and developers require. High code was made with developers in mind and therefore focuses exclusively on the developer experience. The lack of focus within low code on the developer experience means it may unintentionally restrict developers' capabilities, similar to how a legacy CMS can put the brakes on a project.

Advantages of low code

  • Marketer-minded: Compared to a high code solution, the marketing capabilities of the low code approach are unparalleled. With features such as ready-made tools, previews and presentation layers, marketers feel connected and involved with the content they produce and aren't just left staring at lines of code.
  • Flexibility and speed: Content delivery is leagues faster than its high code counterpart due to the vast flexibility of templates. Marketers can create content and deploy it to multiple platforms without working in IT, opening up the space for a more creative approach.
  • You are in control: With more governance over front-end frameworks and the possibility of limiting 'sectors' to individuals, there is increased consistency and control over the content.
  • Complete system functionality: Unlike high code, a low code solution provides all of the front-end tools, templates and functionality required to build comprehensive solutions, which must be connected to templates to reach anywhere near the same functionality.

Advantages of no code

  • No dependency on developers: Similar to low code, no code doesn’t require input or maintenance from developers.
  • Speed and efficiency: Without the aforementioned dependency on developers, no code solutions are great for solving individual business or department issues, without having to take the attention of IT teams away from important business projects (or wait for these teams to build them).
  • No need for training: The nature of no-code means teams need very little training to use it, allowing anyone within the business to be able to build from it.

Selecting a solution for your business

So how can you determine which is best suited to your business requirements?

The truth is there is no one-size-fits-all answer - it is a highly individualized decision businesses need to make, with the most crucial factor being your content strategy. No single assembly approach can address all the needs of your organization.

However, with Acquia CMS (which is built in with Drupal), you have a single tool that can be used for high code, low code, no code and hybrid applications - one tool that can meet the needs of an entire organization. 

Acquia CMS supports all three assembly models and can serve all use cases. When selected as the default tool for managing content, the process of deciding which assembly model to use can be made per project, not as a monolithic choice across the whole business.

Instead of having to choose a limited tool and forcing the whole business to adopt this, selecting a flexible, multipurpose tool can ensure individual users and functions have the freedom to select the assembly model that best suits their requirements.

3 things to consider when selecting CMS architecture

  • Choose a flexible tool that can support all three assembly models (high code, low code and no code)
  • Find an implementation partner that shares your vision and can help guide you through the process.
  • Determine who owns the experience and if it needs to be code driven or content driven.

Both high code and low code approaches have their perks, and it is essential to determine your goals and content structure before embarking on this decision. If neither sounds perfect or your business requires a blended approach, there are hybrid options available that can combine the best of both worlds and truly tailor to your business.

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