Low code vs traditional development

Low code development platforms allow you to create apps faster than traditional development methods without writing a single line of code. Due to their growing appeal, the global market for low code development platforms (LCDP) is predicted to rise from £10.4 billion ($13.2 billion USD) to almost £36 billion ($45.5 billion USD) by 2025.

But when it comes to low code vs traditional development – which is best? Find out which option is better for you.

What is low code development?

Low code development is a cloud-based solution that uses visual interfaces and minimal coding to create websites and apps. It doesn’t require deep programming expertise and supports quick and efficient software development involving templates, pre-built modules, automated processes, and simple drag-and-drop. Because LCDPs only require basic coding knowledge, it means non-developers can launch new apps themselves, accelerating time to market and streamlining operations. Not only that, but low code development is typically more cost-effective than traditional development, making it ideal for businesses with smaller budgets.

Companies leverage low code development platforms for a variety of reasons such as:

  • Faster development to market turnaround
  • Reduced pressure on IT teams
  • In-house digital asset creation
  • Increased efficiency and accessibility

Despite its many benefits, low code development is not as customisable as traditional development. It is more common with businesses that are already proficient in some degree of coding and know how to get the best out of low code tools.

What are the key features of low code development?

Several key features set low code development apart from traditional coding.

User interface

Low code platforms provide a user-friendly interface allowing you to design and customise software applications using a simple drag-and-drop approach. This means users with even basic technical and coding knowledge can assist in app development.


You can grow and modify applications with many scalable low code options, allowing you to adapt to evolving business needs and challenges.


Many low code tools have connectors and application programming interfaces (APIs) that allow you to seamlessly integrate with other systems, databases, and digital suites, saving time and money.

Compliance & security

Software development environments including low code platforms meet strict security and compliance standards to ensure the safety of both data and applications. As platforms are cloud-based, they also include upgrades and security patches to keep software and data safe.

Automated testing

Automated testing with low code development allows you to review and validate software apps to identify and resolve issues early in the development process.

Cross-platform capabilities

From desktop to web and mobile, apps created with low code development can be utilised across multiple platforms. This can help businesses improve productivity, innovate faster and increase their profit margin.

Lower costs

Low code is typically cheaper than traditional development due to the shorter amount of time it takes to develop a software product and the fewer labour costs involved. This makes it an attractive option for businesses with limited budgets.

What is traditional development?

Traditional development relies on manual coding to create web applications. It typically involves building software apps using manual coding, algorithms and flexible data structures.

Because traditional development follows a linear process where phases are completed sequentially, it requires extensive planning, testing and documentation. As each element of a website or program has its unique code, traditional developers must overcome a slew of technical challenges found in every project. While this often requires more time and money than low code development, it can deliver greater levels of customisation.

Companies may use traditional development for:

  • Web apps with specialised interactivity
  • Projects that require a high degree of customisation
  • Enterprise-level coding requiring full control over how code is written
  • Creating apps in any language

What are the key features of traditional development?

Projects with clearly defined and stable requirements are ideal for a traditional development approach. The key features of traditional development include:

Extensive coding

Code must be written scratch, allowing developers to implement complex features and meet specific challenges using their expertise in programming languages and algorithms.

Adaptable data structures

Data structures and algorithms can be customised and optimised in line with an application’s requirements to deliver optimum performance. Apps can be developed for numerous platforms without the restrictions commonly associated with low code options.


You can maintain full control over an app’s performance and behaviour with traditional development, making it an ideal solution for complex projects.


Integration with external systems, databases, or legacy software is easily achieved through traditional development and typically with a greater level of flexibility.


Intricate algorithms and complex coding can be introduced more easily and effectively using traditional coding methods, though this can hinder certain response times.

Customisation and control

Traditional development delivers full control over coding, architecture and design. This supports the creation of customised solutions that can be tailored to the needs of any project brief.

Low code vs traditional development – which is better?

There is no straight answer to the question of which is better in the low code vs traditional development debate. Each solution has its pros and cons, and the one you choose should be the most suitable for your specific requirements.

However, many businesses across numerous industries are leveraging the power of low code technology to transform their daily operations and improve efficiency.

Below is a quick comparison of the benefits and drawbacks of each solution.

 Low Code DevelopmentTraditional Development
Coding ExpertiseMinimal coding experience is required, making it more accessible for businesses of all sizes.In-depth knowledge of programming, algorithms, and software architecture is needed.
Project PlanningVirtually zero planning is required around system requirements, enabling drag-and-drop visual interfaces to work on numerous operating systems.Specific environments, programme languages, and device targets must be agreed before the outset of a project. Otherwise, systems developed for Android won’t work as well on Mac OS desktop, for example.
ResourcesPlatforms are cloud-based and managed externally so they come with upgrades and security patches built in, requiring less IT resources and lower maintenance costs.More resources and a larger team of highly skilled developers and programmers are needed to build and maintain web applications using traditional development methods.
Build TimeDrag-and-drop tools, visual workflows and pre-build features and components enable rapid development of websites and apps.Extensive coding, programming and testing make traditional development slower than low code.
DeploymentKey functions are pre-tested before they’re added to a platform, reducing the time and effort you’d spend testing with traditional development.Time and effort required to test and verify each piece of code in a pre-production setting before it can be advanced to the production stage.
IntegrationBuilt-in connections and application programming interfaces (APIs) allow seamless integration with other databases and systems.Manual integration required using custom code and application programming interfaces (APIs), putting more strain on time and resources.
AgilityModifications and updates can be easily implemented due to the agile nature of low code. Apps can be released, new features added, and errors fixed quickly.Changes and fixes are slower to implement with a traditional development approach, although custom web apps are compatible with agile development techniques.
CustomisationLess control over customisation and functionality than traditional development, though some low code platforms allow the adoption of some user interface (UI) elements.Full control over all elements and components of the web application, resulting in a highly adaptable and customisable app to meet specific requirements and project needs.
FlexibilitySome flexibility but always within the limitations of the platform.High degree of flexibility that supports a tailored approach to app development.
SecurityMost platforms comply with data protection requirements, but customisation may limit security.Direct control over security, but heavy reliance on teams to deploy safety measures which can harm software quality.
Maintenance & SupportApps require little maintenance as updates occur automatically, thus reducing strain on resources.Custom web apps and coding often need regular updating and maintenance and require a dedicated development team.  
ScalabilityEnhanced scalability for adding new users as the business grows and demands change.Only possible with a highly skilled software development team, thus increasing costs.
CostLow code development is more cost-effective as it requires fewer human resources or technical expertise.Costs are typically much higher as traditional development requires a dedicated development team to function.

While low code platforms offer numerous advantages over conventional methods, it is not a universal replacement for the traditional approach to web app development.

Essentially, the best option for you will depend on the specific requirements and complexity of your project, the size of your budget, and the resources you have available. You could also consider combining low code tools with traditional custom app practices and achieve a robust, enterprise-grade solution that can be adapted to any project. Not only could this provide a fully-customised software option, but with minimum coding and in quicker time.

Need help choosing between low code or traditional development?

Talk to one of our expert advisers about your project and we’ll help you decide the best app development option for your specific needs. Contact us today.