Demand for online platforms is rising, but there aren’t enough suitable developers to answer the call. Fortunately, there is a rise in no-code development tools enabling the creation of websites, apps and business portals that are far more accessible than ever.
Should you create your business tools using an API platform from scratch, with the help of a developer, or use a no-code framework that you can execute yourself? There are many pros and cons to either approach. Let’s cut through the jargon and examine the different approaches to creating digital applications.
What is an Application Programming Interface (API)?
An API allows computer programs to communicate with each other easily. An organization creates definitions and protocols as a standard to interact with its services. Other organizations can use that standard to seamlessly add that service into their offerings without building it all from scratch.
There are many trusted API solutions on the market that leading technology companies use. Pick any modern taxi company as an example; within their system, they likely have several APIs connected to their platform. They might use PayPal for payment, Google Maps for navigation, Twilio when new users sign up, and Mailchimp to send out ride receipts. Uber built their entire platform using APIs.
Hosting with an API provider allows you to own a part of the code and provides varying degrees of customizability. When using an API, you’ll require a developer to help you connect all the working parts and smooth out any kinks over time to prevent security risks.
What is no-code?
No code allows you to create websites, applications, onboarding workflows and software without technical know-how. No-code uses a simple drag and drop solution, enabling you to build a platform without writing a single line of code.
No-code platforms are built on an API. But it forgoes the complexities of implementing several APIs and has everything nestled neatly together in one intuitive platform. Before no-code was around, it was far too complex for someone without a coding background to create their own portal or too stringent to apply to different businesses.
No-code has helped open up possibilities with greater simplicity; now, anyone can be a creator with the right tools. With no-code, you can build ideas with a few clicks. It’s a fast and highly effective solution that seamlessly integrates the flows you create into your platform while also saving you from high developmental costs.
“The future of coding is no coding at all.” – Chris Wanstrath, CEO at GitHub.
How no-code and API differ
The most significant difference between API and no-code is how they are built, maintained and managed. No-code platforms are a front-end interface of an API, meaning the no-code provider handles the technical integrations allowing the user to drag-and-drop components they want. With an API, the user has to handle all the complexities of the code and implementation.
An API needs a developer to integrate and manage it, whereas anyone with basic computer knowledge can develop no-code applications. When it comes to ballparking timelines, an API solution requires more time to develop and ongoing maintenance. On the other hand, no-code solutions can be launched within a few hours and can be edited without being taken offline at all.
API platforms are a more heavily involved approach where you’ll have to invest more time and effort. In contrast, no-code is hands-off regarding technical aspects while giving you complete control. These two approaches can affect your business in many ways, like how you expand, your customer experience, compliance-facing issues, security and digital transformation. Whether in the financial or legal industry, your touchpoints work affects every aspect of your business. So how do you choose?
Which one would work for you best?
The main factor you should consider is your business needs. Suppose your business relies on staying agile and thrives on simplicity. Then, no-code solutions certainly have an advantage here, using pre-defined modules to build your desired platform. No-code is excellent for businesses requiring solutions without wasting a moment and looking to save costs.
On the other hand, API platforms are more suited for companies with more resources at their disposal. It’s ideal for brands that have less time constraints and can accommodate slower time-to-market. API platforms are often more flexible when it comes to customization as your dedicated team of developers can create to your exact specifications.
Understanding the pros and cons of API and no-code platforms is vital as your business progresses on its digital transformation initiatives. An API allows greater flexibility but requires developmental knowledge. No-code platforms offer customizable pre-defined solutions that push to market within a day. Determining which solution can serve you best will help your business develop and optimize your offerings appropriately.