Client Portal overview
September 15, 2021

No-Code or API? What would work best for your business?

Key takeaways:
  • Both API and no-code platforms have their pros and cons
  • An API allows greater flexibility but requires developmental knowledge
  • No-code platforms offer customizable pre-defined solutions that push to market within a day
  • Determine which solution can serve you best by using our checklist

It shouldn't come as a surprise that the demand for online platforms is rising, and therefore so is the need for developers. Unfortunately, as the tech world grows, there aren't enough suitable candidates to answer the call. Fortunately, at the same time, there is a rise in citizen developers and no-code development tools. Making the creation of websites, apps, and business portals far more accessible than ever.

When it comes to your business, you may be faced with a tricky decision: Should I create my business tools using an API platform from scratch, with the help of a developer, or should I opt for a no-code framework that I can execute myself? There are many pros and cons to either approach. If you're stuck wondering what does each do, does one leave me at a disadvantage, or which would serve my business best? We're here to help you break it down. Let's cut through the jargon and get down to business.

What is an Application Programming Interface (API)?

You can think of an API like a messenger for your data, like a digital postman. For example, you send a letter to your sister; the API is like a middleman that delivers the letter to her and collects a letter in return, creating an information loop that pings back and forth between. It's the vehicle in which your business can connect to a new platform. Like if you're looking to add a new onboarding system or loyalty program to your existing digital space, making the experience feel cohesive.

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've likely got several APIs connected to their platform. They might use PayPal for payment, Google Maps for navigation, Twilio for when new users sign up, and Mailchimp to send out ride receipts. In fact, 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 together and smooth out any kinks over time; otherwise, it can lead to security risks.

mobile navigation on car panel
Businesses, such as taxi or delivering companies, use multiple APIs connected to their products.

What is No Code?

No-code allows you to create websites, applications, onboarding workflows, and software with no 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 like HelloFlow, are built on an API. However, 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 it was 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 & 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 all the nitty-gritty parts, whilst you, the platform's user, simply have to add the components you 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 a no-code platform can be built by just about anyone with basic computer knowledge. 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 can be seen as a more heavily involved approach where you'll have to invest more time and effort. In contrast, no-code is totally hands-off in terms of technical aspects whilst still giving you full 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 you're in the financial or legal industry, how your touchpoints work affects every avenue of your business. So how do you choose?

API and no-code - comparison in table
Overview of API and no-code differences. Choose the best solution for your business.

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 great for businesses that require full-proof solutions without a moment to waste 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 are not burdened by 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. Use our handy checklist below to uncover which is best for your business.

If you're looking for tried and tested solutions that deliver an impeccable customer-facing experience, try HelloFlow's no-code platform to build your onboarding solutions, client portals, and more. Book an online demo today with our in-house technician to see its full capabilities.

Latest articles