Low-Code/No-Code Platform or Custom Development? What Should You Choose?

In  Development

In a fast-evolving environment such as technology, businesses look to increase efficiency, return on investment and improve user experience. For many decades, companies had only two options in building their web app, either using an off-the-shelf solution or choosing a custom software development. Because of the advancement of technology, we also have a third option that has become quite popular low-code/no-code (LC/NC) platforms. Low-code and no-code platforms can be quickly implemented, accommodate business requirements, and are cheaper. Let’s dive deeper into LC/NC software, its benefits, disadvantages, and when they can accommodate an enterprise.   

What Are Low-Code and No-Code Development Platforms?

Low-Code and No-Code Development Platforms

A low-code/no-code development platform is a visual software development environment that allows in-house developers and citizen developers to use drag and drop application components and combine them to create web or mobile applications. 

Most of the time, the low-code / no-code development platform is discussed synonymously because of the development methods and capabilities they encompass. When you look up a low-code development platform, you most likely will come across other terms such as no-code or zero-code. This does not mean that these platforms are not using code. Both of them are still using lines of code, but you do not or might not see it. The difference between the low-code and no-code solutions is that a low-code development platform allows you to drag and drop pre-written features and functions, but you can add custom code to improve and brand your app capabilities. A no-code development platform will not allow you to see or change the code, and all you can do is drag and drop components and functionalities such as call-to-actions, forms, etc. 

A low-code / no-code development platform provides an enterprise or a team of developers with a suitable suite of tools to create business apps and workflow automation swiftly. 

The Gartner LCAP Report in 2021 claims that by 2025, 70% of new applications developed by companies will use low-code or no-code technologies.

The Pros and Cons of No-Code/Low-Code Software

From start-ups to big companies, the need for a powerful platform to fit their business operations, ensure customer engagement, and advertise their products and services to the world is fundamental. Let’s get deeper into the value that a no-code or low-code platform can bring to your projects and what are their drawbacks.  

  • The first and most important advantage is the rapid application development and delivery. This is an excellent opportunity to meet business demand for speed when going up to the market.
  • You can make changes fast. This way, you avoid development cycles.
  • You will always stay compliant no matter how fast regulations are changing. Therefore, you have better risk management with no-code, low-code solutions. 
  • Easy configuration process because of the drag-and-drop interfaces. 
  • You can upgrade the customer experience. Low-code and no-code tools allow the automation of multiple business operations. The rapidity of the application development process and the solid business process features contribute to creating a better app, resulting in an enhanced customer experience. 
  • Better team productivity because your business teams can build their app without talking with the development teams. You will eliminate the gap between the IT and the support teams. You do not need complex code. Therefore, your teams will get things done faster and solve problems more efficiently, leading to better productivity. 
  • Excellent security from the start. No-code and low-code applications automatically install security patches or security upgrades. Therefore, you don’t need professional developers to implement the code for security fixes.  
  • Business users can be more hands-on in problem-solving. These platforms do not require coding skills, as their graphical user interface can be used by people with no coding experience, eliminating traditional development methods.  

The drawbacks of a no-code / low-code application development platform

Capgemini pinpoints that a new trend in technology is growing: enterprise low-code application platforms. However, these business applications have their issues and challenges.  

  • Because the no-code and low-code development tools are cheap and easy to use, often business leaders can lose track of what their non-technical business users are building. This means you will have no visibility and oversight over the used or generated data, and the data can also be wrongly exposed in the app.  
  • You can face challenges in managing, maintaining and scaling the app. Moreover, you might have to pay extra for expanding your infrastructure and storage
  • You depend on third parties to diminish risks and patch vulnerabilities. You might also have to change your update schedule to fit the vendor.    
  • You cannot customize your app. LC/NC platforms are offering limited options to develop customised software systems.  
  • You will have limited integration options, especially for companies that use internal systems or other fundamental enterprise applications for their business operations. 
  • If you need a no-code or low-code app developer, it is hard to find one because this is a vague area of expertise.
  • You should have a clear understanding of your requirements from the start. If you want to change anything in the future, you might not be able to do it. 
  • You do not own the source code of your app. If you want to switch vendors, you cannot migrate your app. The implementation code will remain hidden and locked. 

What Is Custom Development Software?

Custom Development Software

Traditional software development is a flexible solution, a powerful tool that accommodates the most imperative business ideas. Custom development uses traditional methods to create complex applications. We use the term “traditional” to reflect that developers will write lines of code to create custom solutions. 

Custom app development involves the process of designing, from A to Z, software applications that perfectly fit the needs of an enterprise. Custom software uses traditional coding. An experienced developer or a team of developers will collect all the data regarding the business’s specific requirements, develop a plan, and use manual coding to create a custom code that meets all those requirements.  

Custom applications need custom coding. Therefore, you need a wide range of resources such as skilled application developers, software requirements, fitting technologies stack, and software tools to write and manage code.

The Pros and Cons of Custom Software Development

We have discussed the advantages and challenges of an NC/LC solution. Now is the time to see the custom software’s development benefits and cons.

Let’s start with the advantages:

  • Extensive scalability and functionality – you can change, add or eliminate features at any time. A custom application will allow you to choose the technology, tools, hosting and APIs to fit your needs perfectly.  
  • Ownership of the source code – everything that is built, is your property.  
  • Unlimited customisation – you can build your app as you like, create features that fit your industry niche, and brand it to get a competitive edge.
  • No hidden costs – you get upfront costs from the start. 
  • Integrations – a custom software will allow the integration of any internal tools a business might use. Therefore, you don’t have to change your business process management and workflow to fit your new app. The custom solution will adapt to your business. 
  • No workflow disruptions – the system will be built around your business workflows. 
  • Polished development process – the development team will follow and implement best practices. Therefore, your app will be efficiently maintained, updated and released to the market.     

Pros and Cons of Custom Software Development

The cons of custom development

  • Expensive to develop – if you want custom development, you should expect a high cost. 
  • Slower release time – compared to a faster development such as a no-code or low-code platform, a custom development takes longer to be released. It can take from months to a year to get live. If you need something in between, there are plenty of box solutions to choose from.
  • Needs plenty of resources – you will need a complete team of developers, UX/UI designers, QA specialists, a project manager and a digital marketing or SEO specialist.  

When Low-Code/No-Code Development Work?

Gartner predicts that low-code application programming will be the most popular method of developing applications by 2024, especially for small and medium-size projects. We cannot argue the value of these applications when it comes to creating simple mobile or web apps. 

We stand by the fact that LC/NC platforms work when: 

  • businesses require simple solutions with minimal customisation;
  • enterprises use it as an internal system instead of a customer-facing application;
  • your application doesn’t need to have complex processes or complex workflows;
  • you do not have digital projects with a long-term perspective;   
  • you do not need multiple third-party integrations;
  • your business software does not require a one-of-a-kind user interface;
  • you don’t need to control the future of the app fully.  

Our Advice: No-Code/Low-Code Vs. Custom Development – Which Should You Pick?

We are strong advocates for custom software development for medium and large-size businesses. Before making any decision, we strongly recommend you to think about what your business will be like in the future and if you will need extra functionalities or scalability. It all depends on you and your future business plans. 

We recommend a low-code platform or a no-code platform for companies that want a fast development, and such a platform can accommodate your specific business needs. However, LC/NC will not replace traditional application development. 

If you need help choosing the right solution for you, contact us today! We’ll ensure that all your requirements are met by applying only best practices. You can also learn more about development topics on our blog. Check out our Clutch reviews and our case studies to better grasp our work. 

Let’s bring your company to the top of your competition!   

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I choose a development platform?

Have a clear understanding of your needs and goals, see if the platform accommodates your future plans, do your research and consult with specialists.

Is low-code / no-code the future?

Trends show that the usage of a no-code / low-code platform is growing and gaining more popularity. However, they will not replace traditional development.

What companies use low-code platforms?

Small to medium-sized businesses with minimum requirements on branding, customisation, and features.

When should you choose traditional development?

When you are a medium to a large company, need business-specific features and plan to expand. You have complex logic behind your app and unique business operations and workflows.