The pursuit of abstraction and simplifying technical processes to make them more accessible to the masses isn’t new. No more is this true than in the tech world. Computer programming and development have been considered borderline sorcery by a large portion of the population for quite some time.
The idea that these complex computer programs can be simplified and made accessible so that anyone who uses them can make them sounds almost too good to be true. But what seemed impossible has become a tangible reality in the form of no-code and low-code app development solutions and they’ve been around for a while. Most people would be familiar with Microsoft Excel and Access as popular examples that simplified the data processing and database solutions process. This approach was also seen in websites becoming very easy to make requiring no technical skills.
With all the action moving towards mobile apps, they’ve become the new staging grounds for the no-code app development solutions vs. custom development debate. Similar to most similar types of debates like outsourcing vs. in-house development, the right choice will always be highly dependent on business needs and preferences. This article will go over the benefits and drawbacks of both and what you should consider when making a decision.
No-code app development solutions
Commonly known as app builders, they are cheap and ready-made alternatives to custom developing a mobile app. App builders require little to no coding knowledge and allow non-technical people to develop fully functional mobile apps.
Benefits of no-code app development solutions
The most obvious benefit to no-code app development solutions is making everything easier to use. One of the daunting aspects of coding is not being able to see the direct representation of what you’re writing in terms of the end result. With app builders, you will be able to drag and drop full modules that look familiar to any end-user. Anyone who uses an app can probably recognize what makes a good app, but understanding how to achieve that is another matter. This is what no-code app development solutions bring.
Cut down time-to-market
Having pre-built modules that you can visually bundle together doesn’t just make things easier, it also makes development a lot faster. A lot of development time goes into coding and testing out the different parts of the code. With reliable pre-tested modules already at your disposal and not having to manually code everything makes everything much faster. Getting your app to market as fast as possible is one of the key challenges most companies face.
Tech companies worldwide are adopting an agile approach mainly thanks to the increased productivity that comes with it. Getting things done faster, allows room for more things to be done in the same amount of time. Increasing productivity is one of the very appealing benefits to adopting no-code app development solutions and it’s easy to understand why.
It’s no secret that every company wants to reduce costs when possible. App builders help you cut down on developer costs. Hiring an entire mobile team (if you don’t already have one) doesn’t come cheap. And how much resources are poured into hiring talent reflects on the resulting quality. Combine that with the reduced time it takes to build an app and no-code app development solutions become an appealing option.
Better fulfill business needs
One of the biggest challenges that face mobile teams is translating the communicated business needs to a product. There are plenty of pitfalls that occur with cross-team communication resulting in an unfulfilled product. Having an easy-to-use tool that any business user can use to create the app they envision will help companies fulfill business needs much easier.
Custom app development
Custom app development is what we’ve been used to up until now. This can include iOS, Android, or cross-platform development to build an app from the ground up. Development time is longer and requires technical expertise to successfully build a functional app. However, nothing can compare to an expertly executed custom app in any aspect.
Benefits of custom app development
The main benefit when considering custom app development is the sheer difference in quality. Building everything from the ground up and being in control of all the prototyping and testing can help you fine-tune the exact level of quality you’re after. With pre-built modules in no-code app development solutions, you are limited by the quality of the modules and can’t really do anything to improve them.
No-code app solutions by default cater to a very wide range of requirements and therefore the same glove needs to fit all. Compared with building your app for your specific requirements from the ground up makes a huge difference in performance. You can manage resources to optimize performance based on your app and the functionality it needs specifically no more no less.
There are around 2 million apps available on both the App Store and the Google Play store. Any new app faces an uphill battle to become relevant and successful. Using an app builder already used by hundreds if not thousands of apps before you will not do anything to make you stand out. Building an app from the ground up goes a long way to making your product unique.
No-code app development solutions are able to cover the basic functionalities of an app that most people will need. The more complex or specific requirements your app needs the more control you will need over it. Depending on the complexity of the app required a no-code app development solution might not cut it. Some enterprise apps might not have huge quality and design requirements if they don’t need to fight for users. But there is no substitute for having a ground of knowledge and control of the app.
What is right for you
Ideally, everyone should be looking to maximize the quality of any customer-facing product. Especially since a lot of companies nowadays work through an app exclusively. Standing out amongst the millions of other apps around you is also very critical to becoming successful. Whenever possible you should always take the custom app development. Not all companies are able or have the resources to get the desired custom app built. So here are the things you should consider before building your app to know which route is right for you.
The biggest factor to consider is what resources you have at your disposal when it comes to building an app. Money is not the only resource to consider. Time is also a big resource and a lot of companies cannot afford a lengthy development phase. Even though we have argued against it as well, outsourcing your app’s development is a better alternative to using an app builder. It saves on both time and money and doesn’t require someone internally to build the app while still getting some of the benefits of a custom-built app.
There are various cases of apps that are too specific or cater to different platforms that popular app builders will not support. In which case you will have to take the custom development route. Carefully assessing business needs and requirements can go a long way to getting the best app possible.
One of the biggest challenges that faces app builders is offering varying customization options. Depending on your design needs and what you want the app to look like in the end will help you decide if it’s possible to do with an app builder. Most specific designs will need to be hand-coded into the app.