Nowadays applications have become powerful tools. Not only big companies build apps to promote their goods or services and ensure customers engagement, but also many startupers tend to consider app development as a great opportunity for starting a profitable business.
But when it comes to selecting the right development technology many people get confused. There are so many coding languages, software development companies, and also free app builders that it is hard to make a choice. So sometimes the decisions are made based on the time a development may take and a budget a company or startupers have at their disposal and are ready to spend.
Creating an app using low-code builders has become extremely popular lately. This is probably one of the fastest and cost effective ways to build your own digital solution. But is low-code really so good and effective if you want to create a competitive and high-quality app in the end? Let’s take a closer look at this approach to find out.
Key advantages of low-code
If an idea to build an app came to your mind then you should have read some information about low-code builders. A simpler approach is the first thing every person starts looking for. And we do not say that it is bad. After all, why complicate everything when you can minimize hand-coding and get your application developed in no time?
As you may know, low-code builders do not use traditional coding. They allow to configure an app using graphical interfaces to drag-and-drop various elements. Common low-code builder includes:
- App manager (set of tools for building, testing, debugging and deploying an application).
- Visual IDE (environment that allows to define data models and workflow, and add usual hand-written code).
- Service connector (tool that can connect to the back-end, it also helps to manage the structure and storage of data and to retrieve it).
From the development perspective, it doesn’t really matter whether the code was written by hand or using graphical tools, the machine will be able to read it anyways. As long as the binaries are compiled correctly, the design and databases and other elements created right, your solution created using a low-code builder will be well-functioning. Low-code builders grant you a choice, you can either not use old-school code at all, or add some hand-written alterations to the app design.
But as any other coding method, low-code has its pros and cons you should be aware of before you consider investing into your own custom solution. Let’s begin with top 5 major advantages low-code platforms offer.
So as you can see, low-code software development can be a good idea if you have a limited budget, want to test your app idea in a short period of time, and need to alter your solution easily in the future. Although it is predicted that the total market of low-code builders will skyrocket to an impressive $21.2 billion by 2022, we can say that this type of software development will transform the future of coding but it cannot replace traditional approach (high-quality hand-coding).
Top low-code platforms
When choosing a low-code builder for making your application you should pay attention to numerous factors like:
- Is that platform cloud-based or web based?
- How much does it charge per month for each user?
- What business size will it be suitable for?
- Does that platform offer a free trial period so that you can check all necessary options?
Once you’ve answered these questions you can select the right platform for building an app for your business. Among numerous low-code builders present on the market, we’d recommend you to pay attention at the following:
Mendix. The price you’ll have to pay for a subscription plan depends on the number of users (starting with $1875 per month). With Mendix you can develop an app for any device and it has on-premises deployment options + public and private clouds. There is also automated backup which is great. Agile project management along with the reusable components allow to create your solution in no time and without any issues.
OutSystems. Do you need to build a web, mobile or enterprise application at an enormous speed? Then choose OutSystems because it offers an impressive set of features like: dashboards for monitoring real time performance, in-cloud or on-premises deployment, high security level of all apps and easy integration of an app with any system. The monthly price for universal subscription is quite high ($15000) but the speed and quality of this platform are totally worth it.
Appian. Despite its affordability (only $90 per month for each user), Appian offers native AI services, no-code integration through major cloud services (Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS). And what-s even better you do not need any code to integrate an enterprise system, necessary web services or data. With advanced drag and drop tools it is easier than even to create a functional app in a short period of time.
Major cons of low-code development
Although low-code development has numerous advantages and is able to save your time (which is money), you should not think that this is a number one choice for turning literally any idea into an app.
If your goal is to develop a complex unique solution with a certain set of features, visually appealing UI and intuitive UX, you’d better consider hiring a team of developers to perform traditional coding. To prove our point, let’s first take a look at some issues that low-code applications can have:
Why custom app development is better
Custom software development will cost you more and of course it will take longer. The price and time will depend on the complexity of your project, the number and nature of features you’d like to implement, and the developers you are going to hire (their skill set and hourly rate).
However custom applications will help you to stand out from your competitors. By choosing a team of developers you also receive a services of other qualified specialists:
- Business Analysts (who research the market and help you shape the idea, make it more relevant in its segment, select perfect tech stack and write specifications that are crucial for preserving deadlines and development plan);
- Software Engineers (who write high-quality code and utilize integrations, those specialists can be of different qualification and knowledgeable in different fields);
- Designers (who make your app visually appealing and recognized, ensure that UX is as intuitive and comprehensible as possible);
- QA Specialists (who perform automated and manual checkings and make sure your app is stable and functions smoothly);
- Scrum Master (who is responsible of taking care of all development stages, this person coordinates the work of all team members and ensures that everything is done on time).
If you need a reliable solution that can be maintained and easily improved afterwards, then you should prefer custom software development to low-code app building. The first one ensures that your app is a high-quality and long-lasting solution, while the latter is great in case you want to test your idea and see whether it is worthy of further investments and development. It is really hard to get a decent solution if you are building it using low-code platforms. After all there are minimum customization options, there can be issues with integrations, your app may end up being unstable and rejected by stores. So the risks and economy of finance are not worth it.
By choosing custom software development you are investing in the future and value of your business. Digital solutions should be reliable, handy and not fail you or your users. And with low-code apps it is hard to guarantee that those conditions will be preserved.
To sum it up
Low-code builders have really transformed app production. People without any specific technical background can easily master low-code development and create a decent solution very fast. But as any other software making technology low-code has its pros and cons. While being time and cost effective, unfortunately it lacks flexibility when it comes to customization and integrations.
But customization is what really makes your app one-of-a-kind-solution, so at the moment low-code builders cannot surpass traditional coding. Custom software development may require more resources but yet it provides better solutions in the end.