No-code is the latest buzzword amongst startups. The idea of building apps without writing a single line of code sounds appealing to tech founders. As such, many are questioning if no-code is replacing custom development for good in the near future.
Well, no. We believe that both no-code and custom development have their respective roles in the startup and product development landscape.
If you’re planning to build an app, the key is understanding which type of development works best in your particular case.
No-code vs custom development
Custom development is an approach that many startup founders are familiar with. The process involves a full software development lifecycle, including establishing project requirements, coding, and testing in multiple stages.
If you want to build an app with traditional development, you’ll have to hire a team of developers or pick up coding on your own. Custom development is code-intense, which means that a huge part of the development is spent on writing and testing lines of codes.
Founders have no choice but to choose custom development in the past and with it, challenges like finding skilled developers and uncertainties in the project timeline.
The emergence of no-code development offers an alternative for startups. As the name implies, no-code development makes building an app possible without coding skills. No-code technologies hide the coding part of software development from users by introducing drag-and-drop components.
No-code platforms like Bubble, Thunkable, and Adalo have turned brilliant ideas into visually appealing, functional apps. Instead of figuring how to code, startups develop apps by dragging the building blocks onto the app interface.
How To Choose Between No-code and Custom Development?
Given how no-code has shaken the software industry, it’s tempting to treat no-code as a one-size-fits-all solution. Before you do that, consider these factors and find out if no-code is indeed the ideal choice.
If you’re tight on budget, going no-code is the wiser choice. Conventional development is known to be expensive. It could cost you tens of thousands of dollars just to build an MVP for an app. You’ll need to pay for the developers working on the app, either on an hourly basis or per project.
With no-code platforms, you can build an app for a fraction of what it costs to do the same with custom development. Your commitment to no-code development is the subscription for the platforms. Usually, a plan optimized for startup costs around a hundred to a few hundred dollars per month.
Even if you have ample budget to work with, you may still want to opt for no-code development for most of the app. The reason is simple. No-code is much more efficient to turn business processes into an app compared to manual coding.
Custom development is a time-taxing approach. Unless you have plenty of time to spare and are willing to go through the grueling tasks of coding, testing, and bug-fixing, you’ll want to do away with custom development.
The amount of work involved in building a typical app with custom development averages 2-5 months. With no-code, you’ll have the delivery timeline reduced by up to 80%. Instead of months, it’s possible to get an app ready in 2-3 weeks.
For example, we’ve built Fantas.ly, an influencer marketplace for TikTokers, in one week. It surpassed the co-founder’s expectation as he expected a timeline of 2 weeks.
Time is a precious commodity, especially for startup owners. Rather than spending months building an app, you’ll have the edge with the no-code approach. You can get the app to the market in the shortest time possible and start getting feedback from the users.
Security and Stability Requirements
When you’re building no-code apps, you’re relinquishing control on security and stability to the platform. While you’ll have access to functionalities like instant deployment, real-time databases, and scalability, you’re also subjected to the limitations of the particular platform.
For example, any latent bugs on the platform will affect the app after it’s released. It’s also possible to face vulnerabilities such as data leaks if there are inherent security concerns on the no-code platform.
Therefore, it’s best to do your due diligence and check out the reviews by existing users. Every platform is unique in functionalities, strengths, and weaknesses. Be sure that you’re choosing a platform that suits your requirements.
There are circumstances when no-code is not the best fit despite its various appeals. If you require on-premise data storage, custom development is the better approach as it’s impossible to do so with no-code.
Complex Logic and Low-Level Features
No-code is a great fit if you’re building apps that are similar to common ones in the marketplace. For example, you can use no-code platforms to build Uber-like apps, food delivery apps, online stores, and dating apps (check some templates here).
These common apps have definite structures and functionalities that are proven to users. Therefore, no-code platforms will have the needed templates to quickly build one for your startup.
However, you can’t use no-code to build highly complex apps or one that requires access to low-level hardware. If your app needs direct access to the device’s sensors and camera, then no-code is out of the question.
Similarly, no-code apps platforms are not suitable for building apps that require complex data processing. In such cases, you’ll have no choice but to resort to custom development. At least writing part of your product with custom code (this approach is called "low-code").
Cost of Maintenance Support
Just because you’ve released an app, it doesn’t mean that you’re done with the technical team. You’ll still need ongoing support to address changes and issues that may arise.
With custom development, you’ll need to have a team of developers on payroll or outsource tasks to a 3rd party IT firm. Either way, you’ll be taking on considerable expenses while growing your startup.
By choosing no-code development, support and update are not only easier but also less expensive. Instead of relying on skilled programmers, you can make changes to the app on your own. It’s a matter of tweaking the building blocks on the app.
Even if you can’t spare time to manage the app, you can get no-code developers like Sommo to do so and still enjoy a massive saving compared to hiring a team of developers.
So, is no-code or custom development the right choice for you? We’ve given you a checklist to consider.
No-code is possibly the best option if you’re looking for a low-budget, quick, flexible development process. Unless you have plans for a complex, one-of-a-kind app, no-code will prove to be a game-changer.
Ready to bring your ideas to life with no-code? Talk to our team now.