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No-Code/Low-Code vs. Custom Software Development – Who Wins?

It’s fair to be skeptical of deploying low-code development. Many people believe that as no-code/low-code development becomes more popular, custom software development will become outdated. According to Gartner, low code application development will account for more than 65% of all app development by 2024, with 66% of large organizations adopting at least four low code platforms.

When should you use a no-code or low-code solution and when should you choose custom software development? Is it possible that a future without code will eliminate the need for developers?

Let’s take a closer look at low-code vs traditional development and the significant differences between them, so you can make an informed decision.

Low-Code and No-Code Platforms

The term “low code” refers to the use of small amounts of code to develop software. This option is mostly for developers who can write and hence successfully employ low-code instruments.

A non-coder, on the other hand, can use low-code platforms to create basic software. The only constraint is that they will only be able to assemble and rearrange ready-made blocks, not improve them. Thus, the main advantage of a low code platform in this scenario gets negated

No-code development appeared to be an answer to the global software developer shortage. The idea behind it is that anyone can become a citizen developer by dragging and dropping features onto a canvas and uploading images.

The idea of no-code development is quite similar to that of low-code development. People with different backgrounds are given a visual representation of software and the choice to design its logic using predetermined settings. They also arrange the software UI using drag-and-drop features.

The SCAND team is keeping pace with this trend and has created a low-code tool called Flowrigami, an open-source BPM tool, designed to edit and visualize diverse workflows and configure them using graphic components.

low code vs traditional development

Custom Software Development

Custom software development refers to working with a specialized team of developers to collect specific requirements, devise a plan, and create custom code for software to meet the specified goals. To decide on all of the features the software should have, the client consults with their in-house or outsourced development team. The IT team begins building the software once both parties have agreed on the plan. Once they’re done, the process continues to the testing stage, where QA specialists begin testing it to ensure it performs what it’s supposed to do.

Choosing The Right Option For Your Project – What To Look For?

Time

Low-code and no-code solutions are build-as-you-go so there’s no need to wait for a development team to outline and begin creating software while you use workarounds.

One of the most significant differences between custom software solutions and low-code/no-code platforms is that the platforms are available immediately after purchase, whereas custom software has to be built before it can be released.

Customization of low-code/no-code software can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. The use of a pre-built platform rather than building code from scratch results in a shorter development cycle.

Custom software development can take anywhere from 4 to 9 months to produce a finished product that the client can use.

The length of a project’s timeline might vary based on the business’s requirements and the size of the development team, although writing code from scratch always takes longer than using pre-built functionality.

Cost

The major difference in cost is where the development burden lies. With low-code and no-code platforms, the client only pays for access to the service, not for the entire development process.

A more expensive, custom-software solution has the advantage of providing a specialized development team to focus on the client’s business requirements. Smaller businesses that employ low-code/no-code solutions may need to rely on the service provider’s development team or software partners for technical support (if they don’t have an in-house staff).

There’s a myth that developing custom software is excessively costly. When compared to manually managing processes or attempting to build your own database or app, software development can be quite affordable.

Of course, the price varies based on the project’s scope and the company’s requirements; enterprise-class software will cost much more than a small-business-scale solution. The price tag may well be worth it for businesses that want highly customized software that would be impossible to develop using a low-code/no-code solution.

low code vs traditional development

Maintenance

Low-code platforms are usually aPaaS (application platform as a service), which means they’re run and maintained by the software’s owner. The hosting company is in charge of software updates and enhancements, not the business that subscribes to the service. This helps businesses with small development teams to benefit from well-maintained software without having to hire a team or rely on a third-party vendor.

As the company’s goals and needs change, there will always be adjustments or revisions. Custom software solutions will require the implementation of these upgrades by an in-house or third-party development team. Software updates will go through similar (although smaller) phases of the software development process, with teams brainstorming, designing, and testing new features.

Revisions can be strictly controlled in companies with a specialized IT team. Businesses will be able to see what modifications are being made and when they will be implemented.

Security

Security compliance is one of the major concerns in software development. If your software is based on hand-written code, you may rest assured that it is stable and safe because you are aware of all of its quirks and thus have control over it and can eliminate shortcomings at any time.

When it comes to low-code/no-code software, you have to rely on the platform, so if something goes wrong with it (for example, if it is hacked), your software will be vulnerable as well. Hackers can simply exploit security flaws and access your system and cause you software failures and data leaks. Furthermore, you should follow the platform’s requirements and use what it offers (database, cloud storage, etc.).

Customization

Even if you start working with a team of skilled developers, customizing your low-code/no-code software is nearly impossible. If you decide to add any custom features to your software at some time, integration issues may arise. You’ll almost certainly need to add hand-written code (which can be much more expensive than custom software development, not to mention the monthly fee for a membership that allows you to use a low-code builder). Custom integrations might also affect the functionality and speed of your software (which can negatively affect user experience).

You are investing in the future and profitability of your company when you choose custom software development. Digital solutions should be secure and efficient. But it’s impossible to ensure that those criteria will be preserved with low-code/no-code platforms.

low code vs traditional development

Low-Code vs Traditional Development – Who’s the Winner?

The main benefits that low-code and no-code platforms provide for businesses are simplicity, speed, and agility. They are simple to use due to drag-and-drop features and there is no need to learn a programming language. They speed up the time for software development and reduce the involvement of IT specialists. Besides, low-code and no-code platforms are agile and flexible and might be less expensive than custom software development.

No-code platforms in particular are relatively easy to pick up for non-coders which means that anyone can develop their own software quickly and easily and further adjust to their needs. For example, with the help of Wix or Tilda, you can create a simple landing page or even a website.

Custom software development will be more expensive and, of course, take longer. The cost and time for your project will depend on the complexity of your software, the functionality you want to implement, and the developers you hire (their skill set and hourly rate).

However, custom software development will help you to stand out from your competitors. What is more, you get the services of other qualified specialists such as business analysts, designers, and QA specialists.

If you need a stable solution that is easy to maintain and upgrade, custom software development is a better option than low-code/no-code platforms. Custom software development ensures that your software is a high-quality, long-lasting solution, whereas low-code/no-code development is ideal for evaluating your concept and determining whether it is worth further investment and development. Low-code/no-code platforms offer limited customization options, so integration issues may arise, and your software may become insecure. As a result, the financial risks are not worth it.

Customization is what truly distinguishes your software as a one-of-a-kind solution, so low-code platforms are currently unable to compete with custom software development. Of course, custom software development may take more time and resources, but it often yields better results in the end. It comes up with useful libraries and frameworks that speed up the development process and help build robust and scalable software.

If you want to stand out in the competition, you should provide unique custom solutions that meet your customers’ needs. This, in turn, adds value to your company.

As you can see, custom software development will not be displaced anytime soon. It isn’t the cheapest or fastest option, but it is the best investment a company can make. If you still have doubts about which option to choose, please contact SCAND and our specialists will help you make the right decision.

Author Bio

Victoria Puzhevich Lead Business Development Specialist
Victoria has over 15 years of experience in IT, keeping track of the current and future trends in the sphere, sharing expert advice and relevant industry experience.

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