low-code platforms vs custom development outsourcing

How Low-Code Application Development Can Make Or Break Your Software Product

Andrew Zola
Andrew Zola on Linkedin

Low-code application development has gained significant momentum in recent years. This phenomenon can be attributed to the pressures surrounding digital transformation along with a lack of top talent.

Furthermore, when time is of the essence, just to keep up with competitors who adapt rapidly to industry changes, low-code provides a great opportunity for non-technical business people to initiate changes in business processes.

What is low-code app development?

Low-code development can be described as a type of technology that enables the creating of apps without coding. This type of “lego building blocks” approach eliminates the need for heavy hand coding and focuses on just a configuration of functions.

But this method comes with the risk completely derailing yourself at a later date (because of myopic focus on the speed of development). What’s more, the success of any low-code initiative will depend on identifying the right situations that are best suited for low-code app development.

What are the pros of low-code app development?

The primary advantage of low-code app development is speed because when you build applications on a low-code platform, you don’t have to even think about the following:

  • Coding rules
  • Scalability
  • Screen sizes
  • Traffic routing

When you eliminate most of the code with out-of-the-box functionality, you automatically get to production a lot faster. This means that something that might have taken six months or many years to create can be cut down to a matter of weeks.

Furthermore, many platforms enable modular integration, so you can develop a number of smaller applications that can later work together to achieve the overall goal of the project.

While speed is a great advantage for any business, when it comes to working with low-code platforms, you have to keep the disadvantages in mind to avoid racking up an enormous amount of technical debt.

What are the cons of low-code app development?

Lack of customization

The modular components in low-code platforms limit application customization. In other words, you will have to change your business processes instead to meet the capabilities of the low-code platform.

Limited integration

Going with a low-code approach is guaranteed to create integration issues down the road (almost certainly with legacy systems). As a result, for systems at the core of your business, you just can’t afford to trade custom integration for speed.

You get tied to the low-code platform

A lot of these low-code development platforms lock you into their cloud-based offering. As a result, it will be much harder to hire software engineers, later on, to further customize your application to better suit your business needs (but not impossible).

While it’s certainly easy to drag and drop building blocks that fit your specific needs, the moment you need a special feature that’s not available, you will need some custom code. Sometimes integrating this custom code can also cost a lot more than a completely customized solution built from scratch.

You can’t create a proper API

When you can’t build a proper API, you basically end up being severely limited. So if you’re setting out to build something significant for your company, you will hit a brick wall pretty quickly.

Also check out how to tackle key issues in enterprise application development.

Security and reliability

When you’re working with your own custom code, you know that you can heavily rely on it because you wrote it (and know it inside out). But when you work with low-code, you take on certain risks because you don’t have complete control.

This can open the door to security breaches because if your low-code platform gets hacked, it can immediately make your application also vulnerable.

Regardless of these challenges, low-code will continue to evolve and might also start playing a role in proof-of-concept scenarios. It can also be a quick solution in the short-term to a business problem as long as it’s understood that some customization might be required later on.

However, if you need an application that is high-quality and unique while being specific to your business requirements, custom app development will always be the better option.