App Builders vs Custom Development: Part 1

App Builders are now gaining tremendous popularity. But is it really the right choice for your business? Or are you better off developing custom software?
We find out in this detailed analysis.

No matter what industry your business runs in, having a digital presence has become a must for every business. Selecting the right foundation for establishing your business is vital for long term success in today’s competitive environment.
Having a dedicated software application for your business (a website or a mobile application) is the first step towards building a future of growth.

Deciding the approach: Web or Mobile?

Determining the software application that best suits your needs is the first thing you need to be doing. Do you start with developing a dedicated website for your business, adopt a mobile first strategy and start with developing a mobile app or do you need a combination of both these approaches?

If the aim is to focus on branding efforts and raise awareness about the organization, starting with a website is the best option. On the other hand, if you wish to have more functional usage which actively engages with the customers on a regular basis, a mobile app should be your go-to choice.

Here is a detailed guide to help you make the decision backed by evaluating the pros and cons of each of them and let you choose what works best for you.

No-code, Low-code and Custom: Exploring the options available

What do the terms no-code, low-code and custom development actually mean?

No code development, like the name suggests, does not need any coding skills for development of the software application. The visual development platforms allow even the people who don’t hail from a technical background to build the software applications from scratch.

They make use of simple drag and drop of plugins to create functional applications – all without having to write a single line of code. While it’s super convenient and has shorter development time, the customization this method offers is very limited.
Low-code platforms support the development of significantly sophisticated applications as compared to no-code builders. While the use of graphical interfaces result in a lot less hand coding than the custom software applications.
In addition to drag and drop functionalities, low code also offers minimal customization by coding of additional functionalities required.

Custom software development involves high degree of hand coding by the software developers and results in highly customized and sophisticated software applications from the scratch.
Now that we have covered the basics of what the options available to you are, let’s dig a bit deeper into how to go about choosing the right pick that best meets your business needs.

Web development

If you move forward with what the majority of the custom software development companies around the world suggest and go forward with developing a website first, you have to choose between no code website builders, low code website development platforms and custom website development.
Let’s take a look at what choices you have.

  1. No code website developers – A lot of platforms are now available for the non-technical individuals which they can use to build their own websites. Some examples of no-code platforms are Wix and Squarespace. These builders come packed with templates that you can choose from, drag and drop the plugins, upload your own images or choose from the stock images and you are good to go.

  2. Low code website builders – Content Management Systems like WordPress, Drupal and Joomla are more powerful tools for building websites. Although they are more complicated to use than no code platforms, they provide far more customization. The users can add plugins to the website and in absence of one that meets their specific requirements, they can always code their own plugins. The amount of coding thus required is minimal.

  3. Custom web development – Hiring team of dedicated developers to build your custom website from scratch is truly rewarding. Not only does it offer detailed customization based on your individual needs, the development process is also highly structured, which leads to development of a stellar website.
    For instance, with the popularity of many languages, there are multiple tech stack options available to you today. While the requirement for resources in significantly higher, besides the PHP or Python developer, you would need specialized AI experts to incorporate innovative solutions like artificial intelligence into your website when you go the custom way.

Choosing what best suits your needs

Here is how you can decide what would the best fit for your business needs.

  1. Functionality – Define what end goal you wish to accomplish with your website. If it is just a tool for building an online presence and a part of your branding and marketing strategy a code website would meet your requirements. For higher functionality requirements, a low code solution would best suit your needs. Not only does it come with a low learning curve, is also allows for limited customization. If you website needs to be highly responsive, have custom features and have a robust functionality, custom software development is the way to go.

  2. Development Time – No-code and low code solutions have a faster time to market than the custom coded websites. Here’s the reason for it. Custom software development typically comprises of a number of stages, starting with wireframing and website prototyping and designing the user interface. The efforts that go in developing a custom solution are higher and hence the greater time requirements. If the goal is to be out there in the shortest time possible, no code variants are lightning fast options but for thoughtfully curated website development, the time required would be greater.

  3. Customization – The name speaks for itself, custom development offers greater range of features implementation. No-code and low code website development offers you with a range of themes and plugins to choose from and implement on your website. While these may work out well for you, if you need an out of the box custom solution, hiring a web development company would be the best option.

  4. Money – You get what you pay for holds true for website development as well. No code and low code website development are the budget friendly options while custom software development may set you back by a significant amount of money. The monetary resources that you put into developing your website are an investment which are bound to generate long term returns for your business venture.

  5. Maintenance – Custom development comes with a robust backend support from the development team. The support from non-coded website developers is pretty limited and generic, while in case of custom development, not only is your website thoroughly vetted for glitches in the testing phase, but also any issues that arrive after the website goes live are also covered under website maintenance.

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