The Pros and Cons of Low-Code/No-Code Platforms (2023)
Low-code or no-code platforms offer a tantalizing solution for businesses and organizations looking to streamline operations, increase efficiency, and tighten budgets. These platforms enable you to create websites, apps, and custom software without requiring in-depth programming knowledge. Rising low-code adoption will allow global industry growth of 28% by 2026.
However, while they offer a range of benefits, including faster development times and lower costs, they also have some limitations and may not be suitable for all projects. This article will delve into the pros and cons of low-code/no-code platforms to help you decide if they fit your needs.
What is Low-Code or No-Code?
Low-code and no-code platforms help businesses and organizations create custom software solutions without the need to code or outsource to developers.
The no-code approach removes coding from the users, and the source code is hidden. Instead, these platforms provide visual tools to help design and build without traditional programming skills via:
- Pre-built templates
- Drag-and-drop interfaces
No-code platforms are designed to be accessible to non-technical users, and programming skills are not required. They are suited for solving everyday business problems, but because you can't manipulate the code, your business design goals must fit their software code's logic.
Low-code platforms allow more customization and flexibility but may require some technical expertise. Low-code is better for experienced teams that need some traditional development capabilities.
Business users often know their requirements and want to build an app that meets their needs and demands quickly and at a low cost.
Both low-code and no-code platforms are becoming increasingly popular as a way to quickly and easily develop custom software solutions, particularly in industries such as:
Appy Pie allows you to create custom mobile apps with zero programming knowledge for Android and iOS devices. Choose pre-designed templates and drag-and-drop tools to build and customize apps for:
- On-Demand Delivery
- Taxi bookings
You pay a minimum monthly subscription of $16 and can manage and monetize your app with:
- In-app purchases and ads
- Google Analytics
- Push notifications
Another example of a no-code platform is Squarespace, which allows you to create your website without coding skills. The platform offers a range of templates and design tools to help users create and customize their websites, as well as features including:
- E-commerce integration
- Web hosting
- SEO optimization
No-code platforms make it easier for non-technical users to create custom software solutions. These platforms suit individuals and small businesses who want to build software without programming skills.
Pros of No-Code and Low-Code Platforms
With its ease of use and ability to allow non-programmers to create apps and workflows quickly, no-code development is an appealing option for developers and business users. It's handy for companies with backlogged development teams who want to leverage the expertise of their business users as developers. Whether you're a developer or a business user, no-code can help you build custom software solutions quickly and efficiently. Here are their benefits:
1) Speed up the development process
Low-code can be a great way to speed up your workflow if your goal is to create quick, simple, responsive apps. With simple drag-and-drop interfaces, you can soon deliver a functional app in days or weeks versus months.
As no-code platforms automate testing, this also reduces the app's time-to-market. With these tools, building no-code apps is fast and efficient, making it an appealing option for businesses looking to get their app to market quickly.
2) Cost effective
Developers are expensive. You can reduce up to 80% of development costs with no-code platforms. Low-code platforms can be a cost-effective way to build custom software solutions for small businesses and startups.
No-code platforms allow a broader range of people to build, which can help to democratize the development process and make it more inclusive. Business owners often more closely understand their customers than a software development team.
3) Effortless updates
Most low-code and no-code platforms are software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies, so they push out the maintenance updates for you, and you don't need to worry about servers.
Unlike manual coding, updating no-code apps is a breeze. No need to sift through lines of code to make changes - use the visual interface and release an updated app.
This ease of use is a significant advantage for enterprises looking to keep their apps current and relevant.
4) Improve business agility
In today's fast-paced digital world, businesses must adapt and respond quickly to market shifts and opportunities. Traditional development approaches can be too slow and cumbersome to meet the demands of this rapidly changing landscape. Low-code platforms enable businesses to create custom apps quickly and with minimal risk to implement:
- Business process management
- Robotic process automation
With the help of these tools, businesses can stay ahead of the curve and remain competitive in today's digital marketplace.
5) Reduced risk
Building software can be a risky endeavor, as it requires significant resources and expertise. No-code platforms can help to mitigate these risks by allowing you to build custom software quickly and with minimal upfront investment.
Cons of No-Code and Low-Code Platforms
No-code development platforms offer a range of appealing advantages, but it's essential to understand the potential drawbacks and risks before committing to them. Short-term cost savings may not outweigh the long-term risks, so it's necessary to consider the total cost of ownership at the outset of any software project. By carefully weighing the pros and cons, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your business needs and goals.
1) Lack of ownership
You don't own the source code for your site or app when using a no-code development platform. Vendor lock-in occurs, making it expensive or impossible to switch providers in the future.
You and your customers are entirely dependent on a 3rd party company. If they go bankrupt or you stop subscribing, you lose your app. Factors beyond your company's control include:
- Service terms
Without open-source code, you'll need to start from scratch again. If you can accept platform dependency, then no-code is right for you.
2) Platform limitations:
When using a no-code platform, you're limited by the functionalities offered by the platform. Those pre-made elements prevent you from adding your custom code. Each company has its own unique business logic, which can make it difficult to implement specific customizations, and may require you to work within the platform's constraints.
In traditional development, programmers can customize your app to any degree, whereas low-code and no-code rely on the platforms' built-in functionality. If your app requires multilingual capabilities, this might not be part of the platform, and you're stuck. If a particular functionality is lacking for your unique business case, those platforms don't have the rationale to build it only for you.
While no-code platforms are constantly adding new features, it's essential to consider whether the platform will meet your specific needs and requirements before committing to it.
3) Shadow IT
One potential problem with using no-code or low-code platforms is that employees may create applications without the knowledge or approval of the IT department.
Shadow IT is the creation of apps outside established procedures and protocols. Shadow IT can increase data security risks, such as data leaks and compliance violations, and threaten an organization's data security and compliance efforts.
4) Rigid templates
While no-code platforms offer various templates and components to help you build custom software solutions, these templates can be limiting. If you encounter a unique use case that falls outside the capabilities of the templates, you're forced to resort to complex and costly workarounds or give up.
Many websites aim to improve their search engine optimization (SEO), and page load time is a critical factor that Google uses to rank websites. Google research shows that 53% of users abandon a website if a site takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Yet, some no-code platforms, such as Squarespace, have been found to have slower page load times of over 9 seconds, likely impact your SEO and user experience negatively.
In the end, you may end up with a site or app that is more rigid and costly than a bespoke solution would have been, making it essential to carefully consider whether a no-code platform is the right fit for your needs.
Low-code and no-code platforms are revolutionizing the way we build custom software solutions. These platforms allow non-technical users to quickly and easily build apps that meet business needs without requiring specialized programming skills.
No-code development platforms are best suited for businesses that need simple, out-of-the-box solutions with minimal customization. These platforms are best for building internal systems rather than customer-facing software. They can be a good fit for businesses that don't require extensive customizations or complex features and are looking for a quick and cost-effective way to improve their business processes.
While they may not replace traditional programming languages, a no-code platform may be the right choice if you need a straightforward solution to implement quickly.
Robert is a Taiwan-based writer and digital marketer at iamrobert design. He has a passion for helping people simplify their lives through tech.