Every person involved in modern business knows that software development is a must. One also knows it ain’t by any means cheap. Depending on the project’s specifics, it can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Even the average price of USD 50K – USD 150K is still a lot of money, especially for startuppers.
So why wouldn’t one use a “shortcut,” a “cheat code,” allowing to reduce spending on development from USD 50K to just 20 dollars? And if that sounds unrealistic to you, you’ve probably never heard of low-code and no-code platforms before.
What is the point of low code vs. high code approach in software development? What are the benefits of each method? And why do developers still exist if there’s a way to “code without coding”? All these (and a few other) questions will be answered in this article.
High code & low code concepts
High and low code are two ways to create software. And both are pretty easy to comprehend, even for a non-technical person.
High code is just a shorter fancier way to say that the app was created by a team of developers, and every aspect of the final product was built with the lines of code. It’s a synonym for traditional software development, as the public knows it.
Low code, on the other hand, implies that the software was created either by a developer or by a person that has minimal to no tech skills. Low-code apps are typically built by means of third-party platforms that have all the software’s key elements pre-coded, and the customer simply utilizes the “drag-and-drop” principle to create a product. In a way, low code is like a Lego in the world of software development: one has all the pieces at hand and the instructions, but the result still depends on one’s vision and skill.
Why is the low code method called that way? Because if the person building an app is a professional developer (or at least knows something about coding), they’re able to tweak the original code. It’s still possible to build an app without having to interfere with the source code. However, it significantly increases the software’s quality.
It’s mandatory to mention that there is another development approach that, in many ways, is similar to low code. And that is no code. No-code apps are built just like low-code ones: via a paid platform, using a graphic interface as a canvas. The only difference is that there’s no way for a user to tinker with the initial code.
High code pros and cons
To make the right choice in the battle of low level vs. high level code and successfully resolve each business case, an entrepreneur should know about all the advantages and drawbacks of both approaches.
Let’s start with examining the high-code applications by investigating the benefits they bring.
By opting for custom solutions created by a professional team, the business owner invests in the product’s future. Since day one, the application “checks all the boxes” and meets all the business goals. The software is not “halfway there” and doesn’t have extra “bells and whistles” that do nothing but require extra payment. Custom software is designed to deliver specific results in the most efficient way possible.
- Full control
Choosing a traditional way of software development is the only sure-fire way to obtain full control over the final product. Control over what goes or doesn’t go in it, and control over the execution process as well.
We’re talking about architecture, code, number of features, overall security, etc. High-code apps equal ownership, which is mandatory if the software is developed to cater to a larger audience.
No successful application has stayed the same over the years. From time to time, there’s a need for rebranding, bug fixing, or new feature development. If one chooses the classic application development process, it’s as simple as ABC. Tech gurus just make things happen, while an entrepreneur focuses on more important business tasks.
As you can see, the perks custom development offers modern businesses are pretty tempting. However, to remain unbiased, we must talk about the “darker side” as well. So what are the disadvantages?
- High cost
Even though the global software market is growing rapidly and is expected to reach USD 2,157.19 billion by 2026, the market entry threshold is still pretty high. Applications cost a lot. Custom applications cost even more. So the business owner should be prepared to spend some money on the product, knowing that the risk might not even pay off in the end.
- More time for development
If you’re not sure if high code or low code approach is right for you, consider the time parameter. Custom software commonly requires more development time so time-to-market will be slower compared to low-code solutions.
- The need to search for a team
This one is not directly connected to the development process itself, but still is worth mentioning. The quality of the final custom-made digital product fully depends on the tech team’s skills and professionalism.
It’s possible to invest a six-figure into software development and still not be happy with the results. So the team selection process should be well-thought-out and thorough.
Low code pros and cons
And what about the apps one can create without involving third-party specialists? Why do all the IT experts predict a “low code boom” in the nearest future, with the apps’ usage almost tripling in three years? What makes people pick this approach in the first place? Of course, it’s an impressive number of benefits low code has to offer!
- Minimum expenses
Low cost is what makes many business owners pick low- or no-node apps. The prices are more than affordable in 2022, and it’s actually possible to create an app for less than USD 50! Sure, the starting price for many low-code tools is about USD 150-200. But it doesn’t mean there are no cheaper alternatives.
- Wide choice of tools
As mentioned previously, the modern IT market offers hundreds of low-code platforms, each with a unique interface and functionality. It means that if one is hesitant whether to choose high code or low code, one may try several low-code platforms first and see if that approach works in their favor.
- Faster development
Compared to high code, low code is a no-brainer! It’s easy to pick up even for someone who knows nothing about the IT industry and doesn’t require much time to come up with a final product. And this kind of “accelerated” development process is a life-saver for an entrepreneur when there’s a strict deadline.
Now that the main assets of low-code solutions are defined, let’s mention a few words about the flaws.
- Limited functionality
Working with a low-code app constructor, the user has to be aware that there’s a certain number of features and that there’s no “let’s add something new” option. Eventually, the business owner has to be happy with what the chosen platform offers, as customization isn’t a forte low-code solutions possess.
- Lower quality
If the code isn’t written from scratch by an experienced developer and then isn’t tested by a QA team, there’s a major possibility that bugs and errors will appear and the software’s security will be compromised.
While it doesn’t mean that low-code apps are impossible to use, their quality is usually much lower than customs ones.
- “Cookie-cutter” image
This is the problem each out-of-the-box solution has. All low- or no-code solutions are similar to a degree. There are several most popular low-code platforms, and 90% of the users prefer to choose them over less well-known tools. This means that the market is flooded with apps missing that the audience loves.
Low code vs. high code: when to choose which?
To make the selection process even easier for you, let’s determine the cases in which high code is the way to go and when low code will work just fine.
High code use cases:
- Complex apps
- Compliant/highly secure software
- Long-term projects and solid ideas
- Software that requires a unique look
- Scalable solutions
Low code use cases:
- Simple apps
- Software to test hypotheses
- Projects with minimal funding
- Building prototypes
To wrap things up, we’d like to remind you that there’s no one right way to build software, and experimenting is always good. No one knows your business needs as you do. So try out different approaches and tactics to come up with a unique method that gets the job done in the most efficient way!