Traditional coding, also known as custom application development, refers to working with a  team of programmers and developers to gather specific requirements, develop a plan, and work with a development team to design custom code for an application to fulfil the specified needs. This approach is totally fine and an utterly acceptable method, but is often complex, expensive, and time-consuming. Further, a traditional development approach needs a constant maintenance cycle by the developer to keep the custom software application up-to-date  and secure.

Low-code/no-code platforms are transforming the software industry by reducing the complexity in the process and making software development more simple, accessible, effortless and quick. This approach allows professional users to build applications more quickly  by sparing  them of the need to write code line by line. Users have access to a complete set of pre-built functionality that they can drag and drop which allows them to arrange  and position different categories of data and information blocks like forms, lists, charts, etc , thus reducing hand-coding and  creating whole applications from these templates.

In addition to the above-mentioned meanings, there are various points to distinguish between the low-code/ no-code application development platforms from custom application development. On the basis of skill sets, the traditional approach has a variety of tools and multiple functions and in order to operate them, one would require high technical skills in this field. On the other hand, Low-code/ no-code platforms have limited tools and functions, making it easier for non-technical people without specialised  skills in this field. 

Moreover, on the basis of app quality, custom application development produces a lot of bugs caused by minute technicalities and its overly complex nature, making it difficult for the users to use the app. In contrast, low-code/  no-code platforms generally do not produce bugs, leading to hassle-free and smooth apps. 

Comparing in terms of cost, traditional software is expensive to build, its cost of design ranging between $40,000 and $250,000 . However,  low code platforms are cheaper in comparison to its traditional counterpart  because enterprises pay only to access the specified service, not its complete development. 

On the basis of agility, traditional platforms have a complex configuration system making it difficult to understand. In comparison, low-code/ no-code platforms are easier to operate because of their drag and drop feature. 

Finally,  on the basis of maintenance, with traditional coding, maintenance is burdensome as updates will require a third-party development team to incorporate the changes. Similarly, software revision is a problematic process for which third party teams have to plan, design, test, and train  users on new changes. In contrast, maintenance is a simpler process as all the improvements and updates to the software are done by the company that owns the platform.

According to reports, the low code market is  set to hit an annual growth of 40%, with its spending estimated to hit $21.2 billion by 2022. Reports suggest that these application platforms will account almost 65% of all app development by 2024.

Low-code/ no-code platforms can benefit individual professionals, including freelancers and consultants, as well as businesses of all trades and sizes. For large enterprises the main consideration about the app creation is the time involved, as it required the input and consent of numerous stakeholders. Big enterprises can benefit from low-code/ no-code  apps as they can be created, maintained and updated by almost every member of the organization without any supervision from the IT department. Thus, these apps speed up the internal processes and bring great efficiency in the organization. Small businesses find it troublesome to outsource apps from a third party due to financial restrictions. They can enjoy the benefit of low-code/ no-code  apps without a huge investment. Individual professionals can use these platforms to optimize their operations in multiple ways and at the same time reduce their effort and investment required.

Having talked about the benefits of low code/ no-code platforms, these advanced tools have a dark side too which restrains the company to replace their skilled developers with low-code/ no-code  platforms. Even though they  are self-reliant, but offer very few options to develop customized software/apps. This could lead to trouble for the organization in times of crisis when they want to constantly adapt their business applications according to the situation and build efficient models. Additionally, creating apps on low-code/ no-code  platforms limits integration options for developers causing vendor-locking which means that the developers will not be able to avail the facility of modifying the underlying codes of the applications there by forcing the developers to perform on the programming platforms set by the vendor companies.This limited option of code-customization brings in security concerns among the business developers. When the developers create applications from scratch using a traditional platform, it allows them to include security and data privacy. However, with low-code/ no-code  platforms users do not have much control over the inner working of the models. Therefore, traditional platforms are preferred by the users for making business-critical applications.

When it comes to building applications for the customers,business enterprises as well as  individual professionals can supplement traditional platforms with low-code/ no-code platforms. They  are largely meant to equip each member of the collaborative team be it developers or non-developers. In specific instances, where these platforms cannot meet the needs of the enterprise, traditional coders come to rescue   by adding the needed functionalities through their programming skills. The demand for traditional coders may reduce but it is obvious that they cannot be replaced completely by low-code/ no-code platforms. In fact, these two contrasting application platforms provide a splendid opportunity where they can be used in tandem to drive speed and innovation.

This article is written by Raunak for The Connectere. 

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