At Belighted, we’ve developed apps for our clients using full-code since 2008 but recently started using no-code alongside our full-code development process. This integration enables us to deliver more value, faster and at a lower cost for our clients.
This experience with full-code and no-code has given us an in-depth understanding of both development philosophies and the strengths and weaknesses of each.
So, if you’re thinking about developing an app and you don’t know if no-code is a good choice, then this post is for you.
Below, we’ll compile our thoughts on the pros and cons of using no-code so that you can make a more informed decision.
- Pro #1: You don’t need to learn how to code
- Pro #2: You get more bang for your buck
- Pro #3: No-code offers a quicker delivery time
- Pro #4: You can introduce new features faster
- Con #1: Coding isn’t the hardest part of building an app
- Con #2: No-code apps can be less flexible
- Con #3: You can’t build everything
- Con #4: It’s more difficult to scale
Pro #1: You don’t need to learn how to code
The most obvious benefit to using no-code is that you don’t have to learn to code.
You can just sign up for a no-code platform like Bubble for free and build the front-end and back-end of your app.
With full-code, even though you don’t need a large team as there are developers who can “do everything,” if you want to build something truly great, it’s a good idea to have multiple specialist developers.
You’ll need a front-end developer to build the user interface, a back-end developer to build the database and manage everything server side, a product manager to coordinate workflows, and a UX designer to design the user interface.
Hiring all these people can get expensive real quick. If you plan to do all this yourself, you’ll have to learn a lot of skills, and it’ll probably take two or three years.
With no-code however, you can have a single, non-technical person creating all the designs as well as the logic behind these designs.
Pro #2: You get more bang for your buck
Building apps with no-code is much cheaper than with traditional developers, and because a lot of our clients are on a budget, we switched to a more no-code approach.
Instead of having a team of front-end developers, back-end developers, product managers, UX designers, and data scientists, we can just have a couple of developers manage our client projects, allowing us to offer our services at a lower price than traditional, full-code agencies.
In our experience, building no-code apps is around 25% to 50% cheaper than full-code. So, for example, if it costs $80,000 to build an app with full code, it’ll cost around $40,000 to $60,000 to build it with no-code.
These calculations are obviously very rough, and it depends on a lot of factors, but they should give you a basic idea of how much cheaper no-code is.
Pro #3: No-code offers a quicker delivery time
We also find that developing apps with no-code offers a quicker delivery time.
Since using no-code, we can deliver MVPs to clients within four weeks, gather market insights, see if there’s really a demand for the product, and from there, tailor the app around our market research.
This quick turnaround time is perfect in the SaaS space since the market moves so quickly, and you want to be able to take advantage of new trends.
Pro #4: You can introduce new features faster
Once you’ve built your MVP and launched it, you’re still going to be customizing your app around user feedback.
With full-code, it can take much longer to introduce new features and changes to your app. Your developer will have to build out features that customers want, test it, and launch it, which can take a couple of weeks.
With no-code however, all you have to do is head to your no-code builder, and use the drag and drop templates to add new features and tweak your user interface. It’s possible to add new features within a matter of hours, so the feedback loop is shortened dramatically.
Since everything is visual, you don’t have to build new features by writing code, and with the advancements in no-code, your app won’t even go offline when you introduce these changes.
Con #1: Coding isn’t the hardest part of building an app
This isn’t so much of a con but more a misconception floating around the programming world.
Most people think that they can download a no-code builder, start dragging and dropping a few fields, and build an app.
However, this isn’t the case.
Coding isn’t the hardest part of developing an app. Once you know how to code, you can code on autopilot without putting much thought behind it. Writing “if-else” statements isn’t any more complicated than connecting workflows inside a no-code builder.
The hardest part about developing an app is making architectural and modeling decisions and deciding how the workflow should work. It’s not just a case of dragging and dropping a few blocks.
This means that if you go the no-code route, you’ll still have to learn how to build user-friendly interfaces and structure your app, and at this point, you might as well learn how to code.
Con #2: No-code apps can be less flexible
Since you’re using a no-code builder, you’re relying on the features that your no-code builder offers.
For example, if you need to integrate complex algorithms into your app to perform calculations, no-code builders may not offer this capability.
You can still leverage external APIs and services to integrate these algorithms even within the limitations of no-code, however, external APIs and services will require additional setup and can increase costs.
With the flexibility of full-code, you can simply have your development team build out the features you want to add to your app by writing code inside your IDE.
Con #3: You can’t build everything
Another problem with no-code is that you can’t build everything with it.
For example, Bubble tries to be a solution for all your no-code needs, however, its main strength is in building web-based business applications, think B2B marketing software and communication platforms. You wouldn’t be able to build a 3D VR game with Bubble.
On the other hand, Retool, another no-code builder, specializes in building internal business tools, such as CDPs and CRMs. It’s not the best at building ecommerce stores and SaaS websites.
This means that once you choose a no-code platform, you can’t really pivot down the line. The tool you chose in the beginning, whether it’s Bubble or Retool, will determine the type of project you can build.
With full-code however, you don’t have to worry about these limitations. You can pivot freely since you can have your development team write code and tweak your app inside your IDE.
Con #4: It’s more difficult to scale
While no-code is a good choice when building a new app, once you start amassing several thousand users and introducing larger-scale features, you’ll need custom code to ensure you’re running at optimal performance. If you’re still relying on pre-built templates, your app won’t run as fast as it can.
While Bubble has countless examples of startups scaling to thousands of customers using their pre-built templates, you’re still going to have less control over scaling. You’re essentially depending on Bubble’s implementation which is underneath the app you’re building.
With full-code however, you aren’t relying on a single platform for scaling as you have full control over your app and its performance.
Belighted can develop your app within 4 to 8 weeks
In our experience, it’s very rare that a founder with no coding or product development skills will develop a usable app that people will pay money for. It is possible, just difficult to do.
You’ll have to spend a couple of years learning about customer development, formulating hypotheses, gathering market insights, and building product roadmaps and go-to market strategies.
This is why as a non-technical founder, it’s so important to have an experienced, no-code development team by your side. You’ll be able to take advantage of all the pros of no-code while mitigating the risks and sticking to a “lean startup” philosophy (i.e. building features in the right order and not wasting time on useless things).
This is how our development process works:
Discovery: The first part of our process is a discovery call where an account manager will dive deep into the specifics of your project and get an idea of the features you’re looking for. After the call, we’ll summarize our findings, including an outline containing your product’s features, expected budget, and launch roadmap.
Scoping: In this step, we’ll more precisely define the features, interface, and structure of your software product. This clear and early communication allows us to build a software product that meets your expectations.
Design: During the design phase, our UX designers will turn the product outline into a mockup. This mockup is open to your feedback, and our account and product managers are always on standby to ensure this mockup meets your expectations.
Develop and build: Our team of developers, UI assemblers, and QA specialists will build this mockup into a well-developed software product with all the features and functionalities you’re looking for. We’ll also test these features vigorously so there aren’t any bugs or shortfalls.
Support: When the first development phase is over, you still want to keep up with user expectations by introducing new features and removing ones that aren’t very popular. This is why our team of software developers will tailor your app around user feedback.
So, if you’re interested in building an app within a handful of weeks, get in touch with us today!