Pros and Cons of No-Code App Builders

by | Feb 7, 2018

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Code-free website development isn’t anything new. Millions of people use platforms like WordPress and Squarespace to launch a website without writing a line of code.

But no-code app builders are new to the space. Now, anybody can create an app without coding. With these no-code app development tools, entrepreneurs and business leaders can launch apps for less time and less cash than ever before.

There are, however, some drawbacks when it comes to using these code-free software development services. Read on to learn about the pros and cons of no-code app tools:

 

Benefits of using no-code app builders

1. Save money building your app

No-code app builders tend to be the most affordable way to build software. Where the alternative is hiring a costly developer (often starting at $80+ per hour), you’ll likely find yourself saving thousands of dollars. Since app builders need to keep all of their software up-to-date in order to keep winning new customers, you also won’t find yourself paying for additional developer hours when your software needs updating— they’ll take care of it, included in your subscription price. And, with all-included fees (analytics, hosting, updates, etc) there tend to be fewer additional monthly expenses.

2. Launch your app faster

With a no code app builder, you’re never starting from scratch. Many feature templates or modules will quickly get you off to the races, and help inspire you as you design, write content for, and make choices about the functionality of your app. No-code solutions also work to automate many tedious processes such as publishing, data import/export, and app compilation, all of which hasten the time from idea to launch.

3. No unhappy surprises

One of the biggest complaints we hear from our customers who have worked with freelancers or small development shops has been this: “I thought we agreed to X, but then they delivered Y.” Or even worse: “I paid them, and then they disappeared.” Unfortunately the app development ecosystem is not always as transparent as we’d like. But with most no-code development tools, you can read over terms, play with any templates or modules, look at other apps that have been published live onto the app store, and determine whether the platform is right for you before shelling out cash. With a reputable no-code app development service, you’ll be able to save money and retain peace of mind.

4. Deploy your app to iOS, Android and the web

Build your app on once (and pay once) and deploy it to iOS and Android (and other platforms too, depending on the app builder you’ve selected).

One caveat here: A lot of no-code app builders only deploy mobile apps— if you want to connect your backend to the same web app, you may have trouble if they don’t include a web option. In addition, some app builders enable multi-platform deployment by leveraging hybrid development instead of native code, sometimes resulting in a lower-quality app. Do your due diligence when selecting your app builder to ensure that you’re getting a high-quality app that deploys to all the platforms you require.

5. Build your app with just a few clicks

Simple app design editors give you the power to craft your app experience— without coding or tech jargon. Most app makers are built with the non-technical app creator in mind, and provide chat or email support in case you run into any problems.

6. Update your app on-the-go

Want to modify a call-to-action or update your content? With a no-code app builder, that’s easy— most app builders let you log into your dashboard, edit your app, and hit “save” to push your updates to your live app. This gives you more control over your content, and you won’t have to wait for a developer to fix a simple typo.

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Potential drawbacks of using no-code app builders

1. Shared ownership

With some platforms, you’re married to their system— if your app takes off, you’ll have no way to transfer it. So, if you want to hire developers to work on it independently, you might not be able to do so without starting again from scratch (which also means you’ll lose any users that are on your then-current app). Look carefully at their terms to see if these situations are contemplated. With Hatch, for example, you are able to transfer your app and all of your users by paying a predetermined app store transfer fee.

drawbacks

2. Restricted developer access

If you have developers on your team, they may want access to the code. Most no-code app builders block this access, or severely limit it. If you have a development team on-staff, you should involve them in the process of selecting and deciding which platform is the best fit for your needs.

3. Feature Limitations

With a no-code app builder, you have to use what’s already built, so sometimes your access to features or integrations will be more limiting than you might have liked. If you want to integrate to your own databases, for example, you may need to hire developers to build a workaround. With some platforms, however, there are options to pay an additional fee to build these custom functionalities, like Hatch has with our custom tier.

 

In conclusion, no-code app builders aren’t for everyone… but they’re still pretty great

For many people, the benefits far outweigh the potential drawbacks of investing time and money into working with a development agency or freelancer.

Learn more about how to choose the right software development service for your business.

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