Choosing the right technology and approach to app development is critical to creating the most value for customers and users. Both low-code platforms and classic pro-code approaches play an important role here. According to Gartner, 65% of all app development projects are expected to be based on low-code technology by 2024 (1). Both approaches have their own advantages and disadvantages, depending on the individual requirements and goals of a project.
In this blog post, we want to objectively highlight the benefits and challenges of both approaches to help you make the best decision for your app development.
Faster development Low-code platforms enable accelerated development time, resulting in faster time to market and cost savings. According to Forrester Research, low-code approaches can reduce development time by 50-90% (2).
Simplicity The use of drag-and-drop tools and visual development environments allows even non-programmers to participate in the development process and make adjustments. John Rymer, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, emphasizes that low-code platforms are helping to close the gap between IT and business requirements (3).
- Flexibility Low-code platforms are easily customizable and enable rapid response to changes in requirements or the market. This can lead to improved return on investment (ROI), according to Jason Bloomberg, president of Intellyx (4).
Limitations Low-code platforms may be limited in functionality and may not provide all desired features or customization options. As Bloomberg points out, this may result in developers having to continue to rely on pro-code despite the benefits of low-code. (4)
Dependence Using a low-code platform can lead to dependence on the particular platform and its provider, which can lead to long-term problems if the provider discontinues its services or increases prices.
Classic Pro-Code Approaches
- Full control Pro-code approaches provide full control over the development process and enable the development of customized solutions that meet the specific requirements of a project. As software developer and author Martin Fowler points out, a pro-code approach allows developers to have precise control over the software they create (5).
Performance and scalability A per-code approach can be used to develop more powerful and scalable apps that run stably even with high traffic or large numbers of users. According to Stackify, a provider of application performance management (APM) solutions, pro-code technologies offer higher performance and scalability compared to low-code platforms (6).
Individuality Pro-Code development allows for a high level of individuality and the ability to create unique and innovative solutions that stand out from the competition.
Higher costs Developing an app with a per-code approach can require more time and resources, resulting in higher costs and longer development time.
Expertise required Pro-code approaches require specialized expertise in software development. According to Eric Knipp, research director at Gartner, the shortage of developers with appropriate skills is one of the biggest challenges in the IT industry (7).
The choice between low-code platforms and classic pro-code approaches depends on the individual requirements and goals of your project. Both approaches have their own advantages and disadvantages, which should be carefully weighed against each other to find the optimal solution for your app development.
To give you a better overview of the available technologies, we have compiled an info box with current low-code and pro-code technologies in each case.
Overall, it is important to consider the specific requirements in the form of a Requirements Engineering of your project and carefully weigh the pros and cons of both approaches to make the best decision for your app development. If needed, a hybrid approach can also be considered, combining both low-code and pro-code elements to leverage the best of both worlds.
- Gartner, “Predicts 2021: Accelerate Results Beyond RPA to Hyperautomation,” published Dec. 10, 2020. https://www.gartner.com/en/documents/3993077/predicts-2021-accelerate-results-beyond-rpa-to-hyperaut
- Forrester Research, “The Forrester Wave™: Low-Code Development Platforms, Q1 2019,” published January 2019. https://www.forrester.com/report/The+Forrester+Wave+LowCode+Development+Platforms+Q1+2019/-/E-RES144860
- John Rymer, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research. Quoted in: Joe McKendrick, “Low-Code And No-Code: Will Business Users Take Over Software Development?”, Forbes, published September 18, 2017. https://www.forbes.com/sites/joemckendrick/2017/09/18/low-code-and-no-code-will-business-users-take-over-software-development/
- Jason Bloomberg, President of Intellyx. Quoted in: Jason Bloomberg, “The Pros and Cons of Low-Code Development Platforms,” Forbes, published January 27, 2019. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonbloomberg/2019/01/27/the-pros-and-cons-of-low-code-development-platforms/
- Martin Fowler, software developer and author. Quoted in: Martin Fowler, “Is High-Quality Software Worth the Cost?”, martinfowler.com, published June 12, 2019. https://martinfowler.com/articles/is-quality-worth-cost.html
- Stackify, “Low-Code vs Custom Code: Examining the Developer’s Dilemma,” Stackify blog, published March 20, 2018. https://stackify.com/low-code-vs-custom-code/
- Eric Knipp, Research Director at Gartner. Quoted in: Gartner, “Gartner Says Application Development Is Reaching a Crisis Point,” Gartner Newsroom, press release, published February 29, 2012. https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2012-02-29-gartner-says-application-development-is-reaching-a-crisis-point