In today’s world, apps are no longer just a luxury, but a necessity for many businesses. Whether it’s to streamline internal processes, improve customer experience, or enhance employee productivity, apps have become an integral part of running a successful business. While buying off-the-shelf software used to be the norm, more and more businesses are now looking for customized solutions that cater to their specific needs.
Creating an app for your business offers numerous benefits:
- Saves time and increases productivity
- Provides personalized experience to your customers
- Allows easier data management and analytics
- Highly scalable
And with this comes the question – should you use an app builder or code your own app?
It’s not a simple question to answer, as both approaches have their own set of pros and cons.
In this guide, we’ll dive into the details of both app builders and coding, and help you determine which approach is best for your business. So, whether you’re a startup or a small business owner, let’s explore the options and make an informed decision together.
Understanding the difference: Coding vs App Builder
Today, over 6 billion people are using smartphones. Therefore, once your app is available on Google Play and the App Store, you will have access to a significant potential audience. There are two primary methods for creating software applications: coding and app builders. Let’s understand both methods.
Coding involves writing code using programming languages such as Java, Python, C++, and more. This requires a high level of technical knowledge and skill, including an understanding of programming concepts, syntax, and algorithms. Developers use coding to create customized and complex software applications, which can be tailored to specific needs and requirements.
About App Builder
An app builder is a software platform that enables users to create mobile applications without needing to write code or with low code. It provides a visual interface that allows users to drag and drop elements and customize features to create an application. This approach requires little or no programming experience, making it accessible to a broader audience.
Coding: Pros and Cons
Let’s discuss the pros first:
- Infinite options for customization and functionality. When you create an app from scratch using custom code, you have a completely blank slate to tailor the design and functionality to your specific requirements.
- Total authority. By owning a custom-coded app, you have more flexibility to incorporate new features, switch to different platforms, and so on. This ownership also allows you to produce native apps that are available for download from marketplaces such as the Apple App Store, Google Play Store, and others. While some app builders provide this functionality, not all of them do.
Next, let’s discuss the disadvantages of using coding methods in software development. Here are some points to consider:
- Time-consuming. Developing an application with custom code is a time-consuming process that can take several months to several years, depending on the app’s complexity. Before starting the development process, you will need to research your app idea, target audience, and development platforms, choose a programming language, and assemble a team or hire one.
- Requires regular maintenance. As the owner of a coded app, you will be responsible for its upkeep over time, including updates, upgrades, bug fixes, and other necessary maintenance tasks. This will necessitate the availability of an IT team and developers, which can be costly. Balancing the maintenance needs of your app with other responsibilities in a busy and growing business can also be difficult.
- Expensive. Creating a mobile app from scratch using custom code is not an inexpensive endeavor. The costs of research, development, programming, and platforms can add up quickly, and a custom app’s cost can run into millions of dollars, depending on its complexity and features. After the initial development costs, there are still ongoing costs associated with hosting and running the app on a platform.
App Builder: Pros and Cons
Here are the pros of using an app builder for your software development:
- No coding or design skills required. Web and mobile app builders allow users to create and publish apps without having to write any code or have any design experience. These app builders provide an intuitive interface that allows users to drag and drop various pre-built features and functionalities into their app, making the process of creating an app more accessible and straightforward.
- Affordable. App builders offer low-cost solutions that package development and operations into one plan, making app development and maintenance more affordable for startups and entrepreneurs.
- Fast. Online app builders can make even a beginner’s app up and running in minutes, especially if pre-built templates are used.
- Cross-platform functionality. App builders can create iOS and Android apps, as well as responsive designs for mobile devices, tablets, and web apps, ensuring accessibility and functionality on all common platforms.
- Built-in support and maintenance. App builders provide built-in support and maintenance, saving users from the need to have their own IT team. In case of any issues with the app, the app builder provider will handle the fixes.
No-code or low-code platforms have several disadvantages, including:
- Limited customization. Building an app using pre-designed templates and drag-and-drop components makes it challenging to personalize the app’s design and functionality compared to custom-coding it from scratch.
- Increased costs. The majority of app builders have tiered or usage-based pricing models, which means that as the number of users or features grows, so do the costs.
- No platform migration. When you use an app builder, your app becomes locked within that platform, and transferring it to another app builder or different platform is usually impossible.
- Reduced control. Although not being responsible for support and maintenance may be beneficial for businesses that lack in-house IT teams, it also means that someone else is in charge of addressing glitches, outages, and other problems. Not having control over such issues implies that they may not always be resolved promptly.
Which is best for your business: coding or app builder?
Each approach has its strengths and weaknesses, and selecting the best fit depends on various factors, such as the specific business requirements, use case, and timing. Below are some of the key distinctions between coding and app builder.
|Software Development Time||Very slow. Custom coding can take several months to several years.||Extremely quick. Some app builders can have an app up and running in just a few minutes.|
|Cost||Expensive. The costs of custom coding vary based on the app’s complexity, but they can range from tens of thousands to millions of dollars.||Affordable. App builders typically offer tiered usage-based pricing, allowing businesses to create and use their apps for less than $100 per month.|
|Feature Customization||Extensive. A skilled team of developers can create almost anything the business requires or desires, provided they have the budget.||Limited. While businesses can add some branding elements to their apps, they are restricted by the pre-existing design and functionality options provided by the app builder.|
|Maintenance Requirement||Regular maintenance is necessary, and the app’s upkeep falls under the responsibility of the app owner.||The app-building platform is responsible for maintaining and supporting the app, not the business that created it.|
|Software Portability||Custom coding allows businesses to switch engineers, platforms, and providers freely. Apps are fully portable to other platforms, although this may come with additional costs.||With app builders, everything is contained within the app builder platform. If a business wants to move to a different platform, they’ll typically need to start from scratch and rebuild their app.|
Factors to consider when choosing between coding and app builders
Before deciding whether to use an app builder or opt for custom development, there are several questions you need to ask yourself:
- What kind of app do you need? Native or hybrid? Custom software development companies can develop either, but app builders may not offer both options.
- How responsive does it need to be? Custom coding allows for tailored solutions that are best suited to your product. App builders tend to use a one-size-fits-all approach and are equally responsive.
- What design elements are required? Custom coding provides unique UI/UX designs and allows for greater customization than app builders, which rely on templates and plugins.
- What resources are available? App builders are more budget-friendly. However, research pricing and hidden costs, before making a decision.
- Support and maintenance: Custom development provides comprehensive support and maintenance, while app builders offer basic support to varying degrees. However, with ai, you get access to continuous support.
Builder.ai is a budget-friendly and convenient way for small businesses and startups to create their own mobile apps. With Builder.ai app builder, you get a website, apps, and all the tools you need to grow your business online. With it, you can harness the power of artificial intelligence (AI), and build apps and websites easily, cost-effectively, and without any technical knowledge.
- Start Selling in just two weeks
- Keep 100% of your profits – No Marketplace Fees
- Microsoft 365 and Azure hosting included
- Get started from INR 2,500 per month
You can use Builder.ai to design and customize your app, and then Builder.ai’s team of developers will handle the technical aspects of building and deploying your app.
To get started with Builder.ai, you can sign up for an account and follow the prompts to begin building your app. You can choose from a variety of templates and design elements to create a unique and functional app that meets your specific needs.
Once you have designed and customized your app, Builder.ai will handle the technical aspects of building and deploying your app to the app stores. You can then promote and distribute your app to users through the app stores or through your own marketing efforts.
App builders have improved significantly over the years, and with their ever-expanding range of customization options, they can provide a mobile app solution that meets the needs of many businesses. Ultimately, the choice between custom coding and app builders depends on the unique requirements and resources of each business.