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Can website-based app builders replace custom development?

What do you do when you wish to get an app built for your business?

Maybe you start with Google. There are many resources that explain how you can create an app from scratch.

If you don’t know how to code, some of the guides you find may not be easy to understand or implement.

The alternative? Working with an agency? This is a good idea because you can lean on the expertise that a dev agency brings.

However, hiring an agency in many ways is liking signing a blank cheque. It can take a long time until the project finishes, and agencies are known for billing clients rather generously.

So is there an efficient way to make an app, if you don’t have the technical skills needed and don’t wish to spend a silly amount of money?

Let’s talk about app builders.

App builders: Making apps without making apps

App development is typically associated with a ton of development and tech specs. It is a little strange to think about making an app without actually opening a code editor.

No-code app builders basically make this possible. They cut out the core-development part of the process and allow users to create apps without writing any code.

Normally, these tools come loaded with click and add features. These features are typically the kind users look for in a mobile app, such as social login, push notifications, and more.

The advantage of using such platforms is obvious. You get to make an app without worrying about the technical side of programming.

There’s also the added advantage of developing an app at a sustainable price and without waiting six to nine months.

An antidote to the issues with custom development?

On the face of it, app builders resolve the most glaring challenges of custom development. Issues related to long timelines and costs are easy to resolve if you choose to work with an automated platform.

There are however some things you have to give up when you choose app builders.

The following sections discuss both in detail:

The advantages of using app builders

There are some obvious advantages to using app builders for your business.

  • Cost: The most simple upside is avoiding the heavy cost of custom app development. Whether you hire a development agency or build a team of in-house developers, the costs involved can become unmanageable.
  • Time: It takes a lot of time to create an app with custom app development. App builders on the other hand allow users to quickly build and publish their apps within days.
  • Complexity: It can be difficult for non-tech professionals to follow the process of app development. A no-code process makes the process far easier to grasp, and eliminates the need to have a ton of technical expertise.

The disadvantages of using app builders

With all the great advantages, there are some downsides too.

  • Loss in customizability: Although app builders these days are fairly customizable, the design options and features available are not as malleable. These platforms are designed to cater to specific functionality, and even though these platforms keep growing, there is always room for greater customizability.
  • Support: In case there’s an issue with your app, you would need to contact the platform’s support team. In case the support offered is not sufficiently satisfactory, you may face an issue if your app faces downtime or any other related problem.

Can custom development be completely replaced? It depends.

So no-code development is a viable way to create an app for your business. Can these tools completely replace custom development?

It depends on the type of app you wish to build for your business.

App builders serve several use cases these days. AppMySite for example helps you build apps for a variety of websites such as simple blogs, ecommerce stores, learning websites, and more.

However, if your specific use case is not supported by a no-code platform, custom development is the only option.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to select a development method for your app:

  • What will your app do?: If you can answer this question, you’ll basically know the features you’re looking for. You can also prioritize which features are most important to you. For example, for an ecommerce store, having simple add-to-cart functionality is essential. On the other hand, a feature like chat support is somewhat less essential, although important.
  • Survey your options: It is best to first look for DIY solutions before considering custom development. Survey the app builders available and see which ones are closest to what you’re looking for.
  • Make a feature checklist: Once you settle on an app builder, take a look at your feature list again and see which ones will be integrated with the platform. If some features are not readily available, you should contact the platform’s support team. In some cases, the features you’re looking for can be integrated with the tools available.
  • Try our multiple platforms: Many platforms have a free plan or offer a free trial period. You should use this to your advantage and try out multiple platforms before setting down with one.

Once you settle on a platform, you can start creating an app.

Launch first, improve later

If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.

Reid Hoffman, Founder of LinkedIn

In many cases, companies stop short of creating an app because they’re not able to build the exact features they’re looking for.

This is a common mistake businesses make when they’re launching a product. Chasing after the best features, and trying to reach perfection often delays the overall time to market.

Because of this, you can lose out on capturing a key part of your market as an early mover.

It is better to first launch, and keep improving your app based on customer feedback. This way you can actually earn real feedback and make changes your users are actually asking for.

With an app builder, you can actually go to market in no time and see what customers are actually looking for. Based on their feedback, you can work within the platform to improve your app, or later get your app custom-built when you know exactly what you want.

In conclusion

Can app builders replace custom development?

Not completely. There are some unique use cases that do require custom development.

However, there are plenty of use cases that DIY solutions can serve. You can drastically save on your tech budget by avoiding code-based development and going for a simple and codeless solution.

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