Table of contents
What is an app builder?
An app builder is a software tool or platform that enables you to create mobile applications faster and more efficiently than you’d be able to from scratch. Typically, they either have a user-friendly drag-and-drop interface or provide a library of reusable templates to make it as easy as possible for both technical and non-technical people to design, customise and publish their own apps.
Types of app builders
There are two types of app builders: low code and no code.
Low-code app builders provide a visual interface and pre-built components in a drag-and-drop interface. Here, you can configure settings and use predefined code to create custom apps with advanced functionalities. To leverage these platforms, you need to be a developer or have coding knowledge.
On the other hand, no-code app builders require minimal to no coding skills. They offer templated features and limited customizability in a simple drag-and-drop interface. These platforms focus on simplicity and accessibility, enabling you to create online stores and other functional apps without tech knowledge.
What is custom-coding app development?
Custom-coding app development refers to the process of creating an app from scratch using programming languages and custom code. It involves designing, developing and implementing all aspects of the application, including its functionality, user interface and backend systems.
Custom-coding app development offers the flexibility to build highly tailored applications that meet specific requirements and can be optimised for performance, scalability and integration with other systems.
How are app builders different from custom coding development?
Custom coding development
The main difference between app builders and custom coding lies in the development time, cost, customisation and maintenance.
1- Development time
App builders offer faster development due to their visual interfaces, pre-built components and templates. You can create applications quickly without writing extensive code.
Custom-coding app development typically requires more time as developers need to write code from scratch. The development process involves designing, coding, testing and iterating on various aspects of the application.
When it comes to app development cost, app builders offer a number of advantages by comparison to custom-coding app development. This includes the fact that they operate on subscription-based models rather than charging hourly rates. They also eliminate the need for hiring specialist developers.
Custom-coding app development tends to be more expensive as it requires skilled developers who may charge higher rates. The cost includes the development team's salaries, infrastructure and potentially ongoing support or maintenance expenses.
App builders offer a certain level of customisation through their provided components, templates and configuration options. However, customisation is limited to what the app builder platform offers.
Custom coding allows for extensive customisation. Developers can create tailored solutions that precisely meet your specific requirements, including unique features, integrations, designs and customer experience.
Maintenance in app builders may either be handled by the platform provider or by a third party. This ensures updates, bug fixes and security patches for the underlying framework or components. You just need to test and apply those updates to your apps.
With custom coding, maintenance responsibility typically lies with your internal development team. Custom-coded applications may require ongoing maintenance to address updates, security vulnerabilities, performance optimisations and feature enhancements.
In summary, app builders offer you faster development, cost advantages and simplified maintenance but have limited customisation options. On the other hand, custom coding offers you extensive customisation, but development time, cost and ongoing maintenance can be higher.
Pros and cons of using app builders vs custom coding
Depending on your requirements, both app builders and custom coding have their own set of pros and cons.
Firstly, let’s take a look at the benefits:
Custom coding development
User-friendly - no coding knowledge is required and apps can be assembled via drag and drop
Complete control over the app's architecture, functionality and design
Faster development, reducing time-to-market
Unlimited flexibility means you can implement features for specific requirements
Cost effective because features are pre built
Scalability means your software can easily adapt to emerging needs
Easy to maintain because of simplicity of features
Enterprise-grade security keeping company and customer data safe and compliant
Now let’s take a look at the downsides of each development route:
Limited customisation because features are pre built and off the shelf
Longer development time as apps are often created from scratch or with the help of a low-code app builder
Lack of flexibility because of one-size-fits-many approach
Higher cost because of the longer development lifecycle and higher feature complexity
Platform dependency makes it difficult to migrate to another provider or modify your codebase
Prohibitive for entrepreneurs without development skills
Limited scalability makes it difficult to adapt to emerging business needs
Maintenance requires more attention because of app complexity
Fancy using an app builder that gives you all the benefits of low code and no code? Then check out Builder.ai. We can help you build scalable Android and iOS apps and you never need to speak to a developer.
- Build anything, regardless of complexity
- Get guaranteed costs
- No coding knowledge needed