Software development

Low-Code vs No-Code vs Bespoke Development. How Do You Choose?

For any business, a software development project brings an almost endless list of choices. Do you stick with what you’ve got, pay for something completely new, or opt for enhancing what works and replace what does not? Do you build or expand your in-house IT team, or look for a development partner? Should that partner be local, or based overseas?

These questions all need answering, and the conclusion isn’t always crystal clear. And that’s certainly true when it comes to deciding what approach you should take with your project: no-code, low-code, or a truly bespoke one.

To make that choice, to answer that question, you need to understand the options laid out in front of you.

1. Understanding no-code development

What is it?

No-code development platforms let you build a software application without any need for coding. Your team simply selects from pre-built modules and features to create a customised application for a specific problem.

What are the benefits?

No-code development is usually cheap, quick, and doesn’t need you to hire a development team - either in-house or externally.

What are the drawbacks?

No-code applications tend to be extremely limited, with little customisation or flexibility compared to a bespoke project. They can’t support complex workflows and processes, and you have little to no control over service quality or security.

Choose no-code software when…’re looking to build simple web or mobile applications, to test a use case, or to automate uncomplicated workflows that aren't mission critical.

2. Understanding low-code development

What is it?

Low-code development takes the approach of no-code tools and builds on it. Your team still picks from pre-made functionality and features, but an expert developer can then assemble and link those options to create something that’s a more tailored version of a no-code offering.

What are the benefits?

Low-code gives you more control than a no-code solution, and still offers a relatively fast and cost-effective development cycle.

What are the drawbacks?

You’ll need technical know-how, either on your team or from a partner, and there’s more testing required than a plug-and-play no-code option. Low-code tools also have varying levels of support, making them a challenging prospect for inexperienced in-house teams.

Choose low-code software when… have access to technical expertise, and have slightly more in-depth requirements that can’t all be supported by a no-code system.

3. Understanding bespoke development

What is it?

When you think of software development, chances are you’ll think of this. Teams of expert developers working hard to create something from the ground up, something that includes new features, new functionality, and that is tailored exactly to your need.

What are the benefits?

With a bespoke project, you’re entirely in control. You decide what you need and how you’ll need it to work. You lead the process, and you retain ownership of the IP. You also set the standards for security and service quality that your developers need to meet.

What are the drawbacks

Compared to the other options, bespoke software development can be more expensive, more time-consuming, and require more hands-on management.

Choose bespoke software when…

...the business case for software demands a bespoke option. Whether it’s your complex workflows or strict security requirements (ruling out no-code and low-code options), or the fact that no other application does what you need your software to do, you’ll know when you need that bespoke approach.

4. Low-code vs no-code vs bespoke isn’t an either/or choice

Even when you see the three types of project spelled out in plain English, the choice may seem to be difficult to make. Is your project really simple enough to be handled by a low-code or no-code system? Do you really need to invest the time and expense into a bespoke application?

As you’ll discover in our ebook -The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Bespoke Software Company - the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Along with explanations of why managing a bespoke project isn’t as daunting as it seems, and advice on how not to fall prey to the most pervasive myths about software development, our ebook outlines why it’s a hybrid approach that often makes the most sense. A project that combines the strengths of low-code, no-code and bespoke development, and that eliminates the weaknesses of all three.

If you’ve already read our ultimate guide and want some extra information on how Transition’s hybrid approach could work for your development project, get in touch today.

Last updated:
November 2023

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