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The battle between custom software, low-code, and no-code software
15 June, 2022

The battle between custom software, low-code, and no-code software

Behind any tech idea is someone or a group of people who want to change the status quo, change the world, or bring their ideas to life. In some cases, there is a lack of core technical skills needed to achieve that. An advert; Build what you want with no code displays on our screens, and we signed up. These no-code and low-code software solutions can be a boon for businesses, empowering non-technical people and democratizing technology. What a time to be alive! Here comes custom software, whose developers charge between $50 to $150 per hour. These developers are people like me with diverse skill sets and experience, but why pay so high when we can pay for less? Let us try no-code platforms.

No-code solutions

One may notice a small war between low-code, no-code, and custom software development. People believed that first wives are less expensive. So, when entrepreneurs want to build, they consider “a first wife” — a no-code solution to save time and cost. Easily build applications and websites in minutes for less without writing any code! Who would not want to save money and time anyway? Besides, no code solutions make us feel like pros and innovate without waiting for developers. We could easily drag and drop website or app features, import, export, and much more without complex logical reasoning. After a few uses, there is this emptiness eating everything all up. This is likely not the right platform to build on. Is it? How can I scale this? The desired result is far from reach, too controlling . . . I mean restive and rigid, alas! No-code solutions failed to live up to expectations. What's likely the next option

Low-code Solutions

A second wife. You see polygamy is not that bad Afterall. If you think you can make it out alive, I recommend a “second wife” — a low code solution. They make us feel in control over our affairs. This allows for higher quality outputs as no subject matter expertise is lost in a back-and-forth unlike the first. Low code solutions speed innovation better, time to market, and requires just a small amount of coding. While we enjoy all the perks, little do we know that we are building a castle on a sea shore. Because certain blocks of code are locked into visual components a user can manipulate, they are not scalable and are inherently more restrictive than the underlying code.

The most common problem with no and low code solutions is that they cannot produce the desired results long term. Businesses have different visions and missions. But, one thing is certain; they all want to grow, scale and expand. Will the low or no-code solution scale with you? How about software complexities? Who owns these codes? Does one need to be paying every month or year for it? There are several factors to consider when choosing a low code or no-code solution over custom software development. Some of them are:

Access Privileges:

Most low-code solutions have one default area where connections to data sources, SAAS and Cloud services, etc., are. This default environment makes them prone to defects, design flaws, and security vulnerabilities? On the other hand, no-code and low-code apps do not have their own identities. They make use of their owner's identity. By owners, I mean the owners of these solutions. While this may be an opportunity for someone to provide identity service to low and no-code solutions, unfortunately, almost all no and low code apps use their user credentials, so there is no need for an identity service. This means that when a user gains access to a low-code or no-code app, it also gains access to its underlying credentials. This is a perfect way to break authorization boundaries and access some pages or resources only admins should have access to with or without a user credential. The vulnerability allows attackers to modify their privileges too.

Data Leak:

No code and low code solutions largely revolve around drag and drop features and automation, moving data from point A to B, and connecting third-party tools and processes. This creates room for the movement of data to places not authorized or moved to unauthorized services (i.e., shadow IT).

Weak Authentications:

Software built on top of low-code and no-code solutions have 0 control over its authentication because it was built on top of another software critical business data. Toggling a tab right or left does not mean you are in control because connections to data sources are defined by no-code and low-code owners. Besides, not all people behind low-code and no-code solutions are experts in their field. Some are citizen developers and simple tasks may switch them back to using HTTP rather than HTTPS, create weak encryption ciphers, etc. So, what next option do we have?


Custom software development

Building from scratch is more than writing a few lines of code, see it as a living organism. Define what it will be used for, and plan each feature, pivot, and scale. Building from scratch thought it was the first wife lol but it may be. Whatever you think of it, there needs to be proper planning, documentation, and testing at each phase to mitigate bugs that produce unexpected results like triggering software to do things it is not designed to do. “I would like to build a Facebook-like app.” “I think Instagram is cool, I want an Instagram app but for gays, lesbians and non-gender . . .” the list goes on . . . I have read several of these project ideas. No matter how big or small a custom software project is, such a project needs a detailed description because several things need to be straightened out before writing the first code to help both the developer know what to build and the employer knows what to expect. Custom software development has its cons such as hiring amateurs to build your custom software, and it’s more expensive and time-consuming but it’s the lesser devil here.
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