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Whether you’re a seasoned developer looking to speed up your workflow or a non-techy dreamer with a killer app idea, low code platforms have got your back. They’re changing the game, making software development more accessible, efficient, and exciting.

But here’s the problem: 

Why isn’t game-changing software built with no-code platforms? According to Appian, 31% of enterprises currently using low-code haven’t built or delivered any of their highest-value applications.

Security and scalability roadblocks make it hard for companies to fully rely on low code platforms. One way to tackle this is with custom code integration. 

Want to know how you can do that and how it can help you? This blog lists all the details you need to make a well-informed decision. Let’s dive in.

The Rise of No-Code Solutions

No-code solutions have come a long way since their inception. They have evolved from simple website builders to sophisticated platforms that can handle complex business processes. Tools like Bubble, Adalo, and OutSystems have made it possible for anyone to build functional applications without writing a single line of code.

But the magic doesn’t stop there. No code platforms are all about collaboration. They bring developers, designers, and business peeps together with their user-friendly interfaces. No more language barriers or miscommunications.

In an ideal world, this becomes a software utopia, but that’s far from the truth. No-code solutions have their limits. They might not be your go-to for super complex or specialized apps. And the scalability and customization options can vary.

So to tackle that low-code was created.

The Emergence of Low-Code

Low-code platforms are all about speeding things up and making development more accessible. They provide a visual interface and pre-built components that let you piece together apps like a boss. You don’t have to be a coding ninja to make things happen. It’s like having a cheat code for software development!

And guess what? The numbers don’t lie. According to recent stats, the low-code market is booming. In fact, it’s projected to reach a whopping $52 billion by 2024. And it’s not just the big players who are jumping on board. Small and medium-sized businesses are also getting in on the action, realizing the benefits of faster development and reduced costs.

But wait, there’s more! Studies show that low-code platforms can slash development time by up to 50-90%. Yeah, you heard that right—90%! That means you can go from an idea to a fully functional app in record time. Talk about a productivity boost! And the best part? You don’t have to sacrifice quality. These platforms provide the tools and frameworks to create robust and scalable applications that can handle whatever you throw at them.

And let’s not forget about the flexibility. With low code, you have the freedom to customize and tweak your app to fit your specific needs. You can easily integrate with other systems, add new features, and adapt on the fly. 

What are the cons of Low Code?

Low code has features many adore but there are some serious cons you need to consider. 

CONS
Limited Customization While low-code platforms offer flexibility, customization is limited. Complex or highly specific requirements may require custom coding, which falls outside low-code platforms. You may need workarounds or traditional coding methods for certain functionalities.
Learning CurveAlthough low-code platforms aim to simplify development, there can still be a learning curve involved. Users need to become familiar with the platform’s features, functionality, and best practices. It may take some time to get up to speed and maximize the platform’s potential.
Dependency on Platform ProvidersWhen using a low-code platform, you rely on the provider’s infrastructure and support. If the provider experiences issues or discontinues the platform, it could impact your development process and ongoing maintenance. It’s essential to consider the reliability and longevity of the platform and choose a reputable provider.
Potential Performance LimitationsSome low-code platforms may have performance limitations or scalability challenges. If you’re building complex or high-traffic applications, you’ll need to ensure the platform can handle your requirements and provide the necessary performance and scalability.

If there’s a flaw in everything, what can you do? It’s time for the best of both worlds. By integrating custom code with low-code platforms you can fuel your software development sprints like it runs on jet fuel.

Let’s take a look at how you can do that.

Complementing Low Code with Custom Code – The Hybrid Approach

The hybrid development approach combines the best of both worlds. It leverages the speed and simplicity of low code platforms while also allowing for the flexibility and power of custom code. This approach excels in scenarios where complex business logic or unique functionality is required.

Low-code platforms offer rapid development capabilities, visual interfaces, and pre-built components that expedite app creation. By starting with a low-code foundation, you can quickly build the core functionalities of your application, saving time and effort. An IDC report found customers earned an ROI of 509% after five years of using low-code and intelligent process automation.

While low-code platforms provide flexibility, there might be scenarios where you require highly specialized or complex functionality. Custom code allows you to fine-tune and extend the capabilities of your application to meet those specific requirements. 

As your application grows, you may encounter scalability challenges with a purely low-code approach. Custom code comes to the rescue by providing the scalability needed to handle increased traffic, complex workflows, and advanced data processing.

Integrating with external systems or APIs is a common requirement for many applications. While low-code platforms offer pre-built integrations, custom code grants you full control over the integration process. Securing your hybrid infrastructure is crucial. This involves not only protecting your data but also ensuring compliance with various regulations.

Read More : 5 Signs Your SaaS Has Outgrown No-code Tools

Key Components and Technologies You Will Need

The hybrid approach often involves the integration of APIs, the use of microservices architecture, and modular development practices. These components allow for a more flexible and scalable solution.

Some of the key components and technologies you will need to integrate low code with custom code are:

  • APIs: APIs are the most common way to integrate low code with custom code. They provide a way for low-code applications to communicate with external systems and services.

Some popular APIs that can be used to integrate low code with custom code include:

  • Google APIs
  • Facebook APIs
  • Twitter APIs
  • Salesforce APIs
  • Amazon Web Services APIs
  • SDKs: SDKs are software development kits that provide developers with the tools they need to interact with APIs. They can make it easier to integrate low code with custom code, especially if the API is complex or if there are multiple APIs involved.

Some popular SDKs that can be used to integrate low code with custom code include:

  • Google Cloud SDK
  • Microsoft Azure SDK
  • Amazon Web Services SDK
  • Salesforce SDK
  • Twilio SDK
  • Connectors: Connectors are pre-built integrations that make it easy to connect low-code applications to popular third-party services. They can save developers time and effort, and they can help ensure that the integration is secure and reliable.

Some popular connectors that can be used to integrate low code with custom code  include:

  • Zapier
  • IFTTT
  • Integromat
  • Pabbly
  • Workato
  • Workflows: Workflows can be used to automate tasks and processes that involve both low-code and custom code. This can help to improve efficiency and reduce errors.

Some popular workflow tools that can be used to integrate low code with custom code include:

  • Microsoft Power Automate
  • Google Cloud Workflows
  • Amazon Simple Workflow Service (SWF)
  • Activiti
  • Camunda
  • Version control: Version control is essential for managing changes to low-code and custom code. It can help to ensure that changes are tracked and that the code can be easily reverted if necessary.

The Roadmap for Implementing a Hybrid Solution

Implementing a hybrid solution involves careful planning and analysis. This includes understanding your business needs, assessing technical requirements, and setting goals and KPIs.

Development Strategies

Deciding when to go low-code and when to opt for custom code is a critical decision. Adopting agile development methodology and lean prototyping can help ensure a smooth development process.

Testing and Quality Assurance

Automated testing, continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD), and user acceptance testing (UAT) are all crucial components of the quality assurance process in a hybrid environment.

Monitoring and Optimization

Performance monitoring tools and data analytics can help you continuously improve and scale your hybrid solution.

Challenges & Solutions in Hybrid Development

Hybrid development, combining low-code platforms and custom code, presents unique challenges and requires careful navigation. Let’s explore these challenges and some possible solutions:

1. Integration Complexity

Integrating low-code components with custom code can be complex, especially when dealing with different technologies and systems. It’s essential to establish clear integration protocols, define data exchange formats, and ensure seamless communication between components. Adopting standardized APIs and employing integration frameworks can simplify the process and promote compatibility.

2. Maintaining Code Quality

With a hybrid approach, maintaining code quality becomes crucial. Balancing low-code components and custom code requires vigilant code reviews, adhering to coding standards, and implementing robust testing practices. Ensuring consistent documentation and version control for both low-code and custom code will aid in maintaining code quality and facilitating collaboration among developers.

3. Skills and Expertise

Hybrid development may require a diverse skill set. Developers need proficiency in both low-code platforms and programming languages. Bridging this gap can be challenging, but investing in training programs, cross-skilling initiatives, and knowledge-sharing platforms within the development team can help developers gain the necessary expertise.

4. Platform Limitations 

Low-code platforms have their limitations, such as constrained customization options or specific technical constraints. To overcome these limitations, it’s crucial to identify them early on and assess if custom code is required. Careful evaluation of the platform’s extensibility and customization capabilities can help determine when and where custom code is needed.

5. Vendor Dependency 

Adopting a low-code platform introduces a level of vendor dependency. It’s important to consider the long-term viability and support of the chosen platform. A contingency plan should be in place in case of any unforeseen changes or discontinuation of the platform. Assessing the vendor’s roadmap, customer support, and community engagement can mitigate potential risks.

6. Maintenance and Upgrades 

With a hybrid approach, regular maintenance and upgrades become crucial. It’s essential to monitor updates and patches for both low-code components and custom code. Ensuring compatibility and addressing any conflicts between the two is key. Establishing clear maintenance processes, including regression testing and version control, helps maintain a stable and up-to-date application.

7. Organizational challenges

The hybrid approach requires a certain level of technical expertise and can also involve significant change management. Leveraging third-party expertise like NeoITO can help overcome these challenges. 

Also Read: Free Platforms to Build Your Apps Without Coding [2023]

Conclusion

The hybrid approach of combining low code with custom code provides a flexible and powerful development strategy. It enables efficient development, customization, scalability, integration capabilities, and future readiness. 

Striking the right balance between the two, you can create applications that seamlessly blend the benefits of both approaches, resulting in robust, tailored, and scalable solutions.

Technology landscapes evolve rapidly, and future updates or advancements may require custom code to stay ahead. 

Looking to create a hybrid strategy for your product? We are here to help. Let’s talk.

FAQs

What is hybrid low-code

Hybrid low-code merges custom coding with low-code platforms for versatile, efficient software development.

Picture it like developing an e-commerce app where the low-code platform helps you quickly build the basic shopping interface, product catalog, and checkout system, while custom code allows you to introduce unique features such as a personalized recommendation engine.

What is a low-code no-code solution?

Low-code no-code solutions allow app development with minimal traditional coding via user-friendly interfaces.

Consider this similar to setting up a blog site where you use a no-code platform to arrange elements, create pages, and handle user comments without needing to write complex HTML or JavaScript.

What are the benefits of using a hybrid approach in software development ?

The hybrid approach grants speed, customization, cost efficiency, and scalability. It’s like designing a digital game where you use a low-code platform to quickly prototype and test gameplay mechanics, then custom code is used to add unique features, detailed graphics, or complex AI behaviors, allowing the game to scale and evolve over time.

What are the key differences between custom code and low-code development?

Custom code offers maximum flexibility and complexity but requires more expertise, while low-code is user-friendly, faster, and easier to maintain.

Think of it as the difference between constructing a fully immersive VR application from scratch (custom code) versus building an interactive app using a low-code VR platform – each method has its pros and cons, and the choice depends on your project requirements, timeframe, and resources.

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