What is no code?

If you are working in tech, you may have come across this term by now. If you are still confused and want to get a quick idea of what no code or visual programming is, then read ahead.

No Code is a new way to build digital products like mobile apps, websites, internal tools, etc. Building without writing a line of code, without having to learn how to manipulate code itself, or writing through a programming language. No code makes it easy for non coders to create functional products by themselves.

What can be built with no code?

Well, some people often think that it’s just about building websites or landing pages so they think of software such as Wix or Squarespace. But the reality is that no code has come a long way and the tools that are now out there that allow much more complex stuff.

  • You can build messaging apps,
  • You can build marketplaces
  • You can build productivity tools,
  • You can build dashboards with analytics
  • You can create all types of things.

I’ve even seen pitch decks coming towards me from people who are building solutions to be able to create VR experiences without coding.

What are the possibilities through No code?

I believe that the speed at which ideas will be produced will increase rapidly as development time and cost drastically decrease. We will see companies growing to hundreds of employees with their main tech stack being built on no-code tools, and we believe that no-code tools will continue to proliferate filling gaps in the market creating ever more components and solutions to the market of those building without code.

  • To leverage the no-code ecosystem, you’ll need to learn various tools and processes but it still has a shorter learning curve compared to programming.
  • It has good community support as more creators use no-code tools, the community around them grows stronger.
  • As a founder when you create a tool yourself, you know it inside and out. You have complete autonomy over your product.
  • Many no-code tools are free or offer free tiers. 
  • It’s crazy fast to update a tool you control

Limits of No code and Possible Downsides

Building in the no-code space is a creative endeavor just like anything else, and therefore can be approached as a part-art-part-science. What’s most exciting is that the tools and applications are growing each day, meaning new possible use cases are emerging all of the time, as the industry is anything but static.

No-code tools are great at displaying data, organizing content, and connecting APIs. They’re less ideal if you need to:

  • Leverage custom layouts and illustrations
  • Customize out-of-the-box functionality
  • Create robust native apps
  • Manage complex calculations
  • Oversee a ton of data
  • Prioritize speed and scalability

Which is why you currently see more no-code prototypes than products. Especially on the mobile app front, no-code tools have a long way to go before making a robust, non-cookie-cutter MVP is possible.

Apart from this following are some other concerns around No-code:

  1. A major limitation of no-code software is dependency. You’re tied to whatever tool you use. If they sink, you sink too. 
  2. It difficult to claim IP (Intellectual Property) when just about any one can build your product with the same suite of free tools.
  3. Platforms that let you to throw in everything plus the kitchen sink usually have speed and scalability issues.
  4. When you need help moving beyond your no-code prototype, you’d need to hire external help.

People often run before they walk. Worrying about what may happen with 1 million users is probably not a useful exercise. We’d recommend building with no-code and validate with paying users ASAP.

Democratising Product Dev for Non Coders

The learning curve is way shorter with no code and what that means is that you as a non-technical founder can learn how to build with no code in a matter of weeks instead of years. It takes about six years to be a really good programmer. Additionally you can also hire people that have a lower skill set developers. Generally good programmers usually cost between a hundred and two hundred thousand dollars a year but you can hire people who are no coders at a fraction of that cost. It is gonna affect not only in the short term of your startup but also the longer term when you start building out a team you’ll be able to teach pretty much anyone how to edit your product in a meaningful way without having to write line of code. That’s super powerful.

If you’ve moved past the daydream phase and are ready to get your hands dirty (#proud), check out MakerPad, Create Without Code, NoCode, NuCode, and NoCode Hub for inspiration and tips. Several of those sites are building communities too, if you want to connect with other folks.

Why is no code a smart way to build a startup?

Everyone knows building a startup is not just about building the product but it’s super important to also build a community around that product for it to be able to make it a revenue generating business. You have so many other angles to look after like what customers you’re gonna have to line up, what partners to reach out to, you need to learn sales marketing, you need to learn basic finances, etc.

So when people talk about building startups with no code they’re not saying okay just learn no code and they’d be set. What they’re saying is that building no code is the easiest way to get your product to the market. No code makes it much faster for you to be able to build a product so instead of taking months or potentially years to build out something you can do it in weeks. It’s makes a huge difference because usually you’re bringing that first product to market and testing it out to seeing how it goes and iterating to be able to find a perfect market fit.

The second reason is that if you don’t need to depend on expensive developers, you don’t need investors to start your startup. And you don’t need a tech co-founder to get a MVP out. This is powerful for non-technical founders who I often see going to events seeking to find the right tech co-founders and having a really hard time. It can be very frustrating waste of time and it’s a little bit demoralizing.

No Code tools I’ve tried and my brief thoughts

  • AppGyver Composer Pro is the best no-code, drag & drop mobile app development environment I’ve seen. It allows you to create both web and mobile apps for Android (even Android TV) and iOS, packs tons of flexibility, and offers most of the best features in a generous free plan.
  • Bubble or Bubblie.io looks like a leader in the no-code movement. Bubble offers a powerful point-and-click web editor and cloud hosting platform that allows users to build fully customizable web applications and workflows, ranging from simple prototypes to complex marketplaces, SaaS products, and more. It has a bit more of a learning curve but offers much more detailed and complex functionality.

  • Adalo is similar to Bubble and other no-code platforms in that its goal is to offer a platform to design and host websites and applications that include databases, workflow actions, and integrations. Adalo also has the ability to publish to Android and iOS devices, thus creating native mobile apps. Adalo is much suitable for projects where the intended functionality is conventional. Adalo seems more design oriented.

What’s next?

Have you spent some time building a prototype and audience? Want to chat through your next steps? Book a call with Faisal. He’s friendly, I promise. And if we’re not a great fit for you, he’ll be the first to tell you 😉