What is No Code? Your New Super Power

Rokas Jurkėnas
October 12, 2021
Development

Gone are the days where you had to be able to program, invest years of your valuable time in order to create something online.

Now all you need to do is be able to drag & drop several blocks and you will have a working product.

No Code tools are platforms that let you create software without having any programming skills. In this article, I'll explain what new opportunities this brings.

No Code website seen on a laptop
A No Code website seen on a laptop

A Growing Trend

Remember the difficulty of creating websites in the past. You needed a developer to put everything in the right places, set up the server, write the code.

Thankfully, everything is much easier now. Need an e-shop? Sign up to Shopify and you'll have it in less than an hour. Want a simple website? Use Umso.com and you'll have your website after a couple of clicks. Alternatively, you'll have what you need in a couple of minutes with Wix.

Creative powers are no longer locked in the heads of those who can code. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, can make their ideas a reality.

The market is moving towards a state where any person can utilise powerful tools (even those based on Artificial Intelligence) without knowing a thing about programming.

The era of the citizen developer is here. The further we go, the more tools we'll see that will make creating new businesses simpler and easier.

A young woman using No Code software with a laptop computer.
No Code tools can be used by anyone, anywhere

But What is No Code, Exactly?

No Code is a relatively new type of tool that allows users to perform actions that weren't possible before without knowing how to code. By having the code already written and expressed in a graphical interface through assets that could be described as blocks, these tools take the technical work out of programming.

All that users need to worry about now is the logic - how things should be structured.

Tasks such as developing an app, setting up automation, designing a professional email, are all made more accessible via these tools.

A sample chatbot flow made with BotStar, a No Code tool for making chatbots.
Sample chatbot made with BotStar

No Code tools do have a drawback - you cannot pre-program a tool to suit every situation. Therefore, these platforms do not always provide what you need in your particular case.

However, there are many sources on the internet that provide information on what particular tools can and cannot do. We advise doing some research before committing to any particular No Code platform.

What is Low Code and how is it different from No Code?

Low Code is a type of tool that is somewhere in between No Code and traditional coding: users have access to a No Code-esque drag and drop UI, which is supplemented with the ability to enter custom code and adapt your creations to your liking.

Users do not have to be completely proficient at any programming language, but the more you know, the more you can customise your creation or adapt it for a purpose it wasn't originally designed for.

Should I choose Low Code or No Code?

No Code development is easier than employing Low Code. If you are an amateur and have never done any programming before, No Code is your best bet.

Almost all No Code tools are easy to use, feature some sort of tutorials and have a wide variety of templates to start from. They will allow you to make apps, websites and web apps without having any previous experience or knowledge in programming.

A software developer coding on two monitors
Low Code tools require some knowledge of coding, but still less than traditional development

Low Code platforms are more powerful by design, as you can implement code that you write yourself to make something truly unique, while also saving time by not having to code the whole app from the ground up.

As a result, their learning curve is much steeper than No Code's. If you already have some experience with development, you'll likely find Low Code more appealing as it allows for deeper customisation and offers significantly more freedom.

For example, as a No Code development agency, we use Bubble.io, since our developers are skilled in traditional programming. Bubble is classified as a No Code tool on paper, but in practice, it acts very much like a Low Code tool, with remarkably more numerous customisation options and a higher level of skill of the user required as a result.

A Platform to Implement Your Business Idea With

A young woman giving a business presentaion
No Code can be used to improve your business or launch products without coding knowledge

No Code and Low Code platforms may also become an excellent choice for businesses without easy access to developers, as according to a report, 85% of enterprise executives already believe that their firms will become less competitive if they will not make significant progress towards digital transformation.

No Code can be a great tool to do just that - it allows automating your tasks in just a few clicks, for example. More on that in the next section!

Making Prototypes and Tools with No Code

Any non-technical people - regular students, designers, or salesmen can create a prototype for their future business.

All they need to do is spend a little time learning the tools and they can start building.

Maybe you want to make a mobile app for your idea? There are a plethora of tools that have done the groundwork for you.

From using Glide to make a simple app based on a Google Sheet, to customising every single detail with Bubble, there really is a tool for everyone.

If you have ever thought of how to make your working life easier, chances are that it can be done with a No Code platform that already exists.

A screenshot of the UI of Coda, a No Code tool for making custom workspaces.
A sample workspace on Coda

Have you recently been put in charge of creating a newsletter and are getting bogged down learning HTML?

Use MailerLite's drag and drop interface to design beautiful emails in no time. There are plentiful templates available together with a detailed knowledge base to give you a head start.

Do you work in a company and want to make it more effective, but making custom solutions is too expensive? Not anymore.

With No Code solutions such as Coda, Airtable and many others, you can create a tailored system for your company in record time.

No Code Tools and Use Cases

Below you can find a list of tools that you can use without having any programming knowledge, together with their use cases: 

  • Create a web app using Google Sheet data in 10 minutes with Glide.
  • Create a system according to your needs with Coda. It's a mix between an app and a spreadsheet full of automation options.
    We have used it to build a budget-friendly project management business application for a client and use it in a very similar way ourselves as well!
  • Manage newsletters, automate messages and create landing pages with Mailerlite.
  • Use Airtable - a mix between Excel, a database and a project management tool, with tables that can be embedded into any website.
  • Create a full-fledged product without programming with Bubble.
  • Build a messenger chatbot in a couple of minutes without programming with BotStar.
  • Create a functional website with your own custom design with Webflow.
  • Make a website from a Google Docs sheet with Sheet2Site.
  • With the help of Adalo make a mobile app for iOS or Android and publish it in the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.
  • Manage your notes and projects in a single place with Notion.
  • Create a fast and optimized page for your product in a couple of minutes with Umso.
  • Automate a workflow with Zapier that notifies your coworkers via Slack when a new post is made on your website.
A female developer using a laptop
A developer using a laptop

Connecting No Code Tools

There's a saying - one man is no man. This is true for No Code tools as well. Usually, a single tool cannot be trusted to make a fully-fledged product.

However, there's an answer - Zapier, a No Code platform also known as the glue of the internet. Using it you can connect tools and make a workflow with 2 or more different programs.

What is a workflow? Let me explain - it's a set of steps that need to be done in order and have the same result no matter who is completing them.

Zapier's workflows are autonomous, which means they save time and money as there will be fewer human errors or product delays in everyday business processes.

There are also automated emails exporting data through integrations with Google Analytics, YouTube etc., so businesses won't miss out on valuable information like the number of page views per month or subscribers gained over a certain period of time.

Examples of apps Zapier can be connected to
Examples of apps Zapier can be connected to

An example of what happens when someone fills out a Google form: with the help of Zapier, that person's email is added to Mailerlite to send an automated email sequence. Also, their details are instantly transferred to Facebook ads. I didn't do anything, but the customer is already seeing relevant ads and getting personal emails.

This is just one of the examples of how you can automate various tasks. The options are unlimited - as many as you can think of.

Does that mean that programming will disappear?

Of course, No Code platforms are not a panacea that solves all problems.

Is time running out for software developers?
Is time running out for software developers?

You need to follow the 80/20 rule. Usually, 20% of the effort gives 80% of the results. It's the same way with these tools. You may not be able to do everything you've thought of, but 80% of the time it's enough.

Software developers are also not out of a job yet, as No Code is more their friend than their enemy - it takes away the mundane, uncreative, "remedial" tasks that are a vital part of traditional coding.

By having the basic code already within the No Code platforms, professional developers can focus on complex problems where their time is best spent, completing projects several times faster compared to what they would spend by coding.

What does this mean for you? If you are enticed by the benefits of No Code but do not feel like building yourself, contacting an agency to do it for you can be a very financially sound decision.

If your time is very valuable, it is often better to hire a No Code agency that has a good understanding of the tools we mentioned in this article and will make the whole product for you quickly.

Three software developers talking in an office
Three software developers talking in an office

Even though No Code tools are relatively easy to use, the learning process still involves reading how-to's, making mistakes and not necessarily meeting the expectations a person sets for oneself.

Hiring an agency is more expensive than doing it yourself but it usually gives better results and saves time - which is especially important when you want to get your idea to market as soon as possible.

One of the most common ways to do so is described in the next section.

Building a Minimum Viable Product

In regards to startups, No Code software can significantly reduce the barriers to create an MVP (a Minimum Viable Product).

A man solving problems on a laptop
Building a test version of your product with No Code results in way less frustration

What is a Minimum Viable Product?

An MVP is a version of a product that allows businesses to test it, find any errors and problems with the process, gather feedback from customers who are likely to buy this kind of product. It is not necessarily an early version but rather one that has enough features for people to understand what you're offering them.

No Code MVP

In just a couple of weeks, you can release your product to the market. When the idea gets validated, and only then, you should program the whole solution from scratch. This way you will save a lot of money and time.

Instead of thinking about whether someone will buy your product, you can simply make it and see for yourself.

A screenshot of a No Code MVP we made with Bubble for Inksonic, a social media copywriting service
Inksonic MVP we built in 2 days

Above you can see an example of a No Code MVP we have made in an internal 2-day hackathon.

Inksonic is a social media copywriting service where users can order up to 50 social media posts to be written at a time using a convenient self-service platform. After an order is placed, users receive their posts, which are comprised of text and a matching image, within 48 hours.

We came up with a name, created the brandbook and started the development process with a wireframe: a visual mockup of the product with indications of what screens (pages) are needed, how they should look like and where should they lead.

Afterwards, we built the landing page with Umso and the rest of the system with Bubble.

Users could create an account, sign up for one of 3 subscription plans (or cancel their subscription), order social media posts for 3 social media platforms (Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter) and submit any suggestions they had for the platform.

All of this took us just 2 days.  

Wireframe of Inksonic built on Figma.
Complete wireframe of Inksonic, built on Figma

Making a product like this which shows off the basic features, look and functionality of what investors and customers can expect in the future can put your business on the right track and provide tangible proof that you are onto something with your idea.

It can also be made very quickly, as it does not require the same amount of polish and features a full product has to have. As long as you are transparent with your goals, users will be understanding of any bugs and problems that might arise. Use this phase as an opportunity - your first customers are like free business consultants, they will tell you what they do and don't like.

A screenshot of the original Zappos website
Plenty of famous businesses started from an MVP. Zappos, for example, launched their store without having any stock

No Code development platforms have made business more competitive because anyone can surprise their competition and come out as leaders once they know what they're up against. The barriers are long gone; all that remains is your imagination and creativity.

Summary

The No Code movement has given regular people the opportunity to create their own software without having any programming skills. This means that anyone can now prototype for their future business in as little time as possible by spending just a few hours learning how these tools work.

Of course, there's no one-size-fits-all solution; No Code tools aren't going to solve every problem your company has but it could help get things moving faster than before when technology was more of an obstacle than an advantage.

Therefore, if you're going into an industry where you won't have access to coders or will need to quickly build something on your own then I recommend giving one of them a try!

I personally think that a lot fewer people know about No Code software than they should. Spend a little bit of time getting familiarized and then you'll realize what competitive advantage you've just gained.

References

Cover: Photo by Simon Abrams on Unsplash

Image #1: Photo by Ninaidea on Reshot

Image #2: Photo by Shopify Partners on Burst

Image #3: Photo by Matthew Henry on Burst

Image #4: Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

Image #5: Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

Image #6: Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Image #7: Photo by Matthew Henry on Burst

Digital transformation: What it is and why it matters in 2019. ClickZ

Low-code and no-code won't kill developer jobs, here's why. Tech Republic

Low-Code and No-Code Platforms: What IT leaders Should Consider. Information Week

Rokas Jurkėnas

Rokas is an entrepreneur and a No Code expert in one. He has founded two businesses, Idea Link, the leading No Code agency in the Baltic States, and Scantact, an online and on-site event management solution for expos, trade shows and fairs with lead retrieval functionality. He is the most prominent voice on the topic of No Code in Lithuania, having spoken twice in Login, the leading innovation conference in the country, sharing his knowledge in social media and news outlets.

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