What is No-Code?

You've got a great idea for an app, but you're not sure how to bring it to life. You want something simple—something that'll get your product on the market quickly. That's where no-code platforms come in. These are tools that allow you to build mobile apps without having to write any code at all (hence "no-code"). However, there are some trade-offs involved with this option: no code means less control over design and functionality, which means more limitations on what you can do with your app; it also means you're dependent on someone else's servers instead of being able to host everything yourself. If these things don't matter much to you—or if they're worth giving up for the sake of time savings or cost-effectiveness—then no-code might be right for your business!

1. What is no-code?

No-code is a software development approach that requires no programming skills to quickly build an application. No-code decouples programming languages and syntax from logic, and instead take a visual approach to software/web development to enable rapid delivery. It is a popular and promising alternative to traditional software/web development for non-technical business users hoping to build their own full-fledged applications.

The no-code movement rests upon the fundamental belief that technology should enable and facilitate creation, not be a barrier to entry. The no-code movement has removed the obstacle of having to know programming languages, letting anyone bring their ideas to light. Where app development and launching web applications was once only possible by skilled programmers, no-code development platforms, along with the wealth of tutorials out there can get anyone on their way to getting their ideas out there. Being a non-programmer no longer matters. No-code is simply an abstraction layer over code. 

No-code enables every employee to become a citizen developer without learning to code. This, in turn, helps businesses accelerate operations, quickly adjust processes to change, better meet customer and employee needs, and grow.

A no-code development platform, delivers all of the functionality that HTML5, CSS, and Javascript, but you don't have to know any of these programming languages to jump in and start building.

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2. How does no-code work?

No-code, in some sense, is a misnomer: There is plenty of coding involved, but it is behind the scenes, invisible to business users. The heavy lifting is done by the no-code tool providers that use data abstraction and encapsulation to essentially hide the complexity of what users accomplish through simple maneuvers, such as dragging and dropping application components, to build an application.

When you build on a no-code platform, you are building with code, you simply don’t have to do any coding. No-code platforms have pre-built drag-and-drop elements that have been coded for reuse and scale.

A no code development platform is essentially a user interface builder, where you can rapidly drag-and-drop every web page together, and instantly see how it will look on mobile, tablet and desktop. Using visual models replaces the complexity of coding, allowing you to manage your data easily.

In a no-code platform, Users have at their disposal a toolbox from which to start creating their app. They can drag and drop visual boxes in order to add and arrange functionalities, instead of using a text editor for code. Usually, there are also drop-down menus to choose from a set of options, as well as a color palette to brand the app. In addition, many platforms offer ready-made templates for many common business use cases. Then users can employ the template and build on it additional functionalities that are specific to their company’s needs. Through the visual and intuitive interface, which graphically replaces the lines of code behind it, end users can set up their application, connect it with databases or web services, integrate it with other tools, and start using it for tackling work tasks. Besides the ease of use, no-code apps thus drastically reduce the app creation and deployment time.


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3. Is no-code just drag and drop user interfaces?

No code applications are not primarily just drag-and-drop user interfaces. There is a major misconception with no code applications that they are only for simple apps. This is not the case. In a rapidly evolving technological age, no code application builders have become extremely sophisticated to support rich functionality in all apps, in order to meet business demands. It is now possible to build many end-to-end enterprise applications using a no code platform.

4. What are the Features of no-code?

The following are the features of no-code:

  • VISUAL MODELING TOOLS: Creating apps using visual methods and models is faster than developing using code. Powered with visual modeling capabilities, no-code platforms use built-in components to represent any information in a form that is readable to anyone – from regular business users with no tech skills to professional developers.
  • DRAG-AND-DROP INTERFACES: Every established no-code platform has drag-and-drop abilities. It is one of the most useful and important features that enables an easy development process. Both citizen developers and professional developers benefit from the convenience drag-and-drop features provide during the creation of applications.
  • REUSABILITY: One major aspect of no-code development’s OOTB functionality is the usage of pre-configured modules and functionality for apps. These modules have common core functions needed for several apps, and they can be reused to develop different solutions more quickly. It’s essential that a low-code platform allows users to reuse prebuilt or newly-developed modules, plug-ins, and entire applications to develop necessary apps faster.
  • SCALABILITY: No-code platforms provide scalability. They allow users to build new applications that can handle an increase in customers, business growth, and other changes in business strategy and development.
  • CROSS-PLATFORM ACCESSIBILITY: No-code tools are accessible from any device and don’t require special technical equipment. Moreover, its cross-platform compatibility allows users to build apps that can also run on all core platforms and devices.

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5. What are the pros no-code?

No code development is appealing, as it is easy to use and allows non-programmers to pump out apps or workflows quickly. No-code can be useful to both developers and business users, and is great for companies that have a backlogged development team and need to utilise business users as developers. The following are some of the benefits of using no-code.

  • Little to no training: User interfaces are simple -- to build an app you drag and drop, or layer, application components. Users may need some basic training, but nothing that requires coding. No-code development platforms give the chance to anyone who wishes to become a ‘citizen developer to create web, mobile, and business applications. What’s more, business owners can empower their employees to craft the tools they need for their work. Team members can easily create the apps they see as best suited to address the gaps in their daily processes.
  • Reduced cost: Developers are expensive. No-code solutions give you a way to bypass that, taking away a lot of the overhead that comes with requiring a skilled team of developers on staff all the time. You can build apps faster and cheaper in the long run.
  • Better agility: Most development is done via a drag-and-drop interface, built visually with pre-built modules. This means building apps is a lot faster. Testing is generally automated which further cuts down on development time. Simple and fast development via visual modeling tools provides businesses with the opportunity to adapt quickly to ever-changing markets and customer demands.
  • Increased Productivity: Since apps can be built at a much faster pace, IT staff aren’t overloaded with requests from every other department, and there are fewer people waiting for work to be done. What used to take weeks or months can now be completed in hours or days.
  • Easily changeable: The problem with traditional hand coding is that you can’t really change a functionality or feature at the drop of a hat, especially if you’re coding in a language foreign to you. With no code, you can. If you need to change something, you simply implement new logic, and can have your change ready in a matter of hours.
  • A faster path to launch: With no-code platforms, marketing and design teams can implement and hook up any required forms, instead of pulling an engineer to create and connect a database to your dynamic content pages.

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6. What are the cons of no-code?

There are also a few disadvantages of no-code just like any other development platform.

These are mentioned below:

  • Application integration: Depending on the aforementioned low-code/no-code spectrum, it may be difficult to pull in data from other existing applications. However, some ostensibly no-code programs actually provide tools for integration.
  • Limited usability: The tradeoff for simplicity and ease of use is that no-code typically doesn't extend to support complex capabilities.
  • Users must have a clear understanding of their requirements: As no two no code platforms, nor their respective limitations, are alike, any user must first determine whether their requirements fit within the constraints of a particular tool. Even then, these requirements will naturally change over time, and so the risk of these diverging from the evolving capabilities of the platform is always present.
  • You don’t own your source code: Should you eventually decide to make the move away from your no code development platform, you are bound to quickly run into the issue of vendor lock-in.

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7. What can you build with no-code?

No-code allows you to build both Web and Mobile applications.

The following are types of apps that you can certainly build in no-code:

a. Ecommerce sites.

Ecommerce sites let vendors list their products, and then customers search for and buy those products.

Example: Apps like Etsy.

b. Appointment scheduling.

These apps let you share calendars, book appointments and meetings, send notifications and reminders, and even add payment system integration. 

Example: Apps like Calendly. 

c. Marketplaces.

Example: Apps like Uber, Amazon, and Airbnb. 

d. Listing Directories.

Example: Apps like Zillow

e. Customer relationship management systems (CRMs).

CRMs help you keep track of your leads and customers. 

Example: Apps like HubSpot CRM. 

f. Dashboards.

Dashboard apps are great for tracking statistics and analytics. 

Example: Apps like Plecto.

g. Messaging.

Messaging apps can include private chats, forums, group chats, and more. 

Example: Apps like Reddit and Discord.

h. Social.

Example: Apps like Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin.

i. File management.

Example: Apps like Dropbox

j. Shopping Carts.

No code apps can help you build shopping cart and payment systems for your app. There are also plenty of established payment apps, like Stripe and PayPal, that you can integrate into your app.

Example: Apps like Amazon, Ebay, and Airbnb.

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8. What are the no-code tools?

There are a plethora of no code development platforms on the market, with new competitors entering the space on a regular basis. The following are some of the top rated no code platforms currently available.

  • Adalo: Adalo allows you to build apps on an intuitive drag-and-drop interface, either by using pre-made design elements or by creating your own. It takes the headache out of publishing your apps to the Android or Apple stores— with a subscription plan, it allows you to easily publish your apps.
  • Airtable: Airtable is an easy-to-use online platform for creating and sharing relational databases. The user interface is simple, colorful, friendly, and allows anyone to spin up a database in minutes.
  • Bubble: Bubble is a popular visual programming language and application platform as a service that enables non-technical people to build web-applications without needing to code, through a point-and-click programming tool.
  • Glide: GlideApps is an online platform that instantly transforms data from spreadsheets (Google Sheet, Excel) into mobile apps that fit on iOS, Android, phones and tablets.
  • Softr: Softr turns your Airtable data into a beautiful and powerful website, web app or client portal. Pick a template or start from scratch.
  • Thunkable: Thunkable enables anyone to create beautiful and powerful mobile apps. Build your own apps by dragging and dropping your favorite components and connecting them together with blocks. On Thunkable, every app project is automatically created as a: native Android app.
  • Webflow: Webflow is an in-browser design tool that gives you the power to design, build, and launch responsive websites visually.

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9. What is the future of no-code?

The future for no-code development is bright because demand from LOB professionals outpaces the ability of IT departments to develop and maintain applications. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated this gap as IT help desks strain to support remote workforces.

According to Forbes, No-Code is the future of software. It reports Gartner’s new forecast for low-code/no-code development tools. Driven by an increase in remote work due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Gartner projected a 23% increase for the global market for this type of technology.

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