What is no-code? Here's what 4 experts have to say on the no-code movement
Building apps from scratch requires highly specialised skills or, more likely, a team of talented developers to create custom features and requirements for your particular business. What if there was an option for entrepreneurs which enabled rapid development and deployment — without the need for coding skills or big development teams? What if we told you there already is? It’s time to say hello to no-code.
Building a business has never been easy.
But, if you’re in the tech or SaaS field, it can be even tougher. Building apps from scratch requires highly specialised skills or, more likely, a team of talented developers to create custom features and requirements for your particular business.
That’s all well and good, but it isn’t cheap, and it isn’t fast.
What if there was an option for entrepreneurs which enabled rapid development and deployment — without the need for coding skills or big development teams?
What if we told you there already is? It’s time to say hello to no-code.
What is no-code?
No-code, sometimes known as no code, NoCode, or the no-code movement, is an ever-growing ecosystem of digital tools designed to help people build products, platforms, and experiences without writing a single line of code.
Historically, if an entrepreneur had a winning software idea, they’d be limited by their technical abilities. If you can’t build it, or can’t find anyone that can, you’re stumped.
No-code solves this elegantly with features such as drag-and-drop editing workflows. That means that, if you can visualise it, you can build it with no-code. From database-driven SaaS applications to members-only websites with login-gated content, there’s a no-code tool out there that can help you build it, even if you’re a non-technical founder.
Larger scale platforms like Bubble open the door to near-limitless digital creations, whereas more focused platforms — like Airable and Webflow — can help create specific apps or websites for specific use cases.
No-code in the real world — what the founders think
No-code might sound wonderful in principle, but sometimes you need some good old-fashioned social proof.
Lucky for you, we’ve spent plenty of time talking with the businesses, entrepreneurs, and founders who have taken the no-code ball and really run with it.
Whether you’ve never written a line of code in your life, or even if you consider yourself a technophobe, we hope these insights will help you see the value — and the door-opening power — of the no-code movement.
Michael Skelly, founder of Stacker
Michael Skelly and his no-code spreadsheet-to-app tool, Stacker, is an excellent example of someone spotting the limitations of the conventional approach, then doing something about it.
In our in-depth interview with Micheal, he explains that his experience of start-up app development highlighted what a hindrance traditional development can be. The building blocks were always the same: a database, a front-end, and some rules, but each company was exhausting endless resources to build their own version of the same thing.
It was when working with these similar business systems that Michael recognised the gap in the market for a platform which did all of the groundwork for the user:
“It seemed clear to us that there must be a way to build consumer-quality products quickly and cheaply without writing code, in a similar way to how we were able to build these internal systems.”
The result of this insight into the market was Stacker, a no-code platform which turns spreadsheets into powerful, flexible applications.
As a self-described non-technical founder, Michael Crosby is the perfect example of a businessperson who can benefit from no-code — and that’s just what Michael did.
With zero experience in app development or technology, Michael quit his day job to build his very own app: HiLo. The app is focused on personal wellness, allowing users to recognise and log the highs and lows of their day.
Taking his cues from validation on social platforms like Reddit, Michael pushed himself to launch a basic, yet functional, MVP of the app — to great success.
So what’s Michael’s advice to anyone using “I’m not technical enough” as a reason not to build their dream?
“As with anything, it is just making the decision to go for it. If it doesn't work out? Start another one. There are too many resources out there for non-tech people to use being “non-tech” as an excuse anymore.”
Founder of Sanctus, James Routledge, recognised the growing need for mental health resources, especially in the workplace. But a viable option for open discussion of mental fitness simply didn’t exist.
So, as a non-technical founder, James did what the best of the best do — he did it anyway.
Unusually, James also chose not to go with the traditional route of starting with a website. Instead, he leveraged free no-code tools such as Medium to build an audience. James was able to build a mental wellness network from scratch. Sanctus now offers spaces for open conversation, clothing lines, and even meetups.
James’s thoughts on the no-code approach are refreshingly simple:
“I just wanted to get going, I can’t code and didn’t want to spend time learning so I used what was there. I think it’s easy to hide behind a “launch” to avoid putting yourself out there, so I just went for it.”
When it comes to evangelising the no-code movement, you can’t find many better than Tobias Hikari, founder of Made Without Code.
Made Without Code is a platform which helps non-technical founders connect with others who may be able to help them build their dream. Tobias noticed the gentle uptick in no-code platforms and tools, like Bubble and Zapier, and realised there was a need for a resource which compiled all these options. The result was Made Without Code.
As simple as no-code can be, it’s not without its challenges, as Tobias explains:
“The landscape of third-party tools can sometimes be as confusing as the landscape of programming languages. Because of that, I started to work on a little mind map to get a better overview of what’s out there and what purpose it has.”