ABIR ERSHAD |
Oct 12, 2022 11:41:39 p.m.
Building literally anything – from websites, apps, or even in-house tools requires a complex understanding of programming language and syntax. “It requires weeks, months, even years of learning depending on the complexity of the project”, this is what would have been true a few years ago. However, today we have the no-code movement.
What is no-code: No-code is a modern toolset that provides a solution for non-technical personnel to create software, web pages and toolsets. From a more technical perspective, it replaces logic-syntax with a more top-down, visual approach to building things. Thanks to this, no-code allows non-technical people to develop solutions that once would have required technical knowledge.
Is no-code better than coding: Yes and no. No-code is a misnomer; Although it may seem that the coding is not used by the end user, there is actually a lot of programming that went into creating the tool without code. Having an understanding of programming is a much more powerful tool to have, and the possibilities are endless. If you are a programmer, there are no limits to what you can create, and the same cannot be said for no-code.
On the contrary, no-code is better in the sense that it is more accessible. Teams around the world are using tools like Zapier and Salesforce to automate their workflow despite having engineers around who can develop the same capability. Paying a web developer is reasonable, but having the alternative of developing beautiful websites via tools like Webflow & Wix is cheat code.
In the words of Ryan Hoover, CEO of Product Hunt, “As creating things on the internet becomes more accessible, more people will become makers. It’s no longer limited to the less than 1.0% of engineers who can code, resulting in an explosion of ideas from all kinds of people.”
The real utility of no-code is that small tasks can now be done by non-technical people. The absence of code allows engineering teams to focus on more difficult problems and sales teams to use their resources elsewhere.
Where can we use the no-code: One can use the no-code for website development, database and CRM tools, and project management tools.
Website development: In the past, website development was a time-consuming process – wireframing, prototyping, and development cycles consumed a lot of time and money. But let’s face it, most business or personal portfolios don’t require such a complex and technical process.
Website development is now possible through no-code tools like Wix, Cardd, Softr, Potion, etc. Most platforms use a drag and drop function, others analyze documents or platforms to create a website. Time and resources spent on website development can now be reallocated to other use cases, which has been a game changer.
E-commerce is made easy with websites like Squarespace, Wix, or Bookmark that have built-in payment features, while many others have integrations designed for third-party e-commerce plugins like Shopify and Woo-Commerce. The customer journey can be further simplified with no-code chatbots like Smooch, Chatfuel, Tinybot, etc.
Database and CRM tools: The absence of code simplifies the data and the database. Although SQL and other data warehousing solutions are great for enterprise use, they are expensive and difficult. Small businesses often use Microsoft Excel and Google sheets to manage this, but there are more intuitive solutions like Airtable that work as both a database and a data management suite.
Tools like Airtable not only make data entry very simple, but it is also easy to produce high quality data through the use of extensions and interfaces on Airtable. This is a game-changer for databases that require collaborations, as features like views and custom interfaces make life easier.
Databases like Airtable can be used for CRM, research databases, agile project management, event planning, budgeting, and countless other use cases.
Project management tools: Project management is an extremely crucial task for all functions. There are two ways to achieve this: have your engineering team create a system or use a technical PM tool like Jira.
Both require significant resource allocation and time, and for many teams, it’s not worth it. Luckily, no-code PM tools like Trello, Notion, Coda, and others make life easier.
These tools and platforms can be used collaboratively by teams, and ensure everyone’s accountability. They often include Kanban boards, Gantt charts, tables and lists. Managing these tools also does not require trained specialists – anyone who has used the tool can assign, supplement and administer the tool as they see fit.
If you run a business, using a project management tool can improve both your workflow and your efficiency. Small teams and students can often qualify for free credits or plans, and pricing tends to be competitive, meaning you can take advantage of them without breaking the bank.
Automating: Everyone hates tedious tasks and automation makes things easier. But let’s face it, automation is intimidating – or at least it used to be. Today, many platforms such as Salesforce, Airtable, etc. offer integrated automation solutions such as invoice generation, task relays, etc.
Third-party automation platforms (Zapier, Automate, IFTTT) extend the possibility of what can be achieved in this regard. A business can simplify its social media posting by integrating multiple channels. They can map their entire e-commerce journey and remove manual entry where needed. Elaborate and creative solutions are extremely achievable thanks to this.
Communication can also be automated, through the use of messaging tools such as Sendgrid and Mailchimp. Marketing teams don’t need to rely on labor or engineering teams to launch email campaigns.
For companies operating at scale, or even companies operating with low resources, automation can be a game-changer. Individuals can also benefit from automation for their personal task scheduling and other miscellaneous reasons.
Final Thoughts: Apart from what has been mentioned, no-code tools have started to emerge for most virtual use cases. Web Scrapers, Text-to-Image Generators, Caption Generators, Form-Builders, Design Prototype Tools and many more are developed and improved on a regular basis.
The No-Code movement is still early, but despite this, we have witnessed extremely powerful tools that have redefined the way we work. This has been beneficial for companies large and small, allowing them to free up and reallocate resources, reducing costs and hours needed to complete the project. The lack of code is a catalyst for builders everywhere, and if you’re building something, consider giving it a try.
The author can be found raving on the internet regarding his 139th newly found interest of the month. Contact him at [email protected]