Interested in "no code" but don't know where to start? Whether you're an entrepreneur looking to build your first application without a developer, a web designer who doesn't know how to code, or a business school graduate who wants to experiment... we can help you out with this no-code tools guide!
So, what's this "no code?"
In the past, creating web and/or mobile applications was reserved for a small minority: those who could code. More recently, however, a growing number of no-code platforms have emerged to bring tomorrow's ideas and projects to life.
No code: a working definition
First of all, we could define the notion of "no code" as the fraternal twin of traditional "code."
No code designates a mode of web development that favors visual interfaces and human language. This approach allows you to quickly jump into a new web or mobile project and prepare it for use on the market. It has even become the fastest way to turn ideas into concrete creations.
Code versus no code
Indeed, "no code" goes hand in hand with "drag and drop." No need to write lines of code to create elements; the platform takes care of that thanks to all its pre-coded components.
The result? Opting for a no-code platform facilitates the use of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) and allows you to create software, mobile applications, websites, and chatbots—without even having to know how to code!
What are the biggest differences between no code and low code?
As mentioned above, no code requires no coding knowledge. Low code, on the other hand, implies a basic knowledge of web development, such as the knowledge of certain programming languages, in order to carry out the project. It is estimated that 20% of all programming is done manually with low-code platforms.
When you combine code and no code...
Remember, we spoke earlier of "fraternal twins"—not exact opposites. As we saw with low code, you can totally combine code with no code!
Some platforms therefore allow developers to integrate—in addition to the "no-code" blocks—more customizable blocks where they can insert their own code and ultimately create a more complex and powerful interface.
The advantages of no code
Build a website in just a few hours
The development of websites via a no-code application is generally established in a "visual" way through an interface that favors the drag-and-drop method. With the help of pre-built modules, you can simply drag and drop all the elements you want on the interface: blocks of images, videos, text, and more!
And for the quickest, developing a website can even be done in minutes!
Reduce costs by building software independently, with no prerequisites
You no longer need to know how to code or have your own team of developers to create your own web app or mobile app. With no code, the process of creating software is made accessible to most people! The development costs of a web or mobile app are therefore reduced.
Save time and increase productivity
As we've seen in the previous points, no code allows developers to gain considerable time and productivity thanks to the following characteristics:
- Its easily modifiable aspect: if we're not satisfied with a prototype, we can modify it in a few hours and in a completely autonomous way.
- The speed with which you can materialize an idea for a web or mobile app: you can test more ideas more quickly and make several adjustments before launching the development of the project
- Facilitation of the organization of tasks: some no-code tools allow us to better coordinate our daily tasks and better organize ourselves.
Allow companies to have 100% customizable software
Today, all companies are often faced with a difficult dilemma concerning their business management software (like CRM, HRIS, and invoicing): paying for a SaaS subscription for an existing tool on the market or investing in the creation of an "in-house" management tool? The former doesn't completely respond to all their specific needs, and while the latter does exactly that, it's much pricier, not very scalable, and difficult to maintain!
This is where no code comes in and bridges the gap. These visual programming tools reduce the cost of development and maintenance of homegrown business software, allowing companies to have their own specific business rules in their own business software. This provides unprecedented leverage that even allows companies to create more pleasant user experiences and distinguish themselves from their competitors who had to sacrifice their specific business rules to the functioning of a SaaS.
The limits of no code
Curbing creativity: no code can't do it all... yet!
Although no-code platforms strive to offer us a wider and wider range of components, as they rely on the arrangement of pre-designed components, sometimes there are advanced features or designs not feasible with no code.
Note that these features are fully modelable with code.
Know how to clearly define the needs
As we'll see later in this article, all the various no-code interfaces allow us to answer specific needs. This is why it's essential to understand your needs and to define them clearly before choosing which no-code application to use.
Data security management
On this topic, there's still a lot of room for improvement for no-code tools. Today, these platforms are just beginning to invest in making their tools more secure and capable of meeting the data management requirements of large enterprises.
Since most leading no-code solutions for now are from the U.S., they host the data of the applications we create there. In absolute terms, the RGPD does not prevent us from working with American publishers, but we need to make sure that these platforms are committed to following applicable laws in Europe.
On the market, there are also some French no-code tools like Udo and Timetonic that allow to create RGPD compliant applications. Bubble also allows data hosting in France, but this condition comes with an additional cost.
Trends in the no-code sector
The state of the no-code market
In recent years, no code has become a trend, and the market is still in full development. According to a study by ResearchAndMarkets, the no-code and low-code markets—often lumped together since they share a few themes—were worth over $4 billion in 2017. By 2022, they'll likely exceed $27 billion. That's a promising future!
Who are the pioneers and actors of no code/low code?
If we go back in time about 15 years, players like Webflow, WordPress, or Squarespace were among the first to allow users to develop a fully customizable website, and to top it off, without any technical skills or knowledge in web development.
Current no-code/low-code players
Today, there's a real craze developing around no-code/low-code interfaces. Here are but a few big names:
- and many more.
And their use is bound to explode in the next few years. Indeed, by making these interfaces more available, we allow a greater number of people to build applications, software, and websites from scratch.
Which no-code tools should you use for your project?
Until now, when we had to automate tasks, create a landing page to present our products and services, or create a mobile app, we had to call on web developers or Android or iOS engineers respectively.
Thanks to no code, we can now see that it's quite possible to create operational and ready-to-use interfaces—without soliciting anyone!
The no-code tool for entrepreneurs who want to build their business from A to Z
The need for no-code/low-code web skills is mainly found in the context of startups. They need to be able to quickly offer digital products on the market, but they don't always have sufficient resources to recruit extended technical teams. This is why some startup projects never leave the drawing board.
Let's discover three situations entrepreneurs with no knowledge of web development may face:
- Learn web development to be able to launch your project afterwards
- Organize a fundraiser to raise enough money to recruit developers
- Use a no-code interface to save time and money
This last solution is probably the most profitable when an entrepreneur who neither knows how to code nor has the resources to hire a team of developers nevertheless wants to launch a project.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of no-code tools for entrepreneurs depending on their needs:
- Create your landing page (product presentation page) quickly with Carrd, Umso, or Dorik to test the market traction on your project idea.
- Create a website with Webflow, which allows you to create complex websites with a content management system (CMS) like WordPress to generate multi-page sites like blogs or e-commerce sites.
- Create a web application with Bubble, a powerful interface that will allow you to develop advanced features thanks to backend and frontend components. Careful: using this tool properly requires patience! The learning curve can be quite long.
- Develop a mobile app with Adalo for templates that can be used directly, or Bubble, also a good tool for creating a mobile app. There are also other no-code solutions easier to use than Appy Pie, Glide, and PandaSuite.
- Organize your data with Airtable and publish it online (images, texts, email addresses, phone numbers).
- Much more!
Example: The Comet success story
A platform that connects freelancers and recruiters, Comet developed the first version of its website without a single line of code using the Bubble tool. Thanks to several fundraisers, Comet was later able to expand and develop its business exponentially.
The no-code tool for marketers who want to improve their campaigns
To strategically deploy brand awareness, lead acquisition, or marketing campaign improvement, marketing teams may need to:
- Build customized campaigns with MailerLite, for example, which give you access to an in-depth analysis of the activity of your campaigns' recipients. This complete tool can also lead to the creation of newsletters, websites, landing pages, pop-ups, and more.
- Automate emails with Zapier or IFTTT. Moreover, these task automation tools will also connect the different applications used to make them work together and lighten the daily workload.
- Create a landing page in a few clicks with Carrd or Instapage to increase conversions.
The no-code tool for employees who want to upgrade their skills
The need for no-code/low-code skills is also found in the fabric of small- and medium-sized non-digital companies that increasingly need to digitize (internal tools, renewed websites, online sales, automation of tasks and marketing). In fact, the desire to increase skills and become more versatile in order to boost productivity can come from employees themselves.
We can mention Airtable or Notion for meeting company's internal needs. Employees can use tools like Airtable, a combination of database and spreadsheet (like Excel) to better manage their internal activity. Moreover, Notion allows them to create process management and internal knowledge sites.
The no-code tool for developers who want to create MVPs (Minimum Viable Products) and test projects faster
For developers, an important aspect of web development is testing ideas. However, some projects need to be turned around quickly, so time must be optimized.
Thus, developers may prefer to use no code to set up a prototype more quickly and test several combinations, or develop an operational application within a short time. For example, Softr is an interface that uses Airtable to create websites, applications, and customer portals.
The no-code tool for web designers and creatives who want to make a difference
If you already have a tech team but want to have a visual result before going into production, tools like Webflow exist for designers. The latter puts a real emphasis on design, allowing you to create user-friendly and visually appealing interfaces.
We can also cite Figma, the collaborative platform that allows the different stakeholders of a project to work together on website and application design prototypes.
There are yet other no-code apps such as WordPress—which alone accounts for 34% of the world's international websites.
The coda on no code
We can see the conclusion here: no code is a tool that's used more and more these days, and jobs where no-code/low-code skills are the most requested are in communication, growth and digital marketing, and product-related jobs (product managers and product owners), sales and trade—but also web development. Should we call it a… no-code movement?
Thus, no matter what your project is, using a no-code interface will allow you to:
- Build a website or a web and mobile app quickly without necessarily knowing how to code
- Save time and money
- Test your ideas more easily and modify them live
- Create an operational application for the market
Does design pique your curiosity, and you have five months ahead of you? Join our Product Manager course and learn how to develop a product from A to Z! Designed in partnership with Productized.co, this program is very intensive and practical, and you'll be up and running by the end of your training.