Design & Dev Tools

No-code Apps Are Everywhere

No-code apps allow users to create and customize applications without needing to write HTML, JavaScript, or any other programming language. No-code “development” uses visual, drag-and-drop tools.

Popular no-code providers include Shopify, Squarespace, Webflow, BigCommerce, and Wix. These platforms provide templates and tools to create a professional-looking ecommerce website without coding knowledge.

Many other tools have built-in no-code capabilities.

For example, almost every email marketing platform has some form of visual automation or workflow. Marketers drag or click to add triggers and actions. A company can automate nearly everything needed to sell products.

Visual automation or workflows in an email marketing platform are effectively no-code development tools. In the example below from ConvertKit, a “subscriber” (i.e., a ConvertKit customer) might enter one of three workflows depending on whether she asks about building an audience, monetizing a list, or going pro. Setting up the automation requires no programming skills.

Screenshot of an email workflow by ConvertKit

ConvertKit customers who have questions about building an audience, monetizing a list, or going pro would trigger different workflows.

No-code Development

Relatively complicated workflows and cross-functional integrations are possible using no-code app development.

Here are a few examples.

Zapier is a no-code development tool to automate tasks between applications and is among the most recognizable brands in the category.

With Zapier, you can connect your favorite apps and create workflows (called “zaps”) to get more done in less time.

You could, for example, use Zapier to automatically send new leads from a Facebook campaign to an email marketing platform.

This simple zap sends lead data from Facebook to an email marketing platform.

Notion is a note-taking and project management application. Thanks to templates and integrations, it is an excellent no-code development tool.

Notion is popular because it offers flexibility and power while still being easy to use. Plus, like Zapier and others, it integrates well with other applications, making it an excellent choice for businesses wanting to automate tasks across platforms.

There is even a micro-economy for Notion training and templates. Khe Hy, a productivity consultant, offers Notion training on his website, while YouTuber Thomas Frank creates and offers Notion templates.

Screenshot from a page on Thomas Frank's website

Thomas Frank, who has a large following on YouTube, offers Notion templates on his site.

Bubble is a no-code development platform that lets you build platforms without coding.

Airtable is a no-code database application that makes it easy to create and manage complex data tables.

Used together, Bubble and Airtable can create powerful no-code options for business.

Like Notion, there is a marketplace for Bubble templates.

Bubble has a marketplace of templates, plugins, and agencies that can help you build no-code apps.

There are endless possibilities to build with no-code apps — from unique shopping experiences and order management systems to reporting and admin.

AppSheet from Google is a no-code developmental platform for building web and mobile applications. To paraphrase its promotion video, AppSheet lets you create the custom business remedy you need to avoid wasting time and sifting through out-of-the-box tools that don’t fit the bill.

Google’s AppSheet is a no-code development platform aimed at helping businesses.

Not Always Easy

In one sense, no-code tools and platforms democratize development, as they allow anyone to build custom apps.

Unfortunately, no-code is not always easy. It can be complex because, while it offers flexibility and power, it still requires users to have some technical knowledge, not to mention drag-and-drop skills.

To create custom applications or workflows, no-code users need familiarity with how the applications they’re using work together — requiring some trial and error and a bit of a learning curve.

Additionally, no-code platforms are not always perfect. They can be buggy and tend to have fewer integrations than their code-based counterparts.

When to No-code

Still, no-code app development platforms offer a lot of promise. They are increasingly user-friendly and will likely become even more powerful and feature-rich.

No-code providers offer a way to create apps for less time and money. The emphasis should be on “less” since no-code is not free. Still, the no-code process can be faster and less expensive initially.

Armando Roggio
Armando Roggio
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