No Code? Can You Build An App Without Coding in 2021? | Robin Copernicus

The modern tech landscape is very different from the early days of computer software and programming. Students that used to learn COBOL and FORTRAN now find their knowledge base out-of-date and ultimately useless. Modern internet and programming architecture require modern code.

HTML, Java, Python, and C++ are now the default for programming an app for the Android’s Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. It seems like if you don’t know how to code, you are left out of the opportunity to build an app at all. You need to hire someone on a programmer’s salary. Or do you? Is it possible to build an app with no coding?

Well, Yes.

Thanks to no code development platforms, you can build apps without writing a single line of code. Instead, the platform uses a visual interface into which you can plug your parameters and fields of interest. Instead of writing thousands of lines of code and spending just as much money, you can develop the apps that are important to your startup in-house, at a fraction of the cost.

No Code? Can You Build An App Without Coding

What Is the No Code Movement?

While it sounds new-age, the no code movement actually started in the ‘70s as a response to the complex computer programming that was inaccessible to some. The idea was that developers could build functional apps without writing a single line of code. This was the simple origin of the revolution, but it has accelerated in recent years with the proliferation of cheaper and more powerful consumer tools. Startups can harness the power of programming their own apps without needing a team of developers.

What Is a Low Code Application?

While no code means using absolutely zero code to develop an app, low code applications are focused on IT developers, giving them the tools to create enterprise-level applications. They can build the apps without needing to start from zero and code the entire app manually. A template or preset is used so that developers can tailor the app to their specific needs more efficiently.

No Code, Low Code, and Full Code

Whether you are developing a custom, never-before-seen application or something that has been done before and needs modification, there are options for you.

# What Does It Mean to Be Full Code?

If you need to create a complex application that has no precedent, you may need to go full code. That means starting from scratch and building the application from the ground up without any existing code. This is by far the most expensive and time-consuming way to build applications, and while it may seem like an attractive option, it may not be the best one if you are looking for something nimble.

# Why Not Full Code?

Going full code means getting something completely unique to your vision that no one else has ever done before. The problem is that no one else has ever fixed or modified your app before either. Instead of being able to make changes in-house, and maintain your system yourself, you will need programmers to make changes, no matter how small they might be.

Want to change the colors of your app or just the font? Time to fork over more cash to a developer to modify the CSS configuration. By using low code or no code development, you can make changes when you want and how you want without the need to change any lines of code, and do so without delay.

What Is No Code Development?

It sounds easier than it is, but no code development is exactly what it sounds like. It is building or developing apps and tools without using code. The idea was first popularized by software like Dreamweaver, in which someone could design a website without coding.

You could design the site in a drag-and-drop manner with a visual interface, write regular text, and input colors and design elements like you would when making a Powerpoint presentation. It really was as easy as it sounds.

The software was simultaneously writing the code on another module, which you could click to and review. If you wanted to make changes in the code, you could at any moment and then go right back to the visual interface.

Now, the same software (often cloud-based) can help you develop your app without any coding. So when your startup is ready to start realizing its ideas, you can load up your no code development platform and start building your future viral app.

# Where To Start

You first need to select a platform to create your app with. Google has its own platform called AppSheet, which is one of the most popular and is often a good place to start. With the largest mobile app store in the world, the Google Play store is a great place to access your future users.

# The Next Step

No code development means the infrastructure is already in place. You don’t need to create the app architecture or the code. You already have your idea, and you know what you want it to look like, so the main thing you’ll be providing is that valuable data. No matter what app you are building, your startup is going to have important data both for the app to use and collect.

# Set Your Parameters

Let’s say you want to build a digital bookshelf. You want your customers to be able to upload and download books using the platform, possibly for a monthly subscription. Your parameters will be the data inputs required to sign up, upload a book, get paid, and make payments. Since the structure is already in place, you just tell the software the fields and tools you would like to make available, and it will do the rest.

# Testing

Once you have some parts of your app set up, you need to test them. Checking in with the application and making sure every part is working along the way is critical. Don’t wait until you reach the end of the project to discover that something isn’t working! Luckily if you make a mistake, you don’t need to comb through lines of code to find and correct it. You can delete or modify elements on the fly without bothering with the broken code. The software will take care of that for you.

What Kinds of Applications Can You Build Without Coding?

The possibilities are huge for no code development, and there are many applications you can build with no code platform software. They range in complexity and function, spanning multiple industries.

# Retail

The scope of retail applications is very wide. You can build an app for e-commerce migration which is essential in the modern digital economy, modernize your data warehouse, create an API management app, build an app for inventory management, or an AI-assisted merchandising app to accurately predict demand.

# Financial Services

If you have a fintech or other finance startup, you can build apps for open banking, risk simulation, AI-powered loan processing, and high-performance computing for quantitative analysis. Building apps with no code software means you can power your startup services and back-end systems at lightning-fast speeds and make it easier for your team to manage or modify those processes.

# Telecommunications

With the oncoming transition to 5G networks, companies and consumers are looking to upgrade their infrastructure and computing. You can create 5G edge computing solutions to serve business customers, use SAP on the Google Cloud if you use AppSheet, and even run a Contact Center API. Your customers can get rapid response help from an AI assistant, and your team can take over when questions need to be handled by a human.

# Media and Entertainment

Running a media startup can be complicated, but you can simplify your work and improve customer experience by using cloud-based app development. Apps can be built for rendering, post-production (virtually), video processing, and even audience statistics. By setting parameters that fit your needs, the apps you build can manage all of these tasks and more.

# The Possibilities Are Endless

While these are some of the most common and popular applications for no code app development, there are many more, and the possibilities are near-endless. Whatever industry or sector you operate in, your startup can create custom apps that suit your needs exactly the way you need them to. With reduced development times and the ability to respond to needed changes faster, this method of implementing your apps is by far the best.

What Is No Code Platform Software?

Instead of writing lines of code, you will often use a cloud-based and visual interface to create your apps. Tools like AppSheet are the most popular because the pricing is accessible and it is easy to use. The type of app you want to make will often define what platform you should be using. You should always shop around before choosing a platform, instead of just going with the name you recognize.

# Airtable

If you want to build a custom and flexible database, this is the platform for your startup. If you’re still using rigid project management tools and spreadsheets, AirTable is the platform to use for your transition into more powerful apps.

# AppyPie

As an all-around solution for multiple app types, AppyPie is perfect for startups. Instead of using multiple platforms, you can develop apps for every area of your business and manage their operation and maintenance all in the same platform.

# AppSheet

As one of the most popular no code platforms, AppSheet covers all of the bases and makes implementation simple. They have access for team members at only $5 per person, so your whole team can collaborate together easily. In an era of remote work and distributed teams, this is a valuable asset for any startup.

This is Google’s platform, so it means integration with Google’s suite of applications like Chrome and work tools is easier as well. Google has a massive portion of the app segment, so if you’re just getting into no code development, this is a great place to start.

It also provides most of the tools you need all in one place. Google’s cloud platform is faster and smoother than almost all other options, and it doesn’t matter if your app is complex or simple, it can handle it.

# Salesforce Platform

If you are developing CRM apps, this is the number one choice. Salesforce is a giant in CRM software and one of a handful of names that startups and multinational corporations alike trust with this essential business process. It has drag-and-drop functionality, so anyone can build apps that automate business processes, help customers find important information, and extend your CRM’s reach and functionality.

# Outgrow

You need tools to take you through the lead generation stage of your company, and Outgrow will allow you to build them quickly and easily. You can build personalized quizzes, assessments, calculators, chatbots, and polls. Their platform allows you to optimize all your apps for mobile, which is extremely valuable in our mobile-driven networks. Most potential clients will access your information and start discovering your work through a mobile device, so being there ready to manage all the important lead generation and management processes is key.

# Landbot

Have you ever landed on a website and started chatting instantly with a customer service representative? It is likely that the rep is actually a chatbot. While these useful and impressive apps used to be complicated to develop and operate, platforms like Landbot simplify everything. You can create conversational apps for your startup that are a step beyond traditional chatbots. It allows you to build apps for lead generation and customer service, all on the same platform.

Any no code platform software that allows you to build multiple apps on the same platform is the best option for a startup. Simplification is the priority here. When you are building digital tools and apps for your team and customers (current and future), jumping between platforms with different rules and processes is the opposite of simplification.

What Is the Future of Coding?

When you picture coding and app development, you are probably imagining those scenes of Mark Zuckerberg in his Harvard dorm room building Face Match and then Facebook from that awesome Aaron Sorkin movie. Lines of code stream across the screen, and the timelapse proves just how much time it really takes. By the time he has a working prototype up and running, months have gone by, and he is sleep-deprived and has barely worked on anything else.

# The Past

This is certainly the way things have been in the past, and even though it isn’t the most efficient way to develop apps anymore, there will likely always be a place for it. Complex processes require complex apps with complex coding. Although no code solutions are efficient and effective, they do not solve all problems for all startups. It will be up to you to figure out if no code platform software is the right fit for your company.

While the no code movement started decades ago, it looked very different than what it is today. The early programmers of the ‘70s were trying to find a way to democratize coding and development for the masses, and they came up with the right idea. It was only until consumer computing reached the heights of the new millennium that there was a real business model for no code development.

# The Present

Considering the acceleration of the trend toward no code programming, it is safe to say that it is not going anywhere any time soon. It is already overtaking the amount of full code development now in some areas, as digital startups and companies transitioning to a digital platform figure out their needs.

# The Future

The path forward for no code development may even be apps for consumers to use on a more micro level. Startups are best-positioned to use this technology now, but what about if you run a small crafts business? Could a small-business owner create CRM apps to manage order flow on a micro scale in a cost-effective way? Absolutely.

It is already possible to get started on any of the platforms mentioned above for free and unlock its full potential with a small monthly subscription (usually under $20 a month). Like other technological trends, costs will lower, and ubiquitousness will proliferate. It is also likely that a handle of players will begin to monopolize the market and expand. This is a capitalist market, after all.

# Hyperspeed

This could mean bigger and more powerful tools and the ability to use one single no code or low code platform for all of your startup’s needs. Right now, you might need to select from a few platforms to build all of the apps you need to run a successful startup, but it won’t be long until a single cloud-based subscription does the trick.

Will Low Code Replace Developers?

With the proliferation of cheaper and powerful low code and no code platforms, development needs will change. In fact, they already have. It is just a matter of time before the balance of power shifts to the side of low code development.

# Supplementation, Not Elimination

While this shift means less work for developers in some cases, it also means there will still be a need for developers’ input and work. When using a low code platform, the template or preset is a great starting point for developers because they do not need to start from scratch.

They can jump into building a new app for a specific purpose and use existing code to speed up the process. At the same time, they are developing the specifics of that app using visual interfaces and code. The skills of developers are still very much in demand and necessary.

# AI Takes Over

There may come a time when AI-powered platforms are able to do the coding in no code applications with minimal input from the customer. They could take the parameters and code the requirements into the app like a developer would do. There are some machine learning AIs that can perform rudimentary development functions like this.

In the end, though, it will be up to the startup to decide which is best. Most people, while admitting that AI directed systems are impressive and powerful, also admit that they are not the same as a human. Working with someone who can translate a vision into an app is a very different process than the often formulaic thinking of an AI.

# No Going Back Now

The low code revolution has changed coding and shifted the balance of power, but that does not mean eliminating developers entirely. It means democratization of these tools to develop apps for startups big and small, on any budget, and for any application.

Get Started

If your startup is ready to start developing its systems and apps, it’s time to get set up with a no code platform. Start with a few preliminary steps to get you on the path to full functionality:

# Due Diligence

Check your options using the list above, and continue searching until you find the perfect platform for your startup. Most importantly, check reviews to see what the real experience is like.

# No Code or Low Code?

Just because a platform promises to solve all your problems with a few clicks doesn’t make it the best option. Take your time and decide what type of platform (whether it’s no code or low code) is best for you.

# Start Your Revolution

Before you begin to develop your app, remember to use the GPDS framework.

Once you’ve done the first two steps, then and only then should you begin to develop your app.

You’re already on your way to accelerating your startup’s growth by getting the information you need about no code development.

Read more about the GPDS framework here.

Happy building!

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