Disruption is in the lifeblood of technology. Coders,Programmers and Software engineers have always lead the revolution from the forefront. However, things are changing with a new counter movement called No Code. No Code is sometimes also referred to as Low Code is a platform where people can build professional websites and apps without learning to code. Services like Wix, SquareSpace and Webflow were one of the early adopters who provided customers with an intuitive drag & drop web builders.
- What are some examples No Code platforms?
- Does No Code spell the end of coding?
- Why coding is here to stay and where No Code fails:
- Limited Customization ability
- Does not integrate well with other apps
- It locks you down to one platform
- You can not build your own API
- It’s not secure
- They are not scalable
- Not exactly cheap
- Speaking of experience
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What are some examples No Code platforms?
One of the more popular names in this list, you might have heard of Squarespace from their Youtube or Superbowl ads. Squarespace builds website builders with beautiful design templates for small businesses and individuals.
Wix users will swear by its user-friendliness and it is indeed quite simple, even for the least tech-savvy member of your family. The cloud based system allows simple drag and drop to add elements to your website.
Wix tops the list of companies that provide a drag & drop solution. Like Squarespace Wix was also made for individuals and small businesses who want to create their own websites without spending big bucks on developers or learning to code. Wix is one of the most user friendly platforms out there.
This No Code platform was designed for web designers who either don’t know how to code or don’t have a developer at hand to transform their designs into fully functional websites. Webflow provides a familiar interface for designers allowing them to actualize their designs with relative ease. There is however a drawback to using webflow. If you’re not a designer the learning curve might be a little longer for you.
Bubble goes one step further by replacing not just your designers but your developers as well. This advanced No Code tool can be used to automate sales processes, create marketplace and build app based trackers. What bubble does differently is that it brings the drag & drop features to web and mobile development. There is a vast library of tasks that can be plugged and played to create fully functional apps that you might have paid a small fortune to a developer to build.
Does No Code spell the end of coding?
It wasn’t too long ago that coding schools were popping up left and right. Online schools were offering free coding tutorials to its pupils and big names in tech were urging that every school should teach code to kids at a young age.
So what is the future of coding in the age of No Code? Is it still as important to learn to code?
In all honesty, no code platforms are very powerful. But to say that they replace coding might be a stretch. Let me explain: If your website or app is a piece of art, then no code is a single color that you get to paint your masterpiece. On the other hand, coding is a whole range of palettes. What it means is that No Code still has a long way to go. Current platforms offer very specialized functions like creating a portfolio website or simple landing pages.With even the most advanced services out there, you only have a small set of functions to build your app or site
. Where No Code shines is imitating existing platforms. For example, if you want to build a facebook clone, there are plenty of pre-built code that will make your own social network for you. But the moment you want to build something new, you’ve broken the limits of No Code.
Why coding is here to stay and where No Code fails:
Limited Customization ability
If you want your business to reflect your unique Brand Identity then it can be challenging to differentiate yourself with a pre-built website. Platforms like Squarespace, Wix and others promote having thousands of templates and design options for their customers. This might sound like a lot but when you consider that there are millions of other businesses all of whom are sharing the one thousand or so templates available to them, this number starts looking very small.
But what if I don’t use templates you say? Existing web builders are still very limited in the shapes and color combinations that it can offer to you. What is important to understand that these limitations are their by choice. Web building services will not overly complicate their tools and risk alienating customers who came in for a simplified experience.
Does not integrate well with other apps
Your website and app will barely ever be a standalone software. It needs to interact with other websites and softwares to fulfil more advanced functions. For example, Shopify offers seamless integration with Facebook marketing tools. Try doing the same with your Webflow E-commerce and you will be quickly out of your depths.
However, integrations with other apps like Shopify does is not a rule but an exception. Big platforms have created APIs that can interact with other popular platforms creating a clique of sorts but this will barely help you as you grow.There are hundreds of other apps you will need to connect with, specially as you grow and chances are their are no in-built integrations through your platform.
It locks you down to one platform
Some No Code apps will lock you down to its platform by restricting your movement away from their ecosystem. If you want to transfer to another service or even another low code app, your current platform will severely restrict that.
You can not build your own API
API is the language two apps use to talk to each other. If you want your website to communicate with Facebook for marketing, you might need to create an API if its not already available. However, most platforms own proprietary code and you can’t create your own APIs even if you hire an experienced developer. In such circumstances, you are at the mercy of the company.
It’s not secure
Security is a very important aspect of website development. As your business grows, the risk of a cyber attack increases and businesses should respond by increasing their security as well. Unfortunately, existing services don’t allow security scaling and third party integrations that could reinforce your security. This leaves both big and small businesses vulnerable to attacks and losing valuable data.
They are not scalable
Factors like integrations, APIs and features play into the scalability of your website/app. Some of these platforms tend to be so specialized that they can only offer their services if you fall into a very tight niche. If you’re a photographer, then try a portfolio website maker. If you don’t want to drag & drop you can use a page builder that creates full websites by fetching data on your Facebook profile.
The moment you need something more from your provider, you inevitably will face scalability issues. So unless you’re using No Code as a temporary solution, you will find it difficult to add advanced functions such as incorporating responsive UI/UX Design, efficient database management, or cross platform adaptability, custom development is still the way to go.
Not exactly cheap
The whole point of not coding and using a visual web building tool is that it saves you money. However, if you do end up hiring someone to maintain it or updating new features that are not available, these platforms can get expensive. On top, you have the monthly fee that comes with the subscription package for using the platform.
In contrast, hiring a freelance web developer and designer from Easetern Europe or Asia is still cheaper and more effective.
There is a prevailing misconception that building your own site has to be cheaper than hiring a web designer and web developer. But it can be argued that, firstly you might not have time to build and maintain your website everyday. On top of that, there is a steep monthly subscription fee you’re paying for keeping your site live.
Is the cost of building and maintaining your website lesser than hiring a freelancer from India or Estonia? Freelancing websites like Fiverr has a pool of talented freelancers who can build your website for far cheaper than what you could be paying in monthly fees. And not only that, chances are they’ll be doing a much better job with their years of experience than you could.
Speaking of experience
Design experience is something that can be crucial to creating an effective website. UI/UX designers spend years learning how to create great user experiences. They are motivated to finding ways to lead the customer to different way points within the website and finally reach the promised conversion land.
Non-designers should proceed with caution when building a website. Research on Website design has repeatedly shown that if you lose a customer due to bad website experience, they are very unlikely to ever return to your website again.