We already learned the No-Code Revolution is here to stay (read more about the No-Code Revolution in Part I of Is Coding Becoming Obsolete?). No-Code development is gradually growing, becoming increasingly advanced and attractive to enterprises, small businesses and entrepreneurial individuals. Every day, visual programing platforms enable non-geeks all over the world to build beautiful and functional web applications without writing a single line of code. At the same time, the No-Code revolution is creating new markets for businesses to explore. (Learn how our company, Zeroqode, was built and bootstrapped in the No-Code industry growing to a team of 20 in just 2 years.) But, what is the purpose of this movement and is it really making code obsolete?
SPOILER ALERT: We don’t believe the art/skill of writing code is becoming obsolete. Nor do we believe developers will lose their jobs anytime soon. What we do believe is that No-Code is revolutionizing the way Founders, Designers, and Developers build software, by leveraging the power and simplicity of the tools offered, saving time, money and a bunch of headache on the way. And by the way things look like right now — one can only expect this to improve in the years to come.
The No-Code Impact
Software is ubiquitous and the demand for building web and mobile applications is overwhelming. There are just not enough developers to keep up with the demand.
When digging into the history of web development and the appearance of the need of No-Code, we learned that No-Code platforms grew from the limited access of entrepreneurs to skilled and affordable web developers. Also, looking into the future, we see that entrepreneurial individuals or small businesses that previously were unable to unleash their ideas now flood the world with an explosion of creativity.
We see three main target groups impacted by the No-Code revolution. First are the Founders who are now able to let their ideas see the world, then the Designers who truly care about both — the visual and functional parts of their creation, and last but not least, the Developers, who love tinkering with code. Let’s look into each group and see how they would benefit from this revolution.
The development of successful startups is often a result of learning from lots of failure. The classic mindset is to write a long term business plan before taking action. The problem is it rarely actually works, because as soon as you launch the product you start noticing and learning that it has issues.
The Lean Startup Methodology (which we covered briefly on in our How to Build an MVP without a technical co-founder and without code) has a different strategy. You get a feeling about what customer problem(s) you’d like to solve. Then, you build a simple and inexpensive (read: “imperfect”) solution to test your idea. As you collect real user feedback, you learn what you are missing in your product and what customers are truly looking for. Listen, learn, make changes then do it all over again, until your product invokes a “Wow!” reaction from your customers. The road to success is built by failing fast, cheap and often. Don’t get us wrong, we are not encouraging founders to constantly fail. What we are encouraging is constant validation and testing of new hypotheses every step of the way in the real world, not in theory.
You may be wondering how this relates to the No-Code Revolution. Simple — in the most direct way possible! No-Code development platforms are currently so advanced, they enable you to build your Minimum Viable Product (MVP) in no time (ok, this is an exaggeration, you totally need to put some time in, but it is much less then when writing code from scratch :) ).
Time is not the only thing founders are saving, they are also saving money (if you have been around startups for long, you know time and money are not to be wasted). One of the issues lots of founders are facing today is finding a skilled technical co-founder, or putting together a budget to hire a technical team. The permanent search for that trustworthy technical buddy or financing to build the product takes time away from running a company. No-Code development platforms do not require traditional developer skills. What they do require is a clear vision of the goal, a little time to learn the platform’s interface, and a whole lot of enthusiasm to begin implementing this vision.
At this point, No-Code technologies are an ideal option for a startup without a technical co-founder or team to start testing hypothesis, launch an MVP, learn from the feedback and continue improving or pivoting the product until it becomes what the customer wants and is ready to pay for.
Articles with a subject lines such as “Why Designers Should Code” are constantly showing up in designers’ news feeds. When reading the authors’ recommendations, the arguments can be convincing. However, designers are practicing design for a reason. If they truly wanted to code, then they would have probably studied development instead. But, how often are designers misunderstood by developers and vice versa? All. The. Time. In the argument, we assume all the designers would want is to be able to do it themselves, without having to explain their creative mind to someone too technical.
No-Code development platforms give designers the solution to save them from this headache. Exactly the same time and effort they used to spend sketching in Photoshop on static designs, they can now spend building a fully functional app instead. The creative masterminds can achieve pixel-perfect responsive designs, animations and other visual effects, just like they envisioned it. The best part is that now Designers will maintain the power to do it all by themselves. No “code” needs to be written, no developers involved. It is just about the designer, their project and the functionality behind their design.
The most skeptical about the No-Code movement are developers, and this is not surprising anyone. We all know developers are extremely passionate when it comes to their code and have no interest in giving it up. Nor should they. Instead, developers should add No-Code skills to their toolset. We are convinced the No-Code approach could have a positive and exciting impact on developers efficiency.
Their algorithmic mindset remains hugely valuable with No-Code platforms, enabling developers to build intricate software and leverage the platform’s capabilities on a whole new level compared to other users. Additionally, No-Code platforms promise developers to save them from the hassle of worrying about hosting or server and database maintenance. Instead, they can focus all their time and energy on defining the app’s architecture and underlying algorithms, coding the parts which they would want to achieve using the code (yep, you can do that too) and using plugin builders SDK to create their own visual elements and workflows both, for sale on the marketplace and personal use.
For a lot of developer the “true calling” is to find digital solutions to important problems, and code is just one of the tools they use to fulfill that calling. If we have the possibility to automate a process, there should be no regret in doing so. Just like various pure code-based tools, like IDEs, Testing Kits, Knowledge resources and a bunch of others, No-Code platforms provide the means that allow developers to build solutions faster. The beauty is that they can use the combined power of best of the bost worlds — Code and No-Code (in fact- that’s all parts of one Software Development world in the end the day) to get way more important stuff done. As an inevitable result the developer can save more time and make more money, with their new superhero efficiency.
Now, take a moment and think about that beloved code. Isn’t it great? Now think about that one bug hidden somewhere in the lines of code. You now have to painstakingly search the entire codebase to spot it. The frustration a developer experiences in such a situation is endless. When bug hunting on No-Code software, you check the human readable workflow sequences using the inbuilt debuggers and inspect tools — not the entire app structure. If that is not saving you time, we don’t know what will.
In a conversation with Emmanuel Straschnov, Founder of Bubble, to the question: “What are currently the greatest barriers inhibiting people from building websites and applications?” He answered: “The biggest barrier is the cultural issue people have with visual programming tools. Whether they’re technical or not, people tend to think that if it’s not code it’s not real. There is a cultural shift that needs to be done here. The way to remove barriers is by showing real things can be built and can scale on visual tools. Bubble is doing his part here, as we have a few customers who got into YCombinator, raised money and are working on developing their startups.”
Authors will continue writing articles encouraging more adults and children to learn how to write code. And, we hope some readers will respond positively, becoming the next generation of coders who push the boundaries of technology as we know it. However, not everyone is meant to write code. That’s where No-Code platforms come in to empower the makers of the future.
The future we envision is one where software and technology is built seamlessly into human experience. As Jeff Atwood, a software developer, noticed: “When I hear: ‘Everyone must learn to program’ what I hear is: ‘we’re going back in time to a place where you have to be a programmer to do things on the computer.’” One of the biggest strengths of No-Code is allowing us to take advantage of the human potential to solve problems, as it removes coding as the barrier to implementing solutions. No-Code amplifies the potential of humans to innovate.
At the same time, let’s not overestimate the revolution. No-Code was not built to replace the work of traditional developers. Instead, No-Code is meant to empower both — those who can and cannot write code, but have bright ideas to share with the world. The progression of coding languages did not end where No-Code started. Instead they are both flourishing in parallel, and there is space for both in the software development, all thanks to the Coders who were not afraid to let the rest of the world step in and taste the awesomeness of programming, with or without code.