The Other Benefits of No-Code

I believe the future of software development is no-code which is why I urgently want to get involved in the space. However my reasons are somewhat different from "making coding more accessible". I think that no-code allows for completely different kinds of work while eliminating one big problem.

The traditional reason for creating no-code tools was simply to make complicated programming tasks accessible to the lay person. Instead of learning HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, a creative could just whip something up in WordPress, Squarespace, or Webflow. However there’s more to this story now. People who are familiar with programming also use no-code tools when they could’ve come up with better custom solutions themselves. Recently I was reading a Twitter conversation between several well-known software engineers, all talking about going no-code for their latest projects. I found this to be extremely strange considering the software expertise of all involved but I began to understand this while doing a project for a client.

Making development more accessible will involve reducing code.

I was tasked with creating a video course platform. Basically, the client wanted to upload videos to his website in a course format and give users badges for watching the videos. Everything involved with designing a website, getting user logins, payment information, achievements, videos, categories for the videos, etc. took a long time to implement. I learned a significant amount of web development from the project but wasn’t sure how my client thought this was the best use of their resources. They could’ve come up with a solution 90% as good by simply building a WordPress website, and using a course platform like Teachable on it, but they insisted on their custom solution. Making matters worse, now if the client wanted to change something about his website, he will have to get me, or another developer involved for the simplest of tasks.

This is the moment I understood why even the best programmer would consider using no-code. Instead of rehashing a common application yet again, just whip it up quickly in a no-code tool. Focus your engineering talent on the specific difficult tasks that a drag and drop builder would have trouble with. When I had to make a couple time-consuming changes to my client's website months later, the project radicalized me. No-code is the better solution in 99% of situations for 99% of people.

Teachable courses that didn't require hiring a web developer to set up.

Thinking in terms of technical debt like my video course project is one thing. Thinking in terms of expanded possibilities is the other. Building a no-code tool is not just 10x faster for a simple task. It’s 100x. As a developer you’re no longer worried about getting authentication or basic API calls working anymore, you’re thinking about how you can expand from the basics immediately. With the ease of creating new API calls, you can create entirely new kinds of products. Maybe it was impractical to code a whole new application for a specific task, now it’s trivial, and you can make dozens. You can rapidly iterate, do A/B testing and more with a lot less effort.

Abstracting out the previous programming paradigm is the expected progression of technology. We no longer look at 1s and 0s; programming languages abstracted that out. Within programming languages, we went from Assembly, to C, to Javascript. No-code is the big jump where we abstract out the programming languages.