Low/No Code Development: Empowering Non-Technical Users
No Code development actively breaks the boundaries of the industry by enabling beginners and business users (called "citizen developers" in this context) to develop functional websites, online shops or apps with minimal effort. For example, with dynamic design templates, online shops can be created within a few hours using services such as Shopify or BigCommerce - and without having to write a single line of code. In addition, simple web publishing tools like WordPress have made it easy for small business owners to create their own website in minutes.
How much programming does someone who designs a website need to know in terms of no code and low code tools nowadays?
The ability to use no code and low code tools to design a website is becoming increasingly important for modern web developers. With the right knowledge, these tools can help make the web development process easier, faster, and more cost-effective. Understanding how to use no code and low code (and now also No Code AI-)tools will give you an edge over other web developers in terms of efficiency and productivity. No code and low code tools also provide a great degree of customization (depending on the platform) for website designers, allowing them to create a unique user experience that's tailored to their needs. With the prevalence of no code and low code tools in the digital landscape, it's essential for all web developers to understand at least some basic coding fundamentals in order to stay competitive.
Popular No Code/Low Code Platforms
No code & low code platforms come in all shapes and sizes, so let’s have a look at some of these platforms.
Webflow provides a powerful low code/no code solution for creating websites and web applications. It features a drag-and-drop editor with full visual design tools, plus code access - allowing developers to customise their projects as needed. Additionally, it has an SEO ready platform and integrated CMS, which makes it easy to create content that is optimised for search engines.
WordPress is the de facto standard for website building. Around 810 million websites use WordPress as of 2023, which is about 43% of all websites(!). Wordpress is a powerful content management system that enables users to create and manage websites without any coding experience. It provides an intuitive drag-and-drop interface for creating responsive websites with a range of options for customising the look and feel of the website. WordPress also offers thousands of plugins, themes, and other extensions to further customise the website and add more features. Additionally, WordPress is open source which means developers can customise the software to suit their needs.
The main difference between WordPress and Webflow is the type of interface they provide. WordPress offers an intuitive drag-and-drop interface, while Webflow provides a full visual design editor.
When it comes to automation, Zapier is the tool of choice. It’s designed for automating workflows between different web services and applications. With Zapier, users can connect different apps together to automate tasks such as sending emails or updating customer records automatically when certain conditions are met. This makes it easy for businesses to streamline their processes without needing any coding knowledge.
Software-like apps or websites can be easily created with Softr. With it, users can quickly create stunning web pages using its drag-and-drop page builder, plus access to code for more advanced developers. Softr also provides analytics so users can track user engagement on their websites and identify areas where they need improvement.
Bubble is another popular no code/low code platform that allows users to easily build applications without any coding knowledge. One of the unique qualities of Bubble is its ability to create and host real-time applications without needing server infrastructure. This feature makes creating applications faster, more cost-effective, and more secure. Additionally, Bubble supports custom frontend development which can be useful for creating innovative user experiences that other low-code/no-code solutions may not be able to provide. Furthermore, Bubble's powerful API allows developers to easily integrate with APIs from third-party services such as Stripe, Twilio, and Salesforce.
Glide is yet another powerful low-code/no-code platform that makes it easy for users to create mobile applications without coding. It features an intuitive drag-and-drop user interface, as well as access to code for more advanced developers. Additionally, Glide offers integrated hosting and analytics services, allowing you to quickly deploy and monitor your app with minimal effort.
However, this doesn’t mean that programming is completely out of the picture. In fact, low and no code solutions simply bridge the gap between existing coding languages and non-technical users by offering a simplified solution that is easier to learn and use. Programmers still have an important role in building complex applications and deploying them across various platforms.
Where are the limits when it comes to no code/low code tools in programming websites?
The limits of no code/low code tools depend on the platform being used. Some platforms offer more features than others, allowing developers to create more complex sites with greater functionality. However, even with these more advanced platforms, there are still limits as to what can be achieved without writing custom code. For example, some platforms may not support certain types of databases or may not provide access to certain APIs or libraries.
Another drawback is limited customisability. User interface customisation options are, in some cases, a limitation of no code/low code tools. This is because many platforms offer a limited range of user interface controls and widgets, meaning developers may not have the option to design their applications exactly as they desire.
Here is a general overview about common limitations:
- Limited access to certain types of databases, APIs or libraries
- Limited user interface customization options
- Difficulty in creating complex applications without writing extensive lines of custom code from scratch
- Security risks due to the lack of manual control over source code, configuration and deployment processes
- Performance issues due to the reliance on third-party components or code conversion processes
- Higher initial costs associated with purchasing subscription plans or enterprise licences
- Customisation difficulties due to the complexity of syntax and lack of comprehensive documentation
- Complexity in integration with other systems or APIs due to differences in data formats and connection protocols.
Overall, no code/low code tools provide a great resource for developers looking to quickly create powerful web applications without having to write lengthy lines of custom code from scratch. While there are limits as to what can be done with these tools, they can still help developers save time and money by reducing the amount of manual coding needed for each project. For small websites low and no code ist mostly just fine. When it comes to companies and enterprises, security, performance and customisations are most often required, and here you need highly professional development.