Building a business from scratch requires some technical ability and coding skills, right? Think again. No code tools can help you improve your processes, build a website, and run your company with no coding skills required.
In this article, I’ll be introducing the concept of no code, explaining how it can be helpful to entrepreneurs, and revealing my favourite no code tools.
My name is Paul Muller. I’m an entrepreneur and founded both Menon Labs as well as my most recent venture, Coleap. I grew up in Austria and went to Lithuania after high school to teach German and Computer Science in a small town. This enabled me to experience the other side of education and sparked my interest for learning methods.
I then went on to study Computer Science in London and worked on various edutech and education initiatives. During my time at university, I founded a non-profit called Studyroom which was eventually acquired by the Austrian government. The idea was to build a marketplace to help students in Austria find tutors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Keeping in the same vein, I founded a company called Menon Labs, to help students find projects to inform their career choices. Then came my latest venture, Coleap – a decentralised learning platform that enables anyone to offer online courses.
All of these enterprises began with no code, prototype-first tools. Let me explain how I did it.
What Does “No Code” Mean, and How Can it Help?
The meaning of no code is in the name, really. No code platform allow users to create app software without having to know how to code.
Traditionally, if you were planning on developing a digital-first business, you’d have to understand how to set up an environment, find somewhere to host your website, run your server, and so on. No code tools are essentially the next level of abstraction from that.
Through graphical user interfaces, no code allows you to build software without having to understand the underlying code. Additionally, you do not have to worry about deployment since most no-code platforms handle that for you.
A concrete example is the website building platform, Squarespace. You can drag and drop widgets, blocks and other elements before publishing the website in a matter of minutes. It also allows you to add custom code if you need to.
No code tools have always existed, but their popularity in recent years has been driven by more people starting to create and build on the internet. With advancements in cloud computing, it’s gotten a lot better and the experiences are far less clunky.
So, why would you use no code tools?
If you’re in the early stages of launching a venture, you might not have a tech team or technical knowledge yourself. In this case, having the option of building processes and platforms without coding is useful.
Another use case of no code tools is building prototypes to test your idea. Instead of wasting a lot of time and resource to build a product which might not work, no code lets you experiment and quickly produce prototypes for a fraction of the cost.
Are There Limits to No Code?
As with most tools, there are limits to what you can do with no code.
In theory, you could build absolutely anything with no code, but the more complex your business logic becomes, the more you are going to struggle with no code tools. They usually lack the performance, and customization options for it.
There are two other limitations when it comes to no code tools:
- Scale. Everything in a no code platform is built for you, so if you want to scale and service up to 100,000 or a million people, it might struggle, and it becomes very expensive.
- Responsive design. No code platforms are customisable to some extent, but you might struggle to get exactly what you want. You won’t be able to build things pixel to pixel according to a design – you have to rely on what you get out of the box.
No code is thus a great place to start for any simple applications. It reduces the cost and the time it takes to build things. However, it is not the best way to build every part of a business with, or for any large-scale applications.
My Favourite No Code Tools
My advice when deciding which no code tools to use is, don’t learn a tool just for the sake of it. Start with a problem and find the best tool to solve it. This method is also better for motivation because you’ve got an incentive to master the tool!
Without further ado, below is a list of the tools I use regularly:
- Carrd. A tool to create very simple landing pages for websites.
- Webflow. A tool to create more complex websites, including a CMS, for example.
- Notion. Notion is a great tool for creating a central knowledge base for your company, but you can also use it to create simple websites, or task management tooling.
- Airtable. This platform is super user-friendly, even for people without a product background. It looks like an Excel table, but it’s more like a relational database. You can customise the views, add buttons, run scripts and integrate it with most other apps.
- Integromat and Zapier. These automation tools are basically responsible for your data flowing from one no code tool to another. For example, you could use them to react to a trigger like someone filling out of a form and automatically respond by sending a Slack message.
- TypeForm. This is a form that people can fill out, with great user experience (UX) and design.
- Softr. This is a frontend application, useful if you have data in Airtable but want to build a login page, for example.
- Bubble. Perhaps the most sophisticated and complex no code tool. You can build an entire app with a database, logins, and more. It definitely takes a steep learning curve, but it’s well worth it!
Most of these apps have a free tier, but you will likely end up having to pay for some functionalities. Using multiple of them, the price can really add up. This expense is probably the reason a lot of people eventually move on to code.
I hope you enjoyed this insight into the world of no code tools – chances are, you were already using some for your business!
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