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Jason Leow ~ golifelog.com
Jason Leow ~ golifelog.com

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Nocode spoils me

The speed to launch using nocode tools is setting up unfair expectations for code - how do I keep on learning how to code?


I made a nocode product in just 2 full days of work. Doing that just made me feel more discouraged with learning coding.

First some context, this product is called Keto List Singapore. It’s a curated local directory site for people on the keto diet in Singapore, listing out all the bakeries, restaurants, cafes, supermarkets and online retailers selling keto-friendly products. But this post isn’t about Keto List, it’s about the emerging nocode movement, the widespread proliferation of nocode tools, versus actually learning how to do programming.

Nocode sets up unfair expectations for code

I should really be happy to have created a product in 2 days, but it’s a mix of conflicted feelings, to be honest. I’m glad of course, to have finished it from concept to MVP so quickly, and excited to show it to my local keto community. That’s the maker in me wagging my tail enthusiastically. But the developer/coder in me is feeling discouraged. Because I know that there’s no way I can make something that works this well, looks this good, all in just TWO freaking days. Not at my current skill level. But likely also not ever, even if I level up enough.

Basically, I’d been spoiled rotten by nocode tools, so much so that it sets up unfair expectations against learning to code.

Trade-offs between code and nocode

Thing is, rationally and intellectually, I understand this is just lame whining. The nocode tools that enabled me to launch this fast will bottleneck me further downstream when I start to want to customise, iterate and tweak the product beyond what the nocode tools are capable of. That’s the trade-off.

Fast launch, limited flexibility. Full flexibility, slow(er) launch.

I fully understand this trade-off, and know that there’s no comparison, really. Currently at least, because nocode tools are still far off.

Nocode to code is what the smartphone is to the DSLR

But imagine in the near future, with the exponential pace we’re going, we might be seeing nocode tools closing the gap quickly on old school coding. Already we see this in Webflow, Bubble for front-end. Airtable is quickly closing that gap in the back-end side of the house. More back-end nocode tools are emerging everyday. In other industries, see how the smartphone camera had caught up with the DSLR. Sure, if you’re a pro photographer, DSLRs will still be the tool of choice. But much of the content creators and influencers of social media have nothing but a smartphone, and that’s enough to build a major following and business. Will nocode tools follow the path of the smartphone camera? Not tomorrow… yet, but in the foreseeable future, I believe so.

Which gets me back to my whining. If these tools will close the gap soon enough, do I still need to learn coding? I’m definitely committed to learning coding and developing my SaaS product, and in all likelihood, I will continue learning coding tomorrow after whining about this today. But instances like that really get me into a coding existential crisis… I don’t know.

What do you think? Are nocode tools discouraging people from learning to code?


Follow my daily writings on Lifelog, where I write about learning to code, goals, productivity, indie hacking and tech for good.

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