Photo credit: Iwaria
The Software industry is the most exponential field in the world. Especially in the way we craft and think software.
"We've never had a better yesterday, it has always been a forward progress."
— Gideon Shaibu
The genealogy of software development has never had a better yesterday. Each chronicle presents a simplified way of building software better than the previous chronicle. Now is the time to talk No-code, though, no longer a new phenomenon.
The No-code movement started way back in 1985 when Microsoft released the first version of Excel (interestingly for Mac), followed by the Windows version in 1987. Google took it further by creating Google Sheets and embracing the cloud. Over the years, Excel has helped shape how we handle financial and data analysis.
In 2003, No-code fully came online, when WordPress kickstarted the ability to build websites without code which is powering about 35% of the world's websites today.
In 2004, Shopify empowered people to build their online stores without code.
WordPress and Shopify were the first set of popular online tools to pave way for entrepreneurs to build all kinds of websites ranging from blog to dev tools to e-commerce websites and SaaS products.
Later, popular tools like Airtable (2012), Bubble (2012), Webflow (2013), Zapier (2012), TypeForm (2016), Jotform (2006), Notion (2016), Coda (2019) and a list of many others have grossly contributed to the No-code movement. All to democratize software development by creating citizen developers who can quickly build solutions in real-time without writing code.
"No-code is simply building and maintaining what is used to be accomplished with code without writing code."
Capital NO. This can never happen as No-code tools need software developers to write code that makes them what they are.
Think of Botamp for example, A software that provides entrepreneurs with simple tools to quickly create their website and professional email campaigns without code. Wappalyzer browser extension shows Botamp is powered by Ruby on Rails. A high-level framework only developers can code and maintain. So the idea that No-code is here to replace Software developers is completely useless.
I rather say the idea of No-code is to empower non-technical people to build solutions for their business, client, or explore their creative minds. Ben Tossel puts it this way;
"Building is for a large audience (coding or not). Learning to build can often be a gateway into learning to code. But it’s also enabling anyone to make things."
So it is important to mention that No-code is not here to replace Software developers but to enable non-coders and even coders build things faster.
Absolutely YES, No-code technologies are around to simplify the existing process they are alternating not replace them. Not every development requires coding.
No-code can do almost anything code can do these days, maybe not as appealing as building certain functionalities with code but it gives enough space for rapid development. No-code saves time and money when you think of creating blogs, landing pages, payment systems, AI tools, SaaS products and community/social apps.
Recently Makerpad, a community-driven platform built on No-code technologies like Webflow, MemberStack and Stripe was acquired by Zapier. An inspiring News for startups using the same approach.
Spicing your technical skill-set with No-code makes you an outstanding developer. It helps you build faster, bootstrap your side-project, and be diversified.
All I see is a positive change. Developers are already conversant with the design, implementation and maintenance of Software. All they seek is a simpler approach to what they are already doing. Think of why Laravel framework exists, an alternative to writing raw PHP for web development - To simplify the process. It is easier for developers to adopt No-code.
Netlify caught the hearts of developers not because it is a scaled hosting software. While similar technologies like Heroku, GitHub and AWS allowed app deployment via Git commands and Terminals, Netlify simplified the process by allowing developers to deploy apps by dragging and dropping your project from your local computer to the cloud. A definition of speed and simplicity.
Developer tools like Stripe and Algolia can be used to extend the functionality of their App without writing additional code. Visual Development tools like Bubble, Webflow, Botamp, Zapier, Integromat, Airtable, Notion, Coda, and others are used to build stuff that one could only build by writing, hosting, and maintaining a whole lot of code in the absence of these tools.
In general, No-code adds as a supportive skill to developers to build faster. It comes in handy when you need to ship an MVP. Developers can improve the No-code tools as high-level users.
Because of No-code, we have titles like non-technical founder, citizen developer, maker and No-coder. Embracing No-code is no longer the case but how knowledgeable are you with No-code tools?