No-code as a controversial phenomenon
The update of an old custom built site is a slow process, full of expenses. The list of people engaged in such a website project is not easy for the timeframe or budget, making it a major issue for developing the website smoothly and quickly from scratch. No-code website builders are a controversial phenomenon. Some consider them insufficiently functional and a waste of money, while others see them as a tool to eliminate unnecessary difficulties. The main benefit of using website builders is to cut coding work out of the process entirely. Coding is a challenging activity for most people that could be replaced by an easy no-code graphic user interface.
Now each of us can be a developer and see how the created site is changing responsively for the different screen sizes in mobile phones, tablets and laptops.
Low-code vs no-code
Doing some research around this topic in the market will reveal definitions like no-code and low-code. Let’s explain the differences and then compare these two approaches.
No-code platforms were basically created for non-programmers and non-technical users. As the name suggests, to use no-code platforms you don’t need to write any code. Users can create application software through a graphic user interface using a drag-and-drop principle. It is actually very simple and user friendly for non-programmers.
Low-code is mostly used by developers who can then speed up their work and automate processes. Many low-code platforms provide out-of-the-box functionalities to avoid building applications and websites from scratch. The main difference between no-code and low-code is that you do need to do some coding to use the low-code platform tools, while it is still based on a drag-and-drop user interface, you have more possibilities to customise your apps and websites with the extra coding.
In general, no-code and low-code platforms can be a great starting point for those willing to start learning to code. It can be a very friendly and accessible way to understand the structure and logic of the basic code, HTML and CSS.
In this article we would like to focus on no-code platforms that look interesting and accessible for the widest group of people.
Cases of using no-code platforms
To consider how we can apply no-code, we can distinguish several categories:
The no-code website roadmap at a glance
- Choose the best no-code builder for your idea.
- Buy a domain and connect it with a no-code builder.
- Prepare content. Simple or long. Decide how the body (texts) will affect the views.
- Prepare designs. Start by creating sketches, then move to lo-fi and hi-fi designs (e.g. in Figma). Remember that no-code platforms are not tools for designing, but for programming. This is why designs have to be ready before moving them to no-code builders. Besides, making sure your site complies with widely accepted accessibility standards is a sure-fire way to attract a new and larger audience.
- Once the design process is complete, go to your no-code builder tool and generate your product there.
- Then Integrate other services you need (payments, newsletters and many more).
Pros and cons of no-code web builders
A codeless platform offers a lot of convenience, but it also has some drawbacks to keep in mind.
- One huge advantage is that all codeless software and tools are easy to use. Extensive coding knowledge is not necessary. The tools allow non-technical users to build websites without much interest in programming languages.
- No-code platforms create many opportunities for different organisations and individuals, and new options for income generation.
- It saves time because elements are ready to be placed in a new composition. Work that used to take months can now be done in a couple of weeks or even days.
- For more advanced users, codeless site building tools include various automated tests.
- The site is enabled and always ready to make changes to without too much complexity. The user does not have to rely on highly skilled technicians to build and maintain the applications created. Functionality can be changed in a matter of hours.
- Estimated fees start from around $15 per month. A simple portfolio site can be made at no cost. When a domain is not needed, no-code platforms have free plans to create one project per user. This may be sufficient for a portfolio site or to just try out the tool.
- In some no-code web builders, if the user knows how to code, a few lines can be added at any time to create a more unique customisable experience. This is slightly better for developers because they can have full control over the site, and if they notice any bugs or issues, they don’t have to wait for customer support to fix them.
- No-code platforms offer a wide selection of themes and layouts that users without much design experience can choose and apply to their sites. However, it is worth remembering that web builders offer templates that can be largely used for most different websites. If someone is looking for something original and eye-catching, they should be prepared to spend a little more time. Webflow has the most space for different features, and they offer a ton of different free and paid templates. They even offer standout designs from over 1000 templates on their website https://webflow.com/templates
- No-code platforms offer marketing integrations with added custom code for Google Analytics, Google Optimize and other tools. Being able to control the attraction of customers to your site using Google’s algorithms is a very important part that is almost lost when using no-code templates.
- There is a huge number of API integrations available for your site or application. New applications are popping up all the time that help users connect payments, databases, forms, surveys, SEO, newsletters, and much more.
- To predict user actions and streamline the application development process, some no-code services offer artificial intelligence and machine learning features.
- CMS – many no-code tools provide a Content Management System that can significantly speed up your work publishing e.g. products for e-commerce or new posts on your blog.
- Cybersecurity could be a very debatable topic in terms of no-code tools. Some people don’t have much trust in the security of pages created with no-code. But in reality, if a less experienced developer writes the code by themselves, it doesn’t mean there will be a better security level. The creation of no-code platforms involved hundreds of experienced programmers that take care of security and all potential risks in this platform.
- The technical limitations of no-code tools may limit creativity. This could be especially limiting in terms of animation and transitions.
- People who are not tech-savvy may find themselves being dependent on a particular platform when it comes to repairing an error or getting rid of bugs. Users may need to contact customer service and wait until the software is fixed.
- If you are planning to create a huge website, application or e-commerce, it is probably better to think twice about the approach you need. No-code could have some limitations in terms of scaling your products. Consider the perspective of your product to include potential scaling scenarios.
No code – how much does it cost?
Most no-code platforms have a variety of packs available. You can start for free, build a couple of projects, and publish them for free. Definitely it will be enough to try the new tools and check if you want to buy them. But if you build professional pages for yourself or for your clients, free options will have some limitations for you. For example, when using a free account, you will probably have a watermark on your webpage and the domain address will have the name of the no-code platform in it. Another limitation is the number of projects that users can create with a free plan, as well as the level of customisation for these projects.
We have prepared a comparison of the most popular no-code platforms with their prices and limitations:
Can no–code replace developers?
Only a small percentage of our population can code. The main purpose of no-code platforms is to make websites and apps creation more accessible for a larger number of people around the world. It doesn’t mean no-code will replace developers. It simply means that programmers can focus on more customised projects that need their skills.
For non-developers, no-code platforms are a great opportunity to create their dream site themselves at a small cost. For developers, no-code tools can just significantly accelerate project delivery times. For start-ups, no-code means low costs and great solutions for MVPs. So it looks like a win-win option.
No-code apps have made a tool for non-technical users when the IT Industry is developing at a dizzying pace. The work of programmers is now relieved and moved to those who do not know how to code yet can create their simple websites from scratch. This approach still requires knowledge of how the software works in order to build a truly great no-code application. The major thing here is the reduction in costs and the need for many people to be involved in the whole process. Since it is easy and quick, it serves to innovate seamlessly. A no-code project will require significantly less maintenance than a traditionally coded project. Companies specialising in creating no-code solutions have already appeared, and we can expect a lot of changes in the upcoming years.