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January 31, 2020 at 6:01 pm #84909Participant@truston
No Code Tools are products that allow you to build applications without doing any actual coding. They use visual building environments often within a web browser to construct software.
With No Code tools, you can create apps, sites, and integrations using graphical user interfaces (GUIs) instead of programming languages.
Because these tools break down the barriers of creation. They enable you and your organization to do more and move faster than ever before without needing the help of a programmer.
A Brief History of Computing
The first modern computer was the Harvard Mark I. On the 29th of March 1944, one of the first set of programs to run on it would be initiated by John von Neumann.
It was more than 15 meters long, weighing five tons and consisted of about 750,000 separate parts. It was mostly mechanical. This was the beginning of the computer revolution.
The next milestone would be in 1975 when the Altair 8080 would be released. It was the first personal computer that was available to the general public as a kit that buyers could assemble themselves.
Paul Allen and Bill Gates would write software for the Altair using the new BASiC language. On April 4 that year, they would set up Microsoft.
Apple I was released the next year and from that moment on, computers became smaller, easier to use, more powerful and cheaper.
Today, the average smartphone can outperform most computing devices from the 20th century and is extremely portable.
The Rise of the No Code Movement
The earliest computers were programmed by flipping switches in the hardware. With successive generations of programming languages, even these lower-level tasks were hidden from the programmer.
The creation of machine languages would be the first step in this direction freeing programmers from the need to physically touch the hardware. Machine language was done in binary.
Assembly language made programming more accessible by providing a layer of abstraction over machine language.
FORTRAN the first procedural programming language debuted in 1957 and made programming a computer much closer to the English language. The procedural language that would expand the growth of the computer industry would be BASIC. BASIC would be used for teaching in colleges because of its simplicity. BASIC would come preloaded on Apple computers of the time and would propel technology forward and make computing accessible to people other than engineers and mathematicians.
Object-Oriented languages would be the next phase of evolution with Visual Basic making programming more accessible to people. Visual Basic was a Rapid Application Development tool that allowed people to create user interfaces by dragging and dropping the controls they wanted to program for their applications.
The rise of the No Code Movement is a response to the general trend in the industry of computers becoming more accessible to people. As computing devices proliferate society, the tools for programming them have to be inclusive of the broader demographics in society.
This means that rather than using text-based languages for programming a computer, the tools for programming a computer had to become visual. The visual programming inherent in No Code tools means that they are inclusive for anyone that is computer literate.
Typically, to create a software artifact, you would need to write code and if you were unable, hire someone who had the skills you lacked. This meant that you needed to pay for services rendered as well as spend time waiting for the product that you needed.
Industry estimates suggest that by 2021, there will be a shortage of 1.4 million software developers and only 400,000 software developer graduates. This lack in the industry means that hiring a skilled software developer will be expensive.
The growth of No Code Tools has proliferated due to a lack of skilled software developers and the need to improve turnaround time for development projects so that business problems can be solved quickly.
For a long time, businesses have relied on programmers and other IT professionals to develop software that helps them do their work. But as the demand for technology solutions has increased, IT has struggled to keep up and this trend isn’t slowing down either.
As IT demand continues to increase and existing teams become increasingly challenged to meet it the gap will only continue to grow. In most cases, No Code lowers the entrance barriers to creating new digital products.
No Code Tools are not only for newbies. These tools can make experienced developers much more productive. It’s all about giving the people the tools they need to execute on an idea without having to learn an entirely new skill set.
Entrepreneurs who know what to make and how to sell it, but lack technical skills to build it will gain a decisive advantage in the years to come with No Code Tools. Using a No Code Tool, an entrepreneur can create a Minimum Viable Product for their idea. As the idea gains traction, they can then decide if they would be best served by writing custom code.
This is a decisive advantage in launching a startup and reducing the risks while doing so.
Questions to Ask Before Adopting a Tool
While you don’t have to learn code, you do have to learn the tool you intend to use. Before you start learning a tool, it is advised that you research on the tool you want to use.
Below are the questions you should ask before picking a No Code Tool.
1. What Problem am I Trying to Solve?
This is the crux of the matter. The best use of technology is to improve the quality of life. Knowing the nature of the problem you intend to solve will make you have a starting point to do your research on what tool to adopt.
2. Does it Have a Free Trial?
You should be able to try out the basic tool without having to spend money. The trial period will be your “Looking Over” period before you decide to commit to using the tool fully.
3. How Easy is it to Get Started?
During your trial period, you are using the software with some limitations on capability. The trial period aims to give you an idea of how easy the software makes accomplishing what you have in mind.
4. What Are the Limitations of this Tool?
If you decided to commit to this tool for solving your problem, what would you be unable to do? There are tradeoffs and you might have to sacrifice functionality for simplicity every time you use a No Code Tool.
Picking a Tool
With the questions out of the way, what options exist for No Code Tools? Based on the tasks you want to achieve, you can use the list below as a guide. The descriptions come from NoCodeList.
Adalo: No-code native apps “as easy as making a slide deck”
AppSheet: No-code apps that lean heavily on artificial intelligence
Bravo Studio: Native mobile apps built with Figma
Glide: Apps from Google Sheets
Kodika.io: iOS apps, built on an iPad
Thunkable: Native iOS and Android apps
Flow XO: Chatbots with integrations
Octane AI: Facebook Messenger bot for Shopify stores
IFTTT: “If this then that” automation
Integromat: Automation and integration platform
Zapier: Integrations and automation
Big Commerce: Enterprise, fully-featured eCommerce
Shopify: eCommerce with a large ecosystem of templates and apps/plugins
Enterprise App Development
Betty Blocks: Enterprise-level no-code apps
Mendix: Enterprise-focused no-code and low-code apps
Microsoft PowerApps: Enterprise apps and data that work within the Microsoft ecosystem
Payments and Subscriptions
Checkout Page: Checkout pages and forms for payments and subscriptions
Paypal.me: Hosted payment pages
Stripe: Payments and subscriptions
Substack: Monetized newsletters
Web Design and Development
Bubble: No-code web apps with users
Carrd: Single-page responsive sites for almost anything
Maker: Create, publish and enhance pages on any website
Sheet2Site: Websites from Google Sheets
Squarespace: Websites, eCommerce, and email marketing
Webflow: Business websites and eCommerce
Wix: Websites and eCommerce
Does the No Code Movement Threaten Traditional IT?
The above list covers almost every use case for programming in the workplace. So you might wonder, will the No Code movement make programmers extinct?
The answer to this is no? I will speak from personal experience.
The first No Code tool I would hear about would be Shopify. My friend had developed an eCommerce site with it and was gaining traction. He had gotten venture-funded and needed to integrate a gifting platform. To do this, he had to contract a Shopify developer to make the extensions he needed as the platform did not natively support the integrations he needed.
As time went on, he had to rebuild his entire shopping cart using a natively coded solution as the number of features he wanted to add on the platform made the costs prohibitive for him.
Such scenarios show why No Code tools will not replace traditional IT. Although the barrier to starting his eCommerce business had been greatly lowered, to take his business to the next level, the services of a developer would need to be engaged.
All the No-Code tools are developed using code written by in-house programmers hired by the tool’s vendors. This is done to give the vendor absolute control over their product. The user uses a visual environment that is simply an abstraction on the code written by the vendor’s programmers.
So No Code tools won’t threaten traditional IT. They will enhance IT and allow the deployment of a programmer to a business problem when it is clear that the problem would enhance business processes.
As a result of this, the businesses will become more efficient in the usage of programmer time which will be more costly in the years to come.
Ever since the first program was made, we have strived to make making programs easier, faster and cheaper. As computer technology has evolved, it has also become increasingly accessible to more people.
The tools for programming the computer have also become more accessible. Innovation continues to make technology more and more accessible.
It’s great because anyone with a good idea or a design for a product can build it without having to spend thousands of dollars or worry about hiring a developer.
This trend has given rise to the No Code Movement. This movement will continue to wax stronger and influence policy in traditional IT. It will however complement and not threaten traditional IT. The real winners at the end of the day will be society.
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