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Code vs. no-code (tools/solutions), an unnecessary debate?

It's a hotly debated topic. What is the best solution to develop a site or an application between: (1) code and (2) no-code tools? What if..... there was no choice between the two?

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5 min
Graph showing a relationship between effort and complexity between no-code and code

It's a topic that's getting a lot of ink flowing. What is the best solution to develop a site or an application between ;

  1. The code (the hard stuff, Javascript, HTML and CSS for example, which requires a developer)
  2. What about no-code tools?

What if..... there was no choice between the two?

But rather to choose in which case applications to use either one or the other?

What is no-code?

Tools that work with code

These tools take the process of writing code "coding" out of the equation just for you. Because... technically speaking, most "code-free" tools are actually applications that write code for you. Tools that were themselves developed by developers who wrote the code.

The most popular no-code tools in 2022

You've probably heard of them, here is a list of some of the most popular nocode tools this year:

  1. Webflow
  2. Figma
  3. Bubble
  4. Airtable
  5. Zapier
  6. Notion
  7. Make
  8. Typeform
  9. Weglot
  10. Shopify

But there are plenty more! Discover a hundred of them in our no-code toolbox 👉

The advantages of no-code?

They are many. No-code tools have revolutionised the development process of applications, websites, or even everyday operations? what is known as no-code OPS.

How do you do this? By making it possible to create and therefore write code visually. Let me explain.

Most no-code tools work with a visual interface on which you can add elements. This process is known as drag and drop. When you drop an item onto this interface, the tool writes the appropriate code to make it work.

In theory, this process allows

  • Democratising access to website/application creation for all
  • Accelerate solution development times
  • Free up dev (coder) time to work on other projects in your company
  • Make your tech tools editable for your entire marketing team

The limits of no-code?

There are two limitations to the use of no-code.

  1. The time it takes to learn certain tools: tools like Webflow or Bubble are complex to master.
  2. Dependence on the existing functionality of the tool

There is no magic formula for learning time.

However, it is possible to push the limits of the tool's existing functionality by using .... you guessed it; code!

What are the differences with low-code?

The observation is that: no-code = dependence on the tool's functionality.

Even if my dream is that no-code tools have no limits, so many features( and that is easy to use 🤩 ), the market is not there yet. And when this limit is hit, often one of the solutions is to connect another tool to your tool.

This process is called "Stack" composition. Stack, translates from English as "stacking".

Fortunately, with the democratisation of APIs, it is increasingly "simple" to interconnect tools. But it is at this point that the level of technical complexity increases.

Say hello to : low-code

Low-code is a solution that allows you to integrate a few lines of code (Js, HTML, CSS) to your nocode tool, like Webflow for example. This allows you to unlock new features that would otherwise be unavailable.

Warning: There are different degrees of difficulty when using low-code, but you can find help on many forums, blogs or Slack channels!

Towards the infinite and beyond

Code is code. With enough experience and understanding of coding, anything is possible. In theory, at least. A developer's level of experience directly affects their ability to accomplish the task at hand. But theoretically speaking, a good coder can do anything.

Choose according to your development needs.

Firstly, I would like to thank Finsweet and codemeetnocode for sharing this graphic, which I think speaks for itself.

Graph showing a relationship between effort and complexity between no-code and code

On the x-axis you have the degree of complexity and on the y-axis you have the level of effort needed to successfully complete your project.

  1. Advantage of Nocode: as can be seen, on projects of low to medium complexity, no-code is the preferred solution.
  2. The advantage of low-code/code is that once a certain level of technical complexity is reached, it is easier (less effort) to achieve this functionality by adding code. And therefore to need a coder developer and not a "no-code maker".

It is therefore essential to determine your (or your client's) needs and to advise on the most suitable solution according to the usecase.

🚀In summary

  • Code-free platforms allow you to create applications without writing any code.
  • Low-code offers a middle ground between no-code and code, allowing you to create custom applications with less code to write than if you were starting from scratch.
  • Knowing how to code, or hiring a "coder" developer, allows you to customise your application, platform, or site to your specific needs.

→ It is essential to determine, depending on the complexity, the resources available and the effort required to complete your project to choose between the most suitable solution 3.

In some cases no-code developers(nocode maker) will be more than enough, in others not. Will adding some low-code be enough or will my project require very unique features, where only a dev will be able to accomplish the mission? 🚀

Good to know

It is also good to know that no-code developments are generally faster and cheaper than a fully coded solution developed from scratch.

Using a no-code solution also has the advantage of allowing your entire company to work on your website or application.

If you want to learn more about no-code tools, here are some additional resources:

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