Prediction #13: The No-Code Movement Is Going To Have Its Moment In The Sun

The last few years have seen a huge increase in companies providing “No-Code” platforms. A No-code platform is an environment that lets people create working applications by linking blocks of components together without needing to know a coding framework. Nocode developers build these blocks and build out a workflow and the backend automatically figures out how to create and manage the database, manage the communication between the front-end and back end, handles the server management and allows the user to create full applications (like a simple Yelp application) without needing to know SQL, Javascript, Python or other standard development tools.

Nocode has existed for years in tightly constrained verticals.  Squarespace is an example of NoCode for basic websites, and Shopify has emerged as a (semi) no-code for eCommerce.  In the last few years, however, a number of companies have emerged who are using NoCode to build more generic, complex web applications. 

Traditionally these No-code web applications were very constrained in their capabilities. That appears to be changing at exactly the same time a number of new entrepreneurs will be trying to build new bootstrapped businesses.

I’ve been using one of these NoCode platforms (Bubble.io) to develop a few prototypes for a few months now. As a person with a CS background, I came in with low expectations and came out impressed. Bubble is much more comprehensive than what I had expected. With the correct tweaks and plugins, you can build pretty good standard applications quickly. As an example, here is a Yelp Clone, an AirBnB Clone and an Upwork Clone built in Bubble. 

If your differentiator is not purely technical, this may be a good place to start. With that in mind, NoCode (and Bubble in particular) still has major limitations and I am currently skeptical it will work for larger or tech-focused businesses. The aspects of simplicity that make no code fantastically easy in the beginning hurt it as your software becomes more and more complex.

From what I can see, no code will become the working prototype of the future. Entrepreneurs will use them to build out their first versions – getting the flow and MVP just right. If the company and needs remain small and simple, they’ll stick with no-code as it drops a ton of complexity (especially around DevOps). If their company or business explodes, they’ll have a team rebuild it with a standard programming language.

This new model of no-code prototyping -> scalable codebase will reduce overall development a ton and result in a different kind of entrepreneur as technical strength will not be required from the get-go. Instead, entrepreneurial teams will be even more focused on talent in product and front-end design.

No-code Opportunities:

  • No-code development tools paid templates and plugins. (Expect a ThemeForest for NoCode)
  • More No- code applications for specific verticals. Shopify is pretty close to a “nocode” for eCommerce. WordPress is a “nocode” blogging site. Expect more “nocodes” apps to emerge for integrations & migrations, 
  • Nocode developer certifications and developer marketplaces. We’ll see a bunch of marketplaces opening up with no-code developers who can get your product to market in weeks.
  • No-code development shops that will help non-technical entrepreneurs get to market pretty quickly and much more cheaply than with existing full-stack development platforms.

If you currently are working on one of these opportunities or want to work on them, please contact me at charlie at iamcharliegraham dot com

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