Another Perspective on No-Code Tools

Another Perspective on No-Code Tools image

No-code tools don't have a good reputation with software engineers. What's the point of being an engineer when you use a tool to build a website or app without ever writing a line of code? You're not meant to move boxes and click buttons as an engineer. You're meant to write code.

That's the general line of thinking about no-code tools.

But it's also a dangerously dogmatic opinion that overlooks a simple reality: Software engineers are primarily problem-solvers who already use a wide variety of tools to reduce the amount of coding they have to do. You've probably already used some kind of no- or low-code tools. Ever heard of IFTTT, Zapier, Airtable, or even WordPress?

No-code tools are just another weapon in your arsenal. This article will give you five reasons to consider no-code tools, after which we'll go over four reasons why you should not consider no-code tools.

Disclaimer: The term no-code is used here to mean both no- and low-code tools, as most no-code tools are actually low-code because they allow you to write some custom code.

5 Reasons to Consider No-Code Tools

To Increase Your Speed to Market

No-code tools can dramatically reduce development time. Instead of having to write custom code and build a product from scratch, a no-code tools lets you whip up a minimum viable product in very little time. It allows you to launch quicker. And when speed matters, the ability to deploy a product quickly can be a distinct competitive advantage.

It also significantly reduces the learning curve for new developers or entrepreneurs. You can bring ideas to life without requiring lots of programming knowledge. You don't have to be an expert in front-end development anymore to build a simple front-end app. This allows more people to build software, which in turn leads to a greater diversity of apps and services.

To Avoid Boilerplate

Writing boilerplate code is boring, repetitive, and not a good use of an engineer's time. But it is often a necessity. No-code platforms eliminate having to write boilerplate, so you can focus on the more complex and interesting aspects of your project.

Not only that, but it eliminates the risk of introducing errors in boilerplate. Because writing boilerplate is boring, it's easy to lose focus and accidentally introduce a mistake. That's less likely with no-code platforms, where its automated boilerplate will have been tested and used by lots of people.

To Make Integrations Easier

Integrating various services and APIs into your product is a complex and time-consuming process. You need to understand the API of a particular service, figure out how to connect it, set it up properly, et cetera.

No-code platforms offer out-of-the-box integrations that simplify what's otherwise a daunting task. In turn, this plug-n-play nature of no-code tools make it more appealing to automate various aspects of a business, because you don't have to focus on the technical details that much.

To Include Non-Coders in the Process

No-code tools democratize the development process because they allow people without a programming background to contribute meaningfully to projects. Once the initial solution is built, you can bring in marketing or sales or operations to get their input and/or let them use the product.

This makes the development process a more inclusive and collaborative environment. It leads to solutions that better serve the needs of the business because they incorporate diverse perspectives earlier than they otherwise would.

To Reduce Your Costs

Especially for startups and small businesses, no-code tools are a cost-effective way to test ideas and bring products to market without a significant initial investment in custom software development.

This is particularly crucial for validating business concepts in the real world. In this early phase, you can use no-code tools to gather user feedback and iterate on the product without significant upfront investment.

4 Reasons Not to Consider No-Code Tools

Because They're Not Very Flexible

By design, no-code platforms prioritize ease of use over flexibility. Even when there's the option to add custom code, chances are pretty high that you'll run into limitations on how much you can customize your project.

So if your idea requires specific, bespoke features or if you want fine-grained control over the user experience, you're better off starting with custom code from the get-go. A no-code solution will limit you faster than you think it would.

Because Performance Doesn't Scale

While no-code platforms are getting better every year, they're still not great at scaling. They can suffer from performance issues because they often generate additional, hidden code to accommodate their easy-to-use interfaces.

At scale, this leads to inefficiencies and bloatedness that affect load times and responsiveness. If you're building an application that will have a lot of users or where performance is critical, you're better off with handcrafted code.

Because You're Locked In

Using a no-code platform means tying your project's fate to the future of the platform. If the company behind the tool changes direction, increases prices, or shuts down, your project is equally at risk.

This dependency also means you're subject to the platform's limitations, updates, and terms of service, which might not always align with your project's trajectory. When you go no-code, always check to what degree you'll be locked in.

Because There's Still a Learning Curve

While no-code tools are marketed as easy to use, mastering them is still a significant time investment. Engineers might find that learning how to use a no-code tool, especially a more powerful one, effectively takes as much time as learning a new programming language without necessarily offering the same level of flexibility.

Balancing the Equation

Whether or not you should use a no-code tool all depends what you're trying to do. If you need something simple and if you're pretty certain about your requirements, no-code tools are absolutely worth exploring. No-code tools have their place because they have such a low barrier of entry.

But they have a low ceiling too. If you have a product where the requirements change a lot or aren't fully known from the get-go, or if you're building a product that's reasonably complex, you'll quickly run into limits with no-code tools. In these scenarios, custom code is almost always better.

And that custom code can be written by X-Team engineers. If you're looking for an experienced team of software engineers who can hit the ground running from day one, send us a message today.


Thomas De Moor / code